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CTIA Fall 2004

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Audiovox Windows Mobile FasTap Treo 650  

One of the worst-kept secrets in the industry over the last few months has been the new Treo from PalmOne. This highly-anticipated device is intended to be more of an evolutionary update than a whole new model. The goal according to PalmOne was to address common complaints and focus on perfecting the already well-received Treo 600.


The main new features of the Treo 650 compared its predecessor are Bluetooth and a dramatically higher-resolution display. The Treo 600 had a very low-resolution display for a modern PDA - 160 x 160 pixels. Most new mid-range phones have better displays. Fortunately the 650 completely solves that issue with a really great 320 x 320 pixel display.

Most of the other improvements are smaller tweaks, such as a revamped keyboard and a better camera.

The new keyboard has much better backlighting, larger keys, and easier-to-read letters. PalmOne also re-arranged a few keys. The home and menu keys are now at the top, closer to the other navigation keys. This improves one-handed operation dramatically, and leaves room for a dedicated "alt" key and a second shift key at the bottom. More intuitive "talk" and "end" keys have also been added.

Some people might be disappointed by the lack of a megapixel camera. In the press conference, PalmOne executives defended the decision by pointing out that most current megapixel modules either produce poor-quality images in low light, or are too large to fit inside the compact Treo. Instead, they opted for a much higher-quality VGA model than the one in the 600, especially in low-light situations.


The connector on the bottom of the phone has also changed. The new connector is the same as other palmOne models, so the Treo 650 should be able to share the same cradles, data cables, etc. with devices such as the new PalmOne T5.

Other improvements include a revamped "home" screen. The new screen is highly configurable, with options for displaying upcoming the next calendar event at the top, and several shortcuts at the bottom.


In the Bluetooth department, the Treo 650 supports all major profiles, including headset, handsfree, OBEX (object exchange), sync (via serial), and DUN (dial-up networking, for laptops).

The Sprint version will not ship with the DUN profile accroding to PalmOne, but Sprint executives explained that this was a temporary technical situation, and an update will add this feature in the future.

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