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Treo Pro Preview

Palm’s “Super Hot” New Generation Treo Pro Smartphone Proudly in my Hands!

Treo Pro

After years waiting in frustration, I have to congratulate Palm for having successfully reached the first key milestone of its “transformation” by delivering the Treo Pro – the first Palm smartphone in years that can claim to be a true match against other high-end enterprise-class competitors.  It was about time guys!!!

Treo Pro Packaging

Even though previous Treo Pro images and specifications were helpful and more than a little bit exciting it certainly makes an even greater impression to have the Treo Pro physically in my hands – to say it’s “stunning” would be a gross understament.  You’d actually have difficulties believing this was truly a Palm Treo if the logo wasn’t on it.

Treo Pro - Kit

For starters, as previously reported (see Treo Pro Now Official) Palm has completely revamped its packaging – making it much smaller, more modern and uncluttered.  The box is almost two-thirds smaller than previous ones such as the Centro and Treo 800w pictured below.

Treo Pro - Packaging Comparison

While the packaging is certainly nice and helps to form your first positive impressions the fact is that it’s ultimately the actual design of the smartphone and its accessories that matters.  There’s no doubt that the Treo Pro has not only already matched my expectations in this regard but it’s also well on its way to exceeding them.

Treo Pro - Front

Whether you look at the front of the Treo Pro with its stunning full QWERTY keyboard and new completely flush screen or its back with a minimalist camera eye and redesigned speakerphone this is a smartphone that you just want to keep holding in your hands, look at and play with.

Treo Pro - Back

The Treo Pro looks a bit like a high-tech polished black pebble – a Zen of tranquility on the outside but one that also happens to be bursting with energy inside (thanks to a fast processor, 3G data, WiFi, GPS and a whole lot more).

 Treo Pro - Screen & Keyboard Treo Pro - Camera & Speaker

As I mentioned earlier, Palm’s #1 job was to demonstrate that it could get its hardware “design mojo” back and I believe that it has finally done so with the Treo Pro – it’s quite a bit more than evolutionary but not (yet) revolutionary.

 Treo Pro - Bottom Treo Pro - Top

One thing the Treo Pro can easily claim to be is the slimmest smartphone with a full keyboard and flush touchscreen that Palm has ever produced and possibly the slimmest Windows Mobile smartphone in the world right now.  I have no doubt that enterprise customers will likely be absolutely delighted when they get one.

Treo Pro - Wifi Button Side

It doesn’t matter how many pictures I have seen nor how many times I repeated that the Treo Pro is just as slim as the iPhone 3G nor that it’s about half the thickness of the Treo 750 that it replaces (image below with the Treo 800w in the middle) the fact is that you can’t “feel” how thin it really is until it sits in your hand.

Treo Pro - Size Comparison

What is particularly great about the Treo Pro is that Palm has finally also limited the number of compromises that it was willing to make to deliver such an ultraslim smartphone.  A perfect example of this is the 1500mAh battery (pictured below) which delivers a very healthy 5 hours of talk time.

Treo Pro - Battery & Back Cover

Almost every single detail about the Treo Pro conveys the feeling that (for a change) this was a work of love, passion and dedication where the many Palm designers paid thoughtful attention to even the smallest element and combined them to deliver this stunning smartphone.

 Treo Pro - Screen Treo Pro - Browser

For starters, after having grown used to the small screen on my Centro I have to admit that I rather appreciated the extra real estate found on the Treo Pro which now offers a delightful flush high-resolution touchscreen.

 Treo Pro - Keyboard Detail Treo Pro - Stylus Detail

The keyboard offers the same excellent “rubber sheet” technology as that found on the Centro but it’s 10% wider on the Treo Pro.  The stylus, now repositioned at the bottom, is solid and finally also in steel instead of bendy plastic.

 Treo Pro - Sync, Charge & Stereo Treo Pro - Palm Logo

Palm has also for the first time added a full 3.5mm stereo jack as well as the fast and convenient microUSB 2.0 sync & charge connector.

 Treo Pro - Camera Detail Treo Pro - Speaker Detail

Gone is the pointless self-portrait mirror at the back as well as the huge speaker.  Both are now replaced by minimalist designs with a small silver circle and capsule speaker.

 Treo Pro - Reset Button Treo Pro - Call Button

Even a small button (above left) found behind the back cover was given attention to detail with the Palm logo delicately printed on it and more importantly there’s also the re-introduced reset button .  At the same time, the microSDHC memory card slot is easily accessible (just above the reset button) once you remove the back cover (which slides out towards the top).

 Treo Pro Accessories Treo Pro - microUSB cable

Additionally, Palm’s renewed design momentum didn’t just stop with the packaging and smartphone but has also carried through in a new range of Treo Pro accessories.  The box includes a USB wall charger, microUSB sync & charge cable with round silver accents (above right) as well as a 3.5mm stereo headset which includes a rather convenient and discreet microphone with Call Answer/End button.

 Treo Pro - Headset Treo Pro - Headset Microphone

At the same time, Palm has also revealed that it will shortly be releasing a new cradle, vehicle power adapter, side case (pictured below) as well as a travel microUSB cable, extra battery, audio adapter and styli.

Treo Pro - New Accessories

Overall, although this is but my first (rather positive) impression of the Treo Pro I think that it will be hard for anyone to truly and honestly dismiss this latest Palm smartphone.  Some are already calling it the best Windows Mobile smartphone available today and if our recent poll below is any indication nearly all Treonauts would seem to agree (over 90% voted it between Hot to Super Hot).

New Palm Treo Pro

Is the Treo Pro hot or not?    Treo-Pro

Super Hot
Very Hot
Hot
Not
  Current Results

I will share with you my full Treo Pro review next week but in the meantime please cast your vote above if you haven’t already done so and I look forward to reading your comments while I continue to delight playing with my shiny new smartphone…

Treonauts are always full of energy and passion


Posted by Andrew on August 22, 2008 at 09:38 AM

Treo Pro

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Comments

1
by kevin | Aug 22, 2008 9:44:28 AM

u didnt mention the memory card slot. easy to get to ? location? thanks.

2
by Andrew | Aug 22, 2008 9:55:16 AM

Kevin - thanks for pointing this out. I've just added the info in the post (by the reset button).

As with the Centro, access to the memory card slot requires that you remove the back cover from where it is quickly and easily accessible.

I hope this helps.

Cheers, A.

3
by Jack | Aug 22, 2008 11:01:50 AM

Andrew,

You are the luckiest guy on the web! I love my 800w, but man, I'd sure like to play with the new Pro too. All you've managed to do is to feed the gadget beast in me. LOL

Thanks for the update. I'm looking forward to your review next week.

4
by Craig | Aug 22, 2008 11:16:48 AM

This this Pro have an IR port, or is this the first Palm without one?

5
by Andrew | Aug 22, 2008 11:20:56 AM

Craig - the Treo Pro is not missing anything and includes the IR port which is located right next to the dedicated WiFi button.

Cheers, A.

6
by Conrad | Aug 22, 2008 11:22:39 AM

Andrew,
As part of your review could you please investigate two things:
- Can the area above and the to the left and right of the DPad, but below the screen, be touched to activate the two Windows Mobile soft buttons? (AKA the area above the 'OK' and 'Windows Flag' buttons)
- Also could please you find out if the Treo Pro is compatible with the HTCDebugTool and determine if the area around the DPad supports multitouch like the HTC Diamond does?
Thanks,
Conrad

7
by Kieron | Aug 22, 2008 11:38:48 AM

Whats the function of the red button. Does it take you back to the home screen like the 800w?

8
by Ron | Aug 22, 2008 11:43:03 AM

@Conrad
There are no soft buttons. Since the screen is now flush the designers believed users can now just touch the screen to activate those menu items. I read this somewhere but can't find the source now - too much blog reading for me =P

9
by Andrew | Aug 22, 2008 11:51:48 AM

Kieron - the red button is to End Call and also to turn your screen On/Off. Like the Treo 800w it also takes you back to the Today screen whenever pressed.

Cheers, A.

10
by John Whorfin | Aug 22, 2008 12:08:10 PM

But... it's $550.

FIVE HUNDRED AND FIFTY FRAKKING DOLLARS.

That's insane. I could buy TWO iPhone 3Gs for that, and still have $150 left over.

Who in their right mind would buy this? There's just no way it's worth it.

Hardware-wise, it's a nice device, but only in the sense that it's the flagship smartphone Palm should've had out over a year ago, when the original iPhone debuted. But now it's still playing catch-up, and the price is insane. I mean, even if you've got a corporate expense account, how do you justify this over a Blackberry?

11
by Andrew | Aug 22, 2008 12:14:47 PM

John - there is too much confusion around the Treo Pro pricing.

In Europe where the phone will be subsidized by Vodafone, O2 and other carriers it will actually be available from FREE $0.00...

In the US, a carrier has yet to be announced and so in the meantime the _Unlocked_ and _Un-subsidized_ Treo Pro will be $549.00

In the same vein, an unlocked iPhone 3G will set you back around $600 based on the latest eBay prices... Thus, in reality the Treo Pro is actually $50 cheaper than the iPhone. ;-)

Additionally, something that I will cover more in-depth next week is the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) for Windows Mobile compared to RIM which shows a $$$ saving of 20-28% in favour of Microsoft deployments.

Moreover, a recent Forrester Research study highlighted that Windows Mobile and RIM are by far the two favoured enterprise mobile operating systems. In this context the Treo Pro makes more than perfect sense.

Cheers, A.

12
by Jason | Aug 22, 2008 12:47:17 PM

is there an updated ETA on this bad boy? *so glad they left the IR ability... keeps us real estate agents happy :-)

13
by Bruce | Aug 22, 2008 12:49:31 PM

So should I assume that the Palm OS we all know and love is being phased out? I have to admit that if I have to make a switch to a new OS I would think pretty seriously about the iPhone or Blackberry.

Bruce

14
by INION | Aug 22, 2008 1:17:37 PM

I question the wisdom of branding the reset button with "Palm" - the only time you should have to use it is when there is a problem. Subconsciously equating "Problem" = "Palm"; should have put a windows flag on there.

I think the Palm community is ecstatic that Palm has released a good looking phone that is not technologically 3 years behind the competition. Realistically, though this is a phone created by HTC with software by Microsoft. The only thing "Palm" about it is the branding. I think it's rather telling that a US carrier could not be found.

15
by Andrew | Aug 22, 2008 1:28:45 PM

Inion - that was my bad... The reset button does not have the Palm logo on it but is found just under the stylus slot at the bottom of the device.

Also, rather importantly the Treo Pro is _not_ an HTC phone. It was Palm that designed it and HTC simply acted as an ODM manufacturer for it.

Finally, the Treo Pro is anything but technologically behind. It is very much at the forefront of current high-end business smartphones.

Cheers, A.

16
by ENE | Aug 22, 2008 1:43:22 PM

Andrew

The Pro is Palm or Windows system?
if it is Windows, can the Palm info converted to Windows?

17
by Max | Aug 22, 2008 1:56:22 PM

You certainly put a lot of detail into your blog and have answered a number of questions here, with the exception of a couple of unanswered questions:

1. Is there a Palm OS in the future of the Treo Pro?

2. When will it be available here in the US?

A while ago, I contacted (before the Treo Pro news hit the Internet) Suncom, my carrier here in the Southeast, suggested about a month ago that I wait "until after September 8, 2008" when there would be some data phones available for Suncom (a GSM provider). As I was asking about the Palm 800w and bemoaning that there were no new Unlocked GSM phones with Palm OS, I thought the waiting comment odd. Now, maybe not!

18
by INION | Aug 22, 2008 2:06:05 PM

Andrew -

I see a picture of a button with "Palm" on it - you state that it is not the reset button. What is it?

I think HTC's involvement is more than we might suspect. This Windows Treo is radically different from previous efforts with regards to physical design.

You misunderstood my last point - I commented that the "Treo Pro is NOT technologically three years behind the competition" by which I mean that the specs are currently among the forefront of WinMob phones. This is refreshing. You make the same point in the first paragraph of your article.

How does the lack of any included software impact users with Macs? I sure hope Missing Sync will work with it.

19
by DT | Aug 22, 2008 2:07:08 PM

Palm can indeed build a nice looking phone with lots of great features. Too bad it's Window-based.

I can understand using Windows in order to attract more business clients. They now can provide a device that has the look of an iPhone but has far more functionality. However, I'll wait until a Palm OS version drops.

20
by Andrew | Aug 22, 2008 2:41:55 PM

ENE - the Treo Pro runs Windows Mobile. Insofar as transferring data to from your Palm smartphone to a Windows Mobile device the answer is yes - most of your data (Contacts, Calendar, Tasks, Notes) can be easily transferred.

Max - the Palm OS as it exists today may only be around for another couple of years but the Palm OS 2 (NOVA) should be released at the end of this year and new smartphones such as the Treo Pro will be launched with it.

The Treo Pro will be available unlocked in the US in the fall.

Inion - I honestly don't know what the button with the Palm logo is. It appears to just be a cover for a screw but it may be something else.

Also, while there is no software included in the box Palm have introduced a unique feature (a first for any WM device) which has all the typical CD software data directly built into the Treo Pro. Just plug it to your PC and everything gets installed automatically (very simple and very clever). Not yet sure how this impacts Mac users though.

Cheers, A.

21
by John H | Aug 22, 2008 3:00:33 PM

Any idea when we might hear anything on US carriers? Its hard for me to get excited about the phone without any idea who might support it and when.

22
by Daniel T | Aug 22, 2008 3:10:12 PM

A lot of pple seem to confuse the price of the Treo and the iPhone;

1st of all, the iPhone is a heavily subsidized device, costing $499/$599 respectively if purchase unlocked

2nd, the iPhone requires a mandated ATT $30/mo data plan, ie. $360/yr, thats $720 after a 2yr contract on top of required plan minute costs & phone costs

3rd, iPhone & TP (not to be confused with toilet paper) are very different devices; iPhone is prosumer, media toy; TP is business productivity purposed and targetted at very diff. audience (the power user)

4th, TP has all the features of the iPhone + WM productivity, and VoiceDialing to boot, cut/copy/paste, A2DP, full usable hard keyb

You can tell where my bias is and that I'll be in line for a new shiny TP

Presently a 750 owner; formerly a 650 owner ... Palm Forever!

23
by tgwaste | Aug 22, 2008 3:28:21 PM

Hi,

Firstly, thanks for all the info Andrew! I have some questions and or concerns though that maybe can eventually be answered:

1> If the phone cost $200 I would not be picky about this but since its $600 I have to ask. How does this phone feel quality wise? If I buy an expensive HTC TYTN2 for example the back has a soft rubbery surface that FEELS expensive. The back of this phone looks like it feels like cheap plastic (like the centro).

2> Since the screen is now flush i can imagine that screen protectors will look somewhat lame covering the top of the phone while on the older treos the screen was recessed so you didnt notice the protector. Perchance is the screen glass now so as not to need a protector so much?

3> I would too like to know what the button labeled 'Palm' does. :)

4> Do you have the option of NOT installing the software EVER when you plug in the phone? I dont really use actisync or any of that so do not want to have to install the software on my PC.

5> Does the key-guard work the same as on the rest of the treos? Ive never had a windows treo but on all of the rest of the windows devices that Ive had when I get a phone call the key-gaurd was completely ignored and I could hit keys with the phone in my pocket. So my question is is the key-gaurd always on (even when getting a call) or does it go off for certain circumstances?

6> Lets see what the threaded messaging looks like! :)

7> Most windows devices have a 320x240 screen. Since this has a 320x320 screen do you notice a difference in quality?


I think thats it for now..

thanks!

-tgwaste

24
by Travis | Aug 22, 2008 3:54:15 PM

25
by Mdlsimpson | Aug 22, 2008 4:56:34 PM

I for one feel that the unlocked price is in the ballpark for a device of such capability... for example, you could buy an Treo 680 unlocked when it first came out for $499 but if you purchased thru AT&T with a 2 year contract you could get it for $199-250

Just go to MobilePlanet.com and check out the prices on UNLOCKED GSM phones.... this is in the same arena

You are not having to tie yourself to a particular carrier's offerings with a 1-2 year commitment. You have freedom to change....

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