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Quick Look: The Treo 650 Gets Even Better

A quick look at the new Treo 650 smartphone finds some significant improvements over its popular predecessor.

At the CTIA trade show in San Francisco, PalmOne formally introduced the Treo 650 smartphone, successor to the popular 600 model that has found its way into the hands of over half a million users. While I can't claim to have extensive experience with every smartphone on the market, I have worked with most of them. The Treo, I've found, provides the best combination of voice and data functionality.

It's true that smartphones are highly personal devices, so what is most valuable to me won't necessarily be critical to others. For example, the iPAQ 6315 arguably provides superior PDA functionality, the RIM Blackberry offers better e-mail services and the Sidekick II has more "cool" appeal. But for an everyday phone device with PDA, Web and e-mail functionality, the Treo is my pick.

Details about the new device have been leaking for several months, so there weren't any huge surprises. That's disappointing to the extent that PalmOne's decision to include embedded Bluetooth but no Wi-Fi support is a significant limitation. If you are a real road warrior who takes advantage of Wi-Fi hotspot services, you'll probably prefer the iPAQ. But most times when I am in range of a Wi-Fi signal, I am toting my laptop anyway.

For those of you who were hoping that the device's SDIO interface slot would allow for a Wi-Fi add-on, it doesn't look like that's the case. In a recent review, we were shocked to learn that PalmOne's own SDIO Wi-Fi adapter was incompatible with the Treo 600 (reportedly because of power limitations and driver issues). We've not yet been able to verify that the situation is the same with the 650, though the absence of any mention of Wi-Fi in the press release or on PalmOne's Treo 650 product pages would appear to confirm that suspicion.

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But enough of the bad news. There's plenty of good to report, including a faster processor, a much better display, a removable battery, an improved keyboard and the aforementioned Bluetooth support. The Treo