Treo 650

As I blogged a couple of days ago, my experiment with a “back to basics” cellphone didn’t work out. treo650.jpgSo today I stopped by the Cingular store at Coolidge Corner to replace the Motorola V551 with a Treo 650. Herewith a few comments, observations, complaints.

  • First and foremost, it’s a PalmOS device. Over the years I’ve owned various Palm Pilot and Handspring devices, but none recently. (All of my devices had Dragonball chips, which dates them.) The Treo felt instantly familiar.
  • It feels like a nice phone, though I’ve only made and received a few calls; I haven’t really explored it yet. The address book only contains the few entries I’d stored on the SIM card in the V551. I haven’t yet figured out how to juggle the info in the PalmOS Contacts app and the SIM. Similarly I haven’t tried voice or speed dialling.
  • Synchronization with the Mac went just fine, first with the supplied USB cable, and then via Bluetooth. The Palm Desktop is a bit prettier than I remember it, but it’s not what I’m planning to rely on. I want to sync with the OS X apps – iCal, Address Book, iPhoto, and so forth. So…
  • I bought a copy of MarkSpace‘s Missing Sync, a vastly superior synchronization solution. Speaking of which…
  • Missing Sync supports the mounting of the Treo’s SD card on the Mac desktop, making it easy to export a bunch of MP3 files from iTunes or grab a video clip from the Treo. SD card? What SD card? Hmmm… I had read several stories about how Palm was going to include a free 64MB SD card with every Treo 650, because of the bad publicity they got over the device’s limited storage. (They changed the memory management model, so that storage of small objects became much less efficient.) I guess their embarrassment was short-lived, because no SD card was provided with my unit. Oh well, 512MB cards are getting pretty cheap….
  • Another cool feature of Missing Sync is Internet Sharing: connecting to the Internet from the PalmOS device through your computer. Of course this would bypass Cingular’s (revenue-generating) network, so I was disappointed, but not really surprised, to find that the Cingular-supplied Treo 650 was restricted: you couldn’t create an Internet Connection profile other than the predefined Cingular GPRS set-up. Shucks….

Overall, I’m delighted with the unit. It’s pretty much what I imagined as the perfect hand-held device a few years ago. I guess my expectations will always run ahead of my budget; I’d like to see more memory, 802.11, and a better camera. But the screen is gorgeous, the keyboard is really easy to work with, and the fit and finish is superb.