I Miss my Treo

Posted by Keith McMillan

March 12, 2010 | 3 Comments

Last year, I retired my Palm Treo 755. It was a sad moment for me, but I felt that, with the new WebOS on the Pre and Pixi, PalmOS was a dead platform, and I needed to move on. I’d been using PalmOS for a long time, having originally carried a Palm V way back when they were new.  I feel like I’m missing a friend now.

When I retired the Palm, the question was what to replace it with. The obvious choices at that time were a BlackBerry, an iPhone, or an Android G1. Given my carrier (Sprint), I was limited to BlackBerry, unless I wanted to jump ship and terminate my contract. I opted to wait for the new BlackBerry Tour. Given the breathless nature of the reviews of the BlackBerry, I expected great things. I’ve had the phone now since August, and I find myself underwhelmed.

I’d grown used to first-class calendaring and task management in the form of DateBk6. The out-of-the-box calendar and task tracking for the BlackBerry is anemic at best. “OK,” I thought, “I’ll load up an aftermarket app. BlackBerry’s got a big following, so I’m sure there’s something good.”

Imagine my surprise when I discovered how few applications are actually available after-market for the BlackBerry. I’m not sure if this is because RIM’s marketplace is so new, but I’m led to believe that developing for the BlackBerry is, well, challenging. Apparently, each phone is different enough that you have to test your app on all of them, and about the time you do that, RIM brings out the next latest-and-greatest, and you’re testing again!

And it’s not just the calendar app. Since I’m a consultant, I like to keep track of my billable time in my handheld. There were some good choices for Palm, but for BlackBerry? Not so much. I was only able to turn up a few, and most of them were either feature-poor, or extremely expensive.

And don’t even get me started on synchronizing my calendar with anything other than Outlook…

So all this has got me thinking: time to move to Android, or iPhone? The iPhone makes me feel like I felt about the iPod many years ago. I had an MP3 player which served me fine, but I was tired of fighting the accessory battle: everyone made something for the iPhone, not so much for the Creative Zen.  I bought my first iPod, and was quite happy, until the next model came out, which is pretty typical of the Apple experience in general, I guess.

I know if I climb on the iPhone bandwagon, I’ll be tickled that I can get software and accessories, but I’ll be on the upgrade treadmill, and I’m not wild about having AT&T as a carrier.  I’m tempted to get a Droid, but I’m not really sure what the app market looks like…  Both of these obviously require switching carriers, which doesn’t really bother me much at this point, although I’d need to get all my services off Sprint at some point.

So I’m left wondering. I’m not really happy with the BlackBerry (and every time I sync, I grow less happy, as it munges my data), but don’t know where to go next. How about you, dear reader? Suggestions?


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Comment by Johnny
2010-03-12 14:31:51

Unfortunately I have come to the sad conclusion that phones are no longer made for users, they are made for the people that review phones. The wow factor is more important than the usability of the phone.
I really think that there has been no better smart phone series that the Treo’s. My biggest frustration is with Palm. They did a lousy job marketing the phone to the public and showcasing all the apps that were available. I am always anoid at the fact that people seem to think that the IPhone is the only phone that can do what it does. Palm has failed to learn the lesson that Apple learned the hard way, it’s the apps that sell the phone and the customer will want the largest selection of apps, even if they don’t come from palm. I think Palm didn’t push these apps because they wouldn’t make any money from them directly. But they may have held on to more market share.
When I dropped my phone for the 150th time and finally killed it, I switched from my palm 700p to a Blackberry Storm. What a disaster. The only good feature that the Blackberries had was the e-mail push technology which is now available everywhere. What I really hated about the Blackberries is the way they lump all messages together. I would look at my phone to see I had messages then it was like an Easter egg hunt to figure out what kind of message it was, (voice, text, etc.). THEN, when you want to reply to a text message for example, the phone asks you if you want to send an; e-mail, Text message, MM message, or voice mail. If you get an e-mail and want to reply the phone asks you if you want to send an; e-mail, Text message, MM message, or voice mail. If you get a MM message and want to reply the phone asks you …well, you get the idea.
Contact management was awful and the calendar was useless. The touch screen, which requires you to use your fingers often selected the wrong text on websites or in trying to edit a message. Couple that with the slow response from touch screen and you could go mad trying to send an e-mail. Plus I had to use two hands to manipulate the phone, all that swiping made the phone more inconvenient to use.
I finally went on e-bay and purchased a 755p which was in mint condition. I have since started to use p-tunes heavily to listen to internet radio and I have added a Bluetooth GPS. I expect to be buying another off of e-bay to that I can have another back up. My only dwindling hope is that Palm will see the light and make a phone that will similar button layout as the Treo’s and can run the Palm OS emulation software that has come out. The fact that there is Palm OS emulation software to begin with ought to be a big hint to palm. I myself started on a Palm 5000, (remember those?) and have almost 20 years of contacts in my phone. Switching that over will be no easy task so I will give up my Palm OS device when they pull it out of my cold dead fingers, or until I can’t get another one on e-bay.

Comment by John Wirtz
2010-03-13 08:29:20

The problem with smart phones is that once you start using one brand it becomes habit. Like so many other things in life we get use to what we use regularly. In my case, I started with a basic phone and seperate pda when I switched to the Blackberry. So the BB was my first smart phone and I have become use to it. Smart phone maker’s biggest problem though was until Apple got into the game with integration and marketing, none of them pushed software beyond what was preinstalled on the device. Now everyone is playing catch up with Apple even though there are plenty of sources already out there for other devices, except Android which didn’t exist before.

I’ve tried the iphone, sidekick and treo and haven’t been impressed with any of them. The Treo seemed old but capable and wasn’t very satisfying. The Sidekick seemed like someone took the much maligned but very capable WinMo OS and put it in a toy. Finally, oy, the iphone, don’t get me started. As you mentioned the upgrade train you lock into with Apple just to get the functionality that should have been built in from the start and only to end up with a mediocre product. The only thing Apple has done right is to create an integrated app store. For me, the problem is that its integrated with itunes which I lothe. Contrary to popular belief, I’m not an Apple hater, I think they make some fairly good products. They lock you into their draconian hardware and software rules. If you deviate, they’ll happily brick the hardware you paid for. So you really don’t own your Apple products.

At least with the BB, WinMo device, Android, and Treo devices you could buy third party software without voiding your warranty. If you haven’t found it yet, try for software and recommendations. They were there before RIM created App World. I know, not much help with what you need.

Comment by Julia
2010-03-19 09:57:13

Only when my Treo finally bit the dust and I had to replace it, I too have made the switch from Palm to a Blackberry. I went into Sprint and asked them what would be the best replacement for my Treo that had ease of messages and the best calendar, they suggest the PalmPixi. At first I was excited because I loved my Treo so much I thought nothing but good things of Palm. The only thing I didn’t like about my Treo was that it wasn’t compatiable with Pandora’s Internet Radio, I love that. But the Pixi did offer this feature so I wanted to upgrade.. Boy was that a mistake! I had the Pixi for not but a week and I couldn’t take it. There was too much going on and the mostly touchscreen menu was not for me, I like to be able to scroll around with a left,right,up,down. So I opp for a BlackBerry that so many of my friends had raved about. I’m still trying to adjust. I do like the apps that are offered and the navigation and themes that I never had on my Treo. But yes, the messages are scattered in 4 different places! This makes no sense to me. I do also like having the BlackBerry Messenger. But one thing I can not get over is how awful the calendar is!! I miss my Treo so much. I like having the color coded events to easily look at a month view see what colored icons I had going on that week and quickly be reminded what I had going on. I am actually amazed Blackberry has nothing similar. In fact, I don’t know that any other device has a calendar that suits my needs like the PalmTreo. I struggle with this everyday, still waiting for someone to get on this. I love my blackberry, and am growingly getting attached to it, but I still consider giving it all up just to have my calendar back.
I miss my Treo.
Does anyone know of any solutions? Or calendar options? Or should I just go back to my Treo?

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