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Handspring Treo 180/180g Now Shipping

Dave Aiello wrote, "Last week while I was away, Handspring announced the nationwide shipment of the Treo 180 and Treo 180g personal communication devices. These are the handheld gadgets that combine a GSM cellular telephone, a Palm OS personal organizer, and an integrated keyboard similar in size and shape to the ones on the face of the RIM Blackberry e-mail pagers."

"I have been having increasing performance problems with my Nokia 8860 mobile phone, and have been looking for a hybrid device so that I can reduce the number of small electronic devices that I need to carry on a daily basis. For those reasons, I decided to throw caution to the wind, buy a Treo, and sign up for a year of GSM service with VoiceStream. Supposedly, I will get the Treo in one to three weeks. Read on for a little bit of the risk analysis that I did before making this purchase decision...."

Dave Aiello continued:

The big risk that has been pointed out by my techno-savvy friends is that VoiceStream's coverage area is not nearly as wide as competitors like Verizon or AT&T Wireless. I plan to mitigate this by not giving up AT&T Wireless service on my wife's mobile phone. If worse comes to worse, and I know I am travelling to an area without VoiceStream service, I will trade phones with her.

Some people may see this solution as impractical, but my thought is that I plan to stay in areas with good VoiceStream coverage most of the time. I also have really wanted to get more experience with GSM/GPRS-compatible devices, and don't want to wait months for Handspring to come out with a CDMA/1x-compatible version of the Treo.

Finally, I hope that either AT&T Wireless or Cingular to deploy GSM service in Central and Northern New Jersey sometime in the next 12 months. So, I am betting that VoiceStream service will be "good enough" to tide me over for the next 12 months. If this turns out to be a complete disaster, I will buy my way out of my contract commitment and switch over to a more robust mobile phone network.

On the other hand, if the service is good enough, I will almost certainly be able to reduce my monthly charges by eliminating the Cingular Wireless Data service charge that I pay for my Blackberry. This will save me almost $500 per year, which will more than pay for me to upgrade my VoiceStream calling/data plan if I really like the way the Treo works for me.

I will write more about my experiences with the Treo here, once I receive the unit and start using it.

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