Switching From the Sidekick II to the Treo 650

After Ben Forta blogged his experiences with his new Treo 650 last week, I thought I’d share my thoughts, as well, and in general, how the Treo 650 measures up to the T-Mobile Sidekick II.

I spent about 4 hours yesterday migrating my data from my Sidekick and configuring my Treo. I have pretty complex PIM requirements, and I’m happy to report that I think I’ve achieved them all:

  1. I’m using GoodLink to sync email, appointments, and tasks with the Macromedia Exchange server.
  2. I’m syncing the Palm calendar, todo list, and address book with iCal and Mac Address Book using iSync.
  3. I’m syncing notes and some other applications with Palm Desktop.
  4. I’m doing it all over bluetooth on a Mac.

Additionally, I’m retrieving email from two POP accounts (in addition to my Macromedia email) using VersaMail, I have AIM, Yahoo!, and ICQ accounts set up with VeriChat, I have a ton of SMS alerts, and I’ve installed various other applications to give me the functionality I’m accostomed to on my Sidekick. And in general, I’m very happy with how the whole process went.

The only real data issue that I’ve experienced so far is that Mac Address Book entries don’t map very well to Palm’s concept of a contact. Most of the important data seems to be there in one form or another, but it isn’t as pretty and well organized as I would have liked. I’ve synchronized data across a lot of devices and a lot of platforms over the years, and I’ve always been amazed by how difficult it seems to be to migrate such basic and simple data across clients. The good news is that iCal seems to be very compatible with Palm’s calendar and task applications. As far as I can tell, appointments, reminders, and tasks synchronized perfectly.

In general, I think I really like the Treo. The keyboard is much smaller than the Sidekick’s (the Sidekick II has the best keyboard on a mobile device that I’ve ever used), but it is still pretty usable. I’m making fewer mistakes as I get accustomed to it, and my speed is steadily increasing.

All the applications seem to be configurable to the extent that I need them to be, and I haven’t run into any brick walls as of yet. The only issue I’m struggling with is how to universally configure sound settings. I was woken up very early this morning by people on the east coast IMing me even though I thought I had the phone configured to be completely quiet. I never had that issue with the Sidekick because all the applications are well integrated and consistent, and seem to observe universal sound profiles better than Palm applications do. Hopefully I’ll get it figured out and sleep better tonight.

I can still navigate my Sidekick much faster than I can my Treo. Hopefully it’s just a question of getting accustomed to the Treo, but I could get to any point within any application on my Sidekick with no more than two keystrokes. On the Treo, I find myself scrolling through more menus, and occasionally even wanting to reach for the stylus (a habit I will have to completely break eventually).

I’m very happy with the Treo’s data service. That’s actually one of the biggest problems with the Sidekick. The T-Mobile data service has performed so poorly for me that I found I could not depend on it for anything critical. I’ve only been using the Treo for a couple of days, but so far, I’ve found the data service to be faster and far more reliable.

I think I like the form factor of my Sidekick better as a PDA and a messaging device, but I like the Treo’s form factor better as a phone. I tend to use phones more for their data services and messaging capabilities than for talking, so hopefully I’ll adapt to the Treo’s form factor and find it as comfortable to use as the Sidekick over time.

That’s all for now. I’m sure I’ll have more to post as I gain more experience with the Treo, travel a bit, and use other features like the camera. In the meantime, any Sidekick and/or Treo users out there who wish to comment? If not, what other PDAs/smart phones are people using these days?

15 Responses to Switching From the Sidekick II to the Treo 650

  1. Kevin Hoyt says:

    “I’ve installed various other applications to give me the functionality I’m accostomed to on my Sidekick.”I’d be interested in knowing what applications and what purposes they served on your Sidekick.

  2. Alex Sherwood says:

    Just got the Treo 650/Cingular, and the thing ROCKS!What are your top 3 “must gave apps” for the PalmOS? The last PalmOS device I had was the original Handspring…..it’s been a while!

  3. paul arce says:

    I’ve had mine for a couple of months now and besides the size of the keyboard vs. my sausage like fingers, I can’t live without my 650. It was especially useful in allowing me to check email and manage my fantasy baseball team while in Curacao.

  4. Christian Cantrell says:

    Alex: I added VeriChat for IM, One Touch Timer for timing (mostly for when I cook frozen pizzas), and SplashID for securely storing passwords. I’ll install more when I get the time (probably an SSH client), but those are the essentials for me.

  5. Christian Cantrell says:

    Installed QuickNews RSS aggregator last night. Very nice, so far. The import was challenging, but once I got the feeds in, seems to working great.

  6. Rich...! says:

    Hey, yeah, I’m also loving the treo 650, although I do find it crashes quite a bit, specifically with snappermail (although I’d take the crashes for the functionality it gives).On the navigation side, I swear by Initiate (http://www.hobbyistsoftware.com/).Other apps I have:ButlerThe Core Pocket Media PlayerPhone TechnicianFilezweekly planpocket tunesOh, and if you haven’t already, check out the treonauts (http://blog.treonauts.com/)blog…!

  7. Tomiwa says:

    I’m surprised no one mentioned it here.Is it me or is everyone avoiding the topic? Who knows where to find the Flash Player for Treo 600’s and 650’s? I googled everywhere for it and the closest I came to was this link.I know the folks at Macromedia, …sorry Adobe could not have overlooked this, so where is it?Macomedia would do well to either release the player for Palm Users or have an easy to find page on thier site explaining why it doesn’t exist.Whatever the politics at play right now between Macromedia and PalmOne; could the customer be put first in this case?

  8. Aaron says:

    I suggest you get McPhling.You can define any hotkey setup you want and it essentially gives you a quick launch popup menu with applications you want in there. You can set which apps not to include, to always include, etc.Very customizable and extremely well executed. It’s my must have for my treo. I never have to hit the home screen to run my favorite apps anymore.http://www.mikemccollister.com/palm/

  9. lee says:

    yeah where is the flash player for the treo650?

  10. rick says:

    I’m looking for a spell check program to will work with GoodLink on the Treo 650. Any suggestions? Thanks, rt

  11. August IV says:

    Treo 650 kicks. TCMCP, pockettunes,butler. watching full video files on ur phone is awesome, beautiful.

  12. Tim [tmo] says:

    I am also making the switch from a SideKick Color under T-Mobile to a Treo 650 with Cingular. I will agree with the keyboard difference. The SideKick can’t be beat in terms of typeability. I suspect long emails on the Treo will take a bit of adjustment. Still, the Treo has me grinning from ear-to-ear as I install new apps and adapt to a better GRPS data network.Immediate must-haves on this end:PocketTuneshttp://www.pocket-tunes.com/mp3/ogg!/wav and STREAMING AUDIO support! Fantastic.psshhttp://www.sealiesoftware.com/pssh/SSH2 client, equivalent to the SideKick version, though seemingly faster and more feature rich.Toccerhttp://atomiccog.com/products/toccer-for-treo/Free AIM client.There are a bunch of other apps and utilities I am eager to install and play with. I haven’t worked with the PalmOS since my old Palm III and having a decent network connection totally changes the game this time around. One caveat to other readers of this thread. Upgrade via the 1.17 Updater ASAP.http://www.palm.com/us/support/downloads/treo650updater/cingular.html?creativeID=RFB|treo650_cing_updater_20051121Prior to this upgrade, I ran into a frustrating run of Hard Resets that seem to be resolved now (only day 2, so keeping my fingers crossed).

  13. Mike Golden says:

    I can’t believe no one has mentioned KeyCaps600 or FileZ (both are free). KeyCaps600 significantly increased my typing speed on the Treo.An amazing app is Picsel Browser. Unfortunately, like the Clie Flash Player, it’s a bundled-only product that’s not for general sale, so I’ve only used a bootleg version from a Chinese Samsung phone. It has a few user interface sharp edges (besides the partly-hacked-into-English dialogs), but it does an incredible job at text rendering. It seems Picsel will finally be making the app available for general sale.Speaking of Flash… If Picsel can run on my Treo650, then Flash can. Please, please, please make a Flash player for PalmOS 5.4 (Garnet) devices.Can you imagine what a great application platform Flash could be on handheld devices?? I know Macromedia tried to position Flash as an app platform in the past, but it catch-on because there just wasn’t a clear benefit over the other already well-established web technologies. In contrast, no clearly superior cross-device app platform exists for handheld devices. Looking at the competition, forget Java’s bloated, crippled, and slow J2ME. Next are HTML-based web apps — ignoring for a moment that the majority of handheld devices are not internet connected — these are a mess because handheld browsers inconsistently support the multitude of web technologies (e.g. HTML 3.2, HTML 4.0, XHTML, CSS, XML, Javascript, etc.), and have small, variously-sized, non-scaleable displays. Those devices that are connected are limited by slow/spotty mobile data links.There is an technology vacuum here that Flash is perfectly positioned to fill. Imagine if the newest crop of multimedia-capable PDAs had fully capable Flash players (not a “mobile version”). Immediately you would see Flash-based games become available across multiple devices — Flash kicks Java’s butt when it comes to multimedia and games.Later, however, you would see productivity and enterprise applications. Flash would make a perfect thin-client for connected and partially-connected applications. It already supports forms, and I believe it supports XML/SOAP/WebServices. Installed directly on device as an SWF file, a Flash-based application could provide a rich and responsive user experience despite slow/spotty data connections. This is because unlike WAP/WML/mobile HTML browsers, it can efficiently communicate only the data over the slow link, and even possibly cache updates, transmitting later when a link is present (if supported by the app). For instance, can you imagine how cool a Flash-based Google Maps client would be?Because Flash is vector-based, it can scale its display efficiently, and could run these apps across a variety of display resolutions. Aspect ratio may present an issue — e.g., in the case where an app was developed for a LifeDrive (having a virtual graffiti area), but run on a Treo — but the Player could default to “fit width” and present a vertical scroll bar. At that point, it would be at the user’s discretion to “fit height” or zoom at a preferred level… perfect for tiny devices.Another benefit is that these same SWFs would be able to execute on the desktop in a browser by utilizing the Flash Player plugin already on most users’ desktops. This not only simplifies development & testing, but allows small companies with limited IT budgets to present the app as an embedded element within an HTML page on a website or intranet. For example, a company’s mobile sales force runs a Flash app on their handhelds, and can use the same app with full-sized keyboard and mouse when at their desk.Please, please do this.

  14. Oleg says:

    If you are still interested there is workarround about installing flash player to Treo 650. It’s copied from Sony Clie TH55. And it is working pretty well. The only thing is that this is only Flash player 5 :(.I’ve installed it on my Treo and it seems to work pretty well.There is the link with detail instructions – http://discuss.treocentral.com/showthread.php?t=90079