Palm recently announced the unthinkable when it told the world that it will soon be partnering up with Microsoft to release a new Treo Smartphone powered by the Windows Mobile, and not the Palm, operating system.
The new device, the Treo 700w, will take advantage of the software giant’s Outlook Mobile, Office Mobile and Internet Explorer Mobile offerings, as well as direct access to Exchange Server 2003 for mobile access to information for business users. This move should help Microsoft take a bigger slice of the Smartphone market, which until now has been dominated by Palm, RIM, and Symbian OS overseas.
The demand for the Microsoft OS is especially high among business users, as most companies have been reluctant to issue phones based on other platforms. The Windows Mobile OS offers superior corporate security features like encryption, virtual private networking and tight messaging connectivity.
Upgrades and fixes to the Palm OS have also been slower to arrive than their Windows Mobile counterparts. The new device will appeal to non-corporate customers as well. Treo is already the most popular and sought-after smartphone around, and the option of a Microsoft OS will only solidify that position. People enjoy the familiar Windows-based interface, and the inclusion of simplified versions of the MS Office programs.
They will also benefit from Verizon’s EV-DO technology which allows for higher data transfer rates than any average phone network. This smartphone will be Palm’s first to support a 3G (3rd generation) network…and Verizon has the largest 3rd generation network coverage in the country. All in all, there seems to be no downside to the new offering.
Even for Palm OS faithful, Palm has promised that it will continue to produce new phones based on its proprietary OS as well. The “w” suffix, in fact, suggests that there may be a future planned Palm OS variant of the exact same (physical) model. The only possible downside, unfortunately, is that it seems everyone will have to wait in anticipation for a while longer, as the phone isn’t due to be released until early 2006.