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C'Mon, Palm. Where Are the Real Innovations?

Palm released yet another incrementally updated version of the Treo smartphone yesterday. The 755p bears CDMA technology and will be found on Sprint's network first. The biggest step forward this time? No more external antenna. It may be the first Treo device to offer built-in Microsoft Direct Push Technol
Palm released yet another incrementally updated version of the Treo smartphone yesterday. The 755p bears CDMA technology and will be found on Sprint's network first. The biggest step forward this time? No more external antenna. It may be the first Treo device to offer built-in Microsoft Direct Push Technology email, but it still runs Palm's Garnet OS, and doesn't bother updating the wireless data radio, or most other facets of the device.What's the point here? The "updates," such as they are, are so minute as to slip past unnoticed. Granted, the removal of the antenna is nice, because man-oh-man was that one honking thick antenna. But what about a (vastly) slimmer profile? You can see someone walking down the street with a Treo in their pocket from 100 feet away. The entire phone industry has moved to slimmer, sexier devices. Palm remains entrenched in its out-dated design of yesteryear. The press release claims that the phone has a slimmer profile. It is 1 mm thinner than the Treo 750. It tightens the belt from 22 mm to 21 mm. It needs to be two-thirds that size. The just-announced BlackBerry Curve, by way of comparison, is 15 mm thick.

I will give it one set of kudos for the Microsoft Direct Push addition. That's definitely good news. Enterprises can choose to eliminate costly third-party software and take advantage of their existing Exchange infrastructures. Businesses connected to a Microsoft Exchange Server get automatic wireless updates of email, calendar and contact information with added IT security and remote manageability.

One other nice addition is that it come preloaded with Google Maps. This will help the easily-lost enterprise worker find her or her way to their next meeting with less of an excuse for being late.

But the fact that Palm didn't stick an EV-DO Revision A data radio in there, or upgrade the camera to 2 megapixels, or, well, release a whole new device, is a disappointment.

We're still waiting (and waiting and waiting) for Palm to rejoin the market leaders with a truly new and innovative smartphone. The 755p isn't it.