Palm Simplicity Hitches Up With Windows Power - InformationWeek

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2/3/2006
02:45 PM
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Palm Simplicity Hitches Up With Windows Power

The PDA wars have long been viewed as a battle between two camps: those running the Palm OS versus those using Windows-based Pocket PCs. Now there's a truce. The $499 Treo 700w, Palm's first foray into the Windows Mobile space, is an impressive offering. It's the first smart phone I've ever used that doesn't sacrifice PDA functionality to make the phone work, or phone capabilities for the PDA.

Palm Treo 700wThe goal of the Palm development team was to let users perform as many of their daily functions as possible without having to use the stylus. And for most common PDA applications (mail, calendar, contacts), you can get around well using the five-way navigator keys, the keyboard, the four dedicated buttons (connect, disconnect, Windows Start, and OK), and two smart buttons.

My advice is to use the Treo 700w's user-designated smart button to launch the application that controls the superior 1.3-megapixel camera, to avoid having to make your way through a series of menus. With Windows Mobile 5.0 on board, you also have access to the mobile versions of Microsoft's Office apps (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint), Internet Explorer, and Windows Media Player.

You'll have to relearn some key functions, though. Hitting Connect once, for example, doesn't take you to a call log as it does with most phones. Instead, it takes you to the Today Window, from which you can dial by name or number; check voice mail and E-mail or your minicalendar; or do a Google search. You must hit Connect again to finally get to a call log. There are some other confusing steps that, with time, you'll get used to, such as sometimes having to use a smart button to close a window.

Current Treo 600 and 650 users may be interested to note the 700w's Photo Speed-Dialing option, whereby you can click through pictures of contacts and dial a number by clicking on the face or pressing the dial button. At 6.4 ounces, the Treo 700w is just a thumbnail's weight over the 650, whose 2.3- by-4.4-by-0.9-inch form factor it shares. The 700w also is Palm's first smart phone to support Evolu- tion-Data Optimized wireless broadband Internet access, available from Verizon Wireless.

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