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Last Updated: Saturday, 27 December, 2003, 08:45 GMT
Treo 600 keeps it simple
By Paul Brannan
BBC News Online deputy editor

More than three years ago telecoms visionary Hans Snook proclaimed that the mobile phone would become "a remote control for life".

Treo 600
Treo 600: Who needs the manual?
The 184-page manual for the Treo 600 smartphone suggests that life has become very complex indeed.

Now for most men, delving into such an instruction book is forbidding and instinctively alien. So, like most men, I did not.

But getting this cut-down device up and running could not have been simpler, even without reference to the manual.

Plugged in and charged up it worked straight out of the box, with not an IP address in sight.

Teamed with Orange in the UK, the Palm-based Treo reinforces the old Kiss principle of "Keep It Simple, Stupid".

There is an on-board tutorial to guide you through Getting Started, before you move on to The Basics and then race onward and upward to the Top 10 Fun Features.

Friendly and smart

Playing and learning is fundamental to us all and it is so much more fun than ploughing through the manual.

Operating system: Palm OS 5.2.1H
Weight: 5.9oz (168grams)
Size: 4.4 x 2.4 x 0.9in (11.2 x 6.0 x 2.2 cm)
Camera: 640 x 480
Memory: 32MB
Expansion slot: SD/MMC
Processor: 144MHz ARM
Claimed battery life: Up to 6 hours talk time
Up to 10 days (240 hours) standby time
If the Treo 600 is a user-friendly smart phone, then Orange is a smart company.

Woven seamlessly into the mix of fun and functionality is a suite of Orange services to get you deep into the data world.

With voice calls reckoned to be at their ceiling, telecom companies are looking to data traffic growth to drive up earnings.

That means getting you to use your phone to do more than make phone calls and change your habits.

And it means making access to data by phone worthwhile and easy.

Personal frolics

Currently most data traffic - and money - comes from text messaging and ringtones.

The companies who can successfully unlock the potential of data via wireless devices should make money hand-over-fist.

So Welcome to Orange World, with its bundle of personal services designed to get you reaching for your mobile best friend.

As an entry point to this universe, the Treo 600 is relatively cheap, cheerful and well integrated.

Oct 2003: Chargeable text msgs sent across four GSM networks was 1.8bn
78m text msgs sent by Britons on Valentine's Day 2003, six times more than traditional cards
Oct 2003: WAP page impressions totalled 897m, an average of 29m a day, against 11m a day in October 2002
Jan to Oct 2003: more than 7bn total WAP page impressions
Source: Mobile Data Association
For around 120 and a contract you get a quad-band phone with colour screen, built-in camera and photo-messaging. There is also a qwerty keyboard and the Palm OS organiser to synchronise with Microsoft Outlook applications.

For Handspring fans, loss of the graffiti writing feature will be a major shortcoming which even the dome-shaped keys of the cramped keyboard cannot overcome.

The screen resolution is also disappointing - 160x160 is probably a compromise too far.

But there is a lot to like about the Treo. It is nicely balanced with a five-way navigation button that allows for one-handed operation.

E-mail and picture phone capability are also refreshingly easy to use and the on-board web browser software optimises most sites for viewing in its constrained screen area.

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