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PalmOne Treo 650

25th October 2004

 PalmOne Treo 650 #1 The PalmOne Treo 650 is a significant upgrade to the Treo 600 handset that Palm acquired when it took over rival Handspring. Although many Treo users loved the 600, there were always some niggling faults that got in the way, and the Treo 650 fixes most of these to produce a much more capable handset.

The biggest and most impressive improvement is the screen, which is now a whopping 320x320 pixel touchscreen in 65,000 colours, up from a 160x160 pixel 4096 colour unit.

The Treo 600 was a PalmOS smartphone, and the 650 continues that with PalmOS 5.4. The Treo 650 also supports POP3 and IMAP email, plus compatibility with Palm's VersaMail system that allows the Treo 650 to talk to Microsoft Exchange servers

In size terms, the Treo 650 is large for a phone, but really it's about average for a sophisticated smartphone, coming in at 113x59x23mm and a hefty 178 grams. It takes SD cards for memory expansion and supports SDIO memory. Internal memory is 32Mb of which around 22Mb is available to the user. There's a VGA resolution digital camera and Bluetooth, and a lot of work has been done on the keyboard including fixing the glaring omission of a call and hangup button that was missing from the Treo 600. There's also a larger wireless keyboard for easier data entry,

Although it looks very much like the old Treo 600 on the surface, underneath the handset is much more like the PalmOne Tungsten T5, including the memory configuration and connector interface, meaning that the Treo 650 is incompatible with all non-Bluetooth Treo 600 accessories. The processor in the Treo 650 is much faster than the old unit too, being a 312MHz Intel Xscale processor (compared to the 600's 144Mhz ARM processor). Talktime is quoted as up to 6 hours with 12 days standby. The Treo 650 will be available in two versions, a quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE unit available in early 2005 for Europe, and a CDMA/1xRTT version for the US late in 2004.

The embedded PalmOS operating system allows users to work with Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents, and also play back MP3s and other media types. The Treo's messaging client also provides a very neat unified inbox for emails, MMS and SMS messages.

The PalmOne Treo 650 is an impressive bit of kit, and it stands up well against the new range of RIM Blackberry products. For home users the PalmOne unit looks slightly more impressive than the Blackberry range, but for corporates it may well be that they prefer the Blackberry back-end interface to Microsoft Exchange. Either way, the Treo 650 should sell well.


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PalmOne Treo 650 at a glance


Q4 2004/Q1 2005


Quad-band GSM or CDMA




320x320 pixels, 65,000 colours


640x480 pixels


PDA format device
113x59x23mm / 178 grams




Not specified





Battery life:

6 hours talk / 12 days standby


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