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Treo Initial Impressions

Wed Feb 20, 2002 - 11:47 PM EST - By James Hromadka

I arrived home last night from an MBA class to find a package from Handspring. As my wife said, it was Christmas in February. The Treo 180 had finally come in. Previously, my hands-on experience with the model was limited to brief moments at Comdex 2001, but now I can finally put the Treo through its paces.

I know that GSM isn't available everywhere in the US, but it's a great feeling when you can swap SIM cards without losing anything. I even got my saved speed dial settings and SMS messages from the VisorPhone as they were still on my Visor.

The Palm Desktop beta for Mac OS X works just fine with the Treo. I like how there isn't a cradle for the Treo, and as with other cell phones, a car charger will be a must.

The Treo will take some getting used to for prior Visor owners. The Address and Calendar buttons have been swapped, and I still keep reaching for the stylus when I want to write something down. I'm looking forward to comparing my Graffiti speed with the thumb keyboard on the Treo.

SMS with the Treo is a real boon. My Nokia phone guesses as I'm typing (T9 I think), but the WYTIWYG (what you type is what you get) functionality that the Treo brings takes SMS to the next level. I wish everyone in the US had GSM.

The one thing I really miss on the Treo is assignable ring tones. I miss being able to assign specific sounds to a particular person.
There are unnoticed benefits to the Treo, however, such as being able to scroll through your calendar without opening the screen. I keep DateBook (which incidently is the only calendar app -- no Datebook icon anymore) configured so that the weekly appointment view is the first screen. Press the calendar button and then use the jog rocker to scroll through the weeks. Another benefit is that I don't have to carry around two gadgets anymore. Handspring, my belt thanks you.

I'll test Blazer and other wireless applications this weekend. Expect the full review sometime next week.


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