PalmSource, developer of the Palm OS, plans to move it to a Linux-based operating system. But Palm says it isn't abandoning the original system and has packed it with new features and updates, including 128 Mbytes of memory with 60 Mbytes just for applications. The Treo 700p accepts memory cards with up to 2 Gbytes of storage. All that space comes in handy for rich graphics and audio files.
The device can be hooked up to a laptop and serve as a wireless modem, eliminating the need for a Wi-Fi hot-spot or a laptop cellular card. In another nod to business users, Palm has included an application that lets them view PDF files. Palm also has tweaked the Treo's browser to better display Web pages that haven't been optimized for mobile devices.
The Treo 700p also includes a built-in application for streaming video and another one for playing music files, a 1.3-megapixel camera, and a minicamcorder. Like other consumer technologies, these have business-world potential. Think of the insurance agent who can use a 700p to snap high-resolution photos and record damages to a wrecked vehicle. Palm's goal with the device is to combine the professional with the personal, "eliminating the need for people to carry multiple devices," says Tara Griffin, Palm's VP of enterprise markets.
The 700p is ready to thumb wrestle the BlackBerry.
All that support for multimedia and Web apps would be pointless without a high-speed wireless network. Palm got the message and built the Treo 700p to work with the EV-DO third-generation cellular network designed to transmit multimedia data at 128 Kbps to several megabits per second.
Sprint is the 700p's first carrier and plans to offer it by June. Palm expects Verizon Wireless to support the device on its EV-DO, too. The Treo 700p's main competition, the BlackBerry 7130e, works on a Verizon Wireless EV-DO network.
The Treo 700p doesn't offer a feature like the BlackBerry's push E-mail, although that can be purchased from some of Palm's partners. The 700p does include a built-in application that can be scheduled to pull E-mail out of a Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 every few minutes. But unlike the BlackBerry's push E-mail service, it doesn't require companies to purchase proprietary middleware.