While not the best-kept secret in the technology world, what with all the leaked photos and videos, we're still aflutter over Palm's official unveiling of the Palm Treo Pro. Check out our hands-on gallery of the new smartphone to see why.
While the Treo Pro's QWERTY keyboard is larger than the Centro, we expect some users will still have problems with it. The buttons are fairly small and there isn't a ton of spacing between the keys. However, as with any QWERTY device, it will become easier with more use.
On back of the smartphone, you will find the Treo Pro's 2-megapixel camera. There's no flash, but you do get 8x zoom and video-recording capabilities. If your company does not allow camera phones at your workplace, the feature can be disabled by the I.T. department.
The Treo Pro features a newly designed navigation array that includes two soft keys, Talk and End buttons, an OK button, and shortcuts to the Start menu, Calendar, and Inbox. There's also a navigation toggle that will pulsate colors when you have new voice mail. The QWERTY keyboard itself is reminiscent of the one found on the Palm Centro, but is slightly roomier.
While the operating system is a different story, Palm has done a lot to improve the design and hardware of its smartphones. Here is the Treo Pro sandwiched between the Palm Treo 700p and the Palm Centro.
The Treo Pro has 256MB (100MB user available) onboard memory and 128MB RAM, but the smartphone also features a microSD expansion slot, which is located behind the battery cover. It can accept up to 32GB microSDHC cards.
In a first, Palm will ship the Treo Pro in sustainable packaging, which includes recycled content and a recyclable box. The user guides are printed with soy ink, and the smartphone will no longer ship with a software CD. Instead, all the drivers are preinstalled on the device.
Designed for mobile professionals, the Palm Treo Pro is stocked with Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional Edition, complete with the Microsoft Office Mobile Suite and Direct Push Technology for real-time e-mail delivery. The quad-band world phone also offers a full assortment of wireless options, including UMTS/HSDPA support, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS.
Palm said it expects to ship the Treo Pro in the United States this fall. Unfortunately, the company was not able to give us a specific release date and would not comment about whether it will be picked up by a U.S. carrier. For now, the smartphone will be sold unlocked for a hefty $549.
Overall, the Palm Treo Pro has a pretty solid construction, despite the plastic casing. The smartphone is only available in black at this time, and we noticed it's quite prone to smudges and fingerprints. There is also a new screensaver function that will show you the time, any missed calls, or new text/multimedia messages at a glance.
One of the first things you might notice is that the Treo Pro sheds the outdated, clunky design of previous Treos and trades it in for a sleeker design (4.4 inches high by 2.3 inches wide by 0.5 inch deep; 4.7 ounces).