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Palm Treo 650 Device Spotlight

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Battery Life - Part 2 Wed Aug 31, 2005 12:04 pm
I was able to conduct a battery test, yesterday. Normally, I could have conducted several battery tests in one day for a device, but not for the PalmOne Treo 650 GSM. For the test, I setup Pocket Tunes to repeatedly playback a set of 128 kbps MP3 files. The volume was set at 50%, and the screen was set to go off after 10 seconds. Bluetooth was on but not communicating with anything. In addition, the phone was on, but it only ringed once during the test. I let the call go to my voice mail. Except for the phone and bluetooth settings, everything else was identical to the tests I conducted for the PalmOne Tungsten T3 and the PalmOne Tungsten T5. Thus, I have included the results for the PalmOne Tungsten T3, PalmOne Tungsten T5, and PalmOne Treo 650.

Here are results for MP3 Playback (Screen Off):
  • PalmOne Treo 650 GSM: 13 hours 30 minutes[/b]
  • PalmOne Tungsten T3: 5 hours 10 minutes
  • PalmOne Tungsten T5: 6 hours 40 minutes
Wow! Not only did the Treo 650 playback audio for over 13 hours, it still had 10% left that you could have used to make a phone call or two. If nothing else, you could purchase an extra battery, pop it in, and listen to some more music for another 13 hours. Again, wow!

Today, I will conducting a battery test using video. I will be comparing the results of the PalmOne Treo 650 GSM with the Dell Axim X50v, Tapwave Zodiac 2, PalmOne Tungsten T3, and the PalmOne Tungsten T5. Stay tuned...
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Battery Life - Part 1 Wed Aug 31, 2005 12:02 pm
I have been very impressed with battery life on the Treo 650. While I have not completed any extensive testing, I watched a movie for nearly two hours this weekend. The screen's brightness level was set at about 33%, and the volume level was set at 100% playing back through the external speaker. With these settings, the percent charge level went from 100% down to an impressive 81%. Since the rate of change can vary through the discharge cycle of the battery, I am not sure you can get another six to eight hours of video playback on the device or not. However, I plan on finding out.
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ROM Update Experience Wed Aug 31, 2005 12:01 pm
I just got through performing a ROM update to my Treo 650, Treo 650 Updater 1.13 for Unlocked GSM. Fortunately, everything went very well. As mentioned before, I was really interested in the memory optimization improvements made in this update. With my setup, my available device memory went from 5.8 MB of RAM (before} to 11.0 MB or RAM (after). Excellent! As always, user mileage may vary. I highly recommend this update for Treo 650 (Unlocked GSM) users. There is also an update for Treo 650 (Sprint PCS) users that I recommend as well. As for the other improvements, I did not notice any significant difference after the update. For more details on the update process, feel free to read my user guide that I just posted.

User Guide: Perform a ROM Update
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Setup - Part 2 Wed Aug 31, 2005 12:00 pm
As you may already know, I am setting up my Treo 650. In Part 1, I setup and installed the following applications: Beyond Contacts, Documents To Go, AvantGo, and ZLauncher. I selected these applications first because I knew they would take up the most memory. In addition, I have so many applications to install that I knew I would need ZLauncher in order to run applications from the external memory card.

During Part 2, I installed the rest of the applications that I use. I have detailed some of the installations where there are some opportunities to save RAM (i.e. main memory on the device). For the Treo 650, there is only around 22 MB of RAM available on the device. The applications I installed are as follows...

Note: There is probably more detail I could add to this page, so I will probably update this post accordingly as time passes. In addition, there may be some other software titles that I will install in the future that I would like to add. I am working on a user guide to simplify moving applications to your external memory card. Thank you.

BibleReader+: This is an excellent Bible reading program for the Palm platform. There are several free versions (KJV and ASV), and I have purchased the NJKV version. I am looking at purchasing the NIV version that they have recently released. BibleReader+ and the different Bible versions can be installed on the external memory card.

BugMe! Notepad: This is a powerful note taking application. Take notes in your own handwriting or with text. Jot quick notes as you go. Make a quick sketch, import a photo or map, or just have a little doodle. BugMe! Notepad captures what you draw directly on your handheld's screen, making note taking fast, easy and accurate. In addition, you can easily add an alarm to each note. This will need to be installed in RAM.

Card Export II: This application gives your Treo 650 the same functionality as the Tungsten T5 and the LifeDrive. It allows your external memory card in your Treo 650 to act as an external USB memory key to your computer. This application can be installed on the external memory card without any problems.

eReader Pro: If you want to carry books with you, the eReader software is essential. eReader Pro adds features not available in the free version, such as the use of additional fonts. These fonts are available as font packs. I use the Bell MT 18 font in the Agfa Monotype eBook Font Pack for Palm OS. The free version of eReader is very feature-rich and, of course, is free. Both versions can be installed on the external memory card as well as all the books that you purchase at eReader.com.

FileZ: This is a free file manager for the Palm platform. This is a must have especially if you have an external memory card. In addition, it can be installed on the external memory card. Although this is free, I probably will consider the Resco File Explorer for the Palm platform. It has a lot more features that are probably worth the purchase price.

Graffiti Anywhere: This software allows you to use Graffiti recognition system on the Treo 650 by using the entire screen as the input area. Since the Treo 650 has a keyboard, Graffiti Anywhere is one of the only ways to use Graffiti recognition system on the device. Of course, this can be used on other Palm devices. This application needs to be installed in RAM.

Kinoma Player 3 EX: This is a powerful media application. You can listen to unprotected iTunes collections (AAC), share your digital photos, and watch MPEG-4 video. While the player works well by itself, it works even better with the Kinoma Producer. Kinoma Producer converts media on the desktop for playback on the handheld using Kinoma Player 3 EX. Kinoma Producer is the easiest way to get your video, music and photographs on your Palm devie. Turn your desktop digital media files into Kinoma and MPEG-4 movies for playback on almost any Palm device with Kinoma Player 3 EX. Note: There is a free Kinoma Player 3, but it does not play back MPEG-4 files. In addition, there are features such as screen rotation and screen scaling that are not included with the free player. Kinoma Player can be installed on the external memory card, but you will have to move it to your external memory card after you install it. You have to do this because you actually have to run an installer after you copy it to your device.

Pocket Tunes Deluxe: This is an excellent MP3 player for the Palm platform. Not only can it play MP3 files, but it can play OGG, WAV, and WMV files as well. There are numerous other features, and it can be installed on the external memory card. However, there are limitations in doing so as described in the user guide. For users not interested in all the features of Pocket Tunes Deluxe, there is Pocket Tunes Basic. Pocket Tunes Basic lacks the following features: WMA support, crossfade, gapless playback, ShoutCast, and bookmarks.

Repligo: This application gives Windows users a similar functionality to that of Adobe Acrobat. It gives you the ability to print any document to the Repligo format. Once you print the files to the Repligo format, you can view them on your Palm OS5 device using the Repligo reader. You can also view the same file on your desktop using the Repligo reader for Windows. Although the functionality is similar to Adobe Acrobat, Repligo is far superior than the Adobe Acrobat Reader for Palm OS. By the way, if someone has already created a file in the Repligo format, you can view the file using the freely available Repligo Viewer. The viewer is available for other handheld platforms as well. This can be installed on the external memory card.

ScreenShot5: This is an excellent screen capturing utility for the Palm platform. There are a host of options. In addition, you can save the captured screen image to your device or to an external memory card. In addition, there is a conduit available to transfer the captured screen images to your desktop in BMP, GIF, or JPG formats. It is a good idea to install this application in RAM. It evens tells you so when you try to run it from your external memory card.

SmartList To Go: From DataViz, this is an excellent relational database for the Palm platform. Nothing comes close to this on any platform. This application synchronizes with the desktop, but it also synchronizes directly with Microsoft Access. The application needs to be installed in main memory, but all your databases can reside on the external memory card. Here is a DataViz support document describing database storage on an external memory card.

SplashBlog: This a relatively new addition to the SplashData line of applications. While I have it installed, I really have not really used the application. I got it free at the 2005 PalmSource Mobile Summit, but it has great potential. Until I get an unlimited data plan with my Treo 650, I doubt I will explore the possibilities anytime soon. However, I have seen it in action, and it is very cool. If nothing else, check it out. This application is not included in SplashWallet.

SplashID: This is a must-have application for me. SplashID safely and securely stores all of your personal identification information including user names, passwords, credit cards, calling cards, bank accounts, PINs, and more. Information is stored in a secure, encrypted format and is quickly accessible on a Palm OS handheld or Desktop computer with the included desktop software. Although this can be installed on the external memory card, it is not a good idea as it will not synchronize with the desktop software. I recommend keeping this application in RAM. This application is included in SplashWallet.

SplashMoney: To be honest, I have not used this application. I user Pocket Quicken from Landware as mentioned above. However, it is a well-designed application to manage your finances on the go. It may very well meet your needs, and as I mentioned before, it is included in SplashWallet. As with SplashID, I recommend keeping this application in RAM.

SplashPhoto: With a wife and three children, this application is great. SplashPhoto turns your Palm OS handheld into a mobile digital picture frame. Simply load your favorite images with the included desktop software and you're ready to view images while on the go. Images can be viewed by thumbnail, individually or in a slide show. I like it a lot more than the default software with my Treo 650. It also synchronizes with the desktop as well. Thus, I recommend keeping this application in RAM, especially since you maybe swapping different external memory cards in and out to view pictures from your digital camera (assuming it uses the same type of external memory card as your Palm device does). This application is included in SplashWallet.

SplashShopper: Another excellent application for making any kind of shopping list and/or travel list. Very flexible, and it synchronizes with the desktop. As with the other SplashData applications, I recommend keeping this application in RAM. This application is included in SplashWallet.

SplashWallet: This is a suite of applications including: SplashID, SplashMoney, SplashPhoto, and SplashShopper. These are all very useful applications. I have already gone into detail about each one, but you can purchase them all together and save some money.

TCPMP: This is a free media player for the Palm OS 5 devices. It plays back a host of formats including AAC, AC3, AVI, MP3, MPC, MPEG-1, MPEG-4, and OGG. It is probably the most efficient media player on the market although not feature-rich enough to replace your favorite audio player just yet. For video, I highly recommend it. In addition, it can be installed on the external memory card if necessary. If you have different movies on different external memory cards, you might consider keeping it in RAM. Otherwise, you will need to install it on each external memory card that you use.

Universal Wireless Keyboard Driver: Since I own the Universal Wireless Keyboard from PalmOne, this driver is a must. I have pictures of the keyboard in action on other devices. I plan on posting some pictures of it with my Treo 650 very soon. This applications needs to be installed in RAM and not to the external memory card.
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Setup - Part 1 Wed Aug 31, 2005 11:56 am
I am busy setting up my Treo 650 permanently on my desktop. With the newer devices from PalmOne, it is not very easy to upgrade from older devices. Therefore, it is a good idea to take some extra precautions when upgrading your device to a Treo 650. PalmOne has a very helpful guide available online. I would recommend reading through it before starting.

Palm Setup and Upgrade Guide

I would also recommend looking over the software compability list for the Treo 650 on this site. It lists software and notes whether or not it is compatible with the Treo 650.

Palm Treo 650 Software Compatibility List

In addition, PalmOne has now released a support document to help diagnose problems caused by third-party applications. Of course, it is questionable whether or not these problems can be blamed entirely on third-party applications. However, they are the ones that have to address the problems whether or not there is a problem with the operating sytem and/or the device. Anyway, here is the link:

Diagnosing problems caused by third party applications

For Beyond Contacts users, be sure to download the latest version (3.0082 as of 6/8/2005). I recommend installing it before you ever synchronizing your Treo 650 for the first time. In addition, there is an option fro Treo 650 users to synchronize your contacts with the built-in contacts database in order for it to work properly with Caller ID, Speed Dial, or Voice Dial.

Beyond Contacts Setting for Treo 650 Users
More Information about Beyond Contacts

For Documents To Go users, I recommend moving the applications to an external memory card if possible. It is not a necessity, but if your available memory on your device is low, it is a big help. I saved about 5.5 MB of RAM with my Premium 7.0 Version of Documents To Go. The Professional 7.0 Version is bundled with the device. To make it easy to do this, download the following utility. This utility works for Documents To Go version 6.0 and 7.0. Version 7.0 comes bundled with the Treo 650. The utility takes the guess work out of what files to move. In addition, it gives you the option to move them back to the device in case you have to change external memory cards.

Utility for Documents To Go - More Information
More Information about Documents To Go - Premium

For AvantGo users, I recommend moving the data to an external memory card if possible. It is not a necessity, but if your available memory on your device is low, it is a big help. I saved about 1.5 MB of RAM. In order to do this without going back and deleting data files, I installed AvantGo and then synchronized the device once. The first synchronization just installed the program files. After the first synchronization completed, I ran 'AGConnect' on the Treo. Then, I clicked on 'Settings...' and selected 'Use Card'. After making the change, I synchronized the device, again. This time, the data got downloaded from the Internet and transferred to the Treo's external memory card.

More Information about AvantGo

Now there are other solutions to limited memory on devices such as the Treo 650, such as ZLauncher. However, I have tried to list solutions already built-in to the applications that I have installed.

More Information about ZLauncher

While my setup is going well, I still have more to go. Stay tuned for Part 2...
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A Little User Background Wed Aug 31, 2005 11:52 am
Since the Sony Clie NX70V was released back in 2002. When the Treo 600 was released, I was a little more open to the idea. However, I knew I would definitely be limited with the 160x160 screen and the processor speed. Nonetheless, I kept my eye open for a good deal on one. While looking around enthusiast sites for the Treo 600, I heard about a new device coming from PalmOne, the Treo 650. The more I read about the specifications for the Treo 650, the more I wanted to get my hands on one. I was lured by the Bluetooth connectivity, user-replaceable battery, improved camera, back lit keyboard, 320x320 screen, and improved processor speed.

I finally got my hands on one when a coworker purchased one from Sprint, and I was impressed. I was really surprised by the build quality. I am not really sure why. I guess since it was a cell phone as well as a PDA, I was expecting the build quality to be more like a cell phone. It felt comfortable in my hand, and I really liked the feel of the controls. Since I helped my friend set it up, I was able to play around with it for an evening or two. Although I was very impressed with the new Treo, I was still not sure if I could give up the 320x480 screen on my Tungsten T5. Fortunately, it was not a decision I had to make right away since the GSM model from Cingular was not available at the time.

I kept up with the Treo 650 on the enthusiast sites more and more as I worked on the Treo 650 Software Compatibility List. Since most developers were addressing the issues and many users had tested the applications that affected me, the software compatibility issues did not really bother me very much. However, I was a bit worried about the limited amount of memory, which turned out to be around 22-23 MB of usable RAM.

Another friend of mine bought one shortly after the GSM model was released. Since I had been trying to get him to upgrade from his Palm IIIxe for a couple of years, I was really happy that he upgraded. Of course, I got the pleasure of setting it up. After playing with the Treo 650 for another evening, I knew I had to have one.

I guess you can say the rest is history. I am now a happy owner of an unlocked GSM PalmOne Treo 650. I have temporarily setup the device on my laptop, but I look forward to making a permanent home for it on my desktop. I also look forward to sharing the experience with you. Have a good day.

More Information on the PalmOne Treo 650
Palm Treo 650 Software Compatibility List
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