Palm and the Treo Pro: my farewell to you

Aug 20, 2008
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Palm finally came clean on the Treo Pro smartphone this week, after a variety of leaks and PR blunders tipped customers and media alike to the handset's existence. Running Windows Mobile 6.1, Palm describe the Treo Pro as "innovative and elegant" and are quick to cash in on the company heritage. Strip away the PR hyperbole, however, and it's questionable what you're left with. Far from innovative and 133g of cheap-looking plastic away from elegant, lined up against rivals this "new" Treo looks shabby before its even out of the gate.

For the Treo Pro, Treo-Pro.com Accessories online store offer an entire list of accessories; everything from Treo Pro backup batteries to car accessories, chargers, cables, headphones, cradles, bluetooth accessories, and much more. The list goes on and on, but basically, the primary purposes of Treo Pro accessories are to add functionality, such as where you can use it and what you can use it with, make some features easier to use, and extend the use of the Treo Pro.

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Take a look at the competition. If a QWERTY keyboard is a priority, the BlackBerry Bold delivers a more spacious one together with more WiFi support (a/b/g compared to the Treo Pro's b/g), a higher resolution screen (480 x 320 versus the Treo Pro's 320 x 320) and nifty trackball navigation. If you're looking for a combination of simplicity and features, Apple's iPhone 3G literally roasts the Treo Pro. With a slick, capacitive touchscreen, already legendary user-friendliness and fresh enterprise support, the iPhone 3G makes the Treo Pro look like an anachronism.

The Windows Mobile smartphone market has accelerated over the past few months. HTC, always a strong player, has delivered two knock-out touchscreen handsets in the shape of the Touch Diamond and the QWERTY-blessed Touch Pro. Not only do they deliver on functionality, they also have HTC's brilliant TouchFLO 3D that banishes clunky WM6.1 underneath a gesture and finger-friendly GUI. Samsung's Omnia, when it reaches the US with official 3G support, will be a popular seller among both the business and home users Palm is so desperate to court: however the Omnia's metal casing, haptic feedback and TouchWiz GUI put the Treo Pro into the shade.  Finally, lets not forget Android Platform - it's going to eat Palm's lunch hands down.

Palm had a chance after the Treo 800w. They could have read the reviews, listened to the feedback, and recognized that its users were no longer satisfied with a slight case redesign around the same old sad Treo. What they've delivered with the Treo Pro is a laughable mixture of predictable hardware, little attempt to commercialize Windows Mobile and an almost arrogant assumption that the Palm name will blind users to the fact that they lost their mojo three generations of smartphone ago.

Right now, customers are rightly expecting revolution, not evolution. The iPhone shook up the market, and the iPhone 3G shook it a bit harder: HTC, Samsung, RIM and the others have stepped up and delivered their own twist on what makes a smartphone. In comparison, the Treo Pro is a smartphone by numbers, and the most insulting number is the price: $549 unlocked. The one lesson we thought the company had learned - from its pile 'em high, sell 'em cheap Centro - it squandered.

Wake up and smell the smartphones, Palm. Software delays, mediocre hardware... perhaps it's time you put the Treo out to pasture.  That being said, this concludes my final article pertaining to Palm and any future related products by the company.


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