Early Thoughts On The Palm Treo Pro Not Flattering - InformationWeek

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8/21/2008
10:17 AM
Eric Ogren
Eric Ogren
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Early Thoughts On The Palm Treo Pro Not Flattering

Despite the all-new hardware and major improvements in style, the new Palm Treo Pro isn't getting analysts and tech writers hot and bothered. Some are calling it "underwhelming", "a flotation device," and a "stopgap". Ouch.

Despite the all-new hardware and major improvements in style, the new Palm Treo Pro isn't getting analysts and tech writers hot and bothered. Some are calling it "underwhelming", "a flotation device," and a "stopgap". Ouch.Yesterday -- after two flubbed attempts -- Palm finally and officially announced the Treo Pro. The Treo Pro is a major step forward for Palm in terms of style, though its spec list pretty much matches that of the recently announced 800w (oh, and every other smartphone out there). GPS? Check. Wi-Fi? Check. Stereo Bluetooth? Check. 3G? Check. Great new user interface? Not so much.

The Treo Pro runs Windows Mobile 6.1, which is an enterprise workhorse. Palm adds some of its own touches, such as threaded messaging and a new screen saver that displays the time and message indicators, but Windows Mobile isn't all that much fun to use.

CNet and Wired each took the time to share their thoughts about the new phone. Neither was all that impressed with the device.

In his write-up, CNet's Adam Richardson writes, "Underwhelming. That's the word that comes to mind when I look at the new Palm Treo Pro... it's got a decent package of features, but what's so compelling about it that isn't being offered elsewhere?" Richardson is absolutely right. Almost every smartphone carries the same spec list these days. If you want to stand out in the crowd -- a crowd that is growing quickly -- you need something to set the device apart.

He also isn't happy about the size of the Treo Pro's screen. He says, "320x320 has been the Palm standard [screen resolution] for years now. Heck, even the Palm Tungsten T3 I had 4 years ago had a 50% bigger screen... The Pro's screen already looks small, and will look even more diminutive over its product life cycle given how slowly Palm brings out new models."

The Treo Pro's resolution isn't exactly bad, but other devices pack in many more pixels and also have larger screens.

In the end, Richardson declares the Treo Pro "just not good enough to move the needle on [Palm's] dwindling market share."

Wired's Brian X. Chen gives us his take, too. He spoke to some analysts, and they contend that the price point is really going to hurt its chances of success in the U.S. market. I am inclined to agree. To start, it will only be available to U.S. customers for $550. For that price, you'll get an unlocked phone with no annual contract. For comparison's sake, the original Nokia N95 also can be had unlocked for about the same price. Other, more trend-setting devices cost less, though they tether the users to wireless network operators with contracts.

What Chen is getting at is this: People aren't going to pay $550 for a stopgap measure that's not really innovative.

The New York Times was pretty neutral in its review of the device, and major blogs, such as Gizmodo and Engadget are still working on full reviews of the device.

I have yet to have a chance to play with it.

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