Must Have Treo Freeware Applications

In this article Palm Infocenter highlights some essential must have Treo freeware applications. There is a wealth of free and open source Palm OS software out there. Read on as we take a look at 10 great programs, as well as a few others, to enhance your Treo smartphone experience.

Converter is a unit conversion tool. It does pretty much everything you'd ever need to convert. This app can convert 215 different types of things in 23 different categories, you can even setup a list of your most frequent conversions.

DiddleBug for Palm OSDiddlebug
Diddlebug is essentially an e-post it note application. It allows you to scribble notes on your Palm device using digital ink. You can then set alarms for each note from a pop-up list, and DiddleBug will not let you forget your reminder. I use this app all the time as a cooking timer for my pizza's, however you folks might have some more important things you need to be reminded about.

Directory Assistant
You have a smartphone right? If your Treo had an IQ, it would go up 20 smart points after installing Directory Assistant. This utility automates queries to the Residential and Business phone directories in the US. It will even preform reverse queries and look up names from phone numbers. You can easily dial from the results and even get maps and directions to results with a single click.

So you got a new Treo and that blinking LED is annoying you to no end. You look for an option in the prefs to turn it off but there is none! Enter LED Off. It will not only turn off the pulsating green LED, but also opens up some extra LED functionality as well. You can set the LED to stay on when you have a new Voicemail, email or SMS messages or configure how you want the LED to behave.

LED Off for TreoMirror App
PDA mirror programs are great. The old glossy monochrome screens seemed to work best for mirror apps, though I think the extra treo screen grease layer helps. Color Mirror is my fav because it uses a dark shade of grey which gives better reflection than just a black screen on color devices.

Radio Control
Radio Control is a really handy application. It allows you to program a daily on and off cycle for your Treo's wireless radio. Thus allowing you to save on battery life if you'd like to have your treo automatically power down during the latenight or when you're not expecting calls. This app also forces the radio to start after a reset, something the treo doesn't always do.

SFCave is _the_ classic Palm OS game. Originally released for Palm OS 2.0, this app has worked on every Palm I've ever used and is always one of the first games to be installed. Japanese developer Sunflat describes it best: "SFCave is the very simple but exciting action game. The cave is endless! There is no goal to reach!" Its amazing how such a simple game concept can be so entertaining.

SharkMSG for TreoSharkMSG
SharkMSG brings an innovative new feature from the Windows Mobile Treo 700w to the Treo 650 that Palm and Microsoft said couldn't be done on the Palm OS. SharkMsg prompts you to send an SMS to the caller when you ignore an incoming phone call allowing you to decline a call with a friendly text message.

I really don't understand why none of the Treos has ever come with a built in voice recorder. It's about as smart a move as not including a mic on the Palm TX. SoundRec solves this and adds a free voice recorder software that only takes up 24k of program memory. SoundRec can record to internal memory or an SD card.

TCPMP has been a huge boon for Palm OS multimedia. This free and open source program handles all sorts of video and music files with the utmost of ease. You got a 700MB dvd rip on your SD card? No problem. Among the codecs it supports are Mpeg, Divx, Xvid, H.264, mp3 and ogg video and audio formats. Any video optimized for the video iPod should work fine with TCPMP. It's also a great app for podcasts on the go as it supports the fancy enhanced podcasts (m4a with image slideshow).

Use VeMode to convert your own video content to a mobile format.

TCPMP for Palm OSHonerable Mentions...
Also honorable mentions to: AIM for Palm (old free version from AOL UK, still works), Real World Blackjack (great free blackjack game & casino coach, 33k, works w/5-way), BigClock (just don't hit the menu key!), BlueJacker (making a boring situation in a crowded space more entertaining), Flight Status (check airline information), Palm PDF (the name says it all) and FileZ (still the best free Palm OS File Manager).

I made this list Treo centric because it contains a number of treo 650/600 specific apps, however other Palm OS devices can take advantage of some of these programs as well. While the apps above are freeware, developing software takes time and hard work. Most developers accept donations on their websites and or have other commercial products worth checking out too. Want more cool treo apps? Check out the PalmInfocenter software store.

New! - 10 Apps to a better Treo (or Centro).

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Nice Work

KultiVator @ 3/8/2006 1:14:51 PM # Q
Excellent article Ryan.

Perhaps this could become a regular thing - i.e. you could post a follow-up article aimed at OS5 PDA owners in the future. There's a lot of little gems out there that add some useful nuggets of functionality.

Best Regards,


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vertebra @ 3/8/2006 2:59:53 PM # Q
Little John Palm (Videogame emulator)
Duke3D (Duke Nukem Game!)
ZDoomz (Doom Game!)
ZQuake (Quake Game)
ZHexen (Hexen Game)
Toccer (IM)
Speedy (System Tester)
Sol Free (Solitare)
ScummVM (Virtual machine code runs classic Lucas Arts PC games)
PXA Clocker (Overclock)
PMAME (Multiple arcade emulator)
PalmPDF (PDF viewer)
PalmaSutra ( :) )
Opera Mini (Web Browser)
MemInfo (DBcache tool)
HandZipper (Unzipping Utility)

RE: Freeware
ackmondual @ 3/9/2006 1:59:45 PM # Q
I think you mean Handzipper Lite, as there's a freeware version and a more featured shareware version.

And while I'm posting, may as well add Flashback (the DOS version) to the list of games ;)

"Do you know the difference between an error and a mistake? Anyone can make an error, but that error doesn't become a mistake until you refuse to correct it."
-Grand Admiral Thrawn

the secret to enjoying your job is to have a hobby that's even worse

My PDAs: Visor --> Visor Neo (blue) --> Zire 71 --> Tungsten T3 (with 4 of 6 screws still remaining) ~?~> zodiac 2?

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Great offerings but...

adamsmark @ 3/8/2006 3:49:37 PM # Q
Can anyone explain why the Treo 650 does not have FreeNotes or Expenses? This is a business device, eh? It's great that there are freeware alternatives, but some of those programs should come standard.

RE: Great offerings but...
vixensjlin @ 3/8/2006 5:43:49 PM # Q
You can always get the missing applications back, such as Expanses, Note Pad and VoicePAD.

However, I have to recomend some free programs as well:

Ma Tirelire (Please, this is much better than Expanses)

Today, the beautiful presentation of one day agenda

InnerBackup2005 (Tried on Treo650, full backup and restore)

Handy Shopper

The Progect Project Manager

Want a (wireless) free card reader? Palm File Browser

LinkStart Lite for Palm OS (move everything to your card, not only prc, the lite version is free)

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BigClock Treo

JohnKes @ 3/8/2006 5:26:36 PM # Q
RE: BigClock Treo
ackmondual @ 3/9/2006 1:51:21 PM # Q

for countdown timers, you should definately try BigClock as well. Quick and easy to setup multiple timers, and let's you customize several basic midi alarms

"Do you know the difference between an error and a mistake? Anyone can make an error, but that error doesn't become a mistake until you refuse to correct it."
-Grand Admiral Thrawn

the secret to enjoying your job is to have a hobby that's even worse

My PDAs: Visor --> Visor Neo (blue) --> Zire 71 --> Tungsten T3 (with 4 of 6 screws still remaining) ~?~> zodiac 2?

RE: BigClock Treo
Admin @ 3/9/2006 2:34:19 PM # Q
I also use bigclock for timers too, I did not know about the treo optimized version so I'll have to check that out. Hopefully the menu key bug is corrected.

RE: BigClock Treo
ackmondual @ 3/10/2006 7:37:24 PM # Q
Yeah, I saw after I posted that u know about it. However, I didn't know there was a Treo version.
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Nice Palm Freeware list

mtt @ 3/15/2006 9:19:53 AM # Q
Thank you also. Nice article with stuff people can use! I've run a Treo for years, and hadn't tried a couple of these.

Here are a few more free programs that once installed, you will never want to be without.:

Gives BlackBerry-like press & hold to captilize or use alternate keys.

Keyshades lets you keep the keyboard light off until you need it.

FieldPlus Gives you powerful select/copy/paste functions using just the 5-way and shift button.

Alerts Popup Is a tiny application that gives you access to the alert screen instead of having to tap the flashing asteric in the corner. I keep it right in the Treo favorites screen.

You may notice I linked these all from - I don't use their forums, but they have a very nice download area for Treo oriented software, including a New/Updated page to track the latest versions.

Handspring Visor, Palm V, Treo 180, Treo 90, Treo 600, Treo 650...

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SmallBASIC?? OnBoardC SrcEdit??

Tamog @ 3/9/2006 9:32:15 AM # Q
anyone thought of the great apps listed in the title?
Best regards
Tam Hanna

Find out more about the Palm OS in my blog:
RE: SmallBASIC?? OnBoardC SrcEdit??
mtt @ 3/9/2006 11:11:27 AM # Q
You do programing on your Palm?

Handspring Visor, Palm V, Treo 180, Treo 90, Treo 600, Treo 650...
RE: SmallBASIC?? OnBoardC SrcEdit??
ackmondual @ 3/9/2006 1:50:56 PM # Q

I second that!

"Do you know the difference between an error and a mistake? Anyone can make an error, but that error doesn't become a mistake until you refuse to correct it."
-Grand Admiral Thrawn

the secret to enjoying your job is to have a hobby that's even worse

My PDAs: Visor --> Visor Neo (blue) --> Zire 71 --> Tungsten T3 (with 4 of 6 screws still remaining) ~?~> zodiac 2?

RE: SmallBASIC?? OnBoardC SrcEdit??
Tamog @ 3/9/2006 2:18:15 PM # Q
I do!

For example, binaryClock was almost 100% an OnBoardC project, only at the very end, I moved it over to PODS. The applications that I will release next are also OnBoardC products.

Trust me, you can work really well with SrcEdit(that is, if you are on the beta team;)).

Best regards
Tam Hanna

Find out more about the Palm OS in my blog:

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FileZ the best FREE Palm OS File Manager

godschoice @ 3/10/2006 6:29:11 AM # Q
Ryan, You wrote "FileZ (still the best Palm OS File Manager)"

I think you must have meant still the best FREE Palm OS File Manager because Resco Explorer for Palm ( ) is the best File Manager for Palm OS period. It is a File manager, File zipper\unzipper, Picture viewer (way faster than builtin), app launcher and backup program in one product. It is well worth the $15.

If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got!

Type to you later,


RE: FileZ the best FREE Palm OS File Manager
Admin @ 3/10/2006 11:33:45 AM # Q
Good call Carl, I clarified that.

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Don't forget profiles

palmdoc88 @ 3/13/2006 2:39:31 AM # Q
Profiles for the Treo is another great freebie:

I missed phone functionality this moving on from my SEt610 to the Treo650 and this does the job, and is highly customisable

T3 & T5 user

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I don't get Diddlebug

justauser @ 3/14/2006 6:54:08 AM # Q
I have tried Diddlebug many times down through the years on various models of Palms - I just don't get it. Seems to be just a sketchpad with alarms. Has utilities to export some of the data to other apps but nothing much better than cut and paste. How is it different from the built in 'Notepad?' Always seems to be on someone's top ten. Please don't read this as condescending as I'm always up for nifty freeware. I just don't get Diddlebug.

That's the beauty of choices in PalmOS Land
The_Voice_of_Reason @ 3/14/2006 4:00:50 PM # Q
Unlike you, I feel Diddlebug is one of the best apps around and perfectly sums up the elegance, simplicity and utility of well-designed PalmOS applications.

With just a couple taps I can open up the program, jot down an idea/list/sketch/phone #, and even set an alarm to remind me later. Yes, it's not exactly Adobe Photoshop, but Diddlebug still performs a useful function perfectly.

I've been using Diddlebug since it first came out and it's always on the default tab (most-used apps) of my tabbed launcher. Using Palms used to be about speed and simplicity and Diddlebug is the much-ballyhooed "Zen of Palm" incarnate.


Sony CLIE UX100: 128 MB real RAM, OLED screen. All the PDA anyone really ever wanted.

The Palm eCONomy = Communismô

The Great Palm Swindle:

NetFrontLinux - the next major cellphone OS?:

RE: I don't get Diddlebug
jayb472457 @ 3/20/2007 3:58:59 PM # Q
Like the man says, Diddlebug is the Zen of Palm. It is my most used program, period. Maybe you will understand why so many of us like it if you use it like this:

Everytime I get some info that I need to remember later--a nifty idea that I just thought about, a phone number to call at 3:30pm the day after tomorrow, a gallon of milk I need to pick up on the way back home etc, I simply jot it down on Diddlebug in freehand writing and set an alarm to remind me. My Treo is beeping all the time, reminding me to do the little things that would almost certainly fall thru the cracks otherwise. Of course, you could do this with the Memo Pad or Todo apps also but Diddlebug is at least 10 times faster IMO, and much more handy for the small, quick reminders. I like it better than the native Notepad because it takes fewer steps to do what I need to do most of the time: scribble short notes and set quick alarms to remind me.

One unrelated gripe I have about the Treo 650 is the digitizer that is not smooth at all for handwriting. I get errant lines all the time. Am I missing something? Didn't have this problem with the Tungsten E.

RE: I don't get Diddlebug
LiveFaith @ 1/15/2008 2:37:58 PM # Q
Ditto ditto ditto. Yep, and one of the collest things about it is making what my kids and I call "Diddlebug Movies".

Remember making movies with the edge of a book by drawing the simplistic figure in a different position on each page and then flicking the pages to view your own movie.

My kids and I love to make Diddlebug movies by doing it screen by screen and then scrolling thru the movie. They can be hillarious. My 14yr old son and friends used my old T3 to make a couple years ago on vacation. They laughed in the back seat for 8 hours from south Florida.

** Another useful app not listed here is called "Invisible". It can hide the icons of unused ROM (or RAM) apps from the Palm launcher. Especially nice for those with Carrier based phone and all their useless ROM bloatware. I think it may be at

Pat Horne

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Great article...

duckster @ 3/14/2006 11:20:53 PM # Q
Ryan... thanks so much for the great article! I commented on it on my blog, and hope others swing by to read it. I was unaware of the video capabilities of the Treo, but promptly installed TCPMP and found the missing codec. Now I'm watching March of the Penguins on my Treo!


RE: Great article...
LiveFaith @ 1/15/2008 8:59:13 PM # Q
Dude, that's freakish. I have that movie on my SDHC card too. Pretty cool (no pun intended), except for the "every time you drive your SUV, you kill a penguin" schlock.

Pat Horne
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Our 10+1 Treo Essentials

albertc @ 8/22/2006 10:15:59 AM # Q
Good selection, Ryan

A while ago we posted our own choice of Treo Essentials at:

The small degree of overlap between both lists is quite amazing, as well as a tribute to the versatility of the Treo and the creativity of Palm OS developers, too.


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spankgo @ 3/6/2007 10:39:35 AM # Q
Is there an EV-DO download for the treo 650?
RE: ev-do
hkklife @ 3/6/2007 10:43:43 AM # Q
EVDO must be enabled via compatible hardware on the unit itself.

Currently the only Palm OS Treo with EVDO capabilities is the 700p. The Windows Mobile-based 700w and 700wx also support EVDO.

Palm has completely put the Treo 650 out to pasture in terms of further updates or support. They are focusing only on selling and developing new devices (with an emphasis on SELLING), as evidenced by the lack of security updates for older and unlocked Treos and the perpetually delayed 700p ROM update.

Pilot 1000-->Pilot 5000-->PalmPilot Pro-->IIIe-->Vx-->m505-->T|T-->T|T2-->T|C-->T|T3-->T|T5-->TX-->Treo 700P

RE: ev-do
ReadOnly @ 3/8/2008 12:34:35 PM # Q
Not to sound whiny, but: Why do so many folks forget about the 755p? It really seems to happen fairly often.
The 755p is their latest CDMA Treo.
It's a little smaller, and IMO a little more stable than it next older syb.
Way easier to hold on to than Palm's other recent phones - until the Centro added a lanyard point.
And yes - it does EVDO. Even the faster flavor that is not available everywhere.

Nice article - it got me to go back and review my inventory of apps.

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downloading software

tangarvin @ 7/28/2010 10:31:21 AM # Q
Great article!!
downloaded 3 of the apps mentioned:
today...and got them on my palm treo pro..but when I try to open, tells me no program associated, what am I doing wrong?
I'm sure its an easy fix..two of the programs had to manually move, the install tool wouldn't work.

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