How Smart is This Phone?
I picked up a Treo 700p the other day - a used one I found on Craigslist, no less, because Verizon was slightly ridiculous about the amount of money I had to pay for an upgrade. But that's a story for another time.
I resisted The Post's efforts to put me into the e-mail-only version of the Blackberry available to staffers. As an e-mail-only device, it would have meant just one more gadget for me to charge and carry around. So I picked up this Treo and immediately started setting it up - moving some photos and video clips from the old phone, repopulating the contacts list and so on. Then came time to set up e-mail functionality.
You know, I'm a pretty tech-savvy guy who's good at experimenting with options and preferences on my devices. Several months back, one of the Post's IT guys set me up with everything I needed to know on how to get my mail into different mail clients (Thunderbird at the office, Apple Mail on my laptop at home) and I did it with minimal effort. So I figured setting up the Treo would be a snap.
I finally got it figured out -- after several hours of trying different combinations of my user name, server name and password. It's amazing how many user manuals and help guides aren't user-friendly or helpful at all. In my case, I kept getting error messages that made little sense and weren't in the phone manual or help files. I had a similar experience several years ago when I installed a wireless network at home.
A message to device/software makers: If you want these things to go mainstream (and judging by the increasing number of features you're putting on everyday cell phones, you do) then you're going to have to make setup easier. Many of us are willing to upgrade from voice-only mobile plans to data plans -- which often means more money and another two-year commitment. But setup is a real problem.
I managed to get the job done, but can only imagine how many non-techie folks would have slammed the Treo in the box and gone running back to their faithful flip phones.
October 25, 2006; 3:30 PM ET
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Posted by: curious george | October 25, 2006 3:14 PM
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Posted by: Happy Treo User | October 25, 2006 5:44 PM
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