Treo 680: Bringing Joy To A Whole New Generation
In a few short hours Palm CEO Ed Colligan will unveil his company’s new Treo 680 smartphone to a packed audience of technology journalists and bloggers at a special press conference held at the DigitalLife show in NYC.
The Treo 680 will become Palm’s first low-cost smartphone – one targeted at a wide consumer audience instead of the business audience typically associated with its existing Treo range.
Thanks to an aggressive pricing expected to be under $250 the Treo 680 is highly anticipated to become the company’s bestselling Treo smartphone in terms of overall units sold within a few short months of its launch in much the same way that Apple’s iPod unit sales spiked massively following the launch of its iPod Mini and then Nano.
The Treo 680 is anticipated to be offered by over 30 carriers worldwide and the resulting increase in both the overall number of Treonauts and sales volume will naturally prove to be of benefit to everyone as Palm will be able to reduce manufacturing costs and invest more resources in future development and existing third-party PalmOS developers will have a larger market to target their products and services.
Although the news will not be carried far and wide by the mainstream media for a few more hours, as always, there will be camps praising Palm, the PalmOS and our Treo while others will instead choose to bash the whole lot. For illustration purposes I will pick on two posts that have already been released.
The first at CNNMoney’s “The Browser” by Owen Thomas, online editor for Business 2.0, and Oliver Ryan, Fortune magazine reporter, takes the view that “Palm’s new Treo is cheap but boring” arguing that the company has not done enough to innovate on the form-factor to warrant much attention for the Treo 680’s release.
Taking an objective and pragmatic position, I strongly disagree with their view that the Treo 680 is nothing to rave about. I have personally been completely won over by the new lighter, slimmer, antenna-less form-factor of the Vodafone Treo 750v running Windows Mobile which has become available in Europe – a form-factor which has apparently already helped to make the Treo 750v the bestselling “Vodafone Business Smartphone”. In fact, I like the new form-factor so much that I would even be willing to consider switching operating systems (I know…) to be able to use it on a daily basis – this is no small detail.
I am willing to concede that existing Treonauts “may” not find many “new” things in the Treo 680 but this would be missing the point as the Treo 680 is meant to appeal to an entirely new audience which has thus far not had the opportunity to experience the Treonauts Lifestyle at all. I have no doubt that this group will find “plenty” to rave about – particularly if as expected the price is under $250.
The second post by Jon Fortt at Business 2.0’s “The Utility Belt” for his part leaves the form-factor alone but instead decides to attack the operating system (PalmSource/ACCESS) claiming that “The Palm OS is a joke, and it’s time for a reckoning” and stating that “the Treo [OS] is only marginally better [today] than it was in 2003”.
Like Jon I do fully recognize and have repeatedly stated that the key to a successful smartphone is all about having a seamless integration between great hardware and extremely usable and intuitive software. Evidently I would also like to see the next-generation PalmOS called ALP (ACCESS Linux Platform) released as soon as possible but the fact is that again it seems that people are missing the most important point.
A great many of the leading technology journalists use a PalmOS Treo as their preferred smartphone and review after review continues to place our Treo at the very top of the smartphone race. Of course we would ALL like to see it getting even better but for now it IS still the best operating system around – surely a testament to the incredible talent that originally contributed to the PalmOS and hopefully an important inspiration for those who are currently working to bring us its future incarnation.
There were reasons to be depressed in the past but the past is the past. Both Palm and PalmSource have undoubtedly made huge mistakes – sometimes nearly catastrophic ones – but it would be unfair to dwell on these in light of the present situation when our Treo clearly continues to outshine all other smartphones. Let’s now focus on the future and let as many people in the world know more about how to enjoy the Treonauts Lifestyle to enhance their personal and business lives. Millions already know this and thanks to new models such as the Treo 680 millions more will soon as well.
Some companies are built for the 100 meter dash – shining brightly but disappearing fast – while others like Palm are built to last for generations by not succumbing to the short-term thinking that seems to be prevalent these days and slowly but surely will continue to provide us with the most innovative products…
Treonauts are built to last…