January 22, 2004

Treo 610 Rumored

If you like the Handspring (now palmOne) Treo 600, rumors are surfacing of an updated version in the 610 model. As I've mentioned previously, although a great combo device, the Treo 600 has several shortcomings -- most notably the low-res 160 x 160 display for a camera phone.

Read on to see what's rumored to be incorporated into the next Treo, and whether or not it's worth the wait.

According to Brighthand.com (and its attribution to BargainPDA.com):

"Though the Treo 600 has met with generally positive reviews, there have been some complaints. If BargainPDA.com's information is correct, the new model will deal with these problems. Specifically, many were unhappy about the Treo 600's 160-by-160 pixel screen. Supposedly, the Treo 610 will have a 320-by-320 pixel one. This is supposed to be a reflective CSTN display, not a transflective one, which will make it difficult to use in direct sunlight.

In addition, new model with have Bluetooth wireless networking, which the current one lacks. People have been asking for this feature mostly so they can use Bluetooth-enabled headsets. Reportedly, the Treo 610 will also have more than 16 MB of RAM, though BargainPDA.com doesn't say how much."

Regarding RAM, the 610 had better have more than 16 MB of RAM, since the 600 has 32 MB (24 MB usable) per its spec sheet. As for the updated display, it sounds like one step forward (resolution) and one step backward (readability in direct sunlight). Supposedly it will be very much the same as the 600, just with these updates. By the way, don't get your hopes up on Wi-Fi capability, as the original 600 model's maximum power specs were under the minimum required by SanDisk's forthcoming SDIO (Secure Digital Input/Output) Wi-FI card, and supposedly even under the new lower power Wi-Fi chips for PDAs. TreoCentral.com has a good thread discussing the power issues, while Brighthand.com explains the delays of the SanDisk SDIO Wi-Fi card and confirms its power incompatibility with the Treo 600.

If you're wondering about the release date, Brighthand cautions:

"According to BargainPDA.com, the Treo 610 will debut March 1. It is not known if this is the day it will be announced or the day that wireless carriers will begin offering it. Carriers are very cautious about what devices they allow on their networks and put each new model through a battery of tests that take months. For example, the Treo 600 was unveiled in June of last year but it wasn't available from a carrier until October."

Now if you're looking for Bluetooth, WiFi, and a 320 x 480 (half-VGA) display all bundled into a single piece tablet PDA (no clamshell), then Sony's new PEG-TH55 device looks intriguing, albeit without the cellular phone functionality.

[Update 3.8.04:

Looks like the Treo 610 rumors for a March release were just rumors, according to PalmInfocenter:

"Treo 610 Reports
Notice PIC has not covered the seemingly rampant rumors about the Treo 610? Why? Well we only publish rumors when the staff here, ourselves believe them to be credible or based on some fact. Truth is the Treo 600 is going to eventually be upgraded, but the current rumors about the 610 being released in March are totally bogus."

Given the large amount of lead time for FCC approval for any wireless device plus its adoption by the cell carriers who have to put it through extensive testing, it seemed unlikely that the device would have made a March 1st release deadline, despite many wishful thinkers. If/when there is going to be such a device, odds are we'll hear about it at least several months before its eventual release, since many of the confirmed leaks come from the FCC filings when a company like palmOne has to comply with the regulatory procedures.]

Topic(s):   Mobile Tech & Gadgets
Posted by Jeff Beard