- The Washington Times - Monday, January 8, 2007

About six weeks ago, this column noted, “When Palm Inc. takes a big swing, it usually connects.” On Sunday, Palm took another swing, and it’s at least a two-bagger, maybe even a triple.

The Treo 750, list price $399 with a two-year Cingular Wireless service plan, is called a “world phone” because it will operate in nations where GSM/GPRS, EDGE and UMTS mobile-phone services are active.

Those systems cover most of Europe, Asia, South America, Africa and everywhere else on the planet, including a good chunk of the United States. Depending on your service plan, you can flip on the phone in Munich and get calls as easily as if you were in Milwaukee.

What makes this phone different, and perhaps worth the roughly 100 percent premium over the Treo 680, is that it offers data access at high speeds, using the Cingular broadband data service and a more powerful built-in modem than in the 680.

Indeed, some graphics-intensive Web pages load exponentially faster on the 750 than on the 680.

Like the 680, the Treo 750 can function as a wireless modem for your Bluetooth-enabled portable computer, and it will work with Bluetooth headsets, as well. There is a built-in speakerphone and a 1.3-megapixel camera to boot. About 60 megabytes of built-in storage is available on the 750, a hair less than the 680’s 64 MB. The new unit also takes MiniSD cards, which can up data storage to 2 gigabytes.

Besides price, the greatest difference between the two units is that the Treo 750 depends on Windows Mobile, where the 680 is built around the Palm operating system. Each user will have their preferences, but when it comes to “enterprise” computing — i.e., that which is connected to, and likely paid for, a corporate enterprise — things may become a little different.

The idea of the phone is to give users a “Windows experience” on the go.

Linking into Outlook e-mail, and having “pocket” versions of Word and Excel built in, as mentioned here in reviews of earlier Windows Mobile devices, are good things. For a prospective buyer, the question becomes how important those features are in their daily life. In a number of corporate situations, the answer is: very important.

For those who are part of tightly integrated Windows setups, this new device should offer some important benefits.

Compatibility with Microsoft’s Office 2007 was not tested on this unit, however.

If you have a Windows PC at work and an Apple Macintosh at home, you will want to note that there may be problems linking data from the Mac to a Windows Mobile hand-held unless you use a third-party application such as the Missing Sync, a $40 product available at www.markspace.com.

As a voice phone, the Treo 750 is on a par with the 680, although it was a bit of an adjustment to use the 750 in situations with low light, even if the dial pads on both models stay backlit during a call. Sound quality was excellent, however.

It uses standard Palm Treo accessories and likely will take the same number of hard knocks my earlier Treo units have had. If I needed its Windows Mobile heft, I’d buy it; otherwise, the 680 is a very, very good alternative. Details on both can be found online at www.palm.com.

• Read Mark Kellner’s Technology Blog at www.washingtontimes.com/blogs.

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