Waiting for iPhone? Consider a Treo instead

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.

TOPICS: Verizon

Treo 700p on VerizonReaders 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.

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.

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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Topic: Verizon

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  • Move over Treo give me a Microsoft Windows Mobile Device anyday!

    I can't understand why there is so much fuss over the Treo. Sure, in the past it was a nice device because there weren't any alternatives but times have moved on. Just look at the abundance of Windows Mobile powered devices in the market place from a range of suppliers including HP, Dell and HTC. They come with all the Treo features plus real integration with MS Exchange including Push E-Mail, Remote Device Management, etc. Add to this a huge developer network based around the .NET Compact Framework (and SQL Mobile) and we have a very powerful device. Move over Treo ... there's a new and much bigger kid in town!
    • Treo Superior in Getting Connected and Upgrading

      I've been a Palm user for a long time, although I have had other mobile devices to transport my data. The two items that keep me coming back are the ease in getting it connected/syching/working and the ease of upgrading to another Palm device. Not sure if that is a given with the MS Win devices, especially for a Mac user like me?
    • Windows Mobile

      I've only used Windows Mobile briefly (about 4 months with an HP h6315 in 2004) but it was horrible. It would crash in the middle of a phone call and _routinely_ hard reset deleting all my contacts and information.

      Granted the Treo isn't perfect, but it rarely crashes and is pretty zippy.

      From what I've heard Windows Mobile is still difficult to use requiring several clicks to do even basic tasks, clicking yes to mean cancel and no to mean yes, and it crashes a lot.

      Also, Mac users are required to purchase additional software like Missing Sync to make it work with the Mac.

      There's no question that Palm OS devices are better for Mac users.

      - Jason
      Jason D. O'Grady
    • What about Windows Mobile Treo...?

      There are Windows Mobile powered Treos, kiddo :-)
  • Two Words: Treo Sucks.

    I deployed 10 Treo 700p's at my company. Worst decision I've made in quite a while.
    The damn things have lousy battery life and need to be reset once a freaking day.
    Any syncing is joke, even with Missing Sync. What's missing is my calendar and my
    tasks. That's what's missing. Total crap.
    • Slim on details

      cavcopy -

      Are you using them with Macs?

      You slam the Treo with little or no supporting evidence. I don't reset my 700p at all (my 650 however needed it weekly). I sync my calendar from iCal and my contacts from Daylite daily. Zero problems. Also, my battery lasts for two days with normal usage one full day when I'm on the road and using it and the EvDO more.

      Have you ever used WinMo? Blackberry? The grass is always greener my friend.

      - Jason
      Jason D. O'Grady
      • Treos and Palms.

        I use a Palm TX and sync it with machines running Linux, Windows and Mac. The
        library of applications available for palm is still growing. I use my Palm for Geo
        logging with a Bluetooth GPS, I connect to my phone via bluetooth for EDGE. I prefer
        to keep my phone and PDA separate due to battery life and when I upgrade I can
        chose one device at a time. If my phone breaks or I change carriers I still have my
        PDA. But again I still prefer my Component Stereo gear to an all in one unit also.
        Palm really needs to get up to speed with Cobalt as Garnet is really getting dated. My
        next Palm purchase will not occur until Cobalt units are available.
    • Bad mechanics blame the tools

      Sounds like you don't know what you're doing. I got one of the first 700Ps from Verizon and only had to reset it once since I've had it. I do a wireless sync of my calendar with the company Exchange server from wherever I happen to be and it works flawlessly.
  • PalmOS a dying platform

    Uh...yeah, the Treo is a decent smartphone, if you can overlook the fact that PalmOS is dying and has no future ahead of it. Not to mention the OS, in its current form (Garnet), is fundamentally inferior and behind other modern platforms in terms of its underlying architecture. And where do you get PalmOS being more stable. My Treo 650 crashes more than any other smartphone I have owned, which includes the Nokia E61 and HTC S620 (Windows Mobile 5 smartphone).

    And the point about how many fewer taps it takes to perform operations is a valid but sadly outdated one. It smacks of someone living in the past who doesn't want to give up what he is "familiar" with and move on.
    Elitist Snob
  • Just WHY are you pickin' on Cisco?

    Have you even played around with the iPhone?


    Oh...you mean the mysterious, supposedly upcoming i(Apple)Phone...you really should watch out for those tech press releases...even the ones from Linksys.
  • Nice - but drat those wireless phone companies!

    As somebody who already has a Palm (the TX) and a cell phone, the Treo seems the next logical step for me. I can even live with the smaller Palm screen...

    Except -

    Buy into Treo and I'd lose my wi-fi as on the TX. As it stands right now, I check up on my email (and a quicky cruise of the net) free from home or many free hotspots without ringing up outrageous data costs via my wireless provider.

    Treos (and most smartphones) are being built with the wireless providers in mind - not the end user - so any wi-fi capabilities are not installed or are disabled before we can meke use of them.

    Even though there's no graceful way of sync'ing the data in OSX as supplied by Nokia, I have toyed with buying an un-locked E-61 and using that.

    Not 'officially' sold in North America (we have the hobbled E-62), it includes the rock-solid Symbian OS *and* wi-fi, all in a smartphone.

    Or I'll just stick with juggling two devices, knowing that the technology is out there to do better...
  • Another comparison

    A Treo does not have a desktop-class Internet Browser (with CSS2/3 support)
    A Treo does not have a desktop-class rich-HTML email client
    A Treo does not have a 3.5-inch wide screen (320 x 480)
    A Treo does offer true multi-tasking between applications
    A Treo does not let you do random-access Voice Mail
    A Treo does not have a "multi-touch" user interface
    A Treo does not have OS X and Widgets with Core Animation
    A Treo does not offer widescreen movies or widescreen TV shows
    A Treo does not have a rich desktop-class instant message client for SMS
    A Treo does not offer rich photo slideshows
    A Treo does not automatically update its OS on routine syncs
    A Treo does not take letterbox-aspect ratio 2-megapixel photos
    A Treo does not offer free ?Push email? from Yahoo!
    A Treo does not have an accelerometer to auto-rotate the display
    A Treo does not have a proximity sensor to prevent unwanted touch-actions
    A Treo does not have an ambient light sensor to auto-adjust the brightness
    A Treo does not have native 802.11b/g WiFi support
    A Treo does not have 8GB of storage space
    A Treo does not have Bluetooth 2.0 with EDR
    A Treo does not have an animated Google Maps client.
    A Treo does not have a slim 0.46-inch thickness (A Treo is a bulky 0.8-inches)
    A Treo does not weigh only 4.8 oz (A Treo weighs more than 5.4oz)

    A Treo is not a fully-featured multi-touchscreen iPod

    Hmm? Treo or iPhone. It?s so tough I can?t decide?.
    • Iphone?

      Hmmm, consider this:

      The iPhone does not allow you to install apps freely without using their proprietary iTunes Music Store application. I can download Palm apps directly from a software developer's site to my Treo and install them. Early 1st generation iPhones didn't allow you to install any apps at all.

      The iPhone does not offer true, full, Bluetooth. Good luck trying to use your bluetooth Apple keyboard with your iPhone. Good Luck trying to OBEX, (object exchange) with bluetooth using your iPhone.

      The iPhone is not an open system. You are tied to the corporate wheel using an iPhone. Unless you "jailbreak" your iPhone, you will be tied to iTunes and Apple's corporate koolaide whenever and how ever they demand and even when you "jailbreak" your iPhone, you will be overwritten by Apple's mandatory updates when you sync with iTunes connected to the internet.
  • RE: Waiting for iPhone? Consider a Treo instead

    I know this is 2 years later than this article on the iPhone 1.0 and the Treo 700p was written. I have owned a Palm Treo 700p since 2006 and hate it. You can't sync the treo right out of the box with your mac. You need to install and use the Palm Desktop app with a special iSync conduit from Apple for the Palm Desktop which syncs with your address book and calendar. My Motorola v710 I could sync right out of the box, with bluetooth or with a cable. True, Verizon does not allow you to tether your phone for EVDO broadband, though I should be able to use my phone's built in analog fax/modem for data connectivity. Unfortunately I still can not get my phone to do this reliably. Versamail works, though lousy for Mac users. There is no out of the box way to sync Apple Mail with the Treo's Versamail. You have to hunt all over the internet to find software conduits that will do this.