About six weeks ago, this column noted that "When Palm Inc. takes a big
swing, it usually connects." On Jan. 7, Palm took another swing and it's
at least a two-bagger, maybe even a triple.
The Treo 750 , list price $399 with a two-year Cingular Wireless service
plan, is called a "world phone" because it will operate in nations where
GSM/GPRS, EDGE, and UMTS mobile phone services are active. Without hauling
out a slide rule, let's just say those systems cover most of Europe, Asia,
South America, Africa and everywhere else on the planet, including a
darned good chunk of the United States. It also means, depending on your
service plan, you can flip on the phone in Munich and get calls as easily
as if you were in Milwaukee.
What makes this phone different, and perhaps worth the roughly 100-percent
premium over the Treo 680, is that it offers data access at high speeds,
using the "Cingular Broadband" data service and a more powerful built-in
modem than in the 680. Indeed, some graphics-intensive Web pages load
exponentially faster on the 750 than on the 680. If you need that kind of
performance in your life, then this is an important feature.
Like the 680, the Treo 750 can function as a wireless modem for your
Bluetooth-enabled portable computer, and it'll work with Bluetooth
headsets, as well. There's a built-in speakerphone and a 1.3 megapixel
camera to boot. Some 60 Mbytes of built-in storage is available on the
750, a hair less than the 680's 64 Mbytes. The new unit also takes miniSD
(STET) cards which can up data storage to 2 Gigabytes.
Besides price, the greatest difference between the two units is that the
Treo 750 depends on Windows Mobile, where the 680 is built around the Palm
operating system. Each user will have their preferences, but when it comes
to "enterprise" computing, i.e., that which is connected to, and likely
paid for, a corporate enterprise, things may become a little different.
The idea of the phone is to give users a "Windows experience" on the go.
Linking into Outlook e-mail, and having "pocket" versions of Word and
Excel built in, as mentioned here in reviews of earlier Windows Mobile
devices, are good things. For a prospective buyer, the question becomes
how important those features are in their daily life. In a number of
corporate situations, the answer is: very important.
My own out-of-office experience rarely involves reading -- or editing --
Word documents on a handheld, but it is nice to have access to the
company's e-mail in a form which jibes with the office desktop. For those
who are part of tightly integrated Windows setups, this new device should
offer some important benefits. (Compatibility with Microsoft's Office 2007
was not tested on this unit, however.)
If you have a Windows PC at work and an Apple Macintosh at home, you'll
want to note that there may be problems linking data from the Mac to a
Windows Mobile handheld unless you use a third-party application such as
"The Missing Sync," a $40 product available at www.markspace.com.
As a voice phone, the Treo 750 is on a par with the 680, although it was a
bit of an adjustment to use the 750 in situations with low light, even if
the dial pads on both models stay backlit during a call. Sound quality was
In general operation, the Treo 750 has the heft and good touch of the 680.
It uses standard Palm Treo accessories, and will likely take the same
number of hard knocks my earlier Treo units have had. If I needed its
Windows Mobile heft, I'd buy it; otherwise the 680 is a very, very good
alternative. Details on both can be found online at www.palm.com.