Life With A Treo 600


Well-Known Member
For the last couple of months, I've been using a Treo 600 as my personal digital assistant and cellular telephone. As a PDA, I've come to love the device. But, as a cellular telephone, I wonder how many traffic accidents have resulted from its use?
The 600 is the best PDA/phone so far and I presume its successor, the forthcoming Treo 650, will be an improvement, though how much so I've been unable to determine from the specs I've seen. The problem remains that a device can be optimized as a PDA or as a cell phone, but doing both requires compromises. In the case of the 600, it's the phone that's most compromised, though there are PDA compromises as well.
What I like about the Treo 600 is the easy wireless data access using my existing Sprint PCS account. Buying a wireless PDA would likely require a separate data-only account with a different carrier. Sprint makes it easy and inexpensive to use the Treo's wireless features on its PCS network. As a result, I have fallen in love with Handmark Express, a wireless app that delivers news, weather, sports, stocks, telephone directory look-ups, and driving directions to the Treo. Subscriptions are $70-a-year and I consider it a good value.
I am also using a number of non-wireless Palm applications that aren't available for PocketPC that I have come to rely upon. It's easy to underestimate the importance of Palm OS as a development platform until you find yourself hooked on a few Palm apps.
The biggest problem with the Treo 600 is that the phone shouldn't be used while driving. The keyboard is too small and the on-screen buttons for dialing and speed dials are not really large enough or legible enough for easy use. They also lack the tactile feedback that allow many cell phone users to dial without ever looking at the handset. This is what I miss the most about the swapping a regular cellular handset for the Treo 600.
I tried adding a speed dial button to access the Sprint PCS voice-recognition dialing service but found I never remembered to use it. Even when I did remember it still required a number of keystrokes to access. What I really need is high-quality voice dialing built right into the Treo, with a single easy-to-find, single-function button used to wake-up the voice recognition system. That would solve my dialing problems.
If the Treo 600 didn't have to be a phone (and fit nicely in your hand against the side of your head), you'd make the keyboard larger and increase the size of the screen. If it only needed to be a phone, you'd make the screen smaller and decrease the number of keys. With the existing model, you end up with a pretty good PDA attached to a so-so cellular phone.
The combination is still good enough, however, that I don't intend to replace it. But if I were to find myself using the phone more, I'd add another handset to my Sprint PCS account and use it for most of the voice calls, saving the Treo 600 for wireless data and use as a backup telephone.
Overall, I like the Treo 600 very much but look forward to a day when compromise won't be necessary.