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View Full Version : Walt Loves That Treo


Jason Dunn
09-19-2003, 11:37 PM
<div class='os_post_top_link'><a href='http://ptech.wsj.com/archive/print-ptech-20030918.html' target='_blank'>http://ptech.wsj.com/archive/print-ptech-20030918.html</a><br /><br /></div>Walt Mossberg from the Wall Street Journal, has an opinion that carries a lot of weight in mainstream business circles. He's always disliked anything that Microsoft has put out, and historically loved anything based on the Palm OS. So while it's not a surprise that he raves about the Treo 600, I've heard nothing but good things about this PDA/phone (well, except for the Garner analyst who said the keyboard was really bad). I have to admit that when I look at the Treo, I see a powerful feature set: a big, bright screen, a fast CPU, and a usable keyboard. I think the Windows Mobile Smartphone just got some more competition. 8O <br /><br />"Handspring has done it again. In 2001, the little company introduced the best combination phone, PDA and e-mail device on the market, the Treo. Now, Handspring has topped itself with its all-new version, the Treo 600. Sprint will start selling the Treo 600 in the U.S. by mid-October for $500 to $550. In Europe, the wireless-phone carrier Orange is also about to start selling it as well. Handspring expects to offer Treo 600s that can be used on the Cingular and T-Mobile networks a few weeks after the Sprint model makes its debut, and may sell it for AT&T customers later in the year.<br /><br />I've been carrying a Sprint Treo 600 around for a couple of weeks and I love it. It's a great phone, an excellent mobile e-mail terminal and a full-fledged Palm-compatible PDA. I prefer it to any RIM BlackBerry model I have tested, and it blows away any of the PDA/phones based on Microsoft's Pocket PC operating system."

7s
09-19-2003, 11:57 PM
I have to admit that if they'd managed to squeeze 320x320 in to it I'd probably would have jumped ship. It does appear to be a great form factor. My biggest concern is that with the smaller screen I'd still end up carrying a pda with it. If I have to do that I prefer the phone first design of my SPV.

BTW has anyone else seen the E-ten P300 mention at PPCW.net (http://www.ppcw.net/index.php?itemid=1519)? Interesting that it is a Pocket PC Phone Edition with very similar dimensions to the Treo 600. No thumbboard but a larger screen.

miradu
09-20-2003, 05:17 AM
(note, I am senior editor at TreoCentral.com)

Walt is the most influential person in the tech buying world (literally, I am told.), and he always has had a bias for palm devices. BUT, frankly I do not think that Microsoft has put up good competition yet. I would love to see for real all the ms devices, but what I know is that the Treo is going for the people who want email, phone and pim. It does so in a nice package. The two shortcomings of the Treo600 are lack of high res (what was handspring thinking??!) and lack of bluetooth. However, it has excellent (5 hour talk time) battery life.

The problem with the MS devices are they do not do the email, phone, and pim well. The XDA? is it, the one that is available in america seems to do a great job on data, but from what I hear is a substanderd phone for form factor and useability. The Stinger devices (like the new motorola?) should do great being a phone, but I do not expect them doing that well with data .

I think Handspring was very smart in taking the best feature of the popular RIM (the keyboard), and adapting it to PDA use. I think that until Microsoft can get some OEM to make a good keyboard device (which does not exist yet), they will not have a winner. To write long emails you need a keyboard, but you also need a phone that is talkable to your face, and not a headset. Plus, in my opinion, Palm OS has the best email client every written for a mobile device (SnapperMail).

-Michael Ducker

David McNamee
09-20-2003, 06:36 PM
(note, I am senior editor at TreoCentral.com)
Cool! Thanks for stopping by.

The problem with the MS devices are they do not do the email, phone, and pim well.
What, specifically, do you feel needs improvement? I think email functionality is good in the 2002 devices. The 2003 devices add support for multiple accounts - correcting a big shortcoming.

I think Handspring was very smart in taking the best feature of the popular RIM (the keyboard), and adapting it to PDA use.
I think there's a market for devices with keyboards. I don't think it's the biggest market, though. For one, they're butt-ugly (Windows Mobile-based devices included). For another, they are geared towards data entry, which is not a focus of Smartphone. Pocket PC and PPC Phone Edition make data entry a primary focus. On Smartphones, data entry is, I think rightly, secondary.

miradu
09-21-2003, 12:02 AM
Cool! Thanks for stopping by.
It's always good to know what is going on around in the PDA/phone world. I read this site daily, along with ppct, brighthand, p.i.c., infosync, and I stop in at howardchui.com every once in awhile. I love tabbed browsing :)


My personal experience with email on Pocket PC (on a Jornada 568 w/ 802.11b card) so far has been very dismal. I don't think that Microsoft (or other companies) have done a good job making a simple user interface for email. Palm as a company also has failed miserably, but because a program called SnapperMail is available on Palm, Palm gets the win for the platform. I (and Walt apparently) love snappermail because it is has a perfectly designed interface, plugs in with other programs, works with multiple accounts, and is just simple. It's really hard to explain. It is almost like every little shortcoming doesn't exist. I may be mistaken, but I do not know of a good third party email client for PPC that is as good as SnapperMail. This has been said before so many times by others, and has inspired thousands of flame wars, but I still do not think that MS's interface is ideal for a PDA.

Many of my issues are with software, though I will admit that PPC has Palm devices bested with webbrowsing due to the availability of Thunderhawk. To this day I still have not seen a better mobile browser. One of the things I am scared about in the Treo 600 is what Handspring has done with their Blazer browser (it is now proxyless).

But many more my issues are with hardware. David, I disagree that the smartphone market with keyboard isn't the biggest market. What I see is 3 lines of devices coming about. All phones will be "smartphones" but they will be smartphones in the way the t68i is. Syncable, but very very phone like, with little or no email or webbrowsing support. I don't see the mx200 being like that exactl; it's more in the middle between that and the next. The next category is the true smartphone device, which would be the new GSM RIM's, the Treo, the Hiptop, The G1000 (what a crappy device may I say). Last of all are the plain PDA's. I see MS's new offering with motorola fitting in between the phone and smartphone device, but I personally do not see a market for that. If you want to pay $500 for a device, you are going to be somebody who wants a phone that is REALLY small, a full smartphone, or a decked out wireless PDA. I guess what I am trying to say is that I don't see a market for stinger devices right now - they have the same feature set as smartphones, but a vastly limited hardware. Why shouldn't the current MS smartphones run such tightly integrated software as the stinger devices?

Last of all, I must say that Data entry IS a key focus of Smartphone. I think here we are coming into a branding dispute - Handspring has dropped the word communicator, and taken up the Smartphone name for marketing the Treo 600 along with Sony Ericsson using it and other companies. Microsoft is marketing this new device as Smartphone, and I am not exactly sure why but there is going to be some tension in defining what a smartphone really is. For me a smartphone is a phone that has full phone usage, full email, full web, and full PIM. If you take any of them out you don't have a real smartphone, you have a specialized device. If you take out a good data entry method (thumbboards have been proven to be fastest), you take out the real ability to use email efficiently.

So, coming from different backgrounds we seem to have differing views :) I would be happy to continue this thread more lator.

-md

Ramin
09-21-2003, 06:23 AM
BUT, frankly I do not think that Microsoft has put up good competition yet.

I think Michael Ducker hit the nail on the head. All the Microsoft Smartphone and Pocket PC Phone Edition devices which I've owned and used to date (O2 XDA, Orange SPV, EverLink Wireless red e SC1100) lack Bluetooth
have poor battery life
have average/mediocre (almost bordering on poor) LCD displays
don't officially support Windows Mobile 2003
seem like bulky, uninspired designs (crappy form factors)
perform poorly as cellphones
don't support BSQUARE's "SDIO Now!"
*sigh* :( I could go on, and on... Microsoft AND it's partners really ought to release better products and accelerate the pace of innovation. We're still(!) seeing Smartphone 2002 devices being announced and released (Orange SPV e100, Motorola MPx200) that don't support the .NET Compact Framework!, which really sucks for developers (like me) who have been waiting patiently to see our .NET enabled applications run on the Smartphone. It's really sad that Microsoft and it's partners still haven't released something as good as the Treo 600. If only it were possible to install Windows Mobile 2003 (Pocket PC Phone Edition) on a Treo 600... 8) Sometimes, I guess we really do need to kick MSFT's butt... otherwise things would never move. :| :!:

I'll be at PDC 2003 in October, and hope to get Microsoft's official stance on Windows Mobile 2003 running on the current generation Smartphones. I'm also wondering why they didn't make features like SDIO Now! and Bluetooth a requirement for all Smartphone devices. It's these kind of features which would really put the Microsoft Smartphone ahead of its competitors.

Pagemakers
09-21-2003, 08:21 PM
Just been to the Orange shop in the new Bull Ring Birmingham.

Played with the Treo 600 for about an hour today and a few 'hours' last week!! Here's MY initial thoughts and impressions.

Firstly, I have been watching the development of this phone for ages and I really wanted to like it!

Build quality: Excellent, feels solid and well built with no creaks.
Screen: Only 4000 odd colours. Not as good as I had hoped. It's not bad, but certainly not up to the standard of the SPV.
Keys: Probably the worst thing about the phone. I have big hands and the buttons are really fiddly. I find entering text far quicker using T9, but that may be because I am used to a standard phone keypad.
Camera: Hmm. Ok-ish. The quality of the snaps displayed on the screen were disappointing.
Software: If you're used to the Palm OS you will be right at home. All of the standard apps are there with a few more besides. They have been tweaked a little to use the 5 way keypad a little bit more and the touch screen a little less, but you can't help thinking the software was still designed for a touch screen device (which the 600 is).
Speed & Stability: It is fast. Much faster menus then the SPV, almost instant. No lockups whatsoever in the hour I played with it.
Overall Hmm again. My original intention was to buy one when they were available, to go alongside my SPV until "the best man/phone won". I have to say now, I donít think I will bother and just sick to my trusty (or not so trusty at times) e100. The Treo 600 is good and I'm sure it will have hordes of devoted fans, but I was left with the impression of "ok, what else can it do"? The only other SPV contender left in my book is the Nokia 6600, but we'll have to wait a bit longer for that. I'd buy one tomorrow.

David McNamee
09-21-2003, 10:33 PM
But many more my issues are with hardware. David, I disagree that the Smartphone market with keyboard isn't the biggest market. What I see is 3 lines of devices coming about.

So do I. I can't tell, but I think that I may parse it a little bit differently. I think the first category will be phones that have either no data capability, or will have some sort of early AOL-style walled-garden data network access. These will be your pay-as-you go or disposable mobile phones. Next, I see two categories of data-capable phones: retrieval-centric and creation-centric. The retrieval-centric category is where I place the Windows Smartphone. Voice is, or should be, priority number one. The data capabilities should focus on easily retrieving the data stored on the phone. I know I spend more time looking up personal information than I do entering it. The retrieval-centric phones should also allow entry of short bursts of data like a quick e-mail or instant message. The creation-centric phones should be geared for people who spend more time capturing data than talking on the telephone. These are your Pocket PC Phone Editions, These are your Treos - basically, the devices that can recognize handwriting or have a full keyboard.

The G1000 (what a crappy device may I say).

Go right ahead. I can't believe they let something that huge out on the market.

Last of all, I must say that Data entry IS a key focus of Smartphone.

I think that we're going to have to agree to disagree on this one :) . Although, I don't think that our ideas are dramatically different. I also think that the markets for each of the three types of phones can be huge if they are correctly targeted by the device manufacturers. Getting prices down is going to be a big part of that, too.

David McNamee
09-21-2003, 10:39 PM
We're still(!) seeing Smartphone 2002 devices being announced and released (Orange SPV e100, Motorola MPx200) that don't support the .NET Compact Framework!, which really sucks for developers (like me) who have been waiting patiently to see our .NET enabled applications run on the Smartphone.
I know - I'm dying to see my code run on a live device, too. I'm willing to bet that I could move a lot of these phones just by demoing custom code on them for the executives that I meet during the course of my day job as a consultant.

miradu
09-22-2003, 04:39 AM
Well, It looks that as we talk more we aren't that dramatically different in our ideas. Pricing is a major issue, and I think the Treo 300 only started to move when Sprint/Amazon got it under $300.

The retrieval-centric phones should also allow entry of short bursts of data like a quick e-mail or instant message. The creation-centric phones should be geared for people who spend more time capturing data than talking on the telephone. These are your Pocket PC Phone Editions, These are your Treos - basically, the devices that can recognize handwriting or have a full keyboard.

This is where I think differently, and I would like (if you don't mind) to try to expand on my thoughts here. The thing is though, is that I think that ALL phones are getting that retrieval centric capability, and every new normal phone gets more advanced at it. I know that I, even with god knows how many pda's, treo's etc, still use the T68i address book more to call people. Now I hardly enter anything in to it, but my most common numbers are there.

My thought than, is that a smartphone is a retrieval phone that can enter data well. So you are right, MS's phone's attempts to me have so far been overpowered normal retrieval phones- with no real benefit to the user. And with Apple's iSync and upcoming sync features in Longhorn, most cellphones are getting that last PDA feature of syncability- making most cellphones just like a MS smartphone (or is the other way around ;)). So to me, MS isn't making a new category like the Treo/Kyrocera/G1000(shudder) does, but instead is just making a new high price for a cell phone.

So, after stating all that, I question MS's attempts. I do so, because I don't exactly understand why. Cell Phones are a commodity market, and while volume is high, you cannot get away with charging more than $300 for a cellphone alone. I see all "cellphones" as retrival devices, and so if a phone's address book, calendar, and email works, AND syncs (like the t68 does), there is no reason to go overkill and put WinCE (pocketpc, stinger, whatever)in there.

Basically I agree with you Dave that MS phone's are retrival devices, but I don't care call them a smartphone, and I question their marketability.

I'm starting to repeat myself, so I'll be off. I just want to clarify one thing. While I do follow the PPC world, I am in no means an expert of it - I cannot recite random facts about this and that ppc/ppc phone. I am generally aware of what is going on, and try to be so but often I am unaware of different options, or just simply wrong. So please excuse me for that! :)

-Michael Ducker