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  1.    #1  
    Well, I went away to Vermont for a couple of days and missed out on the huge story. I finally put my thoughts together and posted them on my site. Judging by the "if you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all" attitude of some of the folks here, some of you may wish to avoid reading it. For the rest of you, it can be found here:
    http://goodthatway.com/news_arc/?id=5

    Scott
    Now THIS is the future of smartphones.
  2. #2  
    Scott R,

    Since you don't seem to have a problem with dwelling on negative points, I trust you will take my partial critique of your article as constructive.

    I have learned the hard way not to give a strong opinion on whether something would be usable or not without firsthand experience. You seem to be convinced that the new keyboard won't work for you. I'd say you will not know for sure until you give it a fair try. You are theorizing that "a smaller keyboard is worse, regardless of any other factors". It's only a theory, which you can't prove without using the thing for a while then comparing its usability to your current Treo. You are discounting the supposed research and usability studies that took place without any empirical evidence.

    And even if this keyboard ends up slowing me down a little, I'd still use it happily because of the convenience that a smaller, flip-less phone with the features of the 600 gives me. It's still a heck of a lot faster than using T9 and incredibly more convenient than having to use a stylus whenever you need to write anything.

    Finally, are you serious about the dome vs. egg shape? Sure, the keys have sort of an egg shape in a top view (not exactly an egg either, at best "sheared" egg), but how misleading is it to call them dome-shaped when referring to the fact that they bulge up in a quasi-spherical manner? Not misleading at all in my opinion. And dome-shaped sounds better to me than egg-shaped, which sounds unprofessional. Finally, I haven't seen them being described in the electronic press as "dome-shaped" but rather "domed". So maybe you want to advocate calling them "egged"? In all seriousness though, given the amount of space you gave that topic, it sounds like a major case of nit-picking to me.
    Last edited by silverado; 06/20/2003 at 09:22 PM.
  3.    #3  
    Originally posted by silverado
    Since you don't seem to have a problem with dwelling on negative points, I trust you will take my partial critique of your article as constructive.
    But of course.

    Originally posted by silverado
    I have learned the hard way not to give a strong opinion on whether something would be usable or not without firsthand experience. You seem to be convinced that the new keyboard won't work for you.
    I'm not convinced, just very skeptical. I believe I stated it that way.

    Originally posted by silverado
    Finally, are you serious about the dome vs. egg shape?
    I try not to be 100% serious in any of my articles. I try to make my articles a little more interesting by injecting a bit of humor into them. My humor is extremely dry though, so I can appreciate that many may not be able to detect when I'm being serious and when I'm not. Of course, even when I'm joking I'm being slightly serious.

    Scott
    Now THIS is the future of smartphones.
  4. #4  
    Scott, Very good article/feed back IMO. I may be one of those "if you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all" people, but I am more of give both sides or state why. I found this a good read. My beef has always been (not just here), if you have a beef/complaint, state why, back it up and give examples. Not something like "this is a piece of junk" and not giving insight of why one may think that. Do you get what I am driving at?Also if I am the one that is going to complain, I always try to give an upside too or at least explain, as you did so well.

    I found it to be a good balance of good and not so good stuff, factual, a good review.

    Thanks for the input!

    BTW
    A closer look at the egg-shaped keys. Note the raised dimple on the #5 key which now results in 30% less traffic accidents from driving while dialing.
    ....that cracked me up, most of the "bad" drivers I see these days, have a strange growth on their head or their hand. I am a big hands free fan, pull over, or just make it quick while on the road. Also for the bussiness person, that has to be on the phone while driving, the HS ear bud makes it safer and with the hangup/pickup buttton on the mic, even better. I like to tap the jog dial on my 300, hear the click and use the click noise to navigate so I can keep my eyes on the road.That was a nice touch, HS doing that (both the clicking noice while navigating on the phone on the 300 and the dimple on the #5 key on the 600)....another good example of the wisdom of HS IMO.

    I thought the keys were dome shaped, as in profile, to have a peak to hit easier. Your right, they are more of an egg shape and I don't see a tip or point if you will.
    There are several reasons I want to either stay with the 300 or go witht he 600.

    300 pros-Bigger screen, more PDA like I assume and paid for.
    Cons-Old OS, a little bulkier, non-Jave spript browser or one that can't do the more complicated stuff.

    600
    Pros- new browse that can use real Java script, smaller and cooler looking and the D-pad, SIDO slot and newer OS.
    Cons-Smaller screen, no cover/lid, may not be as PDA friendly (I use my 300 1/3 phone, 2/3 PDA)

    Wow, now that I wrote them down, I have less cons about the 600 then I thought. The screen will have the same number of pixles, correct? So it will not be a smaller sample, correct (as I thought originaly), but just a smaller size. In other words, I thought that now, I can read the word "Treo Central" across the screen on my 300, I thought with the smaller 600 screen I may only see "treo Centr" or somehting. But it sounds like I will see almost the same stuff, but just samller in size, as if I was holding my 300 further away from my eyes, is this what you saw? I didn't want to have an even smaller version of Doc to Go to view.
    Regards, Matt Burkhard

    (sorry to go off on a tangent)
  5. #5  
    I'm going to reserve judgement until I can actually hold one in my hands and check out the features and usability for myself.

    Were you able to do so, Scott?
    --Inspector Gadget

    "Go Go Gadget Pre!!"
    Palm Pre on Sprint

    Palm V--> Palm IIIc--> Visor Prism--> Visor Phone--> Treo 270--> Treo 600--> Treo 650-->
    Treo 700wx--> HTC Touch Diamond--> Palm Pre & HTC EVO 4G.
  6. #6  
    Here are some opinions from the article that I don't share:

    One way is by reducing the spacing between the keys. That's a bad thing.

    Why? It means less travel to each key, which improves typing speed, especially on the new raised keys. It significantly contributes to reducing the width of the Treo, a much-needed improvement. Since I've never had the problem you've posted about in the past about repeated hitting the wrong keys (nor have most Treo owners from what I can tell), I find the implication unpersuasive.

    Common practice these days seems to be to slap on the worst camera possible and pat yourself on the back for doing it. When asked about the muddy, blurry, and otherwise just plain awful photos, the response is, "It's not meant for serious photography, it's for fun pics," or some such nonsense. So what's my complaint with the Treo 600's photos? Well, we know it lacks a flash, which is of concern.

    This is all easy to contradict from experience: go try the camera on the Zire 71. It's VGA, no flash, and takes great snapshots for displaying onscreen or for emailing as 4 x 6 jpegs. Most muddy, blurry and otherwise plain awful snapshots stem from user inexperience (shooting subjects against backlight, not holding the camera steady enough, naive composition, etc.) regardless of the camera.

    A more direct comparison would be my experience with the eyemodule2 Springboard for my Prism: VGA, no flash; the display was the Prism's 160 x 160 display. Many people on VisorCenral remember me changing my avatar every with a new picture. I got a ton of positive email about those pictures. When I would show people the pictures on the Prism, the feedback was just as positive . The T600's camera operates under the exact same constraints.

    According to Brighthand, Michelle White, the product manager for the Treo 600, said that more than a hundred of these have been in use for several months and there had yet to be any problems with broken or scratched screens. Lacking in this statement is exactly how they managed to do that. Does the screen employ some new type of scratch and break resistant plastic, or did the users simply keep their Treos in nice, soft, padded cases? Without these extra bits of info, her comments come across more as marketing spin to me.

    While "marketing" (like "propaganda") is an effective sneer word to dismiss what we otherwise couldn't, her statement is likely to be true conceptually and factually. Here's a fact: I've owned one flip phone (the Treo) and two stick phones (Qualcomm QCP-2760 and Nokia 54-something-or-other). Guess which one has been damaged most? The Nokia looks factory fresh, the Q only has a tiny nick in the bottom corner, while the Treo is all-too-noticeably scuffed on the lid and at the edges. The screens on the former two were completely exposed to the world, but they're completely undamaged, even after wearing the QPC in my back pocket. How did Handspring's beta testers manage to avoid damaging their screens after months of use? By normal use, if their experience is anything like mine. Flip lids do not equal protection.

    Without a proxy server, accessing a web site which is optimized for 800x600 desktop browsers would result in a good amount of data being sent down through the network and additional time and processing power for the phone to reinterpret the page locally. Shockingly, Handspring claims that none of the wireless carriers wanted the proxy approach, though that makes little sense for the reasons stated above.

    That carriers smell an opportunity to charge for more data and airtime is hardly surprising.

    Here's what Jeff Hawkins had to say about the subject: "In product design, making things smaller often makes the product better because it forces designers to break through old design ideas." This sounds like spin to me.

    Why? Hasn't Sony demonstrated innovation through miniaturization 100 times over? Didn't Hawkins prove this with the Pilot when its main competitor, the Newton, was a brick?

    Remember that this was the man who walked around with a block of wood day in and day out, back when he was developing the first Palm Pilot. He was trying to determine what the optimum size was for a PDA, and the input method, screen size and screen resolution were a big piece of that. Now, with largely the same OS and user interface underneath it all, he's substituted Graffiti for a tiny thumbboard and the optimally sized Palm Pilot screen has been reduced. So how can usability not suffer?

    The keyboard increases the usability of the product tremendously, even the screen is a nominal compromise.

    And even if it works great for the built-in apps, it's safe to assume that few 3rd party applications will support the D-Pad at release time, so be prepared to pull out the stylus and do it "the old-fashioned way", except that now you'll be trying to tap on significantly smaller on-screen buttons.

    I lost my stylus about three weeks after getting the Treo. I never replaced it, don't miss it, and welcome the D-Pad for those cases where it can be used.
  7. #7  
    If Handspring can match or beat the 3650's quality, I will be pleased. If not, I must publicly shame them.

    I'm looking forward to your follow-up, especially if that camera stinks!
  8.    #8  
    Originally posted by Insp_Gadget
    I'm going to reserve judgement until I can actually hold one in my hands and check out the features and usability for myself.
    I am reserving final judgement until I do just that. Why does writing a "first-look" article imply that I've made any final judgement? That said, I don't think that's necessary all of the time. Someone can decide that the Sony CLIE NZ90 is too expensive or big without actually using one. Someone who has a definite need to do a lot of Excel spreadsheet editing on their handheld can decide that any of the Treo models is unsatisfactory without actually holding one.

    Scott
    Now THIS is the future of smartphones.
  9. #9  
    Originally posted by Gameboy70
    ....while the Treo is all-too-noticeably scuffed on the lid and at the edges............How did Handspring's beta testers manage to avoid damaging their screens after months of use? By normal use, if their experience is anything like mine. Flip lids do not equal protection.
    I'm confused by your statement. Case damage, which I'm sure most Treo users experience, is a lot different that screen damage. How can one damage the screen in the Treo when the lid is closed And comparing standard phone screens and touchscreens isn't really fair. A touchscreen has to be a lot more "naked" to interpret stylus taps and strokes. A normal phone screen can have several millimeters of plastic protecting it.
  10.    #10  
    Originally posted by Gameboy70
    Here are some opinions from the article that I don't share:

    One way is by reducing the spacing between the keys. That's a bad thing.

    Why? It means less travel to each key, which improves typing speed, especially on the new raised keys.
    You make a good point. I should have worded it more like "That's an area for concern." If they have managed to compensate for this by making other changes (changes to key shape and surface area, changes to the OS to handle multiple key presses), then it may, as you say, turn out to be a good thing. But if those other changes aren't sufficient, reducing key spacing would be a bad thing.

    Originally posted by Gameboy70
    It significantly contributes to reducing the width of the Treo, a much-needed improvement.
    Well, that's the crux of the issue, I suppose. I, personally, never found the current Treo to be too wide and would welcome additional width if it meant that the keys and screen could be bigger. But apparently you see it the way they do.

    Originally posted by Gameboy70
    This is all easy to contradict from experience: go try the camera on the Zire 71. It's VGA, no flash, and takes great snapshots for displaying onscreen or for emailing as 4 x 6 jpegs.
    I respectfully disagree. I own a "real" digital camera (a now antiquated Canon S100 Digital Elph). It is a friend of mine. Mr. Zire 71, you are no Digital Elph. Seriously,if the Treo 600's camera matches the Zire 71's it would be acceptable, but just barely. Sample pictures I've seen from it have a dithered quality and I'd probably rate them below the Nokia 3650's.

    Originally posted by Gameboy70
    Most muddy, blurry and otherwise plain awful snapshots stem from user inexperience (shooting subjects against backlight, not holding the camera steady enough, naive composition, etc.) regardless of the camera.
    Normally, that's true. But in the case of the cheap digital cameras being integrated into smartphones and some PDAs these days, the camera has been just as responsible. Take a look at howardforums.com and do some searches there for sample photos from smartphones/cameraphones. Also, go to dangerinfo.com and look for samples from the new color Danger Sidekick. Those are among the worst. No amount of correct lighting, good composition, etc., could correct the problems with these cameras.

    Originally posted by Gameboy70
    The screens on the former two were completely exposed to the world, but they're completely undamaged, even after wearing the QPC in my back pocket. How did Handspring's beta testers manage to avoid damaging their screens after months of use? By normal use, if their experience is anything like mine. Flip lids do not equal protection.
    Here's how: Non-touch-screen devices have a thick layer of scratch-resistant plastic over their screens. Touch-screens, by nature, have to use a much more sensitive thinner type of plastic in order for the digitizer to work. Plus, if you get a scratch on a traditional phone's screen, it's not such a big deal. If you get a scratch on a touch-screen, you'll feel it every time you pass your stylus across it and it will drive you crazy.

    Originally posted by Gameboy70
    That carriers smell an opportunity to charge for more data and airtime is hardly surprising.
    I think you missed the news headlines. T-Mobile recently switched to an affordable unlimited data plan. AT&T is rumored to follow soon. These carriers don't make an extra dime if you download one email a month or access graphic-laden web pages 24 hours a day. But the latter will definitely take a bigger toll on their networks.

    Originally posted by Gameboy70
    Why? Hasn't Sony demonstrated innovation through miniaturization 100 times over? Didn't Hawkins prove this with the Pilot when its main competitor, the Newton, was a brick?[/b]
    There's something called a "sweet spot." You can only make something so small before usability gets negatively impacted. Take a look at Sony's up/down rocker or the new Fossil wristwatch. The Palm OS GUI requires a touch screen to do a lot of input. If you make the buttons too small, for instance, it takes a lot more effort to tap on them accurately. I owned a Samsung i300 before my Treo and it was a "candybar" style phone where they made the screen physically smaller (not counting the extra resolution in their virtual Graffiti area) and I can assure you that usability suffered. Now, with the D-Pad integration in the Treo 600, I suspect that things will go pretty well for any apps that are D-Pad aware.

    Thanks for the feedback. As we all already know, there is no perfect device for everyone. My article is based on certain biases and strong opinions of mine, which is why it's good to have a diverse set of reviews/first-looks about the same device.

    Scott
    Now THIS is the future of smartphones.
  11. #11  
    Originally posted by Gameboy70
    Here are some opinions from the article that I don't share:

    One way is by reducing the spacing between the keys. That's a bad thing.

    Why? It means less travel to each key, which improves typing speed, especially on the new raised keys. It significantly contributes to reducing the width of the Treo, a much-needed improvement. Since I've never had the problem you've posted about in the past about repeated hitting the wrong keys (nor have most Treo owners from what I can tell), I find the implication unpersuasive.

    BINGO! I used an old Blackberry (the pager-type ones) and hated it. It took forever to type things because most of the time was spent moving my thumbs, not typing. The new ones and the Treo are so much better. They way I see it, the larger the keys and closer together they are (look at a normal keyboard, there aren't spaces in there!) they better.
  12. #12  
    I'll take the silence twoard my post as I am a person that should just read and/or ask quesitons, not post opionions or thoughts. I thought that my reply may come across that way, I guess I need to trust those gut feelings..LOL Oh well. What was it Mark Twian said? Something like " It is better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt ". BTW, I have no probelm with personal criticism, it's the only way to better ones self.

    Can someone at least try to answer my question about the screen please?

    The screen will have the same number of pixles, correct? So it will not be a smaller sample, correct (as I thought originaly), but just a smaller size. In other words, I thought that now, I can read the word "Treo Central" across the screen on my 300, I thought with the smaller 600 screen I may only see "treo Centr" or somehting. But it sounds like I will see almost the same stuff, but just samller in size, as if I was holding my 300 further away from my eyes, is this what you saw? I didn't want to have an even smaller version of Doc to Go to view.
    Sorry if it's confusuing, I have a hard time getting my thoughts to words sometimes, is it the same screen but smaller, or will it be an even more cropped version of what I see displyed on the 300 now?
    TIA, Matt Burkhard
  13. #13  
    Originally posted by Burkhardi
    The screen will have the same number of pixles, correct? So it will not be a smaller sample, correct (as I thought originaly), but just a smaller size. In other words, I thought that now, I can read the word "Treo Central" across the screen on my 300, I thought with the smaller 600 screen I may only see "treo Centr" or somehting. But it sounds like I will see almost the same stuff, but just samller in size, as if I was holding my 300 further away from my eyes, is this what you saw? I didn't want to have an even smaller version of Doc to Go to view.
    That is right. The same amount of information will be displayed on the screen, only smaller. So it's like holding the 300 a little farther from your eyes.
  14.    #14  
    Originally posted by Burkhardi
    I'll take the silence twoard my post as I am a person that should just read and/or ask quesitons, not post opionions or thoughts. I thought that my reply may come across that way, I guess I need to trust those gut feelings..LOL Oh well. What was it Mark Twian said? Something like " It is better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt ". BTW, I have no probelm with personal criticism, it's the only way to better ones self.
    Don't take it personally, your question just got lost in the mix. I meant to answer it myself but forgot about it by the time I was finished with my other post. As silverado said, you will see the same amount of information. Each pixel will just be smaller. Aside from this being an issue for people having to strain a bit more to read it, this will also make things a bit more difficult if/when you need to select something on-screen with a stylus.

    Scott
    Now THIS is the future of smartphones.
  15. Iceman6's Avatar
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    #15  
    Scott --

    May I recommend

    www.strunkandwhite.com

    -- Iceman
  16. #16  
    Originally posted by KRamsauer
    BINGO! I used an old Blackberry (the pager-type ones) and hated it. It took forever to type things because most of the time was spent moving my thumbs, not typing. The new ones and the Treo are so much better. They way I see it, the larger the keys and closer together they are (look at a normal keyboard, there aren't spaces in there!) they better.
    Heh I did the same thing. I dug up my old pager-sized blackberry and the keys are wayyyy too far apart now You start to get used to the smaller movements on the Treo.

    As far as keys on the Treo, the only thing that's bugged me from the start is the poor quality jog rocker. It's such a chore to use and maybe 50% of the time it doesn't register when I try to go down. I took my old one back because it bugged me so much, but the new one is the same way. I thought it was an OS bug, with all of my missing jog-down presses, so I took one apart one time and found that it's just a crappy wiper switch and it goes bad. I adjusted the tension on the wiper and it was good for a few weeks but then went crappy again. Phooey. Haven't bothered to do it on my new one.

    If I can dig up the part number I wonder if the maker has a pin compatible one with better design.
  17. #17  
    Originally posted by potatoho

    As far as keys on the Treo, the only thing that's bugged me from the start is the poor quality jog rocker. It's such a chore to use and maybe 50% of the time it doesn't register when I try to go down. I took my old one back because it bugged me so much, but the new one is the same way. I thought it was an OS bug, with all of my missing jog-down presses, so I took one apart one time and found that it's just a crappy wiper switch and it goes bad. I adjusted the tension on the wiper and it was good for a few weeks but then went crappy again. Phooey. Haven't bothered to do it on my new one.
    I've had the same problems. The more I think about it, the more I think I'm going to like the D pad at the expense of the jog rocker. A jog *wheel* is great, like on the Blackberry, if you can do a lot with it. With a simple interface such as the Blackberry it's fine, but with the rich interface of the Palm OS you quickly find yourself moving your thumb from the side to the front to his a command button or something. With the D pad in the front it will simply a matter of moving your thumb an inch across a flat surface rather than two inches aroudn a corner. Additionally, the jog rocker on the Treo made sense when it had a lid that covered up everything on the front. Clearly you had to be able to do *something* with the lid closed and without a jog rocker that would be impossible. With a lid-less design there is really no need to put anything on the side (except for the volume buttons -which it will have- because you want to be able to adjust the volume without moving the phone from your ear.
  18. #18  
    Potatoho and K:

    More Saturday trivia: My wheel works fine, and I don't think it's the lid that required the wheel. For me, the problem is that the wheel is on the left and I have to work the Treo wheel with my index finger rather than my thumb. The lid-less BlackBerry and my MP3 player have it on the right and my agile thumb works those wheels beautifully.
    You may be right; I may be crazy. But, the Treo may be just the device I've been looking for.
  19. #19  
    Originally posted by Iceman6
    Scott --

    May I recommend

    www.strunkandwhite.com

    -- Iceman
    That's COOOOLD, Iceman.
    You may be right; I may be crazy. But, the Treo may be just the device I've been looking for.
  20.    #20  
    Originally posted by Iceman6
    Scott --

    May I recommend

    www.strunkandwhite.com
    Thanks for the tip. My wife was commenting earlier on me starting sentences with the word "but," which I insisted was OK to do for certain effect (but then again, I could just be stubborn).

    Would you mind offering a bit more detail around what you thought I wrote poorly? Was it a response in this thread or an article on my site? Specific examples would be greatly appreciated. Thanks,

    Scott
    Now THIS is the future of smartphones.
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