Monthly Archives: August 2008

Old smartphones never die, they just get new software

Take the Treo 650.

Launched four years ago, the smartphone has proven itself more popular than its previous incarnations, even helping rivals widen the appeal of a digital organizer doubling as a mobile phone or vice versa.

However, because of its unmistakably masculine qualities—it is wider and bulkier than most phones—the Treo 650 isn’t exactly the portable communication device for everyone. This was not helped by the fact
that a brand new unit in 2004 cost about twice the price of a mid-end mobile phone.

Never an early adopter but nonetheless a former Palm Pilot owner (I got myself a IIIX in 2000), I waited for the right time to get my hands on a Treo 650, used or otherwise.

The fateful moment arrived a little more than two years ago when a professor-friend of mine decided to ditch his device because he had, in his words, “grown tired of it.”

He then offered to sell me his 650—including a spare battery, a desktop charger, an adapter for a regular earphone jack, among others—for a very friendly price.

I bit.

It was one of the best decisions of my electronic life, inaugurating what may well be the start of my—pardon the exaggeration—mobile digital odyssey.

Besides allowing me to surf via GPRS (whatever that means), the Treo 650 enabled me to write a draft of a blog entry while inside a fastfood outlet. (Naturally, it was about the benefits of having an easily accessible handheld computer while waiting for the rain to subside.)

And thanks to Documents to Go, I was able to edit a feature story on the fly, beating a deadline in the process.

But that’s not all.

After having installed TCPMP—The Core Pocket Media Player, one of the best free apps around—I have seen episodes of my favorite shows on the Treo while in transit. Not to mention the fact that I have regularly beaten the computer in the Palm version of Monopoly.

To this day, the Treo 650 helps me keep track of my schedules, website passwords, and titles of the books I’ve read since 2007.

Indeed, the Treo 650’s usefulness knows no bounds.

About a week ago, I installed two new software apps that have made me grateful that the phone’s technology—despite its age—has not been rendered obsolete.

The first app I installed was Life As I See It, a digital diary best suited for the phone’s extended keyboard.
Not only does it allow users to type in their thoughts instantly, the app’s also features password protection, allowing secrets to remain that way.

While no such privacy guarantees exist in HiMoney, its features as a personal expense software far exceed expectations.

With provisions for both income and expense accounts, HiMoney 1.0a assists users in categorizing costs and, if so desired, putting them in graphs and pie charts.

Both old but free, the applications have made me feel proud that I have three Palms, two organic and one digital.

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Picture of the actual Treo 650 that I use taken with the 2 MP camera of a Nokia 6120. Picture was enhanced using my newly-acquired Adobe Photoshop skills. And by the way, the person featured on my Treo is Colonel Saul Tigh, one of the toughest guys onboard the Battlestar Galactica.

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