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The Treo is revealed

Mon Nov 12, 2001 - 3:47 PM EST - By James Hromadka

Treo Impressions

If there is one thing that Handspring is good at, it is creating a buzz about a product. From the time we left the airport we were inundated with Treo billboards, Treo shuttle buses, and questions about the new Treo.

This morning, we had the opportunity to speak with Mark Dadger, a product manager at Handspring about the Treo. Click here for the video then read on for my impressions of the Treo.

The first thing one notices about the Treo is its size. The Treo feels just like a normal cell phone. It is wider than my Nokia 3390, but it has features like speakerphone that my cell phone does not offer.

The flip lid of the Treo is aptly named, as it flips into place with only the slightest of effort. The built-in keyboard on the Treo k180 works really well, although I can tell that it will take awhile to wean myself from wanting to use Graffiti. There are a lot of undocumented "little things" that make the Treo nice, such as being able to create a quick-dial button that shows the current time. I also really like being able to start typing someone's name (i.e. jhawkins) and as I type the Treo narrows down the names to the person I want. I can then use the jog rocker to select the phone number and press in to dial. When calling a number that is not in the AddressBook, the Treo will attempt to look up the person and will eventually bring up the standard dialpad. Finish typing in the numbers and then dial the number. The video has a good demonstration on how this works.

Handspring still won't reveal their partner for the LCD technology behind the color Treo 270, so I can only surmise that it will knock ours socks off when we see it. I do know from what Handspring tells me is that the color Treo will not be any different in size from the 180 series. Next summer cannot come soon enough.

The GSM/GPRS technology behind the Treo is made by Wavecom. A slim WISMO Pac chip is used for the cellular technology in the Treo. GPRS will become available via software update sometime early next year. Wavecom has also announced that it will eventually have a CDMA version of its WISMO technology, but Handspring has not announced if it intends to use it.

My biggest frustration with the Treo is that I cannot get it right now. Next year cannot come soon enough for me. Come on, Handspring, I know you could use another beta tester!


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