Waiting for iPhone? Consider a Treo instead

Summary:Readers of this blog already know that I think that the Treo 700p is still the best smartphone for Mac users. Not only does the Treo 700p sync with Mac OS X right out of the box, but there's also a ton of great saftware available for the Palm OS that Macheads will like.

Treo 700p on Verizon
Readers of this blog already know that I think that the Treo 700p is still the best smartphone for Mac users. Not only does the Treo 700p sync with Mac OS X right out of the box, but there's also a ton of great software available for the Palm OS that Macheads will like.

There's a nice comparison of the Treo 650 and the 700p at Rentzsch.com that's required reading if your considering upgrading to the newer model (like I did). Most notable are the improvements to Blazer and Versamail.

Versamail 2.5 provides the features you'd expect in a good desktop email client like message foldering, filtering and multiple sort and display options. Probably the most significant change to Versamail 2.5 is the addition of automatic retrieval of email with notification. While it's not true push-email, it's better than having to check mail each time. More Versamail 2.5 features are listed in the FAQ.

Blazer 4.5, the Treo's bundled Web browser, is much better than the previous version too. One feature that drove me nuts about Blazer on the Treo 650 is that if you left the browser to do anything, like answer a call or read an SMS, then you went back to it, Blazer would reload the entire page! Blazer 4.5 caches the page and it's waiting for you when you switch back to the browser from another application. Finally.

EvDO
Perhaps the biggest reason to upgrade from the Treo 650 to the 700p is for the fast EvDO networking. EvDO's 300-400 Kbps downstream and 70-100 Kbps upstream speeds are about four times faster than the ~100 Kbps downstream and ~23 Kbps upstream you can expect with 1xRTT.

Although much faster than the 650, the EvDO networking doesn't come cheap on Verizon. If you plan to use it at all, I recommend that you buck up for the unlimited data package which will set up back US$45 per month on VZW - and that doesn't include SMS. Bah!

If you're considering it for the fast EvDO networking, make sure that your area has coverage. When I reviewed the Treo 700p in July 2006, there was no EvDO coverage where I live. Since then, my area is at least 60 percent covered now and it's getting better each week.

Verizon has 180 cities (Sprint 220) with EvDO coverage but check with your provider's coverage maps (Verizon, Sprint) before investing. Note: Verizon calls their EvDO service BroadbandAccess, and Sprint calls it Power Vision.

DUN
If you're fortunate enough to live/work in an area with EvDO coverage then you may want to consider using the Treo 700p for dial-up networking (DUN) or "tethered mode." DUN allows you to use the Treo as a modem for your notebook, effectively providing broadband-like Internet access whenever you're inside the EvDO footprint. On Verizon it'll set you back another US$15 per month.

A nice bonus about using the USB cable for DUN is that it features a 500mA trickle charger so your Treo charges (slowly) while connected over USB. At least it's not draining the battery.

The best feature is being able to leave the USB cable at home and using DUN over Bluetooth instead. Back in June 2006 I posted instructions for setting up DUN on a Treo 700p on Verizon. Vocaro.com has posted step-by-step instructions for setting up DUN over Bluetooth with Treos on Verizon, Sprint and Cingular.

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Topics: Verizon

About

Jason D. O'Grady developed an affinity for Apple computers after using the original Lisa, and this affinity turned into a bona-fide obsession when he got the original 128 KB Macintosh in 1984. He started writing one of the first Web sites about Apple (O'Grady's PowerPage) in 1995 and is considered to be one of the fathers of blogging.... Full Bio

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