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Reading this review of the Sprint Treo 650 over at PDA Buyer's Guide really reinforced some the feelings I've been having with the demo unit Sprint sent me a couple of weeks ago. They have a little love-in, and in general the positives they list I can get behind—the new screen, Bluetooth, and faster processor are all welcome additions to the platform, but strangely those very qualities end up highlighting the fractured experience that owning the premier PalmOS smartphone can bring.

PalmOS advocates often tout the vast library of PalmOS applications available for the platform—I've made that same observation myself—but many of the applications are designed for older Palms with lower-resolution screens with pen interfaces, making their use on the Treo frustrating. Of the two or three IRC applications I've used, none of them feel right for the Treo, forcing me to use the touchscreen when I should be able to control everything through the keyboard. I'd trade 10,000 generic PalmOS applications for 100 designed for the Treo alone.


And the lack of multi-tasking—come on, it's almost 2005. Why can't I have an IRC window, an AIM window, and a web browser open and still make a call? It's not a hardware limitation, it's a limitation of decrepit operating system extended past its prime.

If you already have a Treo, the 650 is worth moving to (maybe not just this minute, but as the price falls certainly). Memory issues aside, it's not like it's worse. But it just doesn't provide the experience I feel like I deserve in this day and age—in fairness, nothing complete does, yet—and far too often I feel like I'm making compromises in how I interface with my mobile information just because the Treo is "one of the best."

That's a joke. PalmOne makes good product, but it's not scratching that itch any more. Try harder, do better, guys.


palmOne Treo 650 Palm OS Smartphone [PDABuyersGuide]

Update: I almost spaced this. Markspace lent me a copy of The Missing Sync so I could actually use the Bluetooth functions on OSX. Well worth the $0 I paid for it. If I actually were going to buy the Treo 650, I would totally drop the $40 a real copy.
Missing Sync Page [Markspace]