Special Technology Report: The Palm Treo 700 wx SmartPhone Has Changed My Life

There is more to life than just increasing its speed.

- Ghandi

When Ghandi spoke those words, there was no voicemail, email or text messaging.

And while I agree that that there are way more important things that need our daily attention, it is a reality that messages of all kinds must be looked at, assessed and responded to.

Now, I am no VIP, GM or CEO. I am just a writer. However, that means that I get a lot of phone calls, voicemails, emails and text messages.

When I am not at my desk, I am out at meetings, reviewing restaurants and researching products and services. That’s why I was so thrilled to have the opportunity to try out the new Palm Treo 700wx!

Before with my regular cellphone, I’d have to go home in between meetings to check my email to see about last minute changes to meetings or restaurants, whether an editor had any questions after I sent in a piece. It was making my day a lot crazier than it had to be.

With my Palm Treo, I am able to download emails and see if there’s anything urgent. More times than not, it can wait until I get home. But occasionally I’ve been able to call or email someone right away and save myself a couple of hours of travel time.

And while the first 3 days of having the Treo were spent with my head down, emailing, text messaging and researching things on the web while waiting for an appointment or traveling between meetings, I soon was able to use it responsibly. But I can see how people can get addicted to checking their email constantly.

Other than checking email, using the internet and making and receiving calls, I was able to write in Word, make spreadsheets in Excel and jot down virtual sticky notes for quick reminders. Also included is Powerpoint, which I used to create a talk I gave to journalists this past month! How sweet!

This made it easier for me to work on the road and catch up on a few things while away from my office.

There were many features to the phone that I found to be unexpected delights, making me want to have it by my side forever more:

- I learned to use the keypad quickly and was soon thumbing my way through long messages. I was able to easily toggle between numbers and letters, symbols and capitals. The keys are small but for my fingers, they are great.

- The camera on this phone is incredible. In fact, I now prefer it to my beautiful little Pentax that I’ve been carrying around in my purse for the last eight years. The quality of pictures was amazing (so much in fact that I may use some of the images for my forthcoming book!).

- Transferring pictures and documents to my computer was so quick and easy. All you do is hook you Palm up to your laptop via a wire and it syncs automatically. You don’t have to do a thing.

- The other bonus of the immediate updates when you sync is that both your calendar and contacts are being constantly updated, so if you made a schedule change on your computer, it will show up on your phone and if you added a contact while on the road, once you’ve synched, it’s on your computer. This saved me a heckuva lot of time and energy and really, isn’t that what you are looking for when buying a Smart Phone like this?

According to the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association, mobile phones are among the fastest growing consumer product in history, and I can see why.

For the longest time, I resisted getting a Palm Treo, thinking it was unnecessary, but in this past month, I have had such peace of mind that I can only encourage those of you who don’t have one to rethink it. If a large amount of your job is writing and/or communication, this tool may help you like it’s helped me.

They used to call these Personal Digital Assistants and really, although I was doing all of the emailing and calling, because I was able to do it away from the office and on the road, I felt like I was getting twice as much work done. If that’s not an assistant, I don’t know what is.

And while 90% of what I used the phone for was business related, there was that10% leftover that I spent “mobile snacking.”

A part of my daily habit and routine became about filling up those “in between times”:

I would be on the streetcar and I would text message my fella telling him that I was thinking about him.

I was walking downtown to a meeting and listened to the new Timbaland song while surfing the net for a restaurant nearby that I wanted to go to afterwards.

While waiting for dinner to finish simmering, I watched the June Callwood interview that George Stroumboulopoulos did.

And my very guilty moment – while out to dinner with a friend, when she got up to the bathroom, I went online and looked up a chef knife that I was thinking of getting!

Having access to all of this technology had me on the phone at all times.

According to a study conducted for Palm Canada by Leger Marketing, Is Mobile Snacking the Key to Work/Life Balance? “Always On” Canadian Professionals Build Bite-sized Entertainment into Busy Schedules:

“Tech-savvy ‘30-to-50-somethings’ are active consumers of wireless entertainment, grabbing quick nibbles of fun time during those ‘whenever’ minutes throughout a hectic work day -- what’s referred to as ‘mobile snacking.’”

And this is going to become all the more mainstream as we continue to be inundated with information and feel deluged under it all. We are going to seek any escape that we can and that means we’re going to listen to music, watch videos and update our Facebook pages.

The study also shows that “Three in five (60 per cent) respondents surveyed consider themselves “always on” between family and work commitments. The same amount say that communication technology is key to balancing personal and professional commitments.”

If we take Saturdays off, it’s likely we’ll work on Sunday and you know that you’re checking email when you’re not at the office. That’s practically a given these days. And according to the Palm poll, “37 per cent confess to doing work while attending a social or family engagement and 27 per cent have responded to email during dinner.”

I suddenly feel a little bit better.

Although I’ve had my phone less than a month, I have been “snacking” all the while. And if you think about it, I bet you have to.

It’s something that is going to become a part of our daily lives if it hasn’t already.

And personally, in between the work and the deadlines and the headaches, I think it’s great to rock out and listen to music, watch videos and text friends.

After all, if our work is seeping into our personal life, you might as well take a couple of minutes out and “snack.”

And thanks to my Palm Treo 700wx, I’m going to stay on top of my emails, documents and voicemails, and in between messages, dance just a little.

About Palm, Inc.

Palm, Inc., a leader in mobile computing, strives to put the power of computing in people’s hands so they can access and share their most important information. The company’s products for consumers, mobile professionals and businesses include Palm® Treo™ smartphones and Palm handheld computers, as well as software, services and accessories.

More information about Palm, Inc. is available at http://www.palm.com/ca.

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Stephanie Dickison

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