Blog Post

Treo 650 Madness, Dumbness?

treo650.jpgPalmOne announced Treo 650, and the whole world has gone into a bit of a froth. Playing me pre-ordained role of the unofficial hype-buster, I will try to add some sense and sensibility to this madness. Treo 650, is not going to be in the market for another month, and even then only Sprint is going to be the only one carrying it. Slightly better keyboard, marginally better screen and well bluetooth. The bluetooth is going to be crippled, and functionality well is going to be limited. Having said that, I would like to point out that this is an incremental device. If you have just spend $600 buying the Treo 600, it is not something you want to splurge on, because the improvements are not worth it, despite what the gizmo-blogs say. Having used Treo 600 for a few months, and despite my initial enthusiasm, I can safely say, Treo is a PDA masquerading as a smartphone, not the other way around. Symbian-based Sony Ericsson P 910 is a much better option, and is easier to use as well.

I have often said that Silicon Valley is a hot house where everyone smokes the same crappy weed and participates in a constant feedback loop. Seven, JP Mobile, Visto Mobile, and Good Technology are some of the companies which sent me press released touting their Push Email/PIM products for Treo. What a bunch of nit-wits. Treo has 700,000 users and perhaps if the company executes really well (Not likely given the management history of constantly blowing it!) it could double its user base. I think in order to get five percent of the smart-phone market, the company would have to grow over 100% and execute without problems. I will bet a Treo 600 that it would falter and fall flat on its face. Symbian-based smart phones are selling by millions so why not focus your attention on something which is actually selling, versus a company that spends most of its time on PR. I think the way the Palm business is dwindling, it is not a smart business decision to support this platform and instead focus on things which are actually going to be around.

13 Responses to “Treo 650 Madness, Dumbness?”

  1. It seems that all of the bluetooth functionality will not be disabled out of the box with Sprint. Only the DUN profile. that would allow you to use it as a modem for a laptop. Sprint’s PR finally put out a correction on this O’reilly post about it.

    The treocentral article at this link
    explains the details of the decisions made by PalmOne for the Treo650.

  2. love that bill. of course it is fair and balanced view of treo 650 in my mind. the best part is that we all can agree to disagree. like the name – might actually switch my blog title to that

  3. Wow, hot topic.

    Om and Marc, I’m on my third P900 in 6 months. The past two have spent most of their life in repairs. It’s the same problem: the keys on the “flip” don’t respond after a couple of weeks. They even gave me the old “dead” phone as a present so I could be sure the new one is a REPLACEMENT phone, and not the old one repaired.

    If they got rid of the flip and replaced it with something else (even making the screen smaller) would fix that issue and make it more solid (it feels cheap), but the great thing is that it is not crippled in any sense. I’ve got 7 different MP3s that “ring” according to who’s calling. I still can’t do that on the 650.

  4. Treo650 is at best the device that the 600 should’ve been. There are too many competitiors out there for Palmone to think an incremental device like this would sweep the market.

    The Symbian platform has been maturing nicely, havign said the the P910 and i aren’t that great either. I personally think, the Nokia communicator formfactor is the way to go, and the lastest 9500 will be a real joy. Its (almost) a regular phone when u want it to be, and specs tell a kick ass PIM as well.

  5. Om, As usual you are correct. I have been using the P900 for 11 months now. Better hardware, better user interface on Symbian. I cannot understand these Treo users and their insistance that Treo is so superior. Look at Walt Mossberg. He swears by the Treo and belittles the P900.
    Forget the 650. Try getting your hands on a 910.

  6. I can think of several better options over the Treo 600/650. First, the Sony Ericsson P910a is a great start, though it too is on the spendy side. If you can get over the goofy interface, the RIM 7100t is useful as well…especially when you consider it costs a paltry $200. For that price, I can live with a crap set of icons.

    In reference to the price comment, this is purely a PalmOne decision. Sprint could discount it further, if it chose, but they do not.

    If you are looking for a data-focused device, the Treo’s not bad. But Symbian is the way to go in smartphones, that’s just the bottom line. PalmOne has, count ’em, one smart phone model. That a dynasty does not make. Symbian is getting up around 30-40 by now, across a range of form factors.

  7. Bill… why not compare it to symbian and compare it to pocket pc. when you are trying to be the very best, well you compete with a market leader. it is a good device, not a great device. 650 is not worth the price of the upgrade. exactly six months of using it have made me realize the shortcoming, undependablity and the user interface issues. its not a shot gun approach. let the sales data and the revenues of palm speak for themselves. no i don’t argue with the declining market share. if as a company treo is your one bet of survival, surprise me, don’t give me what would amount to windows 3.x

  8. Om: I like your shotgun approach to criticism regarding the 650. So, what do you find most offensive, the weed, palmOne’s management or the 650 itself?

    Those who don’t need wireless data are better off with just a phone. But, if you do the Treo form factor is the best in offering a combination of voice and data that can fit in your pocket. Plus, the one-handed operation is works well. I rarely have the need to take out the stylus.

    Don’t compare it to a symbian phone, but compare it to a PPC.

  9. Om, I wonder if the 650 is more reliable than the 600. I’m on my third Treo 600 since mid-December 2003 and my experience isn’t out of the norm.

    I do like it however. It isn’t a great cell phone, but, I do get to jot down a few things throughout the day–so it makes for a good “knowledge-capture” device.

    Plus the bright screen makes for a great Geek Beacon when hailing cabs!

  10. It is overpriced, but I am wondering if that is Sprint’s doing (they typically price high… Look at the PPC-6601 and Samsung i600, both with a > $600 MSRP).

    For people with a PDA mindset this is a good transition device. I have a phone mindset and would rather a Symbian UIQ device.

  11. Charlie Sierra

    I also think the Treo 650 is a doomed device.

    The price is $200 too high, and of course the BT crippled business.

    The only great new feature is the display, and even it’s crap compared to the new VGA (640×480, vs. 320×320) class displays on the new pocketPC platform.

    The really big screw up on Palm’s part (excluding BT, because thats a carrier decision) is the lack of USB host capabilities. The new PocketPC’s all have this feature, and its a huge miss for Palm.

    They market the Treo as an omnipotent device, but without USB-Host, you still have to plug it into a PC to print, or access thousands of useful USB devices, storage, etc.

    I prediction is that this will be discounted within 6 months.