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Vancouver Lifestyles Magazine

    Handspring Treo Makes a Lot of Connections

    by  Alan Zisman (c) 2003 First published in Vancouver Lifestyles Magazine ,  March 2003, Tech One column

    Handspring's treo was designed from the ground up to works as a cell phone. And to integrate a complete Palm-compatible system. Flip open the case, and it's ready for you to type in your number on its touch-sensitive screen.

    Press a button, and you can access your contact list, using any stored number with your phone. And unlike most PDAs, you don't need to learn a new way of writing to enter your data -- it's got a usable mini-keyboard. Type the first few letters of a contact's name and it jumps to that contact, ready to dial. Since it's a full-fledged, 16- MB Palm-compatible PDA, you have access to full hundreds of programs developed for that platform, from playing games to reading e-books to keeping track of your expenses.

    Compatible with GSM/GPRS mobile systems like Rogers/AT&T and Fido, last year's monochrome-screen treo 180 (priced from $549) has been joined by the colour screen treo 270 (starting at $699). Rogers has recently begun offering GPRS-powered Internet access to treo users, with web browsing, messaging, and e-mail that's a big step up from the slow and anemic version available on traditional cell phones.

    Handspring's Treo isn't the first gadget to combine a pocket-sized computer with a mobile phone. At least for now, though, it's the best.

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Alan Zisman is a Vancouver educator, writer, and computer specialist. He can be reached at E-mail Alan