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Palm launches a sleeker Treo

The 755p features an updated Palm OS and removes the protruding antenna for a more stylish form factor

While Palm has taken a beating with its failed Foleo fiasco, it retains strong loyalty for its Treo line of smart phones and its latest offering in the space, the Treo 755p, should please the Palm purists with all the features they’re used to, plus an updated version of the Palm OS.

The Plam form factor has remained relatively constant over the years, but the 755p does make one significant and positive change: the protruding antenna is gone. The change makes for a much sleeker and more aerodynamic look that’s also lighter than previous models.

The model I tested had a black finish with silver highlights; the rubberized texture of the device makes it quite comfortable in the hand and less likely to slip. It also fits nicely in the pocket.

Other than the antenna’s removal and the texturized finish, the 755p is relatively unchanged from previous Treo models on the outside and will be familiar to past Treo users. Palm has always gotten high marks for the usability of its form factor and the 755p is no exception; it’s suited well to one-handed use, or two-hands with the stylus.

With practice the keypad is easy to use, and the backlit keys are a plus. The keys are smaller than my own Pocket PC, but are easier to use than those on the Motorola Q or some Blackberry models, for example.

Feature-wise the Treo features an integrated 1.2 mega pixel camera that shoots both photos and video. It operates reasonably well, but for a new generation device a few more mega pixels should be expected. A flash would have been nice too. At first I thought the photo and video quality was pretty weak, but then I realized I had forgotten to remove the protective plastic strip from the lens. That cleared things up nicely, and earned a few laughs from my colleagues.

As a phone, I was pleased with the Treo, finding the call quality and volume quite acceptable with or without the headphones, and the speaker phone was also a nice feature.

The 755p runs on a 312MHz Intel processor with 128 MB of nonvolatile RAM, a 320×320 pixel display and a miniSD expansion slot. It also runs version 5.4.9 of the Palm Garnet OS, which will be familiar to most Palm users.

It’s a relatively user-friendly OS, and I had no trouble synching my contacts and calendar with Microsoft Outlook or setting-up my e-mail.

I was unable to set-up my Hotmail account unfortunately, although Yahoo and Gmail were both supported.

Speaking of Google, the bundled Google Maps application was great fun, and very helpful on road trips. All that’s missing is the GPS. If you’re not on an all-you-can-eat data plan however, prolonged usage may get pricey.

I know the Palm OS has its adherents, but I still prefer the Windows Mobile OS myself. While ease of use is similar, I find Windows to be just a bit more feature-rich. Luckily, it seems Palm continues to plan to offer both options for the time being.

Overall, with the 755p, Palm has managed to improve on an already impressive form factor, making it even lighter and slimmer while maintaining its traditional ease of use and functionality. While Palm adherents will want to stick with the Palm OS, Palm newbies may want to consider which OS works best for them.

The Palm 755p is available now in Canada from Telus Mobility.