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A Treo duo

A Treo duo

A lot of tech observers are aflutter over the announcement that Palm's Treo handheld devices, which some are calling 700-series phones (after the 600 series on sale now), will next year be able to use the Microsoft Windows operating system for handhelds instead of just the Palm OS on the Treo phones today.

That means easy use of Microsoft applications, such as documents and e-mail. There could be big implications for small business. As the story notes, quoting an analyst, this is "a good thing for corporate IT departments, which can now leverage off of a common development platform while letting their users pick the handset that is right for them."

Right, but we have no proof yet that any of it works, even if they were showing a model today. Technology gizmo guru Walter Mossberg has reviewed Palm and Microsoft devices and, in the past, said that third-party plug-in software working with Palm OS actually handled Microsoft documents such as those for Word and Excel better than the Microsoft-native devices.

There's also the carrier question. So far, only Verizon is onboard. How much will the contracts cost, and if you're with another carrier, will you be able to switch? Or will all the major carriers decide to take on the new Treos, as the story asserts? Too many variables. My head is starting to hurt. Besides, I gave up my Treo a long time ago, and instead carry a BlackBerry and a Palm device separately.

Nevertheless, I applaud the step. They're trying, and if it all works as it's being touted, that's great. It would be one simple solution: buy it off-the-shelf, and bam--no extra software to load to make the device do the stuff you need. Thatwill be a small-business solution.