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    Handspring Treo 180
    Author: Drew Lanclos
    Date Posted: June 19th, 2002
    SLRating: SLRating: 8/10
    Bottom Line: A thorough mix of genius and asinine design decisions if there ever were one. It's sleek and lightweight, but Kyocera owners don't have anything to worry about...yet.

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    Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
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    Wireless Internet

    Though GPRS isn't yet available, the Treo 180 will conduct modem sessions over the wireless signal, allowing you to connect to the Internet on your phone. To hear current cellphone manufacturers talk, cellphone Internet connectivity is the wave of the future…Unfortunately, none of them seem to be able to get an implementation that's worth using. Kyocera, Samsung, and Handspring have all had the excellent idea of building upon the existing Palm platform and its cadre of Internet applications.

    So, in short, what sets the Treo's wireless access apart from its competing offerings? Speed, and applications. Previously I've used Eudora and Eudora Web. Though I don't much care for Eudora's desktop mail application, the handheld suite is generally good. Mail management is efficient, and Eudora Web, well…works. The singular drawback to Eudora Web is that it's slow, and only supports text.

    When I used the Treo's wireless web browser, Blazer, I was surprised from the get-go. The browser itself is compact, yet highly robust. It doesn't support much of the "accessory" content, such as JavaScript, ActiveX, or animated images, but it does support cookies, images, and does a better job preserving website layouts. The JavaScript support is a bit disappointing, since IMP and several other web-based e-mail clients require it, but since they often employ it in frames, it's almost useless on a handheld platform anyway.

    A couple of other small caveats exist with Blazer: namely, you can't have more than one page open at a time, and while it renders text before graphics, allowing you to functionally read pages while it's still loading content, it seems to have some difficulty doing this with dynamically generated pages, particularly on messageboards. It's almost a trivial matter, though, and it happens rarely. On a whole, it's leaps and bounds beyond existing web browsers for the Palm platform, and it's something I'd definitely pay money to use on other platforms.

    The e-mail application provided, One-Touch Mail, isn't particularly noteworthy. The folder management tools don't work, and compared to the speed of Blazer, it's painfully slow. Downloading ten normal plain-text messages took around two or three minutes. Though Handspring bundles One-Touch Mail with the phone, there is an alternative available: Treo Mail.

    Treo Mail is an annually subscribed service offered by Handspring that works very well. It comes in a personal and a corporate edition, and essentially, it's a manageable e-mail server. Treo Mail lets you configure mail filtering rules and prioritize your e-mail downloads so that you can download only the mail that's important to you. The Treo Mail client is also highly optimized for the Palm platform, and it downloads messages *much* faster than One-Touch Mail. The personal edition (Called "Internet Edition") costs $49 per year, and copies e-mail from any publicly-accessible POP3 server, hosting it specifically for your Treo to access. The Treo Mail client program can be set to automatically go online at intervals, and download new mail. You can also specifically request only messages from certain senders, or within a certain number of days. It reduces your airtime consumption (and battery, if you keep the transmitter off frequently), and reduces your wait time for mail. The corporate edition, at $100 per year, is designed for use with Exchange or Outlook e-mail systems on intranets, can send your phone SMS messages to notify you of new mail, and requires a running Windows PC to act as a mail relay via the Internet.

    One thing to note about the Treo's Internet access is that your signal quality meter isn't a good indicator of your bandwidth. I've had the meter all the way to zero, and I was still able to browse fine. On the other hand, I frequently had problems establishing a connection. The call would seem to timeout, but the phone would just sit there attempting to connect, sometimes for as long as five minutes. I started hitting Cancel after 30 seconds, and manually redialing. This may simply be a factor of cellphone signal quality in my area, however, so your mileage may vary. Once I got connected though, I hardly ever lost a signal.

    Pros & Cons/Conclusion Go the the next page
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    Article Navigation

    1. Introduction
    2. Features
    3. Keyboard
    4. Hardware
    5. Software
    6. Wireless Internet
    7. Pros & Cons/Conclusion

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