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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


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).


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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by 600 5 - 650 0 | Oct 14, 2006 9:11:19 AM

Over the years I have happily moved through the Palm 3, 5x, Treo 180g, and 600 devices, until upgrading to the 650 2 years ago.

The Treo 600 was by far the best Palm Product I have ever used. On the UK's Orange network at lease, the 650 took all the features that were intuitive, quick and convenient in the 600, and d*cked around with them. There is not enough space here to list by how much. As a starter for 10, however, why on earth on the 650 did one lose the ability to type a name from the very first screen and go straight to a contact? Why did it continually crash? Why did it jettison 600's clean Email software and UI for the dog's dinner that is "Versamail"? And why was none of the data stored in the 600s SMS and email databases compatible and transferable to the 650? Did it not occur to Palm that loyal users might be migrating from one device to another?

I laboured with the 650 for a year, and grew so frustrated with it that I finally threw it down once too often in annoyance - and the screen cracked. I would have happily gone back to my 600 had it not been stolen a few weeks prior. I am humbly using the museum piece that is he 180g until I can find an unlocked 2nd hand 600.

Until Palm get out from under the thumb of the mobile operators and introduce a Palm OS Treo with Wi-Fi, I for one won't be upgrading to the 680, 650.8 or whatever it's called.

by Wai2k | Oct 14, 2006 10:36:06 AM

I love my Treo 650 but I can't help but to feel a bit dissapointed with the Treo 680. If this devices was released 18 months ago, Palm would have dominated the Smartphone market.

For the current 650 user, it is easy enough to get excited about this device as it solves so many of the usability and memory problems of the 650. But that's it, it doesn't really make any advancement on the technology of the 650. Makes one wonders why Palm didn't produce this device when it initially released the 650. There is no technology on the 680 which wasn't already widely available at the beginning of last year.

I hope thought that Palm succeeds in this endeavour of trying to reach out to new users, so that they can put some money into making a Treo that we old Treo users can be proud of.

by Duncan | Oct 14, 2006 11:39:32 AM

Just got finished reading all of the comments and it took til the last one (Wai2k) for me to agree with someone. I had a 600 the day it came, then the 650 the day it came out and I'll probably get a 680 the day it comes out. The memory upgrade alone is probably worth it, but it's certainly not the jump in tech I was hoping for, but whatever. Until they replace my iPod Video, DSLR and PSP with the best friggin' Treo ever, I'll never be totally happy, and I'm guessing some of you won't either. (OK, the DSLR may be a bit of a stretch :o)

All that said, if Palm can sell millions of these things and make bank doing it, it'll only help them (and the accessory market). SO I say do whatever you've got to to increase market share and keep moving toward that best Treo ever... I'll call it the Treo 940a (Access with a 40 GB HDD, bee-aches)!!!

To all you who are pissed, upset or talking about buying other products, have at it. You'll be back. Treo's are simply the best smartphones made (PERIOD).

by Glen | Oct 14, 2006 11:47:44 AM

It appears to me that not a lot of the treonauts on this forum are developers. To understand what's going on with Palm Inc. you also have to look at PalmSource (i.e. Access). I am a member of the Access Developer Network. I have observed that it currently appears that Access intends to replace PalmSource's Palm OS Cobalt aspirations with ALP while continuing is support of Palm OS Garnet (OS 5) as it continues to be a useful and practical platform. PalmSource's original plan, pre-Access, was to have two OS offerings Cobalt and Garnet. Palm OS is NOT going away. RELAX!

Regarding the 680, more is not always better. The primary important new features offered by the 680 are improved phone application, increased memory, Bluetooth 1.2 and the internal antenna. The biggest feature improvement will be PRICE!!! Big note though: this is an EDGE device. It's not EvDO or 3G. This phone, in my mind, is intended to replace the 650 and introduce the smartphone to a new market sector: soccer mom's, high school text fiends, college students, budding business people, etc. who would not previously thought of or acted on purchasing a 650 or 700. Think of it as recycling and hotrodding existing tried and tested technology.

Will the 700w, 700wx, and 700p die soon? The 700 series has faster data speeds with EvDO (sadly no 3G), a 1.3 megapixel camera and similar memory to the 680. It has enough feature differences to stand for a while.

My gut tells me that we will not see ALP on the 750, at least not this year.

On the 650, I love mine. When asked if I like it, my reply is, "Pry it from my cold, dead hand". As a developer I absolutely torture this thing. In a development day I cause the thing to crash 20-30 times as I try to harden my code and try out new ideas. It's my job to make it crash until I can't make it crash anymore (okay and to fix the code that makes it crash). I don't understand why so many people have whined about the 650. My personal opinion is that the GSM Treo seems to be a better electronic device than the CDMA device. That is an observation based on reading forum posts not on scientific data. I work for a development company with around 20 GSM 650s in its arsenal. I accidentally spilled nearly a full cup of coffee with cream and sugar into the keyboard of my first 650. I immediately pulled the battery and repeatedly dunked the keyboard into a glass of distilled water to rinse out the coffee. I continued to use that Treo for development for 3 more months until I decided to send it in for repair because the 'G' key was sticky (they replaced it). That same Treo endured an end over end tumble in it's leather case down a paved hill when it slipped out of my hand on a run. My second 650 is great with no issues, self-induced or otherwise. It our pool of Treos, we have only had one fail in some electronic capacity (to do with the radio overheating and then failing).

I think the 680 will be the last Treo for 2006. I was reading Palm's Oct. 12th press release listing the 700w, 700p, 750v and 680. As I recall from an old Treonauts post we were expecting 4 Treos by the end of the third quarter of 2006 (they didn't quite make it I guess - 4th quarter it is!).

I for one welcome the spread of the Treo to an expanding market sector. It means more potential work for me as a developer. It is the mission of the company I am working for to put smartphones into the hands of the blue-collar workers for the mobile collection of data. More Treo sales please.

Long live Palm Inc., long live Palm OS (okay ALP is good too) and long live the Treonauts!

by Matt | Oct 14, 2006 2:20:08 PM

I certainly hope the comment midway through about Palm being done with the Palm OS entirely now is incorrect. If the company wanted to focus on WM5/Symbian or something else, why partner with Google, Yahoo, etc for custom Palm OS offerings? I would really like to be a fly on the wall somewhere at Palm about now so I can figure out what is making them drag their feet. Does anyone have sales numbers for treos running Palm vs those running WM5? I, like many others on this forum, want one thing (ok, maybe not ONE, but bear with me):

A GSM/GPRS treo using the form factor of the 680/750, capable of full 3G+ data speeds (UMTS/HSDPA). 1.3+mp cam is nice, sure, but is not _nearly_ a dealmaker or breaker for me in this device. Not nearly as much as support for v. large SD cards (8+ GB), for example. Price doesn't really concern me at this point in the game (since we're talking fantasy anyway). Oh, I would also very much like it if Bluetooth networking was easier so as to use my bloody fast 3G data connection on my Macbook.

At this point, I want it to run Palm OS, but even I am frustrated at this point with Garnet. We REALLY need the ability to multitask, among many other shortcomings. So at this point, I am not saying I would buy this device with Windows Mobile, but if I don't see anything positive with relation to PalmOS, what choice is left to me?

by Bill Wood | Oct 14, 2006 5:46:02 PM

Re post number 26 by "600 5 - 650 0" you asked why did "one lose the ability to type a name from the very first screen and go straight to a contact?" Actually, this is just a configuration under General Preferences in the Phone App. You can set it so that "Typing starts Contacts search".

by Tunji Afonja | Oct 14, 2006 6:01:46 PM

by Eduardo | Oct 15, 2006 2:59:11 AM

by PJ Arts: Treo Editor for Palm Addict blog | Oct 15, 2006 1:07:43 PM

I was at the NYC Press Conference, and actually played with a Treo 680 for a while. As I own both a Treo 650 (now used by my father-in-law), and a Treo 700p, I'll tell you why a Treo 650 owner would want to upgrade to this device (unless they are locked into a CDMA contract). Keep in mind that the Treo 680 is targeted at the low-end market of first-time smartphone buyers...not the Treo's usual clientle of well-heeled business users:

- UNLOCKED (use on any GSM network)

- INEXPENSIVE: the 680 will come in around the pricepoint of the Blackberry Pearl and Motorola Q...not the 700 series

- LIGHTER/SMALLER: Unless you hold it in your hand, you cannot believe how much lighter and slimmer the 680 is then the 650 and 700 series.

- NEW MANUFACTURER: Palm did not have HTC build this one; and, Ed Colligan said that the radio alone made this the best wireless device that Palm has ever launched

1) Twice the memory (RAM and user-accessible)

2) Blazer (improved caching, built-in streaming video/audio)

3) Newly tweaked/stabilized version of Palm OS (the UI is now tabbed, and features other enhancements to make it very easy to use)

4) New version of Versamail, with MS Outlook Exchange ActivSync that lets you choose which/all you want wirelessly sync'd with your company's server...mail, tasks, contacts, calendar. Also handles 2GB+ attachments

5) Newer version of Bluetooth

6) Many of the user enhancements introduced with the Treo 700p (add phone# to existing user, text reply to caller, SMS thread display that looks like IM session, etc.)

1) Google Maps
2) TypePad (mobile blogging)
3) Latest version of DocumentsToGo: Read/edit/create WORD & EXCEL docs. View Powerpoint and Adobe .pdf...with no conversion required
4) Yahoo! Music
*During initial sale (exclusively through Palm's web-store), the 680 will have a terrific, free music bundle:
*Upgrade to PocketTunes Deluxe
*1GB memory card
*Stereo earbuds
*Free, 30-day subscription to Yahoo! Music

Is this going to be everyone's cup-of-tea? Nope. However, for the first-time smartphone buyer, it offers a powerful suite of applications, unmatched integration of phone/email/web/pda, the best smartphone screen on any device...and all at a pricepoint far below any other Treo. The 680 will find great favor with people coming to smartphones and Treos for the first time, and not looking for a business monster.

by Alex Mayorga Adame | Oct 15, 2006 4:02:00 PM


Yahoo! Music !?!?!?, Done deal.

I'll be dropping my 600 for this one then.

Just please confirm A2DP and Wi-Fi card support.

by morrie | Oct 15, 2006 5:54:29 PM

thank you poster #31 for the tip allowing me to get to my contacts by just starting to type a contact. i'm surprised that i never discovered my self after almost 2 years. i missed that automatic feature in my 600.

by Jnetty | Oct 15, 2006 11:17:12 PM

I was really excited at checking out the new Treo 680 in person at Digital Life 2006. The DigitalLife map said Palm was present but on Saturday when I went, I never saw a Palm booth :-(

by sombody | Oct 16, 2006 8:35:45 AM

to update or not to update, that's not not the question...
The tx was slower than the T5, less memory, not USB (but WIFI) price was smaller than the T5.

But it is a great PDA for new palm users.
So for a lot of new palm users it will be a great discovery to see that their or easy OS. So you can use the different options of your phone, without clicking 20 times to reach the object..

by Gregg | Oct 16, 2006 9:02:01 AM

I believe that the main question to ask is how does this differ from the 650? Understandably that it would be nice to have a GSM version of the 750, is the 680 more stable than the 650? Although I love my 650, it does have some stability issues with periodic reboots and such. Also, if this is offered as an unlocked unit from the beginning, and it is in fact a more stable unit, I would gladly pay the extra $200 to buy one so I dont have to get a new contract and obligate myself for another 2 years. I somehow remember the 650 being $600 for an unlocked version. Also, unlocked versions were not available for some time after the 650 was released. With all that said, keep an eye out for the new iPhone from Apple...coming in early 2007. :o)

by Anon | Oct 16, 2006 4:34:12 PM

Well I'll be, if the Dual Vehicle Outlet Splitter doesn't look like a cock-and-balls.

by anon | Oct 16, 2006 8:23:10 PM

The Treo 680 needs only 1 feature: a low price. Palm was staking out the high-end. HTC is a hit with their MDA, SDA and Dash (and related devices), producing usable devices for much much less than a Treo. I never bought a Treo because I could not justify the "premium" of an integrated device as compared to the individual prices of cell phones and PDAs. The 680 promises to change that, I just hope it delivers.

Regarding the opinions that the 680 doesn't represent an upgrade against the 650. Just look at the Motorola RAZR market. V3, V3i, V3t, etc., and folks keep "upgrading" from RAZR to RAZR. Palm needs to update and tweak this platform each year, specialize it for different markets, and keep it fresh. With a low price, folks will upgrade each year. With the money that rolls in, create new form factors with Palm's magic sauce: flip phone, slider, slide-out-keyboard. Maybe even take some of that money and figure out how to integrate WiFi!!

by Jo | Oct 17, 2006 10:15:48 AM

Ooh, the orange one looks marvellous - I would buy it instantly if it had WiFi.

Unfortunatly I might have to buy a Nokia instead. Not good.

by Sal | Oct 19, 2006 11:56:00 AM

Considering the 680 is the same as 650 is almost everyway except form factor and internal memory, is there a way to load the new OS enhancements (NEW UI, IMPROVE BLAZER and versamail) to our old 650s. That would awesome.

Thanks Sal

by Chris | Oct 24, 2006 8:23:08 PM

I can't read any more discussion about Treo's! I've been doing it for hours. Can anyone answer me this: I'm a adult business man, fairly computer savy. I need a phone that will take data from my ACT! database on my computer. I need to make phone calls, conference calls, look up addresses, list contacts with various companies, have a calandar and appointment schedule, send and receive email, have blue tooth. I do not need: cameras, videos, music, games. I suspect Palm is the way to go but which? The 680 looks interesting but...?

by NoXious | Feb 27, 2007 10:04:05 PM

I have had my treo 680 for nearly 2 months now.
It's awesome! But......
My bluetooth headset keeps getting dropped by the treo. Motorolas don't do that. Pocket tunes application often causes unit to crash. Songs have to be individually added to the memory card or they will all show up on treo with same title as first of batch. Funny the titles stay intact in all my other sd card enabled players. Anyways; great device, protect it with metal case. I got one on ebay and it has potentially saved my treo 4 times already. Next step up from treo is apple iphone? I got iphony skin on my treo LOL! So funny. I understand that blackberry's are better for mail and less expensive too. Treo user came back from mexico with blackberry user. Both travelled together and got a number of emails while in mexico. Both on same network too. The difference? Treo user got $750 roaming bill. Blackberry user paid no extra charges. Hmmmmmmmmm?
I will probably get a 'Crackberry' next.

by Andrew | May 30, 2007 12:04:46 PM

Are we aware of BT problems with the 680? I used a Plantronics discovery 640 with my 650 and loved it! I tried to use it with the 680 and it wouldn't recognize certain button functions on the phone, like hitting certain numbers to store VM messages etc. Palm shows it as compatable but plantronics says that palm changed a BT chip in the 680 and 700 making the entire plantronics line incompatable. I am having to use an older Jabra 250v that seems to be working okay, just wanted something smaller with noise reduction. Plantronics stated that palm is aware of the chip problem, but I can't get palm to admit the phone has a compatability problem, they just keep me performing hard resets!!!

by jeffrey | Jun 3, 2007 12:02:09 PM

hi need a software that will send and receive sms in chinese. can anybody recommend one. I tired using "ckjos" but it lets me change me change my palm into other language but not my sms messages.

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