Some Treo 750 observations

by Volker Weber

treotodayscreen octrotalk

You have to work with a device for a few days before you really get to know it. It does not count if you just carry it with you, but it rather has to be the real workhorse. Since I broke my Pearl last week, I had to switch phones anyway, and I chose the unbranded Treo 750 with UMTS/HSDPA. As far as I know O2 does not have HSDPA coverage in Darmstadt, so I am using it with standard UMTS speed, which is way faster than GPRS. The web browser is as usable as it gets on a 240x240 screen. THis means it works well with sites optimized for mobile phones and not at all with everything else.

As recommended I have tried Spb Insight as an RSS reader, but I am somewhat appalled by the amount of data it downloads. The reason is that it pulls the full articles for all items in an RSS feed. I am sure I can switch that off somewhere but I have not found that yet.

Since I am using the phone with Microsoft Direct Push, I have to charge the battery every night. I don't have trouble surviving a day with all the phone calls and email checking I do, but I have zero chance to survice two. One of the reasons may be that Direct Push wakes up the phone every time an email arrives. It also seems to wake up if the idle link to the Exchange server times out. Direct Push is not really "push". The Treo keeps polling in very long cycles. The server remains silent and lets the client time out for the next poll -- unless an email comes in at the server.

This does work well. The 8800 and the Treo race for the quickest delivery, and most of the times the 8800 wins, but only by a few seconds. However, the 8800 rus much longer on one battery charge -- if you only use it as a messaging device. Phone calls will deplete the battery as quick as on the Treo.

I find the Treo quite usable. The integration is even better than on the BlackBerry. If you receive an email for instance, and you press the center button while reading it, the Treo asks you how you want to respond. Place a phone call to any of the contact's numbers, send an SMS and so forth. If the sender is unknown, the Treo offers to create a new contact.

I also found one small defect. You can have yourself alerted when new mail arrives. If you choose a midi file, that works well. I have however selected an MP3 file, which never plays. It should work as I can hear it when setting up this preference, but it will never actually sound off when it should. Back to a midi file.

I have switched to the Crossbow Treo theme, which goes better with the Treo body than the standard blue Windows Mobile 5 theme. I have also found an interesting GoogleTalk client which does not rely on a Java VM: OctroTalk. They are currently in beta and this version will stop running by the end of the week. Like many other Jabber clients it also lets you connect to what Octro calls legacy networks: AIM, ICQ, MSN and Yahoo.

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I explain difficult concepts in simple ways. For free, and for money. Clue procurement and bullshit detection.

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