Windows Treo SmartPhone Ready For Its Close-up?

By James Alan Miller

January 05, 2006

The Treo 700w is compatible with Verizon Wireless's high-speed EV-DO network.

Palm has shipped the most eagerly-waited handset of the New Year, the Treo 700w.

Introduced back in September, the smartphone is the first handheld from the PDA pioneer to run on Microsoft's Windows Mobile platform, and not the Palm operating system (OS).

Getting its close-up at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the smartphone also supports CDMA carrier Verizon Wireless's high-speed Evolution Data Optimized network (EV-DO) service, called BroadbandAccess, for data-transfer rates of 400-700 kilobits per second (kbps). According to Verizon, more than 1,180 major metropolitan markets across the nation are covered by its EV-DO network.

Windows Treo
The Treo 700w
Source: Palm, Inc.

Verizon executive vp & COO Lowell McAdam says, "Offering BroadbandAccess on the Treo smartphone for the first time satisfies these growing customer needs. By combining Verizon Wireless' BroadbandAccess service with the flexible and robust Windows Mobile operating system, the Treo 700w smartphone gives mobile professionals and businesses access to their most critical information at lightning speed."

The carrier will offer the Treo 700w for $399.99 after $100 instant rebate with a two-year service agreement when accompanied by a voice plan of $39.99 or higher and an unlimited PDA/smartphone data plan, which goes for $59.99 a month for EV-DO access.

Palm says the Treo 700w takes advantage of the Windows Mobile 5.0 platform in multiple ways—offering Outlook Mobile, Office Mobile and Internet Explorer Mobile built into the smartphone, as well as direct access to Exchange Server 2003 for mobile access to information. It also brings Windows Media Player Mobile to the handheld.

Windows Mobile

As the handheld vendor does with its Palm OS products, Palm delivers software enhancements on top of Windows Mobile.

These include Today Screen improvements, including the ability to "dial by name" with a few keystrokes on the keyboard, perform a web search directly from the Today Screen and perform one-touch dialing with personalized photo speed dials.

There's also the capability to manage a call directly from the Today Screen and stay on top of voicemail with on-screen, VCR-like icons, such as rewind, delete and fast-forward controls for easy navigation. Users can also ignore a call and quickly compose a text message such as "In a meeting" or "Can't talk right now" by selecting the "Ignore with text" option from the incoming-call screen, among other features.

Specifications of the 4.4 x 2.3 x 0.9 inch Treo 700w include a 312 MHz Intel XScale processor, 128 MB of non-volatile memory (much more than Treo 650) with 60 MB available to the user. Non-Volatile means data will survive a complete power drain, just like the earlier Treo. It also has Bluetooth wireless for personal area networking, so users can connect to wireless headsets and printers, for example.

While the unit doesn't integrate Wi-Fi like some other smartphones on the market, it is compatible with Palm's Wi-Fi SD card, so you can add the capability, which you can't with the Treo 650.

There's a 240 x 240 pixel and 65k color resolution display, lower than the 320 x 320 capability supported by the Palm OS Treo; a limit set by Windows Mobile.

A 1.3 megapixel camera means the Treo 700w should take better pictures than the earlier model. And its backlit QWERTY thumb-keyboard is purportedly improved as well. Of course, the new Treo sill has a Secure Digital slot for memory and peripheral expansion, a speakerphone, ringer/silent switch, and a removable lithium-ion battery.

A number of new buttons, including those for 'Start' and 'OK' plus 'right' and 'left' action keys aim to assist navigation and handset control.

It is not known exactly when other carriers may start offering a Windows Mobile Treo as well. A Palm representative told PDAStreet it wouldn't happen until after the first half of the year, however. The same goes for the appearance of a GSM/GPRS edition for operators like Cingular Wireless and T-Mobile, let alone most worldwide operators.

Article courtesy of SmartPhoneToday.com.



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