by Alan Zisman (c) 2002
First published in Business
Issue # 653 April 30- May 6, 2002 GearGuide column
turns cell phone into personal organizer
Do you find
yourself with less time but more gadgets? Are your belt, pockets, and
weighed down with personal digital assistant, pager, cell phone and
You're a candidate for convergence, the technology buzzword promising a
new generation of gadgets that will do more with less.
It's a phone,
no, it's a PDA, no, it's...
has produced several generations of Visor PDAs, differentiated from run
of the mill Palms by their Springboard expansion slot, allowing easy
of modems, network cards, games, cameras, gps modules and more. A year
ago, the company released the VisorPhone, a Handspring plug-in to turn
a Visor into a cell phone. This early stab at convergence was never
in Canada; it turned a handy PDA into an awkward phone.
cell phone manufacturers have tried to build a Palm PDA into a cell
giving consumers a bulky phone that was also an awkward PDA.
new Treo 180, Handspring may have got it right. The
goal was to make a Palm-powered gadget that worked well as a cell
Pocket-sized, it fits easily into one hand, and can be used one-handed.
It can be used as a speaker-phone, with a headset, or with its lid
open in standard phone style.
The phone functions
integrate with the PDA software; you can use the standard Palm address
book to access a huge quantity of phone numbers. Unlike typical Palm
Palm clones like Visors or Sony Clie models), Treo sports a
no need to learn the Graffiti alphabet or enter data with a stylus.
people will find that this makes it much quicker to get up and
released a Graffiti-powered Treo 180G model in the U.S., but slow sales
in that market have kept it out of Canada. The 180 models are
a colour model is currently in testing.)
The Treo uses
GSM and GPRS wireless technology platforms. It is being marketed by Rogers
Wireless, for $749.99 with a two-year service plan, or $849.99
with a one-year plan. Service currently includes voice and two-way text
messaging. Wireless web-browsing will be added at a later date.