Palm Treo is a smart phone, but what about the Wi-Fi?

The Palm Treo 700p Smartphone is perfect. Almost.With a generous screen (4.4×2.3 inches) and a brilliant display (320×320 resolution), this device has pretty much everything you could ask for. It features, for example, a 1.3 megapixel camera that captures video as well, a fast Web browser with support for EV-DO for broadband-like download speeds, a full version of Documents to Go, a built-in MP3 player, the Palm VersaMail application that provides access to your Outlook e-mail, and all the other apps you’d expect of a Palm handheld.

It also comes with Bluetooth connectivity, which is a snap to set up. I was able to send a document from a Bluetooth-enabled Palm TX to the Treo with a minimum of effort.

It also features the best external speaker I’ve ever heard on a handheld device or cell phone, and the call quality is excellent.

It’s relatively slim and nicely shaped so it’s comfortable to use as a phone, unlike many phone/e-mail device combos.

As well, the fact that it runs the Palm OS (version 5.4.9) means there are plenty of applications and add-ons available to make the most of your money.

There is a huge community of Treo lovers out there, ready and willing to share all their tricks and tips as well as suggestions as to the best applications for the device.

The fact that it doesn’t feature Wi-Fi is a major disappointment, because it will cost you an arm and a leg to take advantage of the speedy Internet and e-mail and text apps. Data plans in Canada are still in their early days, and they are priced accordingly.

For enterprise users, however, the option to connect to your organization’s VPN is a major advantage, and if you need access to your business e-mail 24×7, the Wi-Fi issue won’t bother you, although it will rankle those who want a joint business/personal device.

SD cards won’t cut it
And while 128MB of internal memory is certainly an improvement over the days of the 8MB PDA, considering everything you can do with the Treo, I can foresee that eventually being not enough, and most applications won¹t run from SD storage cards, which max out today at 4GB.

And those applications, for the most part, will cost you. The onboard manual -­ a very nice feature indeed ­- says you can watch videos you’ve taken on the Treo’s camcorder or other videocam using the Pics&Videos application, and that you can watch streaming video over the Web.

But in reality, unless you’re able to download it and use a third-party application, that’s not going to happen: Flash Player for the Palm has yet to be released, and pretty much all Internet video these days requires it. The only way you will be able to watch videos is by buying third-party software such as the Kinoma Player and Kinoma Producer, the software that converts video to the Palm format. Palm used to bundle these applications, but alas, that is no longer the case.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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