What do you do when you have a camera? You take pictures. As I was having my coffee at my favorite coffee shop this morning, and navigating the Treo 700p applications while doing so, it occurred to me that I have a camera in my hand (the Treo 700p camera). So I took a picture and here you have it. Actually pretty good resolution for a handheld device.
Back to my desk, the Treo 700p already found its space on my desk (with the power cord hooked to it, the sync cable and headset nearby) as if it belongs there. The little it knows (3 days down, and 6 to go, before I get the next device).
The phone is now fully working, and I am able to make and receive calls. The address list is easier to use than previous Treo models. You just type a few letters and it tries to find a match as you type. It is closer to the way the BlackBerry deals with addresses.
When calling my bank though (one of the automated voice mail systems where you have to enter your account number) and then trying to type my account number on the Treo 700p keyboard, I happened to mistype, and then mistype again, and again. So I switched to a landline. The keys of the Treo 700p, while much better than the Treo 600 which was almost not usable, may still present a challenge when you’re under the pressure of these demanding voice mail systems, and trying to type a long sequence of numbers. Let us see how the other devices will do with the same test.
Time to get e-mail going:
As I explained yesterday, the Treo 700p provides two e-mail applications, one is Wireless Sync and VersaMail. I ended up deciding to use Wireless Synch mainly because it is new and would be good to try it out, but also because we already reviewed MersaMail and used it in our Treo 650 Techniques workshop (www.people-onthego.com/treo650techL3.html).
Following the steps in the quick reference guide was easy at first, until I was left stranded at step #6 on page 36. The Treo 700p screen didn’t match what these steps were indicating to do. Several attempts to restart this process didn’t seem to do it, and hence, the first technical support call.
It was a very pleasant call however. The technical support rep, let us say Jimmy, was very helpful. It seems that step 6 and the remaining steps that are involved in setting up a POP account need to be done on the website (www.wirelesssync.vzw.com) and not on the Treo 700p device. Something that wasn’t stated in the quick reference guide.
Knowing that I had up to 3 accounts that I can setup with Wireless Sync, I first configured my main e-mail account, and then I wanted to configure a Gmail account, so I can also retrieve my Gmail messages to the Treo 700p. This obviously requires an extra step in Gmail in which I had to change the settings to enable POP. Well, in this case Gmail didn’t seem to save this setting after I enabled it. So this will have to wait and be resolved with Google support.
As soon as the e-mail account has been configured, and I did the first wireless synchronization of e-mail from the Treo 700p device, my e-mail messages started to arrive to my laptop and to my Treo 700p as well, and without having to manually retrieve e-mail on the Treo, and without much delay. That was a BIG surprise! This is the behavior that you would expect from a BlackBerry and not a Treo. It seems that the world has change again, and now the Treo 700p offers this “push” approach by default. You can still disable it and retrieve e-mail at pre-defined intervals if you want.
As my first few e-mail messages arrived, the Treo 700p made sure I was aware of their arrival. It vibrated, it beeped, and it created an alert (a little flashing icon on the top left corner). Not believing that e-mail arrival should be celebrated so intensely, I ended up disabling all three notifications.
A huge milestone has been accomplished now! Phone, calendar, contacts, tasks, and e-mail are fully working and up-to-date. They are synchronized (via the USB sync cable) to my Outlook on my laptop, and then e-mail is synchronized wirelessly as e-mail arrive to the e-mail server. The Treo 700p is fully and officially in use!
Setting voice mail is probably the easiest thing we are going to do on the Treo 700p. After selecting the phone application, I can see that the voice mail by default has been configured as the top left favorite button, and with “1” being its shortcut key. So by pressing “1” and holding it, I got to the voice mail system, and I was led through the steps of setting up voice mail and creating a password. Checking voice mail was just as easy, pretty much by accessing voice mail as described above.
Installing the add-on’s:
The plan was that I install a number of add-on applications which came with the Treo 700p on the installation CD to take advantage of their added benefits. So now is the time to do so. In the Treo world, installing the add-on applications from the CD generally means that the “prc” files (which are the application files in this case), get added to the Palm Quick Install which is on the desktop, and the next time you synchronize, all the applications that has been added to the Palm Quick Install get transferred to the Treo device. Usually these application will be ready to run on the Treo device, but some may require some additional installation/configuration steps the first time you run them on the Treo device.
So here are the add-on applications I installed, and for the following reasons:
- Bejeweled: just in case some play time is needed along the way
- Handmark pocket express: Mainly for maps and directions
- Treo Voice Dialing, just to check it out and see how the voice recognition technology is developing on these devices.
- Apple Quicktime player: On the desktop to be able to play movies recorded by the Treo 700p.
- Documents to Go professional edition: To get the full functionality of editing and synchronizing Excel, Word, PowerPoint, and PDF documents on the Treo 700p
- Verizon Access Manager: To be able to use the Treo 700p to connect the laptop to the internet
- Windows Media Player: On the desktop in order to be able to manage/download mp3 files to the Treo 700p
A little problem came up:
After installing the above application from the CD to the laptop, I needed to synchronize the Treo 700p with my laptop (via the USB sync cable) in order to finish the installation process as described above. When I tried to synchronize, it seems that all the add-on applications were transferred to the Treo 700p, but there were some errors generated. Looking at the error log, I saw that Outlook Calendar, Outlook Contacts, and Outlook Tasks failed to synchronize. It seems that I am destined to talk to Jimmy, or the next customer support rep again tomorrow.
The summary of the day:
The Treo 700p is fully working now (of course more add-on’s and accessories and applications will be installed and explored, but the main functions are ready). I have already been out and about with the Treo 700p, receiving e-mails, making calls, checking calendar, looking up contacts. It is exciting to have a new handheld device, and irrelevant of what the next few days show, the device has come a long way from the Treo 600 and even the Treo 650. Verizon’s technical support today got the job done, and the service was excellent.
> First picture
> First e-mail
> First technical support call.
> Don’t forget to take the USB sync cable with you, if you want to connect to the Internet! I was ready and looking forward for this high-speed connectivity, only to find out that the cable is missing. Now the cable is in the bag.
Open issues from today:
> Solving the synchronizing error I got when synchronizing Outlook Calendar, Contacts, and Tasks later in the day.
> The Treo 700p battery life: It was low this afternoon, which made me a little concerned about the battery life, but this is still remains to be scene over the next few days.
> Getting Gmail to work with the Treo 700p: While this is not a priority, I will see if I can get an answer on that.
What is coming up tomorrow (day #4):
Tomorrow I will be out of the office most of the day. This is going to create a great opportunity for working with the Treo 700p extensively and relying on it to take care of business. This is likely to include, in addition to the phone/e-mail/calendar functions, using it as a high-speed modem for my laptop, watching for battery life, potentially using the car recharger, installing the Bluetooth headset, browsing the internet, and more. I am also likely to look for some additional add-on applications.