Treo Smartphones to Get Smarter

Staying in touch with clients, customers and the home office is one of the most crucial aspects of running a successful small business, especially if you’re on the road a lot. The people at palmOne recognize this fact and today the company has announced a new smartphone platform &#151 the Treo 650 &#151 designed to help you stay connected.

Based on palmOne’s already popular Treo 600 that combines a phone with e-mail, a Palm OS organizer, messaging capability and Internet access, the 650’s new features are intended to improve on the older model’s display quality, multimedia capability power and connectivity.

File It Under New and Improved
One of the first improvements, according to Michelle White, senior product manager for palmOne, is the backlit 320 x 320 TFT 16-bit color display. “The high resolution and sharp color makes the screen easier to read,” said White, “especially when you’re browsing the Web.”

PalmOne has integrated Bluetooth wireless technology into the 650 making it possible to communicate with other Bluetooth products like headsets and car kits. White says you’ll also be able to use Bluetooth to synchronize your smartphone and PC wirelessly.

In terms of multimedia capability, the Treo 650’s built-in digital camera lets you shoot both still and video images that you can play back on the 650’s display screen or e-mail to colleagues or customers. Whites said the camera now takes better photos in low lighting situations. Unlike the Treo 600, the 650 has MP3 capability &#151 but you’ll need to buy a memory expansion card.

You’ll definitely notice this new feature &#151 a first for any smartphone. The 650 comes with a removable battery. According to White, the 650 uses flash memory so that your data will stay intact even if you forget to charge the device and the battery fails.

Other features include:

&#8226 A slot that accepts an SD card or a Multimedia card (MMC) for added storage capacity.
&#8226 A backlit QWERTY keyboard with a new design that the company says makes it easier to type on.
&#8226 On GSM models &#151 access EDGE-based networks for high-speed data transfer.
&#8226 Support for direct e-mail access to Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 via palmOne’s VersaMail software. Also supports POP and IMAP e-mail clients.
&#8226 Ability to associate digital photos with phone contacts &#151 when the phone rings, the photo pops up on caller ID.

Cellular Systems, Pricing and Availability
Wireless carriers typically support one of two cellular systems. Verizon and Sprint support CDMA2000 while AT&T, Cingular and T-Mobile support GSM/GPRS /EDGE. The Treo 650 smartphones will be available for both systems.

PalmOne will deliver the platform to individual wireless carriers today. Those carriers will announce product availability and pricing, although palmOne indicated that product might be available from the carriers sometime in November or December.

Lauren Simonds is the managing editor of

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