Immediately after The Morning Paper posted a small, “preview” image of the Palm’s maybe-upcoming(!!!rumor!!!) Treo 800w, bloggers and analysts went all bonkers about the “new form factor”. It looks different, it is smaller, it’s more iphoneish…/me wonders when my comrades will demand that the Keyboard is replaced with a HiRes+ screen…

For me, the Treo 600′s physical dimensions are part of what made this smartphone the success that it has always been. A Treo is small enough to be pocketable, but big enough to be usable – PalmSource’s sweet spot mantra in action once again… . If you make the keyboard any smaller, you have to go T9…not a very good thing. Change the shape of the keys – there goes the tactile feedback. Reducing the screen’s size probably won’t quite work out either – the Treo 680′s screen already is pretty small for the resolution it has…

IMHO; Palm has but two choices when the Treo form factor is concerned(now that the antenna is gone):
Industrial design
Of course, the elements of the Treo can be redesigned/colored differently to create the impression of a new form factor. The Treo 680 has shown how this can work – more colors, more shades, different materials, more chrome and you’re set to go.

Also, the “speaker microphone” above the screen could be made a little smaller…but that’s just industrial design…

Depth
As for depth, this is an area where Palm could do a bit. The Treo’s could be a little less thick and weigh a little less…

Overall, a business smartphone like the Treo can and will never be able to fight a designer smartphone like Apple’s iPhone or some of Motorola’s design boxen. It’s main task is beeing big enough to be useful…and this is what it’s designers should focus on!

What do you think?

Related posts:

  1. Treo 800p pics spotted..what I think
  2. Treo 680 – EOL’d by Palm
  3. Fixing 5way navigation distortion – or – how to prevent the blue ring from fuxating your modal form
  4. I ditched my Palm Tungsten T3…hello Palm Treo 600
  5. Great News for Treo 600/650 owners in the USA

4 Responses to “Why the Treo form factor can’t really be changed”

  1. I would love to see a thinner, lighter treo. But you’re right – the main form factor *has* to stay, or it’s not a Treo anymore. If the keyboard shrinks, the device becomes less useful, and defeats the purpose of itself.

  2. I totally agree with you!

    But Palm has to work on the style/appearance on the phone and it has to be lighter and thinner. I also hope that the new PalmOS will be a huge improvement and will not delayed even more… As a Macintosh user I would also see a better integration of the Treo with the OS X applications.

    Perhaps Palm has to consider additional Treo form factors and not only ONE Treo? I can imagine a thin and small type like Sony Ericsson M600i and P1 phone with a double action keyboard? Or even a big screen TX with phone capabilities?

    I like the Foleo idea but this divice is to big for me. What about half the size and a small input/output “phone” which communicates with the Mini-Foleo which can be left in the briefcase?

    But anyway I observe very carefully the iPhone, of course…! But the current version has too many “holes” (3rd party applications!) to replace my “rusty” Treo650.

  3. Why not a Treo with usual form factor but 320×480 sliding screen (à la Tungsten T3)?

  4. Hi,
    interesting feedback, all of you!

    Thank you!

    Best regards
    Tam Hanna

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