JUST before leaving the Silicon Valley on our way to CES, Palm CEO Ed Colligan stopped by the bureau to give us an exclusive sneak-peak at his new Treo 750. It's sleek, super-powerful, and finally has eliminated the annoying big antenna that easily distinguished the Treo (and not in a good way) from competitors like Blackberry, Blackjack and everyone else.
Here's an edited transcript:
Ed Colligan on the new Treo 750: "It's a beautiful new product. I think you'll just love it once you get your hands on it. It's got a great touch-feel, really nice in the hand, it really is getting into a form factor now. One of the things that we've been striving for from day one when we first made Treo was to really get to a point where it really feels comfortable in your pocket, in your front pocket or your shirt pocket. In a coat it gets lost, and we wanted to get it to a point where it was a comfortable phone for people to use, and then it had all these wonderful data capabilities, right? It's email, it's MP3, it's a great messaging machine, it will do video, it will do pictures, it will get you on the web, it will get you anywhere you want to go. So, those things are all a bonus now in a great package that is still a great phone."
On the antenna: "That's one of the nice things. We've eliminated it. (Now) it's an internal antenna. It still got great RF performance, we've got great coverage for people to get a signal. It's a 5-band radio, so you can use it anywhere in the world really effectively. So when you get off the plane in Düsseldorf or London or Topeka, you're gonna get your email delivered to you in real time."
On capabilities beyond voice: "It's got video, it'll get you on any websites, it will get you anywhere on the web. It's got an MP3 player in it, it's got a media player in it, the Microsoft Media Player 10. It's got the capabilities of sending those to other devices. SMS and MMS. We've brought a new feature to this, which is a chat view SMS that we've had on Palm devices in the past, but this is the first time it's on a Window's mobile device.
On whether this is a "Blackberry Killer: "I don't ever like to say 'killer.' Like I said earlier, the market really is shifting. If you look at the scale of the overall phone business, it's approaching over a billion units a year being sold and you look at what we're selling and last quarter, we sold north of 600,000 units. Our segment of the business is still relatively small-scale. But we think what will happen is more and more of those people that are buying standard handsets are going to see the capabilities of these and see that there is no compromise anymore in terms of the form factor and usability from a phone perspective and they're gonna go, 'Why wouldn't I want the web and MP3 and videos in my phone?'"
On the Digital Living Room and all things mobile at CES: "You just addressed the two major and fundamental shifts or initiatives that are going on in the technology business, outside of biotech and solar energy and things like that. But if you look at the core computing business, one is the digital convergence in the home and the other is everything going mobile. I mean, the whole demographic, the whole population is going mobile. The globe is getting smaller and everyone is traveling all the time, people want access to their personal information wherever they are. Our vision is that the future of personal computers isn't at the desktop, it isn't at home. It's on you. It's with you. It's wherever you want to be. These are computers more than they are phones. It just so happens to be that voice is a killer app of mobile computing."
On mobile devices: "When you want to sit on your couch and watch TV, I guess you're tied to your couch. But when you get up, and even in your home, I find myself going to this (the Treo) more just to check a few emails or to do a Google search. My kid says, 'Hey what's this mean?' And I say, 'I don't know, let me get my Treo.' Boom, I've got an answer. So I find myself, even in my home going to my mobile devices. They are just more accessible. They are just easier to use. I don't have to boot up everything, I don't have to sit in another room. I can just do it where I am. And so, in the home, in the car, on the train, in another country, you've got your core information that you really care about with you."
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