An overnight jaunt of about 400 miles, roundtrip, brought the chance
to check out some new traveling companions.
NICE, ER, PHONE ... Palm, Inc.'s recent entry into the handheld
market is officially billed in a brochure as the "Palm Treo 755P
smart device." I'm not making that up: it's a "smart device," not a
Whatever. I like the new model, which sells for $279 with a Sprint
PCS contract or $579 without any service. While Sprint's network
isn't the global-girdling GSM standard favored by AT&T (nee
Cingular), I'm assured that the new Treo will work in plenty of
places outside of North America. For me, I was glad it worked along
U.S. 29 in Virginia.
Though I've been enamored of Research in Motion's BlackBerry 8800 of
late, the Treo 755P, which uses the Palm operating system, isn't a
bad substitute - and then some. Unlike the 8800, for example, the
Treo has a 2-megapixel camera built in. It also offers streaming
media, including video, albeit at an additional charge to the user.
This was first seen on Treo smart phones - er, devices - last year,
and it's a cool thing for really frequent travelers.
The new device also offers Google Maps, a great way to find
directions, as well as a "push" service for Microsoft Outlook e-mail,
presumably from servers running Microsoft Exchange. These are
designed to meet similar features found on BlackBerry devices.
What Palm has that BlackBerry doesn't yet, however, match, is a truly
wide range of applications. You can install just about any program
you'd like with the Palm OS, including ones to link your expenses to
Quicken or other financial programs, and the device comes with
Documents To Go (STET), the DataViz (STET) "standard" that lets you
view and edit Word and Excel files, and view PowerPoint and PDF files
on the go. That makes the idea of a handheld as a notebook
replacement not so much of a dream.
I'm also impressed with the speed of Sprint's EVDO data service.
Advertising touts a "near broadband" experience, or words to that
effect. My experience was that it was plenty fast when needed.
In short, the 755P may well have room for improvement in this or that
feature, but for the road warrior, it's far more than adequate.
Figure in the Palm add-on software and the wide, wide range of
accessories, and you've got a good mobile platform.
GREAT OVERNIGHTER ... Although I was driving, and not flying, the
$325 Briggs & Riley Carry-On Computer Upright was a great help on
this trip. The concept is simple: create one piece of luggage to hold
clothing for a one or two-day trip, as well as a notebook computer
and some accessories, and let it fit in most overhead compartments.
In addition, the laptop compartment is located on the outside of the
bag for faster, easier access during security checks. The front-
loading computer pocket fits most 17" laptop screens and there's a
zippered cord pocket on the interior lid to store electronic
accessories. The only "drawback" might be not having a supplied means
of carrying the computer separately from the computer, but you can
buy a "laptop sleeve" for that purpose.
The notion of having just one piece of luggage to carry on a short
trip is great; that the Briggs & Riley product is made to be very
rugged - the firm's guarantee even covers damage caused by an airline
- is even more encouraging. I've had to trash a couple of suitcases
after the rigors of overseas travel; I have the feeling this unit
won't be one of them and can highly recommend it. Details at