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Treo 600 Preview

Sun Oct 5, 2003 - 1:00 PM EDT - By Michael Ducker


Web, Messaging, and Software

Handspring renamed Blazer 3 to just “Web”. In fact, you will not find the word Blazer anywhere. I will however continue to call it Blazer 3. Blazer 3 is a complete proxy-less rewrite of the Blazer web browser. Using Sprint Vision, pages were downloaded and rendered web pages insanely fast, with the only slowness the latency of requesting for a page. The bookmark system has stayed the same, but Handspring has redone their mobile portal and made it much better. On the Sprint device the sprint portal was also available (with ring-tones and software and more to buy). Blazer 3 finally can download applications directly now, and Sprint exploits this with their mobile Handango powered software store. Handspring also added a new feature that allows the saving of web pages for offline viewing. It works very well.

My biggest fear about the Treo 600 was Blazer, and I must admit that it was by far better than any of my expectations. Even complicated sites such as The New York Times were easily readable under Blazer 3. Surprising to me was how well Blazer handles the web. It now supports full CSS 2.0, and javascript; two welcome additions. In the review we will go more in-depth to Blazer 3,0, but for now I will say that users do not need to worry about dropping the proxy! My biggest complaint about Blazer is that it cannot tell which images are important to resize and which images are not. A great example of this is the apple store website. If you look, the center of the page has the products, while the bottom left hand bar has images of less important information. Blazer 3.0 displays the Free Shipping image at the very bottom of the screen as importantly as the images of the Powerbooks.

Saved Pages, treo.treocentral.com, column view of The New York Times and wide view of the New York Times.


Messaging

The Sprint Treo 600 and the GSM Treo 600 differ most on messaging. The GSM Treo 600 comes with a built in email app, and full two way SMS. The Sprint Treo 600 that I tested came with a one way SMS app and a link to download Business Connect (Their subscription email program). Two way SMS is coming soon to the Treo 600 as shown by the dialog at right. I did get a chance to try Handspring’s email app; when they learned that I had a Treo 600 they immediately sent over about 15 MB of programs to try out, including their email program. (Thank you very much Brian Jaquet for being at work late on Friday!) Handspring’s mail app works with POP3 only, has a good interface, and overall seems like a good beginner email program. I also was able to test a 5 way navigator version of SnapperMail which absolutely rocked, and the same can be said about VeriChat.

Software

Handspring renamed Datebook to Calendar and Blazer 3 to web. Everything has new icons. All the main apps were updated to support the 5 way navigator. Because Handspring sent me the large package of apps, I was able to test many games and other things. I did not have time to go download other third party OS 5 software. I did discover that the Treo will come with Docs-To-Go Viewer, and versions of SplashMoney, SplashID, and SplashShopper. Handspring will also make available for free a Handspring edition of Pocket-Tunes. I was able to confirm that Real Player for Palm will work on the Treo 600.


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