Taking a Shot at Designing a Future Treo 710
Don't ask me why but every couple of months or so I get the urge to design my own Treo...
This latest design was prompted after a business meeting yesterday where I pitted my Treo 650 against my 'opponent's' BlackBerry 7290.
I am glad that on the one hand I managed to get him to openly admit that there was simply 'no comparison' to the diversity and overall richness of applications that I could run and which he couldn't. Win one.
On the other hand I was even happier when (without any prompting on my part) he pulled his 'other phone' out of his briefcase and placed it next to his BlackBerry and conceded that there was something to be said about having 'only one device'. Win two.
Lastly though, I simply could not get him to agree that my keyboard on the Treo was as efficient for data input as his on the BlackBerry. I got him to play around with the keyboard by typing text in a new memo and pointed out that it was also backlit which the BB isn't. I in turn did the same on his BB and typed a few sentences but for the life of me I couldn't sense any difference in data input speed compared to my Treo (actually I thought that it was 'slightly' slower). We agreed to tie on this one point.
I left the meeting somewhat annoyed with the whole keyboard issue as I would have preferred my Treo to come out as the winner on this point as well. My mind set off wondering "How could the Treo keyboard be improved - if at all?" and I decided to put pen to paper or more exactly mouse to Photoshop in this case.
My point of departure was a side-by-side comparison of the Treo 650 and BlackBerry (see below - exact proportions were kept) and their respective sizes.
Treo 650: 11.3 x 5.9 x 2.3cm (Length not inc. antenna)
BlackBerry 7290: 11.3 x 7.5 x 2.2cm
Clearly the Treo is a significantly 'slimmer' device in width - 25% actually - and so I thought that there might be some room to 'stretch' it (below left). I therefore expanded the body by 10% and also eliminated the antenna in the process (which can now more easily be stored within the casing). Naturally by doing this I also increased the size of the keys proportionally while leaving the screen and the rest of the body completely untouched. The result is a device that is still 15% narrower than the BlackBerry.
For comparative purposes, below I've overlaid both the Treo 650 (left) and BlackBerry (right) over the 'stretched' version. While it is a little difficult to make out the outline of the Treo 650 you can more clearly see how even the stretched Treo fits comfortably within the width of the BlackBerry.
The previous design that we developed for a future Treo 700 was primarily concerned with increasing the screen size to 320x480 while retaining a full keyboard. This latest design for a future Treo 710 now addresses the need for a potentially even more efficient keyboard. We'll have to wait and see if any of these designs ever see the light of day
I'm naturally curious to know what your thoughts are. Assuming for a moment that such a Treo model was available today and that for argument sake it had exactly the same specifications (aside from size obviously) and price as the Treo 650, would you buy one for its 'stretched' form factor alone?