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Treo Windows Mobile: 100% Official Now

Well, it finally happened and I was there live to see one of Palm’s most important announcements ever unfold, ask some questions and snap some pictures.  Above (from left to right) are Joe Fabris demoing the Treo 700w standing next to Verizon’s CEO, Bill Gates and Ed Colligan… 

I will be in meetings and interviews for most of the day and will post more information as soon as I have a minute (so far all I can say is that there will be many positive developments from this announcement as well as some negative ones) but in the meantime, I recommend that you visit Palm’s website where you’ll find a full webcast of the event as well as the entire version of their press release below.

“SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 26, 2005 -- Mobile-computing pioneer Palm, Inc. (Nasdaq: PALM) and software pioneer Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) today announced a strategic alliance to accelerate the smartphone market segment with a new device for mobile professionals and businesses. Palm has licensed the Microsoft(R) Windows Mobile(R) operating system for an expanded line of Treo(TM) smartphones, the first of which will be available on Verizon Wireless’ national wireless broadband network. The news was revealed in a press conference with Ed Colligan, president and chief executive officer of Palm, Inc.; Bill Gates, chairman and chief software architect of Microsoft Corp.; and Denny Strigl, president and chief executive officer of Verizon Wireless.”

UPDATE: If you’d like to jump directly to my questions in the webcast you can jump to 39.25 and 51.40 minutes.

My first question asked Verizon's CEO if they planned to continue their support of Treo PalmOS devices in the future. He replied that they would continue to support the Treo 650 but he did not commit to future PalmOS Treo smartphones.

My second question to Ed & Bill was related to Palm's improvement to the Windows Mobile OS. I asked whether Palm would retain an exclusivity to these improvements or whether they would in the future become available across all Windows Mobile devices. Ed replied that they would try to patent new technology if and when possible but that above all he is interested to keep Palm competitive with leading innovations.

Treonauts will soon be as ubiquitous as… Windows… 

Posted by Andrew on September 27, 2005 at 05:33 AM

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by grandboulevard | Sep 26, 2005 2:56:57 PM

Hell froze over again...

by Keith | Sep 26, 2005 3:04:56 PM

Anyone watch "The Devil's Advocate" lately?? Bill will send up the girls, but there's gonna be hell to pay....

by Lon | Sep 26, 2005 3:45:19 PM

Any word on when Sprint will be getting this phone?

The one thing that really irks me about these frequent phone releases is that existing customers are generally barred from buying them unless they pay full price.

I had to buy my 650 on Ebay in order to get one at a reasonable price.

by A. Davis | Sep 26, 2005 4:32:43 PM

Lon - Sprint got a 90 exclusive on the CDMA 650. Cingular had a 90 day exclusive on the GSM 650. I'd expect that Verizon to get a 90 day exclusive and since its due at the beginning of Q01 '06, I'd guess a Jan-Mar or a Feb to April timeframe. Until Sextel... err I mean Nextel... errr I mean Sprint gets a better EVDO rollout going, your 650 is probably the perfect device for you... unless, of course, your clamoring for a WM powered device.

In any case, if you want to save some money, take a look at an article I wrote for PalmAddicts about getting your smartphone for half the price:


by Felipe | Sep 26, 2005 4:42:51 PM

according to the conf, dont expect a second carier to mid 2006.

by Felipe | Sep 26, 2005 4:44:31 PM

according to the conf, dont expect a second carier to mid 2006.

by Felipe | Sep 26, 2005 4:47:47 PM

according to the conf, dont expect a second carier to mid 2006.

by A. Davis | Sep 26, 2005 5:46:46 PM

Hey Andrew... congrats on getting your comment in there... :)

by A. Davis | Sep 26, 2005 6:07:02 PM

Make that two comments... :)

by vaylen | Sep 26, 2005 6:23:47 PM

I have a 320x320 screen I'm extremely happy with. Now, if they release a windows mobile device with a 480x480 screen, then I'll think about upgrading. But all the extra speed of EVDO means nothing if I have to squint at web pages loading quickly at a mere 240x240.

by A. Davis | Sep 26, 2005 6:28:38 PM

I just spent the better part of an hour going over the webcast again. Some interesting things came out of the Q&A:

1) Ed was asked about other platforms and he laughingly said "No". The way the question was asked and the way he answered it gave the impression that Palm is focusing solely on PalmOS and Windows Mobile 5.0. This really makes ones wonder about PalmSource's (now Access') plans to bring Palm to Linux. In fact, Ed was asked about Linux and a huge smile came to Bill's face. I'm now starting to wonder if we'll ever see a Linux-based Treo. I wouldn't be the least bit surprised to see the license deal with Microsoft include a no-Linux clause. Microsoft, of course, sees Linux making huge inroads into the server and desktop marketplace. The last place it wants to see Linux is the mobile marketplace. Perhaps, with PalmSource's focus on porting to Linux, this is why Palm didn't buy them up and let Access have them.

2) Ed made an interesting comment about storage. He says that he expects to see 16GB SD cards on the market at reasonable prices in the near future. Considering the NDA's and such he would've signed, I can only see his comment as a sign of future storage that is probably very imminent.

3) Another interesting comment was Ed's answer about WiFi. He basically said it was available via the SD slot and would be built-in in future Palm devices (not necessarily Treos). We all know there are no drivers for SDIO WiFi on our 600's or 650's. And the leaked Engadget pics showed SDIO WiFi on the new 700. So, now I'm thoroughly confused about the lack of WiFi drivers for the 600/650 and why Ed's answer made it sound like it was presently doable.

4) I was curious why no one mentioned the pending Palm class-action suit. Does this mean that if a future Treo 700 *sucks* that people get to sue Palm AND Microsoft?

Lastly, and I thought this was particularly humorous... at the end of the Q&A while the boys were posing for pictures, there's a song being played in the background. I don't know its title or composer, but two parts of the lyrics jumped out at me:

"once in a lifetime" and "shoulder to cry on". Ironic in that this partnership of Palm & Microsoft was once in a lifetime and that many of us Palm die-hards now feel like we need a shoulder to cry on.

by Joe | Sep 26, 2005 6:52:19 PM

Why would anyone want this phone if you wanted a WM 5.0 device? I just don't get it. The Sprint 6700 looks like a great form factor for a WM 5.0 device and it is already out. Same size as TREO but has a full-sized screen.

Now, for those of us who prefer POS, I guess we are just screwed. I still say Treo 650 is the best thing out there, but it may be the last we see of POS in a smartphone --- maybe there will be another Garnet version of a TREO. But there will never be a cobalt version, and who knows what PalmSource will ever release when all is said and done. . . .

by Keith | Sep 26, 2005 7:08:41 PM

Here's hoping the recent comments from the Motorola CEO, combined with the demise of PalmOS will push Steve Jobs to bring an OSX based phone/PDA device running iCal and Mail to market.

by Hyponomous | Sep 26, 2005 7:28:03 PM

I am not impressed with the features yet.

-- Contact someone quickly from the Today Screen and choose between home, office or mobile numbers, or select email or SMS. With only two letters entered, a customer can find a record from among thousands of contacts;

-- Reach people most often called via photo speed dials visible as a band of images on the Today Screen;

-- Decline a call with a friendly SMS, signaling "In a meeting" or "Talking with the boss" instead of simply ignoring the call; and

-- Rewind, delete or fast-forward through work or cell phone voicemail with familiar and consistent on-screen icons.

by Rich...! | Sep 27, 2005 2:51:29 AM

This is wierd, surely most treo fans arent simply fans of the form-factor, but more the OS?

I can't see myself migrating to what I feel is a clunky OS, I loved palm's simplicty.

Oh well...!

by Christopher | Sep 27, 2005 3:14:33 AM

One simple question : So the Treo 700w can provide push-email thanks to the Exchange server update that allows this feature. What about those users that don't have Exchange? How are they supposed to get push-email?

This really only targets the business clients, not the least of which is only targeting Exchange users ( What about Lotus Notes ?) Is this 700w for the consumer or for the business person?

Can WM 5.0 give you push email on the Treo 700w if you have non-Exchange accounts such as Yahoo! or AOL ?

Chattermail is already doing a good job in this latter respect, so how does the Treo 700w size-up to this?

How can Verizon hope to whoo their public client as well as their business clients if this push-email feature should only remain something inherent and unique to Exchange, but is not dispersed among other email services?

Questions, questions, questions....Any thoughts?

by Fred | Sep 27, 2005 6:16:30 AM

I'd like to see a survey with these questions:
Do you see this as the beginning of
1. Palm and Microsoft co-existing harmoniously
2. Microsoft taking over the smartphone market and eventually shutting down Palm.

by A. Davis | Sep 27, 2005 10:39:38 AM

Christopher - at $60 to $80 for unlimited EVDO data plans and a higher price for the 700 due to the EVDO radio (as alluded to in the press conference), you can be sure that Verizon (if not Palm & M$) are targeting this at businesses and mobile professionals (people that would likely have a hosted Exchange-type solution). Interestingly, the *free* push email for Exchange requires Exchange 2003 which many have been slow to adopt. This is a way of encouraging adoption. For people like myself that provide Exchange 2000, you can use the push features of Chatter Email or SnapperMail, or continue to use the Palm OS and a 650 and implement a GoodLink solution. As for Lotus Notes, you got me... I haven't used it in years...

by Brandon | Sep 27, 2005 10:43:21 AM

I personally cant wait for this phone to come out. Im just afraid I will go broke trying to afford it. Finally a phone that has a REAL web browser in it. That pile of crap Blazer is so tired out. I used the internet explorer on a friends dell axim and it was incredible.

by TazUk | Sep 27, 2005 12:39:51 PM

A REAL web browser as you put it is kinda limited when running on a 240 x 240 screen ;o) If you don't like Blazer there are other browsers that run on PalmOS but again your limited to the screen size of the Treo.

by A. Davis | Sep 27, 2005 2:08:16 PM

Christopher - you asked about Lotus Notes. Well, check out GoodLink's announcement that hit the newswires today:


"The combination of GoodLink, GoodAccess and the Treo smartphone based on
Microsoft Windows Mobile 5.0 delivers a powerful wireless messaging and
corporate data access solution for mobile enterprises with Microsoft Exchange
and, in the future, IBM Domino and Novell Groupwise corporate email systems."

Looks like pretty soon you'll be able to pick any device that GL supports (Palm or WM based) and any of the popular mail servers (Exchange, Domino (for Lotus Notes), Groupwise, etc).


by Ben A | Sep 27, 2005 3:56:16 PM

I've used previous versions of WM and is the reason I love using my treo Palm OS. It has never been user freindly and despite the fast Verizon network, I doubt i'll switch over. Also if the screen resolution is actually less than the 650, than forget it.

by Christopher | Sep 28, 2005 12:40:00 AM

Thanks TazUK & Fred. So basically its a toy that not everyone can share in; meaning, you've got to go corporate to tap the *free* push type email service that other users have come to know with either their Blackberrys or Treo's w/ Chattermail. Will it be possible to get the Treo 700w without EVDO service as an obligated clause of purchase? EVDO alone costs $60 + Wireless Push Email ( figuring you don't have Xchange 2003) + Voice plan.

This whole 700w & 700p concept reminds me of the Micro$haft desire for business users to buy Win2K but telling normal consumers that "this is not an Operating system for you" - instead telling consumers to continue using the crappiest OS ever WinME or to wait for WinXP Home Ed. . Anyway, I digress...

What the Treo 700p (Palm) needs, when it does come out, is a free multi-platform compatible push email client, a better integrated interface that is beyond easy to navigate with just the directional pad, more robust multimedia features, and hopefully WiFi along with the standard EVDO or GSM/GPRS/EDGE radio ability. The top two are really what is needed to leverage all the hoopla regarding the WM 5.0 announcement.

That is if Palm wants to attract non-business clients b/c lets not lie - many of these individuals, we the consumers, are today's Palms' loyal clients.

(This could change however :)

If they don't play both sides of the field, meaning if Palm jumps the gun and plays the business sector, then they risk cutting themselves off from the normal consumer base due simply to lack of investment/development.

Consumers will immediately see this if the same level of innovation in the Treo 700w is not ported over to the 700p. Some will buy, but many may not upgrade just b/c its not worth it. They'll most likely be targeting the oldie crowd - those that purchased the 600 but not 650 b/c they were waiting for something monumental before paying all that $$$.

Blackberry RIM is of course considering all that is transpiring and I wouldn't be surprised if they were thinking about targeting the normal consumer that always wants to have his/her emails and remain in touch. Already in a seize for that audience, they are adding in a standard IM client - a very consumer type of an application - into their latest BBerry. With their server software at an overly expensive $5000 per 20 users (I think its that much), they'll probally lower their price and license their software as soon as they bring the NTP fight to a close. Beyond being compatible with Lotus & Xchange, their software is already compatible with regular ESP's (email service providers) such as Yahoo!, AOL, etc. and it can be configured for dozens more. Lower server/client costs, RIM will expect the cellular companies to pass those savings onto the consumers to make it sell. You can fill in the rest on how this will work to the consumers' favor.

Palm would need to play it like a champ - heeding some (if not all) of my suggestions earlier will defintely help make it a powerhouse phone to be rivaled by no other, as they now stand to take over both the business and consumer sectors.

Boy, that was alot! Feel free to criticize :)

by ningunocojones | Sep 28, 2005 6:03:47 PM

Bad news...

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