Bought the Treo 650

I have been needing a new phone for a long time, but nothing out there was any interest to me. I didn’t want a clunky PDA since I have my laptop most of the time, and I didn’t want the new Sprint Videophones, because I dont care about it in the least. The only phone left was my same phone but with a camera (big whoop).

My buddy Alan called me yesterday to tell me he got a Treo while I was away. Now, I have read all the reviews on it prior, even read the instruction manual, EVEN asked Sprint rep’s many questions to see if this would do what I wanted. So I asked Alan, and he soooo gave me what I needed.

For starters, this was my laundry list of what I wanted in a PDA/Mobile Phone:

  1. Read, view, respond to email without any duplication or confusion as to where I did so
  2. Wirelessly sync to laptop
  3. Act as a wireless modem
  4. Work with my Prius

1. My biggest beef with cellphone/PDA’s is how they handle email. I don’t want to have to input all my POP3 emails on my PDA, so that I can “keep messages on server” and deal with multiple copies when I delete. And if I write or respond to an email on my PDA, I don’t want to lose that info from my sent items in my Outlook.

Simple solution that I *should* of known: Use Sprint’s software, “Sprint Business Connect”, to keep your PDA and Outlook in sync. So every so often my PDA goes and sync’s itself with whatever contacts/emails that are sitting in Outlook. That also means when I write an email, it sends it from my Outlook, NOT my PDA, so I don’t lose it. This was the missing piece of info that even Sprint didn’t understand. Thank You Alan.

2. Using Bluetooth, any schmoe can wirelessly sync. You just need your laptop to have bluetooth, which mine does from a little USB Bluetooth device.

3. Sprint crippled Dial Up Networking (DUN) on the Treo because (as is rumored) it was too buggy. People have figured out how to uncripple it, but then you are forced to soft-reset the Treo before and after you use it (read Yuck). But for around $35, you can buy PdaNet which allows you to connect your computer to the internet via your Treo using Bluetooth. When I tried it, I was getting about 150 kbps.

3, My Prius comes with Bluetooth, but up to now the only phone I could get was this old school Sony Ericsson that was discontinued over a year ago. In order to get the Prius to work, you must download the PalmOne Carkit Update. Then you just follow the instructions in the Prius Manual.

A couple caveats on this venture. One, it won’t appear that it worked until you make your first phone call. Second, if you dare get a call while you are on the phone using the Prius Bluetooth, your phone will disconnect both callers. AAACKK! This is pretty heinous, but Alan and I plan to pester Palm until they fix it. The last one is that the Prius phone book is horrible. You can’t manually enter a number, but instead beam it from your phone. One at a time. And only one number per contact. And no ( or – in the phone number. Yes. That is bad.

Other than that, the sound of your own voice to other people sounds much better with the Prius than with your own phone. I love how the Prius takes over and dims the radio, and shows who is calling on the Navigator.

So after my first day of owning it, I am quite happy. I have researched and downloaded a slew of programs, but I will wait to post what I like once I find out what I land out using every day after the new-ness fades.


24 responses to “Bought the Treo 650”

  1. It also has a VPN client and a Terminal Services client….which means you can manage your network from anywhere in the world!

  2. I’ve been all over trying to find someone who’s figured this stuff out. Here goes.

    When I downloaded the contacts list from my Treo 650 to my Prius phone book, what showed up were the names of every contact over a bunch of vertical lines in the space where the Prius manual says the phone number should be. Are you saying that the only way I can use the 1-touch dialing is by beaming contact numbers one-at-a-time, or did I just mess up the download from my phone?

  3. I have read about this at Basically, the Prius doesn’t like any characters other than numbers. So (234)234-2343 in your phone should look like 2342342343.

    The prius also cannot see more than one number per contact. So to handle all of this, I created new contacts and put only one phone number for each.

    Then in outlook, I assigned all of them the category of “prius”. Then went to the prius, and beamed them over. My buddy alan did the same thing, and he was able to beam over the whole group at one time. He didn’t have to do it one at a time like I did.

  4. I’m impressed that you figured that out! How did you set up Outlook so that you could enter phone numbers without dashes and parenthesis?

  5. I honestly dont remember that one. If you enter it in the Treo, it for sure will not enter the -(, and if you edit an outlook one (not add) it also will not put them back.

  6. Scott, you rock! Your original list is the same set of concerns I now have. I want it all in one contraption. I now have a Pocket PC and a Sprint phone that work together to get email, and it syncs with my outlook, ec. But it’s very kludgy. I have written over 20 books about WIndows, and I have to say the Pocket PC is a buggy and overly-bloated version of the Palms I used to have. It doesn’t sync half the time, isn’t recognized by the PC half the time, and when it runs out of juice and I have to resync, I have to create a ‘new connection’ to the PC for the syncing to happen at all. This means renaming the Pocket PC (creating a new account) each time. True, it plays movies, has pocket IE and Word built in, etc. But frankly I never use those things like I thought I would. Still, since I write about Windows for a living, I thought I should use PPC and so I dumped my Palm.

    Enter the new Prius, and I want all the things you mentioned, so now that lead to wanting compatible Bluetooth. Also want fast wireless modem for my laptop (and browsing and email on the PDA when I don’t have my laptop with me). Seems like you have all that covered in your research. But I have one more issue: Decent reception at my house in the Berkeley Hills. There is the rub. I typically get flaky service up here, one bar possibly two, and it fluctuates and drops calls if I move around the house. Not good.

    SO…I’m wondering if you know or any other readers know if there are other providers that also meet all of my requirements. Verizon? Cingular? If so, I’ll check them out. Also, did you look into various Pocket PC act-alikes to the Treo and rule them out?

  7. Hey Bob,

    First off, the Treo 650 is nowhere close to being released on Verizon. They only offer the Treo 600 (sans bluetooth, 65k pix screen, bigger keyboard) for $250. I believe Cingular, however, is just about to come out w/ it.

    I had not even considered any others up to this point because of the lack of bluetooth. Sprint had only offered one bluetooth phone (Sony Ericsson T608) on its network, and they only made 10,000 of them, then stopped selling after about a week. That was over 1 1/2 years ago.

    Also, I can’t impinge enough on how cool the Sprint Business Connect is. I just HATE the thought of setting up POP accounts on my phone and select “Keep messages on server” and then having to read email twice.

    Hope that helps. Good luck!

  8. Thanks. So, obvious questions:

    1. The Let’s Talk (TOyota site) doesn’t list Treo availability in my area. Are they just out of touch?

    2. Doesn’t Cingular have something similar?

    3. How much are you paying for the modem service, and what throughput are you getting from Sprint for it? My friend Mike says: Sprint PCSVision. $15/month on top of whatever voice plan I have.

    4. How much is the Sprint Business Connect thing on top of all of that?



  9. Oh, Point #2 above means: Something similar to BusinessConnect. It seems like an obvious need.

    and point 5. I’ve been using a PocketPC. SYncing to Outlook is very complete and groovy. Even live update while connected to the PC. But…as everyone knows…it’s way buggy and freezes. Is syning with Outlook quite good nowadays with the Treo 650?

  10. Wow, a lot to discuss.

    1. Yes, most likely they are out of touch.

    2. Cingular is coming out w/ a Treo very shortly if they haven’t already. I have no idea if they have software like Sprints.

    3. Sprint PCSVision costs differ depending on your plan. Mine is free because I got like 3500 minutes. I think regular it may be $15.

    4. It costs me $5.

    5. Sync’ing w/ Outlook/computer has been kicking butt. Not only does it work great, but w/ bluetooth, I just have to hit the sync button on my Treo when I am near my computer. No more wires!

    6. the PPC 6600 looks great. I am a big windows guy, but now that have the palm it makes the HP 4100 my wife has seem out of date.

    Good luck!

  11. Well, I got the Spring Treo 650. ANd I found a site online that was selling it for $289 with a new account. I talked Spring seriously down from their price, and in effect, they matched it. Then I got some accesories, and if I can get the software to work as hoped, I’ll be happy. I tried to get the Prius to recognize the phone, but no go. The phone’s BT app finds the car, but the car doesn’t find the phone, even after I enter the security code. Prius sceen just hangs, waiting. ALl I can do is press Cancel on the Prius. What gives with that?

    I got the Business Connection, and a BT headset as well.

    Please advise on the sync issue. I followed instructions in the Toyota manual and the Treo manual, unless I’m missing something.


  12. Thanks. Making progress. I got the car and phone to work together enough to make some calls. And I got Outlook and the 650 to sync. Don’t yet have the address book sucked into the Prius‘ phonebook, though. Also, can’t seem to get the phone to download and activate the PCSVision. It just runs for a bit and then says “The update was not succesful due to a server communications error. If the problem persists, contact Sprint.”

    ALso not clear what the deal with using BC to connect to my Outlook Mail is. I have three POP accts that Outlook pulls in. I don’t have Exchange Server running. I want to see / interact with the mail that comes into Outlook (my computer queries my POP servers every 5 minutes to suck in mail.



  13. Making progress! I had to go to Sprint store to get “reprovisioned”. Not Business Connection works. It’s awesome. I’ve just been sitting here with my desktop computer, checking it out. I used to think it was cool that my PocketPC synched with Outlook when the PPC was in its cradle. That’s nothing compared to the Treo updating itself over the wireless network while I’m out of the office. Mail comes in, or my secretary enters an appt in Outlook on my desktop, and my phone updates! THis is geeky coolness.

    As for the Prius, the phonebook thing is clearly sucky. I will have to do what your friend Alan did and copy any contact I want in the phonebook to a new entry, remove the ( ) and – marks and assign them to a new category (Prius), and then upload to the Prius. However, you can’t scroll the phone book in the Prius while driving anyway, which sucks. You have to use only the six “speed dial” buttons. Not good. AND the outgoind sound in my Prius is reported by my callees as very horrible and distorted. What are you doing right? Or what am I doing wrong? I’m tempted to use the BT headset in the car, and get the voice dialing feature either on Sprint or the add-in software for the Treo, and skip the Prius phone system.

    In fact, I tried the BT earphone in the car, but it wouldn’t be recognized. Seems the Prius Hands Free was taking over and not letting the Plantronics earpiece register itself. I tried various things. Only when I turned off the Prius was it allowed. Can’t figure out how to change the order of BT preference so that if the headset is on, the Prius sound system is overruled.

    Bob Cowart

    Author: Using WIndows XP (Que)

  14. That looks good. DOes that undo all the grayed out stuff? Or just nav things?

    ALso, do you know how to tell the Treo to let you use a bluetooth earpiece in the car? Seems that the car wants to take over the hands free operations.


  15. All the gray’d out stuff is do to a cable that comes into the nav telling it how fast the car is going. They handle it there I believe. I am almost certain all of that will be handled.

    I ordered it over a month ago, so we will see once I get it installed.

    On the hands free…I dont think it is possible. If you turn Bluetooth on in the Treo, the car will take over. If you turn it off in the Treo, the headset won’t work. I don’t know how easy it would be to delete your phone from your car and reset them up each time you want to use your headset. Sounds a bit much for me.

  16. Lets see how good my memory is…

    This is the steps I did to get my Treo to work w/ my Prius.

    1. Get update from

    Download, run and reboot Treo.

    2. On top right of phone screen on Treo, click the bluetooth symbol. Confirm that bluetooth is on, “Discoverable” is clicked on “Yes” and that you’ve named your phone under “Device Name”

    Now click the word “Bluetooth” on top left of bluetooth screen. If it says “Do not allow wake up”, leave it, that means it’s currently set to allow for wake up. If it says “Allow wake up”, click on that to allow the phone to wake up.

    3. From this point it’s pretty self explanitory. Have them find each other, enter the password. Then, what’s worked for me is turning off then back on the Prius.

  17. Looks like running the updater to 1.08 is a good idea. See this link:

    search the page for updater 1.08.

    I’ve now also purchased a PPC-6600 from Sprint. I have them both now, and am comparing the two (Treo 650 and 6600). I am beginning to lean toward the 6600, as much as I love the screen on the Treo and the one-handed operation. ANd I might be going over to Verizon for its EVDO support. I did get the Treo hacked for use as a wireless modem, use PDANet (great program). I am getting around 60K throughput, I would say. Not great. EVDO over Verizon offers much higher, though for $80/mo rather than the $15/mo for Sprint’s slower data network.

    Bob Cowart

  18. Followup: I returned the 650 and kept the 6600. It has an excellent voice recognition program called Voice Command (from Micro$oft), which makes all the diff. I can call up anyone of my 3000 contacts by voice, play music by voice, run any app by voice, dial a specific number (e.g. “dial 411” by voice). BT with the Prius is a little weird, but I’m working that out with some udpates and patches. And the script recognition (writing on the screen) makes input way easier than on the Treo’s little keyboard. The unit is a little more cumbersome to use, and one-handed operation isn’t as possible, though with the Voice Command, no-handed operation is possible.

    Bob Cowart

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