With digital technologies converging, the days when man could get by with a little black phone book, a couple of notes scrawled on the back of a bar receipt and a mobile phone in the other pocket are long gone. Today the modern business exec needs something that will do everything in one. Handspring hopes to step into the breech with the Treo 180.
Combining a mobile phone with PDA, the Treo is the answer to the person looking for everything in one tidy box. Yes you could opt for the iPaq in one pocket and the Bluetooth enabled mobile phone in the other, but if you are looking for a phone that will get you out of trouble when on the road, rather than offer you a fully comprehensive entertainment system then this is your answer.
The Treo 180 runs the tried and trusted Palm Operating system that most Handspring users will be familiar with and comes with plenty of software to get you started. On the one side you have a standard phone with full SMS capabilities, but on the other you have a fully functional PDA offering the usual array of diary functions, expenses forms and even email.
Looks wise the Treo doesn’t win two many prizes with many people commenting that it looked very retro when we took it down the pub. That said the screen is large and easy to read, with the flip top doing a good job in protecting the touch screen, the metal stylus was also a nice touch, over the standard issue plastic ones found in other handspring products. And of course the inclusion of a Qwerty keyboard is the Treo’s piece-de-la-resistance. As typing emails, notes or even standard SMS becomes a breeze.
However, it’s not all good news. The fact that the phone is dual band is a tad annoying for those who frequently travel to the States on business and some might feel that putting something the size of a small notepad up against your head whenever you take a call can be off putting. Handspring has tried to counter this with the inclusion of a microphone headset - giving you a hands-free approach, but every so often you can be caught out and its back to the retro look of having a phone that has just stepped out of the eighties.
In the end though, these are small glitches in what ultimately is a great product and offers those on the move a chance to be on the move without the need of a laptop and plenty of cables.