The best smartphone for the Mac

The best smartphone for the Mac

Summary: There are numerous options when choosing a smartphone but Mac users need to consider compatibility issues before diving in.

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TOPICS: Apple
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treo-650-150.jpgSmartphones are definitely the wave of the future for mobile technologists. They offer real-time access to email, Web, IM, RSS and just about every other Internet application that matters. In fact, there's a movement afoot to replace some notebook computers with smartphones because of their ever increasing functionality.
There are numerous options when choosing a smartphone but Mac users need to consider compatibility issues before diving in. I've used several allegedly "smart" phones that were great in the field, but when it came time to connect them to my computer, a PowerBook G4, they couldn't have been dumber.

Take for example my Blackberry 7100t, it's a great phone that I've used for about a year, but there's no Mac software included. Same with Danger's Hiptop I & II (a.k.a. T-Mobile's Sidekick I & II). All of these great smartphones are amazing to use on the road but are essentially islands for Mac users with no way to synchronize or load software.

Granted, there are third party tools available from Mark/Space software (The Missing Sync) and PocketMac that bridge the gap and provide a solution for Mac users, but they're a little spendy (anywhere from $30 to $42) and they take some time to configure and tweak. Some users have reported problems where duplicate contacts and calendar entries were created using them.

That said, I have seen the light.

I recently purchased a Treo 650 from PalmOne (on the Verizon network) and I'm excited to be back on the Palm OS platform. The Palm OS has built-in support for the Mac and includes everything you need to sync right out of the box. Not an hour after unboxing the Treo I was syncing applications from my PowerBook flawlessly. A couple hours later I found three games that I love to play: Aces Texas Hold'em and Omaha (both No Limit) from Concrete Software and Eric Snider's BlackJack (what can I say, I moved just outside of Atlantic City) and installed them on the Treo without any problems.

One concern was my Mac-only business relationship management software (contacts and calendars) DayLite from Marketcircle. I was pleasantly surprised that they have a Palm conduit that works perfectly with the Treo. The DayLite conduit even allowed me to only synchronize a certain group of contacts with the Palm, while the other tools forced me to sync all 3,000 plus contacts that are in my database with my phone.

It's good to be back with a company that understands the value of the Macintosh. Mac customers should support companies like PalmOne and let them know that we do. Let's just hope that PalmOne's announcement of the Windows Mobile-powered Treo 700w in September doesn't mean death for a certain lil' handheld OS that we all know and love.

Topic: Apple

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12 comments
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  • Treo 650 missing EDGE / EDVO SOON !

    I too hope the Treo products continue to use the latest Palm
    software, as it would be very frustating to fall to the dark side.
    The one thing Palm should incorporate in the new Treos is high
    speed internet technology (EDGE/EDVO), and WIFI.
    By the way Mark Space Missing Sync software is a must. It adds all
    that Apple has missed in their Sync software, like syncing
    birthdays, more than 4 phone numbers per contact, etc.
    jvcas
  • Other alternatives

    I considered getting the Treo, but it arrived late in Europe. I am a
    very happy user of Sony-Ericsson's P900, which does not need any
    software to work with the Mac. On top of it, i recently bought a
    second hand Nokia 9500, at a very good price (400$). I knew it was
    not supposed to sync with iSync, but remembered finding with
    google a site describing how to sync some unsyncable Nokias. I
    found a link to an executable that updated isync, sent a file to the
    Nokia, and in 10 minutes, it syncs for Calendar and contacts!
    dybmapi
    • Syncing Nokia 9300?

      Can you remember where you found the link. I would love to do the same with my 9300.
      sunmdmga
    • Syncing Nokia 9300?

      Can you remember where you found the link. I would love to do the same with my 9300.
      sunmdmga
    • Syncing Nokia 9300?

      Can you remember where you found the link. I would love to do the same with my 9300.
      sunmdmga
  • Treo 650 lacks some Bluetooth features

    The Treo 650 was one phone that I was considering untill trying
    to implement bluetooth linking with the Mac Address book. This
    feature was not present at all and I couldnt find any work around
    online.

    For me the final candidate was the Sony Ericsson (SE) p910a
    which synced perfectly with my Mac Calendars and contacts via
    Address book using iSync. The p910a Supports full internet
    access and bluetooth modem abilities which until recently were
    painfull to implement in the Treo world.

    While you probably will not be able to walk into your local mall
    and find the SE p910a, they are readily available on ebay,
    amazon, as well as some 'High-End' mobile technology stores
    and come in around the same price as the Treo in most cases.

    If the flip open keyboard is a problem for you, Its good to know
    that it can be removed and that SE includes the tools in the box
    to do so. If the keyboardless 'grafiti' type Jot interface is not your
    bag, you may want take a look at the upcoming SE p990 which
    will have a form factor simmilar to the Treo.

    The SE p910a uses the Symbian UIQ operating system for which
    there are numerous aplications available to be downloaded and
    'synced' (bluetooth file transfer) to your p910a to complement
    the standard suite of software that comes preloaded on the
    phone.

    If you want all that bluetooth has to offer for your mac, consider
    the Sony Ericsson p910a.

    There is also a SE p910i international version available which
    does not operate on the 850Mhz band like the p910a, americas
    version, but uses the 900Mhz flavor common in Europe and
    other distant lands.
    ccrews
  • Treo 650 lacks some Bluetooth features

    The Treo 650 was one phone that I was considering untill trying
    to implement bluetooth linking with the Mac Address book. This
    feature was not present at all and I couldnt find any work around
    online.

    For me the final candidate was the Sony Ericsson (SE) p910a
    which synced perfectly with my Mac Calendars and contacts via
    Address book using iSync. The p910a Supports full internet
    access and bluetooth modem abilities which until recently were
    painfull to implement in the Treo world.

    While you probably will not be able to walk into your local mall
    and find the SE p910a, they are readily available on ebay,
    amazon, as well as some 'High-End' mobile technology stores
    and come in around the same price as the Treo in most cases.

    If the flip open keyboard is a problem for you, Its good to know
    that it can be removed and that SE includes the tools in the box
    to do so. If the keyboardless 'grafiti' type Jot interface is not your
    bag, you may want take a look at the upcoming SE p990 which
    will have a form factor simmilar to the Treo.

    The SE p910a uses the Symbian UIQ operating system for which
    there are numerous aplications available to be downloaded and
    'synced' (bluetooth file transfer) to your p910a to complement
    the standard suite of software that comes preloaded on the
    phone.

    If you want all that bluetooth has to offer for your mac, consider
    the Sony Ericsson p910a.

    There is also a SE p910i international version available which
    does not operate on the 850Mhz band like the p910a, americas
    version, but uses the 900Mhz flavor common in Europe and
    other distant lands.
    ccrews
  • Treo 650 Wifi

    I have a Treo 650 and think it is terrific. Still in a quandry as to why the wifi was left out. Purchased an Enfora wifi sled and it works very well but a little involved and bulky. Understand that new 700W will be able to work with wifi sd card. Is there any up-front straight forward software out there now that will allow wifi sd card to be used with Treo 650 other than the recent hack posted on the internet which also disable some Treo internet access? Thank You. Please respond to this message or email me directly. Joe. jbf2057@yahoo.com
    jbf2057
  • Treo 650 Junk

    Yes, it syncs with Mac wonderfully but it is the only phone I have
    ever had that I have returned 4 times for repair/replacement. Mic
    fails. Speaker fails. Junk. Every time I have to wait for a new
    phone I SWEAR I'll find a new one that works with Mac...but alas, no
    such luck. I am tempted to go back to an organizer and separate
    smartphone or one that needs 3rd party sync software. The phone
    is great when it works. After 2 yrs on the market, the phrase, "Go
    ugly early" no longer pertains!! No more excuses Palm T-Mobile
    dropped Palm due to hardware reliability issues.
    karemel
  • Treo 700p EVDO not compatible

    I purchased Treo 700p for the EVDO capability to use as a modem for my PowerBook
    G4 and it is not mac friendly unless your mac is running on a Windows platform.
    Extremely disapointed because I really like the Treo 700p.
    Jamie Schaub
  • WinMobile Phones Don't Have PalmOS!

    If the Palm device is running windows mobile, you can't really expect it to act like a Palm or easily support Macs.

    And the 750 and 700w are WinMo devices:
    http://www.palm.com/us/products/smartphones/treo700w/index.html

    The 700p has the PalmOS, runs only on Sprint/Verizon, and Palm says in the product PDF that it supports Mac OS 10.2.4?10.4 with USB port

    http://www.palm.com/us/products/smartphones/treo700p/index.html
    kegill
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