Palm Treo Pro: A sweet Windows smartphone
Review: If you're partial to Windows Mobile, you'd be hard-pressed to do better than the new Treo Pro from PalmFollow @infoworld
The Treo Pro's touchscreen was responsive, and I was very impressed with the accuracy when using finger presses. I pulled out the included stylus only a few times to deal with a dense Windows menu here and there.
Perhaps the biggest hardware limitation is the relatively minuscule 100MB of free user memory. Then there's the hassle of getting to the microSD memory card slot (which holds up to 32GB card, when they become available). The slot is hidden under the battery cover; I can see the cover getting damaged if it's removed too many times.
Boot 'er up
Once the Treo Pro is switched on, you won't find the fancy TouchFLO 3D user interface that HTC uses on some of its branded devices. Yet the Treo Pro simplifies a few tasks while maintaining clean screens. For instance, the MyTreo screen helps you set up the device. And the main Today display is uncluttered.
Since you're dealing with Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional, there's an abundance of corporate functionality. As with the iPaq 910c, I had no trouble connecting to a Microsoft Exchange server and receiving push e-mail. I also added three POP e-mail accounts, quickly configured using a Wizard; you can set the device to connect to these services on a predetermined schedule to download messages. There's a copy of Microsoft Office Mobile and the standard fare of Internet Explorer Mobile.
The Treo Pro generally performed well, launching applications within a few seconds. And there were no lags in input, such as entering numbers on the phone keypad.
[ Find out more about Windows Mobile 6.1 by reading "Microsoft takes big step in managing enterprise handhelds." ]
Interestingly, Palm's reduced on its packaging (a good thing) and includes Microsoft ActiveSync software on the device rather than shipping an install CD for Windows XP. I had no difficulty hooking up to a Vista-running laptop; the OS recognized the Treo and automatically downloaded the latest drivers. Mac and Linux users will have to rely on third-party desktop connectivity applications.
No extra baggage
Palm backed away from a lot of its past Windows Mobile add-ons, instead opting for a few from HTC. It's hard to tell if this has cut down on Windows crashes -- I did have a few unexpected reboots during two weeks of testing -- but the Treo Pro's stability was about the same as other Windows Mobile handsets I've used.
The nifty Communications Manager conveniently manages all the radios. And there's a great utility to quickly exit running applications so that you maximize free memory.
For GPS, Palm loads Google Maps and there's a trial version of TeleNav for turn-by-turn directions. The Treo Pro includes a QuickGPS utility that speeds up GPS calculations by downloading GPS data from the Internet. Overall, the Treo's Assisted-GPS hardware (which uses a combination of cellular tower and GPS satellite information) achieved initial fixes within 30 seconds and worked well.