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Is that a ___ in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?

Michael Ducker over at TreoCentral posted a very interesting editorial following palmOne’s acquisition this week of all the rights to the original Palm brand where he asks a simple question that is difficult to answer.  Namely, when people ask you what the device (your Treo) that you’re holding in your hand is, what do you answer?

Michael puts forth the three most likely current answers:

  1. A smartphone
  2. A communicator
  3. A mobile phone with email, organizer, messaging, and web access

His own personal favourite is “a Palm Pilot cellphone” which he found to be the one that most people could instantly understand.  Personally, I just say that I’m holding “a Treo, the best smartphone in the world” which naturally immediately spikes people’s curiosity and then ask me to demo my Treo 650 to them – after 5 mins they’re typically ready to buy one…

Seriously though, I had thought about this entire description issue a few months ago and wondered how other complex technology product categories had managed to establish themselves in people’s minds.  For example, I looked at the computer and asked myself how I would go about explaining to someone who had never seen one what a computer is.  It does so many things that there is in fact no straightforward answer much as is the case with our Treo.

So, what should we call the all-in-one marvel that Treonauts carry with them at all times?  We all know that it’s a phone, a computer, a pda, mp3 player, movie player and ebook reader among many others but what are the ones that would narrow it down?  Surely some of the biggest brains around must have thought about this very same issue so what could we possibly add?  Should it be a word, combo-word or an acronym?  How long or short?

You’ll remember that it was Apple that coined the term PDA – short for personal digital assistant – back in the days of the Newton and it was one that for good or for bad stuck.  As we all know the Palm Pilot and later devices were all categorised as PDA’s but with the advent of our Treo some people have suggested that a new moniker is required.

Ideally though there would actually be no need to create a new category description at all.  Instead, we could simply use the word Treo which should grow to mean the best “all-in-one communication, information and entertainment tool”.

Perhaps you’ve thought of something much better and would like to share it with your fellow Treonauts below?

The Treo Description
1. How would you describe your Treo?

It's a smartphone
It's a communicator
It's a mobile phone with email, organizer, messaging, and web access
It's an all-in-one communication, information and entertainment tool
My Treo doesn't require a description - everyone should know what a Treo is
Other (please add below)

2. My own personal description of a Treo is:

Click Here to View Current Results

The Power of the Palm Brand [TreoCentral]

Treonauts are so special it’s hard to describe

Posted by Andrew on May 29, 2005 at 01:19 AM

Treo Opinion

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by Felipe | May 29, 2005 5:17:38 PM

more importantly, where did u get the pic of the lady with the treo?


by Rudy | May 30, 2005 2:28:00 AM

"... spikes people’s curiosity and then ask me to demo my Treo 650 to them."

I've been wondering how to do a 'proper' show-off demo. Perhaps you could write a little about your methods and software to evangelize the Treo? It would be really great if someone could write a software that automates all these (show pictures, plays MP3s - perhaps in a video?)... much like "Quick Tour" but more showy.

by Andrew | May 31, 2005 4:24:02 AM

Felipe - that's a professional secret... ;-)

Rudy - absolutely agree with you and I am coincidentally working on a solution which hopefully will be ready very soon.

Cheers, A.

by Rudy | Jun 2, 2005 10:45:24 AM

That's great to hear. Enjoy your travels!

by ROB | Jun 12, 2005 4:19:49 PM

wish I had a TREO 650 but I am stuck with a Palm M130 which is called 'THINGY ' from the 'Adams Family' TV show remember the hand (palm). 'Thank you thing' OR My wife saying stop playing with that *** thing. can hope I may have one soon, Fathers Day is coming up.


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