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October 21, 2004

PalmOne Releases 'Smarter' Treo 650

This on InternetNews.com today. "PalmOne unveiled a spate of new features in the Treo 650, including improved e-mail and networking support.

While PalmOne has added an MP3 player and Bluetooth (define) support, the goal with this release was to improve upon a good thing, said Greg Shirai, director of product marketing for the Milpitas, Calif.-based Palm spin-off.

"I think we've listened," Shirai said. Users were generally quite happy with the smartphone, he said, but they did have a wish list: a better camera, higher-resolution display, Bluetooth and a removable battery. PalmOne added those, along with some enhancements to the software and tweaks to the hardware.

"It's a better Treo 600," he said.

The new device retains the Treo form factor, with a color screen atop a mini QWERTY keyboard. The display is 320 by 320 pixels for greater clarity and resolution. The keyboard has been arranged in a
slight "smile," allowing for slightly larger and flatter keys with larger symbols on them. The two most-used buttons, Menu and Launcher, were moved above the keyboard on either side of the navigation control,
while Send and End buttons have been added.

"Now, all the keys are within thumb reach," Shirai said.

The 650 has a removable battery, so that users can pack two batteries instead of the charger. More important, Flash memory storage not only accommodates battery switching, but ensures that data won't be lost if the charge is.

The camera includes a 2X digital zoom and takes better pictures in low-light situations. There's a mirror for snapping self-portraits. PalmOne improved the camera interface for greater usability and to
support the new zoom function.

While Bluetooth hasn't taken off in the United States as it has in Europe, its wireless connectivity to peripherals will become more important, Shirai said, as high-end auto makers install Bluetooth in
"smart cars" that, among other features, allow drivers to cradle the mobile phone and make hands-free telephone calls while driving.

One hardware change may not be so popular with Treo fanatics eager to upgrade. The cable connector has been changed to match that used by the Tungsten line; therefore, accessories purchased for use with the Treo 600 won't fit."

10:11 AM in Palm | Permalink