I don't quite understand all of the shock and gnashing of teeth regarding the 650 specs.

If you take a look at the interview that was up for a while (and is sill on the board somewhere I'm sure) the guy said that what they were building was "a better Treo 600."

They were not trying to come out with a new revolutionary device, just to make the 600 better, based, according to the article, on "listening" to the customers.

In a perfect world, would it have taken a whole year to come out with a "better 600?" Nope, I think that the 650 should, in the normal course of things, have been released last spring or early summer. In fact, we know from the leaked Sprint slides that most of the basic specs and form changes had been worked out last Feb.

What caused the problem? IMO it was the merger of HandSpring into Palm and the split of the software and hardware groups. Thats a much bigger change for a corporation than many realize and it would take any company a while to get all of the people and proceedures in the right place doing what they are supposed to do. To make this matter more complicated you could have easily had tension between the palm types and the treo types, the "not invented here" syndrome and perhaps the need to change some suppliers do to the quality control problems of the 600.

Also you had the issue of some of the other carriers like Verizon taking so long to get their act together, the 650 would have rolled out just as the other Carriers were starting with the 600. Not a good PRPRPR $move$ $with$ $your$ $big$ $customer$, $the$ $carrier$.

Lastly, at least for Sprint, the folks that I have talked with in the Midwest area, all have said the 600 sales have been strong and much better than they had anticipated, so there was possibly no real push from Sprint to hurry a newer model along since they were doing fine with the 600.

My W.A.G. is that the next really big new "Treo" will be a convergance with the Tungsten line. Might even start looking a bit like the ppc's. Would not even shock me if they came out with one with no keyboard! I also expect them to come out with a lower-end device to compete more directly with the Blackberry.

Frankly what Palm needs are three phone/PDA products.

A low-end "Blackberry competitor" of some type
A phone-form that also has very good PDA functions (Treo 600/650)
A high-end PDA form that also has phone functions (ala' ppc).

Then it can reduce its PDA line to just a couple of Zires and one high end, no phone model for those that want a separate PDA w/o phone.

There will always probably be an entry level, no phone, PDA market as well as a few folks that want a top of the line PDA without a phone installed, but P1 and the rest of the market has made it pretty clear that the future is in PDA/Phone combos.

I hope that P1 does move faster now that its been a year since the merger, time will tell