As you know, we *heart* nice, new shiny gadgets and we love to sit on the (sometimes uncomfortable) cutting edge of technology.
So when it comes to smartphones, we’re only going to be interested in strutting around with the very latest, gizmo-stuffed, state of the art model, right?
Wrong. In fact, my favourite phone remains the comparatively ancient Palm Treo 650 which, at nearly three years old, probably makes it the oldest piece of technology we’re still using!
So why have I gone backwards when there’s so many new, all-singing, all-dancing smartphones about?
The answer is simplicity.
The Palm platform may not be basking in the white heat of technology, but sometimes it’s more comfortable to hang out in the more temperate margins where things don’t get so sticky.
With the Treo just about everything works.
Unlike every Windows Mobile device we’ve tried, it feels like a proper smartphone rather than a phone bolted on to a PDA (or vice versa).
Based on the mature (some may suggest over-ripe) Palm OS, the Treo provides an intuitive and stable interface, with the five way controller and tightly integrated software ensuring that the stylus stays docked in the silo for most everyday tasks.
When there’s a need to input some text, the Treo has one of the best small keyboards in the business, with its brightly illuminated QWERTY keypad perfect for short emails and text messages.
Moreover, the interface is fast and responsive and although Palm’s idea of multi-tasking is simply to close down whatever you’re doing and start up the next program (while remembering all the settings) it doesn’t suffer from the gradual slowdown to a crawl that constantly blighted our Windows experience.
While there’s a good argument that Palm OS is in danger of becoming woefully outdated, it still does the job jus’ dandy and with the deft addition of a few third party programs, you can end up with a flexible device that can hold its own against everything else out there.
In part two, i’ll explain why I find the Palm interface and aesthetics to be some of the best in the business, but for those who love to peruse spec sheets, here’s the basics:
Palm Treo 650
wireless radio: GSM/GPRS/EDGE model: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz world phone. GPRS class 10B
processor: Intel™ PXA270 312 MHz processor
memory: 21MB user available stored non-volatile memory.
battery: Removable rechargeable lithium ion battery
talk time: Up to 6 hours talk time and up to 12.5 days standby time
operating system: Palm OS 5.4
size: 4.4 x 2.3 x 0.9 inches (11.3 x 5.9 x 2.3 cm)
weight: 6.3 oz. / 178 grams
display: Colour TFT touch-screen, 320 x 320 resolution, 16-bit colour (displays over 65,000 colours)
expansion: Supports SD, SDIO and MultiMediaCards
audio: RealPlayer included – requires SD memory card, sold separately
camera: VGA with 640×480 (0.3 megapixels) resolution and automatic light balancing, 2x zoom, captures video