Round Robin Review: CrackBerry goes Palm Treo Pro

CrackBerry's Final Impressions of Palm's Treo Pro
By Kevin Michaluk on 24 Nov 2008 10:04 am EST

Soooo Close, Yet Sooo Far for This CrackBerry Addict

[ This is an official Smartphone Round Robin post! Every day you reply to an official Round Robin blog post or forum thread on, you automatically gain an entry ballot for a chance to win a BlackBerry Bold, Spare Bold Battery, and Case Mate Second Skin! If you somehow still don't know what this is all about, visit!! ]  

My Time with Palm’s Treo Pro has come to an end. After getting over the initial withdrawal symptoms of being forced to kick my BlackBerry Bold habit cold turkey (life without it just isn’t the same), I actually got up to speed quite quickly with the Treo Pro and its Windows Mobile 6.1 operating system. Compared to the Treo 680 I used in last year’s Round Robin, the Pro seemed a lot more BlackBerry-esque in nature which helped things out. The Treo Pro’s hardware was mainly to my liking and the WinMo OS was easy enough to figure out, though the hardware/software working together made for a user experience that was often less than efficient for a newbie like me. All said and done I wouldn’t trade my Bold for a Pro even if the deal was sweetened with one hundred CrackBerry pies, but I will say that I am excited to see what Palm I’ll be using when next year’s Round Robin rolls around. In the meantime, you can Read on for my Palm Treo Pro Final Impressions >>

Preamble Ramble: My Philosophy - On The Go vs. Stop And Use Smartphones

Before we dive into the details of my Treo Pro experiences, I need to take this opportunity to bring you up to speed on my smartphone philosophy. Since we'll be comparing a few different smartphones over the weeks ahead, I'll likely refer to this philosophy on occasion so it's imperative I put it out there for you all to know up front.

Most often when you read smartphone reviews, the author puts the device under a microscope, measuring up every single hardware specification and OS feature against its predecessors and the competition. We focus on the form factor (no touch, full touch, hybrid/slider), the processor, the megs of ram, megapixels, etc. etc., with the final verdict on any given device typically decided upon where it measures up on the tale of the tape (spec sheet) compared to everything else on the market.

And while this micro approach is expected and completely necessary for keeping score (we always want to see progress being made), I personally think what's most relevant to me as a smartphone consumer is not necessarily the specifics of what's in the device; rather, how the device fits into bettering my everyday life (both in productivity and in fun!), which in my opinion, is the whole premise behind having a smartphone to begin with.

That said, I think on a macro level, smartphones generally fall into one of three categories: on the go phones, stop and use phones, and lastly, somewhere in the middle phones. BlackBerry smartphones historically are on the go phones. That's a big part of the RIM design philosophy - to add an hour to your day by turning all of those otherwise wasted one minute chunks of time (stopped at a red light, in line at a water fountain, in the bathroom, walking down the street) into productive time. For people who don't have enough hours in the day to get done all the things they want to do, having an on the go smartphone is mandatory.

I deem the iPhone to be more of a stop and use phone. I bought an iPhone 3G the day it came out, and I've carried out a ton of personal "tests" where I walk around with both my BlackBerry and iPhone in my pocket and see which one I instinctively reach for at any given time whenever the need for a smartphone arises. I rarely reach for my iPhone first when I'm out and about, especially since the arrival of the Bold (I reached for the iPhone more often when I was still on the Curve). For just about anything I would want to get done on the iPhone when I'm on the move or already doing something else, the on the go optimized BlackBerry gets it done faster and easier (though not always better - ie. web browsing). The iPhone is awesome for a lot of things (we'll talk about that device in two weeks), but for people who don't have time to stop and fully focus their attention on the phone every time they reach for it, the user experience is less than optimal. This doesn't mean you can't use a stop and use device like the iPhone on the go... but why would would you want to if you can reach for something that will get the job done faster?!! 

As you've probably figured out by now, I'm an on the go smartphone user. I'm either at a computer or else I'm out and about. When I'm at the computer I really don't need a smartphone and when I'm not at a computer then I'm all about getting schtuff done fast. I need more hours in the day - I'm not one who's looking for ways to kill time. And I think a lot of BlackBerry users out there have this same sort of mindset and set of priorities. I think this is actually one of the big reasons the BlackBerry Storm is seeing the types of mixed reviews it has. To existing BlackBerry users, moving from a trackball BlackBerry into the touchscreen Storm is a huge change as you're moving from what is essentially the ultimate on the go device to something that is now a stop and use device. As you get used to the Storm and begin to master it, it does become more of an on the go device (by far the most on the go full touchscreen smartphone I have encountered to date), but it'll never quite match up to a trackball BlackBerry for ease of on the go use and a lot of existing BlackBerry users will have difficulty going through that learning process to ever reach the point of getting it out of stop and use territory. On the other hand, many of the new Storm owners who are first time BlackBerry owners haven't been spoiled by RIM's historically ultra-efficient user experience, so they're picking up on the device without any BlackBerry baggage and are loving it (minus some of the glitches that should hopefully be addressed soon with some OS updates) - the odds are it's a hell of an upgrade compared to phone they were using previously on Verizon before purchasing the Storm.

Then there's a device like the Palm Treo Pro. I'd rate it somewhere in the middle. Out of the box and especially to a Treo/WinMo newbie like myself, it is a definitely a stop and use phone. In the first Smartphone Round Robin I went into a long ramble (much like this one I'm on right now) that the best user experience (device and operating system) came from either going no touchscreen or full touchscreen - that when you start to mix input methods (touchscreen, keyboard and navigation buttons - ie. AT&T Tilt) that things slowed down and got complicated. That was the Treo Pro when I started using it - I wasn't quite sure whether to use the touchscreen, the navigation buttons, my finger or the stylus. But with some recommendations from the TreoCentral forums (thanks JohnnyMac) and some practice, I learned to ignore the touchscreen (& stylus!) altogether and rely just on the navigation pad, keyboard and built-in shortcuts to get things done. Essentially, I turned the Palm/WinMo experience into a BlackBerry-like one.

OK. That concludes my lecture on smarpthone philosophy. Time to put the Treo Pro under the CrackBerry microscope!

Palm Treo Pro - Overview

Palm Treo Pro

The Treo Pro is Palm's latest smartphone, and unlike the Treo 680 I used previously which ran on the Palm OS, the Pro utilizes Windows Mobile 6.1 for its operating system. Like the BlackBerry Bold, the Treo Pro is what I refer to as an all-in-one device as it features 3G, GPS and WiFi all-in-one. Palm sells the device unlocked for $549 so you can easily purchase it and run it on the GSM carrier of your choice.

The thing I find funny about the Treo Pro story is that to a not in the know Palm person such as myself, it seems to not really be a Palm device at all. With the Treo Pro being manufactured for Palm by HTC and the device running WinMo, it makes you wonder where Palm actually fits into the equation. Aside from the obvious of putting their name and brand on the device, selling it and supporting it, the folks on the TreoCentral forums let me know that Palm was heavily involved in the details of the Pro's design, such as making sure the speaker port on the back of the phone was on the upward curve of the casing (so as to ensure the device still sounded good even when lying flat on the desk) and making sure the Pro had the popular shortcut keys for easy navigation.

While I don't keep up with latest smartphones news as much as I should outside of the BB space (that alone keeps me going 24/7), the word is that Palm is hard at work on their own all-new operating system. In other words, the Treo Pro is a stop gap device for loyal Palm Addicts to get their fix that should hopefully also appeal to would-be smartpone consumers looking for a feature-packed, compact smartphone.

Treo Pro Hardware Impressions

For a CrackBerry hands-on look at the Treo Pro, be sure to watch my Treo Pro Hands-On Initial Impressions Video (below). And if want the full skinny on the Treo Pro from an expert, I suggest you check out Dieter's awesome Treo Pro Review over at

Here's a quick overview of the Treo Pro's key specs:

  • Platform: Microsoft Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional Edition
  • Processor: Qualcomm MSM7201 400MHz
  • Display: 320x320 transflective color TFT flush touchscreen
  • Radio: HSDPA/UMTS/EDGE/GPRS/GSM radio ; Tri-band UMTS - 850MHz, 1900MHz, 2100MHz ; Quad-band GSM - 850MHz, 900MHz, 1800MHz, 1900MHz
  • Wi-Fi: 802.11b/g with WPA, WPA2, and 801.1x authentication
  • GPS: Built-in GPS
  • Bluetooth Wireless Technology: Version: 2.0 + Enhanced Data Rate
  • Memory: 256MB (100MB user available), 128MB RAM
  • Camera: 2.0 megapixels with up to 8x digital zoom and video capture (No Flash)
  • Battery: Removable, rechargeable 1500mAh lithium-ion; Up to 5.0 hours talk time and up to 250 hours standby
  • Expansion: microSDHC cards (up to 32GB supported)
  • Connector: MicroUSB2.0 for synchronization and charging Audio: 3.5mm stereo headset jack

The Treo Pro packs basically all of the "good stuff" you can get in a smartphone these days into a very compact package.

The Palm Treo Pro is a compact unit and fits nicely in the hand. Thoughtful care was given to the speaker location - when sitting flat the sound is not muffled.

Volume Up/Down and a Camera launch button. The Treo Pro's dedicated WiFi button is a nice touch.
The Treo Pro is Compact and Feature Packed

If the BlackBerry Bold didn't exist, the Treo Pro would be a real winner in my book. Compared to the BlackBerry Curve 8300 series (I guess we need to be sure to throw in 83xx these days so as to distinguish between the Curve 8900 that's coming out soon) the Treo Pro is jacked. Comparing the Treo Pro to the Bold is a different story however. While they are on par in terms of basic functionality (WiFi, GPS, 3G), my hypothesis is that the Bold would be the smartphone of choice between the two for a would be consumer for two main reasons: the display and the speed.

I love the fit of the Treo Pro in my hand - it's nice and narrow which makes it easy to carry in the pocket of a pair of jeans and is comfortable to hold onto when using it as a phone. With that narrow form factor comes a couple of major sacrifices though - namely a small screen and a really tight keyboard. The physical size of the Treo Pro's display would be ok if it was like the displays the Bold and Curve 8900 are packing, but compared to them the Treo Pro's screen is crap. Throw in the slightly cluttered/busy layout of Windows Mobile 6.1, and the display is cramped - I find I need to really hold the device close when looking at it and using the device. Going back to my smartphone philosophy, the cramped display is another reason why the Treo Pro is a stop and use device in my books.

My previous Windows Mobile experience was last year on the AT&T Tilt, and while the Treo Pro's 400mHz processor seems to do a much better job of powering WinMo than the Tilt did, I still found the operating system to be quite slow, especially compared to the Bold, who's 624mHz processor rocks the BlackBerry OS. When the BlackBerry Bold was introduced at WES in May, RIM's co-CEO Mike Lazaridis made mention that the Bold's killer apps were the display and speed. And he was right. Even if a Windows Mobile fan were to sit me down and offer a bajillion reasons to buy the Treo Pro over the Bold, the Bold's display and speed would win out regardless.

Sounds On/Off switch is handy. MicroUSB port and 3.5mm headset jack. The bottom location of the jack is actually quite convenient.

On the Go or Stop and Use Smartphones? The Treo Pro and Storm side by side. The Treo Pro's full qwerty keyboard is so small it's almost too small.
The Treo Pro is So Compact it's a Little TOO Compact

While I wish the Treo Pro had a better display and more speed, I could still live with both if I had to make the device my staple smartphone for the long-term. What I would have a tough time dealing with is the keyboard. If you give me a full-qwerty keyboard, I'm going to be typing on it with two thumbs. But the Treo Pro's keyboard is so narrow that you're basically forced to type with only one finger on the keyboard at a time - be it hold it in one hand and type with that thumb, or hold it in one hand and index peck at the keyboard with the other. I tried typing every way possible on the Treo Pro and no matter what, they physics of the keyboard slow you down. If any Palm Treo Pro users out there want to race me on my Bold or Curve for pink slips, shoot me an email - you're on!!

My other hardware gripe is of course the stylus! I just don't get it. There may be some people in the world who still love typing with a stylus and are proficient with it, but I personally think it needs to go the way of the dinosaurs and fast! Honestly - either give the device a display that's big enough that you can easily tap things with your finger, or skip the touchscreen altogether.

Otherwise, the Treo Pro's hardware seems solid. Build quality is very good, the 1500mAh battery life provides more than enough power for a day, and the camera takes good pictures even though it's without flash. You can zoom in on the thumbnail images to see my commentary on some of the other hardware components. All in all, the Treo Pro is a well built phone.

Windows Mobile 6.1 & the Round Robin Must-Dos

Since the Treo Pro is TreoCentral's representative phone in this year's Smartphone Round Robin and we still have the HTC Fuze coming down the pipe via, I don't want to go to too heavy into Windows Mobile specifics in this review... I need to save some of my rhetoric for the latter weeks of this event!

With Palm's team hard at work on ‘Nova,' they elected to put Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional Edition on the Treo Pro vs. the traditional Palm OS. Good decision. I still have flashbacks to my time spent on the Treo 680, when me and the Palm OS did not get along so great. I could see WHY people would love the Palm OS - especially those who were grandfathered into it from the pre-smartphone days of the Palm Pilot, but the whole separation of Phone from PDA on the 680 and the amount of third party apps that were required to bring the phone up to snuff (which then resulted in a lot of crashing) was more than I could handle (you can read my Treo 680 review here if you're curious!). I'm a big fan out of the box functionality.

The thing I like about Windows Mobile 6.1 is the familiarity factor. PC or Mac user? I'm actually both. Throughout the day I spend an equal amount of time bouncing between both platforms depending on what I'm working on at the moment (I have platform preferences for certain apps). With Windows Mobile, it's not that the operating system mirrors Windows XP or Vista in terms of appearance or navigation, but that the names and basic premise are the same: Start Menu, File Explorer, Media Player, Internet Explorer... these are all things that anybody who has ever used a PC for more than ten minutes will be familiar with. This makes feature discovery on the Windows Mobile OS quite easy - with no reading of the instruction manual or jumping onto forums you can pretty much accomplish your basic smartphone tasks.

A critical part of the Round Robin is that each editor must carry out ten Must-Dos with the device. They are:

  1. Use their assigned smartphone as their "main brain" and may not use any other smartphone OR music device (such as an iPod) for one full week.
  2. Get their PIM data onto their phone. Ideally they will 'Sync with the Cloud," but a computer sync is ok too.
  3. Get up their email on the smartphone
  4. Use their smartphone to get directions at least once.
  5. Use their smartphone with a bluetooth headset.
  6. Install at least 2 3rd-party apps (if possible) on their smartphone.
  7. Play a game
  8. Browse the internet
  9. Add music to their smartphone and use it as their music device.
  10. Watch a video on their device.

Obviously I broke Must-Do #1 just a little bit during this round, seeing as the BlackBerry Storm was just released, but I did keep the Treo Pro going as my main brain the whole time, which did mean using it on a trip to NYC. Traveling with a smartphone is definitely the true test of a device, and I'm happy to report the Treo Pro managed to scrape by just fine.

In regards to the other nine Must-Dos, working through them was easily accomplished. Getting PIM data on the phone was idiot proof. As soon as I plugged the Treo Pro into my PC via MicroUSB cable, a window popped up on the computer which guided me through the installation of Active Sync and walked me through the syncing process. RIM could pay attention to this one. Unfortunately, just like the BlackBerry, you won't be syncing to a Mac without installing a third party solution (at the time of this writing anyways).

Getting email up and running was as easy as adding my gmail account, though it wasn't "push" email and the first time setting it up I put in some settings that had the device choke on my inbox (it got stuck trying to yank in literally thousands of messages). The first thing I Googled about the Treo Pro was to see if BlackBerry Connect was available for it. Unfortunately it was not. Instead of figuring out how to get push email on the device (will save that for the Fuze), I elected to take a bit of a holiday from push...just to see what it feels like. How does it feel? It sucks! Not having push email is a definite cure for CrackBerry Addiction - with the Treo Pro I found myself reaching for the device when I wanted to rather than having it constantly "call out" to me, as does the BlackBerry.

I don't think anyone actually uses the software keyboard, so why include it?!

Getting directions on the Treo Pro was no different than on the BlackBerry (I Heart Google), as was the process of setting up a Bluetooth headset (I used the Plantronics 925). The hardest thing was actually locating the Bluetooth set-up menu!

Not completely mobile-friendly, but easy to discover and use.

The Media Player made listening to music and watching movies and videos I had loaded onto my MicroSD card easy as well, though in this area I much preferred BlackBerry's approach to the media player, which just seemed a little more optimized for easy mobile use. Per the recommendations of the TreoCentral's forum users, I also gave Kinoma a try, which is an awesome media application. Dieter did an excellent review of Kinoma Play on the Treo Pro not too long ago... you can Watch It Here.

As for the web browser, I was shocked to see just how much Pocket Internet Explorer sucked. Considering Microsoft puts out this operating system, you would think they would have made an effort a long time ago to ensure this browser is the BEST among smartphone web browsers. Instead, they took the opposite approach and decided to have it be absolutely laughable. And this is coming from a BlackBerry user who has written many a blog post criticizing the BlackBerry web browser. The overall crappiness of Pocket Internet Explorer makes me appreciate just how far RIM has come in the development of their web browser. There is still work for them to do obviously, but the browser on the Bold / Storm / Curve 8900 is substantially improved over the old BlackBerry browser we never used (since we all installed Opera Mini). Theirs is still some work to be done before it's up to par with Apple's Safari web browser in terms of speed and rendering pages (and please bring us Flash!), but for the most part it's doing an ok job on the web.

Even renders well in SkyFire

Talking to Treo users, it was apparent that for Windows Mobile 6.1, installing Opera Mobile or the all-new SkyFire Beta web browser was the way to go. As you can see from the image, SkyFire does an excellent job of rendering web pages as it's all done server side. I found the actual use of the browser and viewing of text from sites rendered in SkyFire to be a little wonky, but was impressed nonetheless. You can watch a video quick look of SkyFire here.

Windows Mobile Likes: I mentioned both of these in the initial impressions video, but they're worth repeating - I love having a full out file system on the device and I love the task/memory manager. These should be mandatory OS features on all smartphones (assuming of course the smartphone is capable of multi-tasking!).

File Explorer
Full out file management is a must have

I also love all of the third party apps available for Windows Mobile. If I had more time with the device there are at least another fifty I would install. Hopefully by the time next year's Round Robin rolls around they'll be easy to purchase and download from an on-device app store.

Windows Mobile Gripes: Considering it's called Windows Mobile, on the Treo Pro I didn't find the operating system experience to be all that mobile-friendly. Again, going back to the on the go vs. stop and use philosophy, I find it to be much more stop than go, at least on the Treo Pro. 320 by 320 pixels simply does not provide enough room for the Windows Mobile OS to be viewed and used easily (compared to 320 by 240 pixels on the BlackBerry 83xx/88xx which better uses less overall pixels to provide easy viewing and use). Holding on the phone and tapping or clicking away, I often felt more like a kid playing a game of Operation (hmm..that stylus is sort of like that pair of plastic tweezers!). While the BlackBerry Approach of dumping application icons onto the homescreen ribbon isn't as elegant nor does it provides as much information as the WinMo Today Screen approach (though switching up BlackBerry themes mimics this somewhat), I think the BlackBerry approach is better for mobile use. It's easy to do what you're doing while on the move or doing something else.

I have a feeling the more pixels you throw at Winmo, the better the experience gets

As mentioned at the beginning of this article, after making an effort to learn shortcuts and rid myself of the need to ever use the touchscreen I became more productive with the phone and it was more on the go friendly, but then I just questioned why the touchscreen and stylus were even there to begin with and why it made sense to even look at this device over a BlackBerry Bold?!! I won't even begin to talk smack about the software keyboard, which I can't believe anybody would ever actually use... though opening it every now and then when composing an email or test message sure is good for a laugh! 

Palm Treo Pro - Some Final Thoughts

Growing up I was the type of kid who always said Why? to any statement I was ever told or heard (it drove my parents and brothers crazy!). Though I've managed to get that habit under control over the years since, in using the Treo Pro I found myself asking the Why? question once again on a lot of occasions. That's why I began this with post with the image of the Palm Treo and Stylus in hand with the ridiculous software keyboard showing. I'm pretty sure 99.9% of people who use this phone will never use that microscopic keyboard, so Why even include it?

Overall, I liked the Palm Treo Pro. The hardware was uber nice, and Windows Mobile is very usable. If this was a device I owned and was going to use for the long haul I would definitely be able to get used to it and love it. The phone itself is a joy to carry around. If I had more free time during the week I spent with the Treo Pro I would have installed more applications to customize the user experience (ie. SPB Mobile Shell) and would have hacked things up to tweak it exactly to my liking. I could fully turn the Treo Pro from the stop and use type of device it is out of the box and into an on the go smartphone, which is what I personally prefer. That said, the majority of people who buy a smartphone are not going to spend hours tweaking it up, and in that respect I think the out of the box BlackBerry experience provided by the Bold puts the Bold ahead of the Treo Pro in the smartphone races.

In the end, I'm left with warm fuzzy feelings towards Palm and am looking forward to the next device they put out on the market. I hope it's a killer and makes the company a lot of money. Smartphone competition is more fierce than ever, and you'd be crazy not to cheer for the company that essentially pioneered the PDA and smartphone game.

Up Next in the Round Robin - The Android-powered G1! Stay Tuned... 

Topics: Editorial

Reader comments

Round Robin Review: CrackBerry goes Palm Treo Pro


I was wondering when we were going to see this.

"I'm left with warm fuzzy feelings towards Palm", heh, on some podcast Dieter made you out to be some smartphone hater. Glad to see you're not.

THIS! I saw someone typing on a Centro today and I just could could not help myself, so I went up to him and asked how the hell he used the plasticky buttons!

I'm a newbie on the blackberry and so far, the Treo's keyboard is at least as good or better then the BB.
Of course, give me time & I'll get used to the BB keyboard.
They look tiny, but they work VERY well!
Been using Treo for two plus years.

so it sounds like the Palm wld b an ideal fone for someone with a lil above average tech skillz...maybe an IT guy? Meh...sounds cool, but like u said, out of the Box the Bold does more easier...and that workz 4 me! Now wheres that free BOLD at? lol

Yes, excellent choice.
I'm in IT, for the past 25 years and been using Treo for the, more then 2 years.
Also, keep in mind, it comes with a terminal services client.

of the Palm. The BB has a much sleeker look and as a former TREO used I agree about the stylus 0 it's a pain. I did like the ability to "check off" multiple e-mails and delete with one touch. The BB delete after a certain date feature isn't always practical.


Kevin that was great! I agree with you about the stylus. I mean come on Palm those are useless and cost an arm and leg to replace. But I am glad that Palm has come a long way to get to where they are today. Can not wait for the G1 review!

My VZW upgrade is due in March of 2009 and I am exploring which phone to switch to. Presently I am using a Treo700p. I really do not need to check email on the run since I have access to multiple computers during my work day and of course at home. PC's at work, Macbook Pro at home. So I am exploring different smartphones-Bold, Storm, Treo Prom etc. I am a physician and depend mainly on making phone calls to offices, pharmacies,etc. So an address book to keep these contacts is critical. I also use ePocrates to access medication information, hence my initial purchase of a Palm Treo. I occasionally will text message a colleague or one of my kids. So I guess I fit in the "stop and use" category.I try to bluetooth it when driving and while working in the hospital. This smartphone round robin and (my daughter turned me onto your site)has and continues to be very helpful and your main advice as to having one figure out what exactly he or she needs out of a smartphone is spot on. Keep the information flowing. Thanks.

Reading your post on the Treo and I've tried it which belongs to my friend, I stick with Blackberry still cause it fits me. Whenever my husband asks me to fix whatever the problem is with his Treo, I try to avoid doing so and would simply give my blackberry to him to get a hold of someone! I hope to win this Bold, so I can get him to chuck the Treo and pass my curve to him to welcome him into the BB world! ;-) Please help me!! Looking at him using the Treo drives me nuts! (He's hard of hearing/deaf, so am I. I rely on my BB so much daily for both business and pleasure.)

I hate the new Treos that keyboard is way worse than you made it out to be. It is literally impossible to type on.

Love Live the Bold.

It looks like the Treo Pro isn't a bad device, but still lacks in terms of it being a premier smartphone. I still would NEVER give up my blackberry

A friend of mine has one. I tried the keys and couldn't make a word come out right with them being so small and cramped.

One thing I noticed about WiMo was the secondary cost to get the device customized to my liking. To get my old Mogul even semi usable, I spent $200 on add-on applications not including games. My Curve, $45.

WiMo likes to half implement ideas, and in order to get the full functionality, purchase a 3rd party plugin. File exploring is a perfect example. You have the WiMo super basic file browser, but to do anything useful, go buy Resco File Explorer. Windows Media Player super basic, need to upgrade to Kinoma. Not to mention must haves or the device will blow up at every opportunity, like Mem Maid. And the list goes on.

200 to spend on apps for a HTC made PDA? Wow man, I have a TyTN and I spent 0 to customize it to the way I want. It is called Xda Developers, and it makes every app HTC has available, etc...

As far as the keyboard, well that is the antiquated PDA keyboard that is part of the OS, and you know this OS is not only Palm specific, many other PDA's w/out a keyboard have it, and essentially this is a PDA or Pocket PC with phone capabilities versus the non-touch screen Windows Standard that is more comparable to Blackberries.

The keyboard however is different on the HTC touch, Diamond, etc... and essentially is as usable and intuitive as I-Phone's or the Storm's.

It looks like the Treo Pro isn't a bad device, but still lacks in terms of it being a premier smartphone. I still would NEVER give up my blackberry

I totally agree with you about the stop and go nature of other smartphones. I carried a Treo 650 for a while and it was the same way. I don't think I could ever go back to Palm, and I can't wait to get my hands on a Bold!

It looks like the Treo Pro isn't a bad device, but still lacks in terms of it being a premier smartphone. I still would NEVER give up my blackberry

It looks like the Treo Pro isn't a bad device, but still lacks in terms of it being a premier smartphone. I still would NEVER give up my blackberry

It looks like the Treo Pro isn't a bad device, but still lacks in terms of it being a premier smartphone. I still would NEVER give up my blackberry

I was looking forward to this, and the philosophy portion is actually the best part. I'm a BB user, never had a WinMo phone or an iPhone. I'm drawn to WinMo for all it can do, but I can't pull the trigger. Your "on the go" philosophy is my experience exactly. I haven't been in a Starbucks in 6 years. I don't sit around surfing the web on my phone. I use it to make calls and check e-mail when I'm away from my PC, and maybe do some browsing while in the passenger seat on long drives. In short, while the iPhone is cool, I don't know what I'd use it for. WinMo devices are more in the middle.

Absolutely. At times, I feel VERY envious of WinMo smartphone users who basically have a minicomputer in their hands but then I remember I could easily just use a dumbphone and I shouldn't be comparing my beloved Curve to a wanna-be UMPC, but something like an enV2. I could never integrate a WinMo smartphone into my life as well as I could the BB.

I always used to want a Treo, before I got my BlackBerry, but I'm still happy with my decision.

Thanks for the great review. I agree about the awkwardness of the three input methods. Palm should concentrate on one input method and optimize it. The keyboard is too small to comfortably use, the screen is too small to use your finger to touchscreen, and the stylus is a pain. When I tried it, I kept fumbling around trying to switch back and forth between one or the other.

Like I said it is there for other phones/ pda's, see the OS is essentially the same across the board, hence the ability for intuitive apps, etc...

WinMo Pro is the same on all PDAs, no matter h/w keyboard or not. I got a slider qwerty TyTN or ATT 8525, with a touch diamond keyboard which is thumb friendly and I use w/out having to slide the full qwerty in the car, on the go etc.. when I do not need long messages.

I've never used a Palm smartphone, but was a big fan of the Palm OS back in the non-phone PDA days. Nothing will tear me away from my Bold, but I would like to see a new Palm OS replace WM6.1

I thought the Treo Pro looked nice until I saw it in the store. I like the layout of the 800w alot more then the Pro and in general would put that at the top of my WinMo list of business phones (they all pretty much rank below the Bold). For more of a casual user, the new line of HTC phones (Diamond/Raphael) are nice but I still feel like its a constant struggle to get the thing to do exactly what I want which is exactly the opposite of what I feel when using an iPhone.

I must admit the Treo Pro has some slick hardware, but I definitely need an on the go phone like the BlackBerry Bold! I hate using my boyfriend's iPhone! The wow factor is gone and it's pretty much a glorified iPod.

I must admit the Treo Pro has some slick hardware, but I definitely need an on the go phone like the BlackBerry Bold! I hate using my boyfriend's iPhone! The wow factor is gone and it's pretty much a glorified iPod.

I currently rock a SCH-i760 upgraded to 6.1. I had an HTC Touch before that for 30days... I've used treos since the 300 up until my 700p died. Great article on the pros and cons of WM as well as the new treo form factor. (Not a fan) I just got my tracking number for my delivery of the Storm on the 25th. I can't wait to be a BB convert.

Having come from a Windows Mobile format before acquiring my Blackberry, I could comprehend a lot of what you wrote. I think there are things that work well in the WinMo environment, and some things I would love to see RIM add (such as alternative locations for installing applications, file explorer...).

I definitely have to agree. WinMo is more of a stop-and-do-something interface. I love the diversity of applications, the familiarity to PC/Windows interface, but using my BB on the go just is so much easier.

I was contemplating a Treo when I saw my first pre-release ad for the Curve. I was a Nokia fanboy, and I would have preferred the Palm OS to WinMo at the time. The Curve changed all that, and now I can't imagine using anything else.

I wasn't able tolog in yesterday soI missed an entry day but I'm here now so here is my entry to win the BB BOLD. I need to read about the TREO soby for now.

When I first decided to go smartphone I tried out three- the Palm Centro, Apple iPhone, and then finally the curve.

I can see the lure of the Palm...but the keyboard was shit. It took so much effort to push those tiny buttons...and we all know the iPhone is just crap. Long live my curve!

I had pretty much every other palm that was available on AT&T, and as soon as i switched to the 8310, i couldnt believe how i got by previously. Although the only thing i miss is the SMS threading.

Once again, a great review, especially the the philosphical issue of smartphone usage (i.e, on-the-go vs. stop-and-use). As a previous WinMo user (and now a Blackberry convert sporting a Bold), I couldn't agree more with the issues with the Treo & WinMo. I can tell you that being able to quickly review a message one handed while at a traffic light (never while traveling at 65 mph) is a breeze on the Blackberry compared to attempting this on a WinMo device. First of all, if you have fat thumbs like I do, trying to hit the screen correctly is almost impossible, and if you use the scrolling features of the phone, the trackball has it beat. If you have to quickly reply, you can't do that one handed with the Treo's keyboard and end up with a decipherable response. If you have to resort to the stylus, you are definitely two-handing it, and God forbid the thought that you have to use the stylus for a long response because hand cramps start to develop within a minute or so. The Blackberry Bold's keyboard layout is great and my mistake ratio is getting less and less as I get more acustomed to it. There are some things that WinMo has that I truly like (ActiveSync for one), but overall the Blackberry philosophy has it beat - hands down!

Wow, that Skyfire really pumps out some complete webpages, hey? While I am a Blackberry fan, I do love the familiarity and formatting of some of those WinMo screens.

The turnoff for me is the tiny keyboard. Kev's right, the on-screen keyboard is a joke, and the physical keyboard feels really small.

Windows Mobile isn't as bad as it's made out to be, though. On the right hardware (read: Touch Pro/Diamond/HD) with a 3rd-party UI, WinMo is great. The big thing WinMo has over BBOS is 3rd-party app support.

is there any more rumors of the next gen bold? u kno touchscreen with full QWERTY? can we expect it to be somethin like dat palm with a stylus?

I love the look of Palm phones, i just hate there OS. Both WinMo, and Palm OS are horrible. I've had 4 Palm Treo phones and all 4 had the exact same issues (OS, Battery life, unstable)

I've always liked palm PDA's and the OS but thought the Treo was to chunky, so it's good to see the Treo's get smaller (though their narrowness is not so coo)...

I just wonder with Kev's "on the go" vs "stop and use" what pros should the device bring to someone's daily routine to be an asset. For sending a lot of e-mails a Blackberry would be great...but if someone just wants to get on the internet, the iPhone seems better.

Great review. If I were not a BlackBerry lover, it would definately be something to consider. I do a lot of typing on my 8330 and am quite quick with it. On the Palm though, the keyboard just feels cramped and I always seem to hit like two or three letters at a time; just doesnt really work for me. Curious to see what Palm has instore for the future both hardware and OS wise.

I think the explination of "on the go" and "stop and go" has opened my eyes.

I have had a blackberry pearl for a few years and just upgraded to the bold. I am thinking of getting an iphone instead because of the tweaking and playing which can be done with a jail-broken iphone.

I now have a reason to re-consider.

wow never thought I'd be saying this about a palm but that is a nice looking device. My first internet phone was a Palm Treo I LOVED it, picked it over the BB actually. lol!! But after about 7 months it started giving me trouble. I always missed that phone. not enough to go back to it though lol!! but it was nice to get information on the newer version. thanks for this.

I get what you're saying about speed typing, but I don't care about speed typing as much as I care about compactness. I love the Palm Centro, which has an even smaller form factor than the Treo Pro, because the Palm Centro is so small. I can type with two thumbs on the centro and I'm pretty good at it. But I would agree that you would win any speed typing test. Still I'd take the centro or the pro over some bulky device that lets me type faster.
There's only one thing keeping me from getting a Pro - Windows Mobile! The power hungry beast eats any benefit of compactness by sucking battery life like it's water.

After your long winded explanation on last years round robin on the all touch vs no touch I would have thought the windows mobile guys would have tried to get you one or the other. I know this is the "Palm" device but with the Fuze on the way I don't see you looking forward to the next windows device.

Most of my associates think iPhone is the bomb. I don't know why. I've seen it, touched it, played with it and it just doesn't "affect" me the way the Blackberry does, it looks like a phone a professional woman would carry. A sexy professional woman, that is. That said, I respect Palm for this new smart phone. I've had Palm PDA's in the past and they've treated me pretty well. That was before Blackberry strolled into my life. I'm hooked.

That said,

Great job on the review, Kevin. I know it's hard to be without your Blackberry, it must have been really tough, did you cry? I would have cried, but I'm a fluffy-sissy-girly girl so that's about normal.

Thanks for the great work. You keep me coming back (that and the fact that I'm addicted)

It's a multimedia phone - certainly not something tailored for corporate productivity. I think the Bold is probably the best device in this respect: stylish, quick, efficient, but without sacrificing the "on-the-go"-ness.

This would be the device for me being a primary Windows user. Even in my media player I have a linux like os going. So the winOs plus the compact size makes it very attractive phone but small things like the keyboard size and application use just make any berry look better and better.

Good Job Kevin!! I didn't see anything about battery life. Did I miss it or was it a non-issue. I know on my previous 680, I had trouble with battery life, so I was wondering if this was fixed in the new treos.

Good review! If I don't switch to Death Star Mobil I actually might take a closer look at future Palm devices. Maybe I can also hope for a non-windows OS for future Palm's.

i think the bold looks a lot sleeker than the treo. the keyboard and all on the bold makes look so god dam sexy!

looks pretty good .. but i left palm a long time ago .. and i dont think ill be going back ..

Does anyone feel the Treo Pro is worth $549 retail? The Storm is cheaper than that, and the Bold is at the same price point. However, lacking the OS we have all come to love, is the Pro worth that much over some sort of HTC device running Windows mobile?

Great review Kevin having used one of those myself i think you did a fair job at describing is pros and cons, i really beleive that the whole idea behind Windows mobile is very cool, but like you said many of us need that on the go user experience that only blackberry devices give, people have been critizicing RIM os for so long about being old but honestly while it could be improved it is the most efficient smartphone os that there is out right now.

Great Review!! I don't ever see Palm coming close to the Blackberries OS! The Bold is the best avaialble at this time!!!

I am glad you were able to go through and find both pros and cons on this phone in a through test. It helps us all as smartphone users make better choices in choosing are smartphones. I can't wait to see what the G1 has in store.

Nice review, and I agree BB is definitley an on-the-go phone. Stoplights, commercials, elevators, waiting for top ramen, in the can...whenever you need it, you just roll the trackball(or hit the screen for the new Storm owners). I don't think I could now get used to a stylus.

the only thing that I kept around from my old Palm was the stylus...the little screwdriver inside is handy. Otherwise, it was terrible.
I love my BB!

Great commentary on the two different uses; I fall very distinctly in the middle. I don't need a BB, but I'd rather what I do be as efficient as possible. I'm switching to a BB for that reason. If I'm going to Stop and Use, I'd rather use a computer.

I know it's hard for a certified Crack(berry) Head such as myself to consider that there are smartphones out there that I would ever consider using instead of a blackberry.

So, with that in mind....

There are VERY few phones that have that non-blackberry "wow me" factor that would EVER make me even consider moving away from my Curve (and, eventually...hopefully...a Bold) and initially the Treo Pro seemed like a phone i'd be intersted in using. I could ramble about specs and the like, but what it boils down to when it comes to the Treo Pro is all the HORROR stories i've heard over the years from a lot of Palm Treo users.

More or less (and this is FAR from scientificly proveable or 100% accurate) but i'd say it breaks down like this:
For ever 1 problem i've had out of my Berry, Treo using friends of mine have had 5 similiar (or worse) problems out of their device.

I guess what it boils down to, for me, is before i'd EVER consider using a Treo Pro, Palm would have to overcome a HUGE stigma that I have ingrained in my mind about their devices.

/just my 2 pennies

At risk of being beaten to death by this crowd, which seems to universally despise the stylus, I feel like I have to stand up for the thing a little. There's nothing better than a stylus for precision work on the touchscreen. It's all very well to have big, finger-friendly buttons for launching apps, but a stylus comes in very handy for detail work like cutting and pasting, getting right to a particular spot in a document, and (very important) playing solitaire. And clearly I'm in the .1% minority on this, but I can absolutely fly typing with a stylus on the teeny tiny onscreen keyboard. I guess that's left over from the good old Palm Pilot days. Also, for those of us with tiny hands and fingers, the keyboard works just fine (and I'd take your typing challenge, Kevin! I bet I could give you a run for your money on the pro...:)

None of this is to say the Pro is a perfect device, far from it, and obviously the Bold has alot to recommend it. I'm just saying, there are some things like the stylus that we old-school Palm people actually want, so Palm is really catering to its loyal base, I think, by continuing with some of those classic features. But it's really useful to get an outside perspective on the whole package, so thanks for the thoughtful, informative review!

Back in the 3Comm days Palm was the best! I had a Palm3 and loved it.

I had a Treo 680 for a very short amount of time and didn't like it.

Now I have a BB Bold and love it! Now I just need another one for my wife :)

I agree with the button's comment...I have troubles as it is with the Curves buttons, those on the Treo look way too small

wish there was a final video thoughts on this stuff.. but otherwise never thought palm would be that impressive.

Thanks for the good info... it looks like the BOLD is better for me since I prefer the feel look and way it works. Thanks again for the great review...

Black Berry is overrated and cultish just like the I-Phone. Besides, who wants a phone like all of our idiot congressmen, President, etc.

Now how's THAT for going against the grain of this thread?!


Did you have any lockups on that Palm Pro?? They are not bad phones well the 680 sucked badly but the windows mobile is not that bad, just not my cup of tea for using a BB for the past year, I cannot go back! I love my bold so far!


I was a Palm person before the treo came outhad my palma nd cell phone wishing someone wouls combine them, Fast forward a few years and someone did just that I wanted a Troe how ever Tmob did not support them anymore by the time I could afford to buy one. SO I went with a BB and have never turned back. A friend of mine was looking at getting a pearl butlet the Sprint dude tall her into the Palm, it is too much phone for her and she is always coming to to me to ask how do I..... I like me BB and will not go back, to many problems she has also has had it replaced three times for problems ( not sure if it was the phone or operator) LOL,

All of the new Palm phones have that tacky keyboard. How is the screen? Is it the size of the Centro's or larger?

That really taught me some cool stuff about the pro but i think that the pro os is better on the palm instead of a wm os :P

I cant ever imagine even trying to use that phone! it doesnt look like it was made for people from this planet.I wish you didnt have those warm and fuzzy feelings, it doesnt deserve it!!!BLACKBERRY BOLD allll the way baby! i just wish i had one, looks like im back to working at kingsoopers for the whole summer to get my hands on it. But i love your articles very detailed and interesting!Hey do any other 15 year olds read this everyday?? i hope so!

Although Palm seems to have done a nice job with this device, as a former user of the Treo 800w, I can't see the Treo Pro turning me away from my recent conversion to the BB Curve.

Treo's are not my thing, I respect you for trying it out with an open mind (whether you liked it or not, haven't read the review yet just wanted to comment here before I read it, since I will probably forget to comment after I read it) and not going back to your blackberry. I wouldn't be able to give up my Curve for a Treo.

If I wanted a Palm I would be a Palm forum right now, or By the way, typeing on a touch screen just don't do it for me.

that on screen keyboard is hideous, i just got a sharp pain through my body....


is it even necessary?

anyhoo, what happened to the palm os??? it still boggles my mind that the palm has a windows mobile os..

I used to have the 700P which i liked but its huge and now behind in the world of smart phones. I now have the storm which i love and am getting used to hoping for that update. I looked at the Pro but couldnt get those buttons down even after having the 700P for 3 year. Wish they would just stop making phones and just use rimm phones and there palm software, not window. Just my thoughts.

My Motorola V551 stuffed away in a box is better the BlackJack.

Great review of the Treo pro Kevin, but at the end of the day it's still WinMo.

Palm used to be a love of mine... till they got lazy and stopped improving on their products.. The they jumped in bed with Windows mobile and stopped making THEIR product better.. Rim keeps pushing and responding to market trends..

I always tell people that the biggest reason why I don't like touch-screen devices is the "chopsticks with rice" hold: holding the device in one hand with the stylus in the other hand. I rather prefer the "Blackberry Prayer" hold to the later any day.

I would love to see a Treo Pro/Next Gen Palm Device running this new OS Palm has been working on. Just can't mess with Windows Mobile...

from a past Treo 650 user, and now a Bold user, I'd never go back to a palm, not even for this new Pro! Nice phone though, but not for me.

i have never used a Palm phone before (did have a Palm V for a calendar back in the day) and agree with most that the keyboard looks tough to type on.

This has a stylus but since it is WinMo there is none of the Palm Graffiti writing that I actually enjoyed. Maybe they included it cause those buttons are so darn small. If not for BlackBerries, I still don't think I'd go with this one.

I switched from the Treo family to Blackberry earlier this year. I did not see anything in the blog that would make me want to go back. The stylus alone is enough to make me run the other way.

About on the go vs stop and use smartphones. I am trying out an iPhone because I wasn't happy with the Curve, and you nailed down my primary frustration. I don't feel nearly as efficient, but it is a lot of fun....

Sorry, but that is a killer for me. I went through more Windows Mobile devices than I care to admit and I strongly believe it is NOT a cell phone operating system. It may be a good "shrunken net book wannabe" but compared to Blackberry and iPhone the level of integration and adapability is not even 60% of these two. Size-wise it is a nice device, but if the Curve 8900 had 3g it wouldn't even be an argument.

The piling on WinMo is a bit unfair. WinMo standard works ok. WinMo pro, while offering a touchscreen, hasn't moved on from the stylus days to offer finger friendly icons and menus. I hope that is what we can expect from Microsoft with v7, which I believe the Zune team is helping with. Both can get a little lighter as well. But for functionality, it is certainly more robust than the BB OS, and is less confusing than S60.

The keyboard on the Pro and Centro is really inadequate...Kevin is correct with that. I don't know why they abandoned the "smile".

The Treo may be good but it can't compete with a Blackberry! Not unless it sprouted a trackball...and ran Blackberry OS

I fully agree a smartphone should be all touch or no touch. Trying to mix the twojust never seems to work. Recently I had the chance to use a palm centro and let me yell you I hateded it. I will be a bb user and yes a apple user for the forseable future.

I don't think you've quite thought through the implications of dropping the stylus. I don't pull it out very often on the Pro, but there are some places where using my fingers will never be a good option unless the screen is too big to fit in my pocket.

Mostly the use I can think of is writing the various Asian characters on the screen. I'm studying Chinese, and there's no way I'd ever want to write out the characters with my fingers, especially not the more complex ones with 20+ strokes. That's just not happening, and I need the accuracy the stlyus gives me.

Dropping the stylus would make me, and a lot of other people in the same position, very unhappy.

So yeah, there are times when you really do need the precision of the stylus. Writing with pens produces something much more readable than writing with your fingers, and the same is true on a smartphone.

I'm a declared WinMo fan.
But Palm with WinMo-doesn't fit ...
On the other hand BB have been pushed by corporations and they are still limited in Multimedia area.

So far doing the "rounds" in Round Robin, I still feel the Fuze (HTC Touch Pro) is the better one.

great Review Kevin I love the round robin reviews. What a great idea. Although I'd absolutely hate to be without my Bold.

My friend has a Palm and is definitely jealous of my pearl. The browser and overall functionality is just so much better.

I just recently got my hands onto one of the Palm Centro's at work. Finally recieved one for sale. So, due to the review, I threw my simcard into it and booted it up. My first impressions, having used a Palm Treo 750w, was the size. Wow has it ever been shrunk down. One thing that really frustrated me, was me not realzing at first it was the stylus, was inserting the SIM card. The damn stylus covers 1/5th of the SIMcard slot, and not knowing to remove the stylus meant me trying to pratically BEND the simcard to get it in there. I had a *hit my forehead in dumbness* when I realized what it was. DEATH TO STYLUSESES!!!

So, I booted it up. It seemed quite fast to start up. And then it hit me, I had a PALM OS Centro. The boring look was just... YUCK. So, gritting my teeth I played. I started pressing things, typing things, and found it was still very quick with it's processes. But, I really want to get my hands onto a Windows Mobile version, see how it stacks up.

Great review Kevin! I look forward to seeing your review on your next device!

OK, this is the way I understand the Round Robin.

One actually sends "their" phone (ie: BB, WM, Palm) to another person for them to play with and write a review.

If this is the case, then my question is this.

Has anyone ever "not" got their phone back?

Kinda like...

I was playing with it at the zoo... oops, it fell in the tigers cage.

Can I get this to work in the middle of Lake Michigan... oops, bloop, bloop, bloop.


Simply just... oops, dropped it on the sidewalk and it shattered.

Just curious?


Normally on phone sites there are always people unwilling to try anything and bash any other phone that isn't theirs... I love it how you guys are trying new things.
I think, until Palm gets its new OS going, I'll stick with my BB :] .

Cool review, I always think about the palm stuff, I think it's commendable they keep touchscreens going on QWERTY phones.

No matter how you cut this the palm will always be palm. No matter what os it runs it will still not be bold enough to take the bold down, dont get me wrong its a great phone im sure of that but one phone user (this person being from a blackberry) cant smash another phone, it just wont work we all have are likes and loves about what phones we have and use if you give me the palm and thats all i use i would have to start to love it.Blackberry is Blackberry the name it self speaks volume, when you meet someone new at work the bar the club when you pull out your phone it tells a story about you i can pull out any phone in the world and nothing gets a better reaction then a blackberry. Maybe its the name maybe its the icon all i know it that i love it and people love us that have it so im keeping mine and every time a new one comes out im on it cause there is nothing in the world like love.

Among all types of phones TREO and BB share the same real estate. Small Screen on top small keyboard at the bottom.
Given those limitations the BB comes clearly ahead. - Having said that, The trend is toward touch bigger screens, which reduces the space left for keyboard. So something has to be done tonot be left behind. - Treo has done nothing and BB tried and blew it with the Storm.- So what's left for the future of these two companies? I don't know about the Treo. As for BB... the question is for hoow long can they hang from their corporate tree?

I don't know if it's because I'm just a barbarian, but I really don't like touch screen devices - especially ones that require styluses because everything is so darn tiny to touch.

I thought this review was done and moving into the G1?
Who's reviewing the G1 this week?
Why thee is not a forum tread like the other sites?

Anyway while here... Is any person with a BB moving to the Treo Pro? Why?

I think choosing between a WinMo phone and a Blackberry is like choosing between a Mac and a PC - it's apples (pardon the pun) and oranges, completely different UI and performance philosophies. I'm a dedicated Treo user but I sure am curious to try a Bold, if only to see what all the fanatic crackberry love is all about...

Im not sure that putting out this phone as a "Stop Gap" is the best thing to do. However, from the review it seems like there were dome definite improvements over the 680 i can believe that in this day and time they (Palm) are still packaging a stylus in the phone!!!

I think its just for nostalgia's sake personally, but no stylus will ever be as efficient as the trackball ;)

I had a Treo Pro for about a week and found that many programs do not work on the unusual display resolution of 320*320

I havent touched a Palm in a very long time. At my work we had some of the older ones and it was a support nightmare. I never cared for the stylus and this one is no differant it seems. Ill stick with Blackberry, we have moved to Blackberry's at work and I now support 68 of them.