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Palm Treo 680: First Look, Screenshots & Images

As most Treonauts will undoubtedly already know, Palm CEO Ed Colligan (pictured below with Treo 680 Product Manager Phil McClendon) yesterday unveiled his company’s latest addition to the Treo family with a low-cost smartphone that is for the first time targeted primarily at the consumer market.  

The new Treo 680 running PalmOS is expected to become available as an “Unlocked” version by the end of this month on both Palm’s online store and across US retail locations in four exclusive colours – silver, white, orange and red (pictured right) – as well as by at least one US GSM carrier which is naturally anticipated to be Cingular (no indication as to which colour it will carry yet).

No official pricing has been released yet but a Wall Stret Journal article stated a $199 price (with contract) was likely.  Meanwhile, I hope to see the “Unlocked” version becoming available for as little as $399. 

From a hardware perspective the Treo 680 improves upon many of the specifications of previous PalmOS Treo smartphones such as the Treo 700p and Treo 650 by providing:

  • A great and truly pocketable lighter, slimmer and antenna-less new form-factor similar to the Vodafone Treo 750v recently released in Europe
  • Overall it has just the right size with a large high-resolution (320x320) screen and an easy-type full QWERTY keyboard
  • An optimized Quad-Band GSM/GPRS/EDGE-class 10 internal radio
  • Hidden internal SD card slot
  • Vibrating silent ringer switch
  • Improved speakers
  • 128MB memory with 64MB memory user-available
  • Bluetooth 1.2 and infrared wireless technologies
  • VGA camera/video recorder
  • Removable battery

Treo680Back

The fact most if not all existing Treo Accessories (to the exception of cases) will be compatible with the Treo 680 will naturally also continue to please existing Treonauts who will be able to reuse their current ones (see my Favourite Treo Accessories List).

Treo680AllFour

From a software perspective, like all previous PalmOS Treo smartphones the Treo 680 provides:

  • All-in-one smartphone with email, messaging, web, camera, and more
  • Palm’s ease of use
  • Integrated address book, calendar, memos, and to-do list
  • MP3 player and streaming audio, such as Internet radio
  • Multiparty conference calling that’s a snap to manage
  • Speakerphone and speed dial
  • Supports Word, Excel, PowerPoint and PDF files

Additionally, the Treo 680 also provides the following new and unique software:

  • New Phone App 3.0 (screenshots below)
    • New UI
    • Simplified favorites
    • Integrated contacts
    • Active call thumbnails
  • My Treo
    • Full user guide
    • Synchronized knowledge base articles most recently used
  • Wired car kit application
  • Press+Hold ‘Applications’ button to view & launch last 10 used apps
  • Expanded country formats
    • Added more countries to choose from

  

With the Treo 680 when you press the green Phone button you are taken to a new Phone application ‘landing screen’ which can be customized with any image (above left) that includes four other tabs including (from left to right) a new Dial Pad (not shown), simplified Favourites (now all listed in a single column), integrated Contacts and finally your Call Log.

  

Additionally, the new Phone app also features (pictured below):

  • Active call thumbnails
  • Easy multiway conference calls
  • Ignore with text
  • Manage call logs
  • Add new phone number to existing contact

  

  

The Treo keyboard has always been one of its best features and now that Versamail has been updated there are even more reasons to use it…

VersaMail 3.5

  • Now called “Email” on launcher
  • Exchange ActiveSync now includes Contact sync
  • Improved Smart Addressing - remembers recently used email address
  • AutoSync - can be scheduled for any combination of mail, calendar, contacts
  • With Docs To Go Professional v8.0, support for Word, Excel, PowerPoint attachments
  • And now PDF attachment files, too

  

  

Overall I am extremely impressed with the Treo 680 – particularly by its new form-factor and fun multiple colours – and I am very happy in the knowledge that I will soon be able to upgrade my trusted Unlocked Treo 650 for a very reasonable price. 

I am fully aware that the Treo 680 makes certain ‘compromises’ and may not feature ALL of the specifications that some Treonauts would have liked to see but at least in my case the bottom line is that its a new smartphone that I like a lot and know I will be enjoying using every day.

Treonauts always enjoy every day


Posted by Andrew on October 13, 2006 at 01:03 PM

Treo 680

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Comments

1
by Amanda | Oct 13, 2006 1:55:41 PM

You know, I'm excited. This is an excellent strategy to put Treos in more pockets. I haven't had a treo yet, but I've been eyeing the 680 and 750 for awhile... and I think for what I do with my current palm now, the 680 will be perfect.

2
by eric | Oct 13, 2006 2:02:08 PM

This is absolutely crap... and of course, like a good teachers pet, writers at Treonauts are there to make Treos look good no matter what.

Apart from the cosmetic changes, which are very nice, there isn't much else to say about the 680's. I don't believe a current Treo owner will actually get a 680 themselves. May make a nice gift to give but not to receive.

Treonauts, yet again you love everything Palm does. I wonder if your heads are constantly nodding.

3
by James | Oct 13, 2006 2:17:30 PM

It's not absolute crap! I have had a 650 since they first came out, still love it, but will definitely get one of these. The extra RAM will be worth it for a start, and the slightly smaller form factor too. It's not meant to be revolutionary; evolutionary is very welcome.

I'm glad they didn't put WiFi on it (who needs WiFi with a decent cell data connection?).

-James.

4
by ancker | Oct 13, 2006 2:18:44 PM

I for one, am excited about this new phone. Granted it's not a very large step over the 650. But given the fact that I and LOT of other people don't own a 650, this point is moot.

I currently have an ailing Motorola phone (GSM), and a Zire 72. I've been yearning to combine these into a single device. I often eyed the 650 but others' experiences had me cautious. I knew there had to be something coming in the pipes. ALAS the 700p/w were released....CDMA only. And OUCH what a price point. A buddy of mine brought one home from Verizon for ~$400 and ~$80 plan. I checked the news sites every day for a month looking for the GSM version...it never came.

Then the 750. (Europe only for now) And now the 680. For what I use my current phone and Zire for, this phone is EXACTLY what I'm looking for. A PHONE, that has a PalmOS PDA built in. For CHEAP(er) than the 700x.

While it may not be a large upgrade from the 650, the VAST majority of users who consider this phone will be more than happy with its feature set. This phone will likely sell like hotcakes. It will probably be my next phone until something with ALP is released.

Now if I could just buy the dang thing. Come on Cingular, get it moving!!!

5
by BillO | Oct 13, 2006 3:10:49 PM

The 680 looks quite interesting and I am looking forward to using it. What about the 750? is this one going to come out in the US?

6
by RC | Oct 13, 2006 3:17:03 PM

Took an extended contract and got the 650 from Cingular. It was replaced twice when the units stopped functioning. The last one I had expired two weeks after last coverage date - it's an expensive paperweight now. I didn't even get more than 16 months total use in all. I was not hard on them and always had them in a hard metal case. Now I'm back with an old Motorola flip phone and not happy. Considered getting a MING (Motorola A1200) but it is Linux based and I use Mac. Now the 680 comes out. I am interested but the bad taste of the unreliable string of three 650's is still fresh. Not sure what I will do, except it is a buyer's market out there and I will not buy another phone from a carrier, but go for the unlocked model instead.

7
by Jabari | Oct 13, 2006 3:24:23 PM

You all are crazy ... and insincere... if you jump on Eric! His comments are dead on. Let's be absolutely clear for a moment. The Treo 650 has been available for nearly 2 years now. The Treo 650 users that have known and loveed it for this time are anxiously awaiting a new offering. We, like most people upgrade our phone every 1 1/2 to 2 years. For Palm to present us with a phone that has very few advancements to speak of after all this time is frankly insulting. There are several recent additions to the smartphone market that are comparable or slightly better than the 650. Why give us this marginal, "cute" phone after all this time? There is only one answer ... Palm is focused on the consumers that don't already own a Treo (this is also why they spent all that time developing a Windows Media version). They have virtually forgotten about their loyal customers. The 680 is clearly not enough of an upgrade for us to justify getting one.

Finally why the heck would you come out with a Treo 680 when you've had a 700 model on the market for months (which is not available on all cellular services)? Are you daft Palm? If Eric calls this CRAP, I say he was being polite ... he could have used another related but more poignant four-letter word.

8
by Antoine of MMM | Oct 13, 2006 3:37:49 PM

Man, you folks are harsh. Considering that despite the number advance, this is NOT and upgrade mean for 650 users (or at least 650 users who push their devices a good bit more than any normal phone user). Yes, the comments are flowery, and that you can say is in part because of meeting a new device, and other because Treonauts is not a place of harsh critism, but mainly positivist words on Palm devices. Heck, if the bashing started here from Andrew et al, what accessories would be sold? It literally pays to keep a positive outlook on any Palm release here.

[quote]Finally why the heck would you come out with a Treo 680 when you've had a 700 model on the market for months (which is not available on all cellular services)?[/quote]
Palm releases models as they are developed and tested and at the request of its customers (aka the carriers). The 700 most probably an easier dev deal and the naming convention probably doesnt fit but the carriers want it to fit and so its not a 650x but a 700p. No, I am not trying to justify Palm here, they have the ability to make a better product, but if they want sales like other WM devices have (none are as good as the Treo series) then they would release something for the power Treo in all of us.

[quote]Palm is focused on the consumers that don't already own a Treo (this is also why they spent all that time developing a Windows Media version). They have virtually forgotten about their loyal customers.[/quote]
First sentence true. Second sentence: I've been told a proper update for current 650 Treo-fanatics is coming next year pending a few niggles. So hold your shorts or get something else. Palm doesn't forget the loud (and extremly small) powerTreo user; but they do need to expand their marktshare, and getting "newTreos" is a lot smarter than always trying to sponge the "olderTreos."

9
by monk | Oct 13, 2006 3:46:36 PM

It would be nice if they offer Phone 3.0 and a BT fix for 700p users.

10
by Mike Hardy | Oct 13, 2006 4:02:06 PM

I think this is all very easy to sort out. Here's the rule of thumb:

Did the first digit in the model number change?

Yes: Think about upgrading, it's probably worth it
No: New users get the newer one, existing users refresh with the newer one when necessary

I think they're selling it exactly right. The 650 is a great machine. The 680 will be a fine incremental improvement with a lower price. Who's saying otherwise?

How can you have an axe to grind about phones?

It's not like they said it was going to have bluetooth 8 and a magic pony in the box.

11
by John | Oct 13, 2006 4:14:01 PM

ok, here's my question. what does the 700p do that the 680(p) doesn't do? you've listed a lot of great features, and they seem to be upgrades from the 700p. so what's missing. other than the camera, which i know is better on the 700. and i agree with the earlier comment. they definitely need to upgrade the software on the 700p. makes no sense to have newer software on a numerically lower model.

12
by MotoQuser | Oct 13, 2006 4:30:52 PM

I have had a moto Q since it came out in May. I am not happy with windows smartphone OS and am thinking of switching to treo for the first time with the new 680. A few questions:

1. Can someone tell me the difference between the processors of the 680 and 700? Is the 680's inferior or the same?

2. Assuming a Cingular launch, do they have something comparable to Verizons high speed EVDO for internet. Is it called EDGE and does the 680 support it.

13
by Calvin | Oct 13, 2006 5:34:10 PM

I understand it is the same processor - the 312mhz . I also understand that it has the Edge technolgy

14
by Rome | Oct 13, 2006 5:34:57 PM

#12, MotoQuser,

1, 680 and 700 use the same processor, Intel 312Mhz.
2, EDGE is 2.5G while EVDO is 3G. Cingular does have 3G(HSPDA) but its coverage is not nearly as good as Verizon's EVDO. Cingular does have cheaper data rate though...you can get the medianet service for around $20 a month.

15
by Calvin | Oct 13, 2006 5:36:37 PM

I did mean to add that I have never had a 650. I have several people around me that have them and they all swear by them. Personally, as soon as the 680 becomes available, I am ordering one from Cingular (unless the unlocked prices are reasonable).

16
by Simony | Oct 13, 2006 6:05:32 PM

Does anyone know whether Blackberry Connect will run on this thing?

17
by Jon | Oct 13, 2006 6:09:43 PM

Andrew, are you willing to admit now that there will never be a 750p? :(

I am hearing from a good source that Palm is just about done with the Palm OS -- that this phone is its swan song in many ways. Palm is going to continue trying to get MS to give it more latitude in customizing Windows Mobile and puttinga more "Palmesque" launcher for it. I also hear that Palm has been talking a lot with Symbian folks about the same thing -- this may make more sense given that there are many diff't flavors of Symbian: UIQ, Series 60, etc. Palm may make a Palm flavor of it -- this will also help them in the Euro market. Note the new Launcher thingy they have on the 680. They are going to port that over to WM for sure; and maybe to their Symbian platform if they go through with it.

Palmsource/Access's new platform will NEVER run on Palm based handhelds. I hear that this is a given. Access's platform is being designed especially for the Asian market. Note one of the Palm reps statements that they are committed to "continued COMPATIBILITY" with Palm OS. They are not committed to any successor to the Palm OS. Fact is there will never truly be a successor to OS 5. Cobalt is dead, it never got off the ground in ANY device: dead as a doornail and has been for years now. ALP, again, is not going to be a true successor to OS 5. It is not even going to run on true PDA's; it is only going to be for cheap Chinese smartphones. Sayanara Palm OS; I loved you but you are now so outdated it's crazy. It's like using Windows 98. Not even Multitasking -- I am going to ebay my 650 once the Dash comes out. . . .

18
by Tina | Oct 13, 2006 6:34:32 PM

Ok, if you come to a site dedicated to Treo-addicts, don't bash the moderator for being Treo-positive. He's supposed to be. And no, Andrew never said this was the hottest new Treo on the market, just that it was going to be a nice starter model for people that previously wouldn't consider or couldn't afford a Treo 650 or 700*. Personally, I'm currently using (and loving!) a 700p after almost forcibly passing my 650 down to my "I wouldn't possibly like this" husband... who now is every bit as much a Treo-addict as I am. But would he have purchased one himself? Not for those prices. The 680, however, might have won him over all by itself. And quite frankly, I'm very tempted to pick up an unlocked model (love the copper!) just so I'll have GSM service when I travel since my existing two models are with Verizon.

Happy Treo-ing!

19
by Rex | Oct 13, 2006 6:52:07 PM

I gotta say, unless there's some reliability problem with this unit, it hits the sweet spot of what most people want out of a smartphone. It's smaller and lighter than most PDA/phones, very funtional as a PDA, has adequate data capability for MOST users, has a polished UI and thousands of available apps. It would be nice to have a higher rez cam, but it's not a deal breaker for me. When I want to take photos, I'll use a real camera.

I'm a Treo 600 user, and I'll definitely be getting one of these. It's a significant upgrade for me, with the Bluetooth, the EDGE data radio (the 600 only has GPRS) and the higher rez screen (the 600's screen is only 160x160), not to mention the newer phone app and Docs to Go Pro. All in all, a nice package. No, it's not everything to everybody, but no product ever could be.

BTW, Eric got one thing wrong, unless I'm missing something, I'm pretty sure there's no IR on this unit. Other than that, nice article.

20
by Rex | Oct 13, 2006 6:57:30 PM

I gotta say, unless there's some reliability problem with this unit, it hits the sweet spot of what most people want out of a smartphone. It's smaller and lighter than most PDA/phones, very funtional as a PDA, has adequate data capability for MOST users, has a polished UI and thousands of available apps. It would be nice to have a higher rez cam, but it's not a deal breaker for me. When I want to take photos, I'll use a real camera.

I'm a Treo 600 user, and I'll definitely be getting one of these. It's a significant upgrade for me, with the Bluetooth, the EDGE data radio (the 600 only has GPRS) and the higher rez screen (the 600's screen is only 160x160), not to mention the newer phone app and Docs to Go Pro. All in all, a nice package. No, it's not everything to everybody, but no product ever could be.

BTW, Andrew got one thing wrong, unless I'm missing something, I'm pretty sure there's no IR on this unit. Other than that, nice article.

21
by Matt | Oct 13, 2006 7:51:41 PM

John: what does the 700p do that the 680 doesn't? Fast data. It's 2006. Carriers and phone makers have been advertising the promise of fast "3G" data capabilities for a long time now, without delivering. Especially for a phone like the Treo which can make such good use of data services, introducing a new model without this upgrade is silly.

And there's still no GSM PalmOS Treo with 3G data. (The 700 is CDMA only, the 750x is Windows only, the 680 is EDGE only... Come on!)

22
by Omar C. | Oct 13, 2006 10:18:54 PM

I owned a Treo 600 & then jumped to Treo 650 which I am very happy with for now. On that jump there were several advantages and well worth the money I spent. So why would I want to drop another $200 or $300 odd dollars (hard earned ones!) for a device that doesn't do more than my 650 already does. What does Palm think I have a kick me sign taped to my back!

23
by Tommy | Oct 14, 2006 12:43:39 AM

Wow. I've been following the release of this phone for several months. Finally, a new palm Treo for GSM folks!

I started a few years back with my Handspring, then a Samsung i300. The Samsung was great, but for some reason I wanted to try Microsoft on a MPX200/220. How boring. It works fine, but you can only do so much with it.

Right now I've got a Palm T/X and my MPX and I carry both. I've come to the conclusion that there's no better O/S than the palm. So, I have been watching for several months now looking for a Treo to replace my PDA and smartphone. I've tried the Treo 700w in the stores and its more of the same. I couldn't even find the contacts in a timely manner. Nice hardware, but a chore to operate. I tried to like it, really, I did, but I just can't. It's like carrying my PC around (start button and all) only with a teeny screen. Then,I tried the 700p and wow, I figured it out with my eyes closed. Instant on and end of story.

My point...I'm glad to see this new Treo now that my contract is up and best of all, it's GSM. Phew. Now where do I get one? Is unlocked better than with the provider? What's the big advantage of an unlocked phone?

24
by Treofrog | Oct 14, 2006 1:29:56 AM

If you have "Hard earned" money you should not have a Treo--I don't like The Treo Price Drop That makes them lower quality and now all the unprofessional people will have them. What do you think the old fashioned pen and memo pad are for.

Palm Is loosing the Handheld Empire.

They will die a horrible death.

25
by Reinhard | Oct 14, 2006 7:21:52 AM

So now we have a new Treo with a - well - "mature" (and slightly improved) Palm OS, but at a very affordable price! What's the problem?

I think what most people overlook in their actual discussion about the 680 are the factors usability and funktionality. Sure, Garnet isn't a brand new system, but in this case I would see it as advantage. What discerns Treos from almost all other smartphones is ease of use and reliability of Palm OS. Even though (or maybe because?) it's two or so years old.

As a rather joung (well, not literally ...) Palm user, I got my first Treo 650 just a few weeks ago (second hand at 170 Euro), after having tested - and been rather disappointed by - a few new Symbian devices like the new SE M600i/P990i. Usually, I try to get every new electronic gadget as soon as it hits the market. So what has made me buy a two years old device with a "mature" user interface, slightly old fashioned looks, plus (brrr...) stubby antenna - and be very happy with it?

Well, the answers are: usability, functionality, reliability! After one or two days of use I knew how the thing worked. It's easy to use, very easy, and it's effective! Palm OS is streamlined with a clear UI, the integrated applications are close to perfect, plus there is a vast choice of third party apps to suit everybody's gusto. The Treo doesn't have to be resetted every ten minutes. And it syncs perfectly with Macs. Sure, there are newer gadgets out there, with improved form factors, MP3 ring tones and other fun stuff. Sure, the Treo's VGA cam is a joke, and WLAN is missing. But ... did I already say that Palm OS is really easy to use?

Other smartphones may offer one or the other advantage, but overall the Treo's Palm OS seems mature and superior to all of them, as far as I am concerned. So I do think I will "crossgrade" to the 680 as soon as it is available on the german market, mainly because of size, weight and antenna-less-ness. These have been my major issues, and they are addressed.

From that point of view, it may be a comprehensible intention of Palm to introduce the new 680, offering only little improvements but the same excellent features, at a very affordable price tag. There certainly is a number of people out there looking for such a smart phone. Ok, I admit, rather Palm newbies than crossgraders.

So far for my mustard, as we say here in Germany :-) -
my two cents.

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