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Discover the Treo Experience

As I have written about on numerous occasions and will probably not tire of repeating anytime soon, I absolutely love my Treo.

Just a little over a year ago I started this blog with the idea to discuss my ‘Treo Lifestyle’ experiences and connect with people who might similarly share an interest or even passion for their Treo and who wanted to engage and be engaged around this topic in ‘a journey of shared discovery’.

These people, a community numbering over 1 million in the past year and averaging over 200,000 per month today, have since become known as ‘Treonauts’.  This blog is dedicated to them.

I knew relatively little about the PalmOS and even less about the Treo when I purchased one about a year and a half ago.  I’ve learned a lot since but strangely feel that I still know so little – not a bad thing since this always reminds me that there is much yet to be explored, discovered and shared.  Our journey has only just started.

Having said this, while many of us continue to refine and enhance our experiences using the Treo day to day while on the go there are still millions of other people out there who have yet to share the bliss with us.  Most Treonauts would naturally all like to change this and help to convert them – as we have typically done by, at least once, taking someone through a demo.

In my case, this blog naturally forms the main platform through which I attempt to do this but someone recently asked me to develop “a clean URL to direct people to so that I can use your great info to convert them to the Treo experience!”.  I’ve been thinking about different options to do this for a while and finally decided to set up this new URL at discover.treonauts.com where this post and maybe a couple of others in the future will be located. 

Please make sure to point anyone who might be considering to join the Treonauts family to this discover.treonauts.com URL in the future.

UPDATE: To make it even easier to point your friends or colleagues to this page, I’ve now added a new domain www.DiscoverTreo.com which will automatically forward them here.

So let’s get started, what is it that makes our Treo 650 the greatest and smartest of smartphones?

The Perfect All-In-One Tool
Firstly you must know and understand that the Treo smartphone is a ‘convergence’ device which among others means that it combines in a single, all-in-one, package most of the features and functionalities which were previously only possible and available via multiple devices. 

The convenience of carrying and more importantly managing only one device is undeniable and the Treo 650 offers the perfect solution for this – some people have gone as far as being able to leave their laptops behind entirely when travelling.

Thanks to a superb form factor that fits comfortably in your palm, offers an extremely intuitive and functional full mini QWERTY keyboard and operation/navigation buttons, weighs less than 180gms (6.3 oz.), benefits from NVFS memory which allows your Treo to retain all data even if the battery powers down completely, a high resolution 320x320 touch-screen, a removable rechargeable battery, a high quality built-in digital camera and has up to 6 hours talk time and 300 hours standby time the Treo can be considered to be nothing less than perfect.

Complete Communication
Above all the Treo is a superlative communications tool which allows you to quickly and easily access and dial any one of hundreds or thousands of contacts that you may have stored in the built-in Contacts PIM component and which you can synchronize with either the free Palm Desktop, Outlook on your PC (with PocketMirror) or Address Book and iCal on your Mac (see The Missing Sync).

Naturally, calling someone these days is but one of many tools that we use to communicate with people and email has undeniably become absolutely critical.  On this front, the Treo 650 comes built-in with palmOne’s Versamail which allows you to download and easily reply to your emails while on the go either from your POP3 account or Microsoft Exchange Server with Exchange ActiveSync for corporate email.  Other third-party email solutions such as SnapperMail add IMAP and Chatter eMail offers Blackberry-like ‘push’ email functionality.

  Phone, email and PIM.

Additionally, companies such as Good Technologies offer enterprise mobile email and applications solutions with GoodLink and GoodAccess.

The Treo 650 also offers one of the most sophisticated built-in SMS solutions available with an excellent ‘chat-like’ filing system which allows you to keep track of and view multiple SMS messages filed as ‘conversations’ for each contact.

People choosing an Unlocked Treo 650 or Sprint Treo 650 will benefit from Dial-Up Networking (DUN) which allows them to use their smartphone as a wireless modem via Bluetooth with their laptop.  Verizon, Cingular and Earthlink Treonauts can also benefit from DUN via cable or Bluetooth thanks to PDANet.

  SMS, DUN and IM.

Finally, third-party solutions such as Verichat and Agile Messenger (free) offer Instant Messaging (IM) solutions for Yahoo!, ICQ, MSN & AOL chat networks.

Maximum Productivity
It’s obvious that most will also use their Treo 650 in order to optimize and/or complement their existing productivity applications.  In this respect, all of the built-in PIM functionality of the Contacts, Calendar, Tasks and Memos will prove to be essential.

As is often the case with applications available for the Treo, many third-party developers offer applications with even greater PIM functionality than the standard ones.  Among others, in the case of PIM’s, Agendus, Beyond Contacts, DateBk5, KeySuite all offer unique enhancements.

On a second level, the next most important consideration for the business professional will be to have a seamless ability to view and edit Microsoft Office documents while on the go.  In this respect, the Treo 650 comes bundled with the standard version of Documents ToGo but you may want to get the full Premium Edition.

Thereafter, application suites such as SplashWallet which includes a password manager, a personal finance manager, a photo viewer and manager as well as a shopping list application (all of them with an equivalent and convenient desktop application) may prove the perfect addition.

Two other essential applications categories are outliners and databases.  Here, respectively, ThoughtManager and HanDbase have been favourites for some time.

You might also want to record any audio such as a voice memo, your kid, a concert or a meeting with a voice recorder such as Audacity DVR.

Information Immersion
On the one hand, the Treo 650 offers full web browsing capabilities to lookup any information that is available online with its built-in Blazer browser and an average data connectivity speed of 70 kilobits per second (depending on your network).  Another faster but not free mobile browser for the Treo is Xiino

Additionally, websites such Google, mobile.answers.com, wapedia and Skweezer have developed mobile versions that are optimized to make it easier and faster for you to gain access to the information that you need directly from your Treo.  At the same time, individual Treonauts have taken the time to create their own ‘mobile portals’ of sorts such as A. Davis’ palm.nccomp.com and Treobits’ mobile.treobits.com.

On the other hand, there are a ton of third-party applications that you can install on your Treo and synchronize with your PC for regular updates such as Vindigo for information about restaurants, movies, bars, shops and directions across all the major US cities and the rest of the world.  Directory Assistant will dowload directory queries for free via YP.com and also provide you with driving directions.   Handmark Express provides you with news, weather, sports, stocks, movie showtimes, 411 directory lookups, maps and directions automatically and on-demand.  Flight Status provides you with free live flight status on nearly all of the world’s airlines.  One of my favourite information apps, InfoMan has weather, phone book, movie times, box office, currency, stocks, jokes, gas prices, horoscopes and even dreams interpretationiNoah and iPedia wirelessly download dictionary and Wikipedia data respectively.  Lunar is an incredibly simple yet powerful, detailed and well designed tool to view the current, past and future phases of the Moon

QuickNews is a sophisticated RSS newsreader for your Treo with which you can read stories an a variety of subjects from your favourite blogs and websites.  Stock Manager allows you to organize your stocks, retrieve quotes, and figure exchange rates.  Applications such as WorldMate provides many of the must-have information you need while traveling – from world clocks and weather forecasts to comprehensive flight and travel information.

Additionally, you might be tempted to keep reference material such as the Bible, Rand McNally Road Atlas and Oxford Dictionary & Thesaurus at hand with you at all times on an SD card.  You might also be attracted by one of the many GPS solutions for the Treo 650 such as the Seidio G2500M to provide you with precise turn-by-turn directions when driving.

Finally, there are all kinds of new SMS information services such as Google’s google.com/sms which are popping up all over the place and which allow you to query directories and perform searches via SMS.

Overall, the industry has barely started to explore and develop all of the mobile information options that we’re likely to see in the coming years but the existing ones are certainly not a bad start.

Multimedia Fun
As I noted earlier, for most people their Treo 650 will be a business tool foremost but the fact is that for those long or short idle moments it can also become an absolutely terrific and extremely versatile entertainment device with all kinds of dedicated applications.

For starters you can listen to mp3 music with the built-in Real Player.  Armed with a 1GB or 2GB SD card and Pocket Tunes Deluxe (my preferred player by far) your music experience can be taken to the next level and you’ll also be able to wirelessly stream live Shoutcast Internet radio which works brilliantly!

Watch .mpeg and .avi movies & videos currently on your PC and with no need to re-encode them using the free TCMP player – videos look absolutely fantastic on the high-resolution Treo 650 screen.  Additionally, Kinoma and MMPlayer each offer some unique video playback features but do require re-encoding.  You can also convert your DVD's to Divx for playback on your Treo using Pocket-DVD Studio.

Streaming TV and other programs with services such as MobiTV and Orb Networks is not available for the Treo quite yet but both companies have declared their intention to make solutions for us sometime in the future.

Snap pictures and shoot short videos using the camera and software built-in to the Treo 650 and even use it as a webcam with Palm Webcam.  Even better now you can post your images within two clicks directly to a dedicated blog with SplashBlog and even view all your friends’ images as well.  Others simply prefer to email the pictures directly to their favourite online photo sharing service such as Flickr.

Carry with you and watch your entire photo collection and show it to family, friends, colleagues - the Treo becomes a 'photo viewer' with applications such as SplashPhoto and once resized I've managed to fit over 1,000 pictures in just under 32MB of file space.

You can read ebooks of all sorts while on the move buying them from places such as Mobipocket or downloading them for free from Project Gutenberg.  If you don’t like reading you can also listen to audio books from Audible.

If you are motivated to read more things on your Treo (I'm starting to get the hang of it) then you can also check out what many praise as the best offline HTML and ebook reader called Plucker and its companion app Desktop Plucker.

If you have your own blog then you’ll definitely want to have HBlogger installed on your Treo so that you can moblog (mobile blogging) while on the go.

You can even use your Treo as a universal remote control with NoviiRemote Deluxe.

And finally you can also play games of all kinds from traditional ones such as Tetris, board games such as Monopoly, Scrabble, Battleship & Yahtzee, backgammon and Mahjongg to an addictive arkanoid remake such as AnotherBall, the ever better Bejeweled2, Collapse!, Mazera and Cubis, card games such as BlackJack Deluxe and Solitaire, from the helicopter shooter Hellfire to word games such as WordPop! and TextTwist.

Basically, as a mini 'computer' you can pretty much replicate all the functionalities of your PC on this little handheld device called Treo and with the ability to perform all of the above communications, productivity, information and multimedia tasks I hope that you’ll agree that the Treo 650 should unequivocally be considered the uber-convergence device.

Naturally, you won’t really know for sure until you become a Treonaut and experience the joy for yourself…

If you are considering getting your Treo 650 with a new (2 year) wireless service plan with either Sprint, Cingular or Verizon then you can order one via the Treonauts Shop.  Alternatively, if you already have a wireless service plan you can purchase your new Unlocked or Sprint, Cingular or Verizon Treo 650 directly from palmOne.

I have no doubt that I have missed many great applications and uses for our Treo so I’ll let existing Treonauts add their own below:

Sharing the Treonauts Experience
1. The Treo 650 is the perfect all-in-one tool because:

2. What other applications or scenarios make for your complete Treo 650 communications?

3. What other applications or scenarios make for your maximum Treo 650 productivity?

4. What other applications or scenarios make for your Treo 650 information immersion?

5. What other applications or scenarios make for your Treo 650 multimedia fun?

Click Here to View Current Results

Treonauts and their experiences are unique

Posted by Andrew on April 14, 2008 at 05:15 AM
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by Ambar | Aug 8, 2005 1:58:41 PM

Could someone please tell me how to post to the blog on this iste. i have just bought a new 650 and have several questions.

by Les Johnson | Oct 8, 2005 9:44:44 AM

What advantages do applications like Versamail have over the internet Mail2Web site which allows you to access your outlook e-mail by just typing in your e-mail address and password. Works like a charm. Anyone else using this?

by kathie streppa | Jan 17, 2006 6:29:46 PM

I like my treo 650 but the palm software doesn't support the Tablet version of Windows XP -- any workarounds? I'm considering the 700w as an alternative -- anyone have any other suggestions???

by Arun Ram | Feb 16, 2006 9:17:32 PM

This is an extraordinary summary. Great work. I would like to see mnetion of - listening to Podcasts on PDA (Quick News/pTunes or iPodder/pTunes), sending and receiving Faxes (CSFax) and a reference to FreewarePalm.com. Surprising not too much reference of Freeware palm apps like Metro etc.

by IonTruO2 | Jun 17, 2006 6:32:07 PM

I'm very new to my Treo650 and I am lov'in it!
Just installed Zlauncher and still have to learn the ropes. I am so pleased to finally have this mobility and now flexability to personalize the interface. What a great device.
I just listened to a whole series of talks by the spiritual teacher Adi Da, last night while working overnights 11-7. It was so easy to rip my cd and then transfer the mp3's over to my Treo650 with a 1 Gig memory card.
Great to find your sight, Thanks.

Blog on friends, talk soon

by Account Deleted | Jun 25, 2006 11:05:23 AM

The newer updates to Cingular allow you to use DUN as well. My phone is not unlocked, and I count this as one of the best features of the Treo.

The comments to this entry are closed.

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