Beginner’s Basics – Buying a Treo

Perhaps you are considering the purchase of a Treo, but don’t have a CLUE where to go from here. Who sells them, what carriers support them, how do you know where to begin?


Maybe you just bought a Treo 650 and it’s staring at you from inside the nicely organized PalmOne Box. Now what?

Relax and read on. I can help!

If you haven’t already shopped for a data service, that’s your first step. Call your cell phone provider and discuss the data options available. If you plan to be a bonified “road warrior,” you will need a complete package. There is no sinking feeling to rival the one you get from your cell phone company the first time you seriously underestimate your web access and data needs. It’s a budget killer.

Personally, I got in on this back a couple years ago with my Treo 600 and secured a $19.95 unlimited data plan from Cingular. I’ll probably never change my phone provider for that reason alone. Now, their rates are hitting $40-50 per month, when no special is running.

I need it most for email and surfing the web. I don’t do alot of text messaging (SMS) or multimedia messaging (MMS), so my plan limits those and leaves the internet and email unlimited.

As a business professional, you can secure better rates, usually, if you open a business account and talk to the business CSR. They tend to be more flexible in helping you set up your phone for business-intensive use. And, they tend to charge you less per month for that improved service. Call and ask.

The Treo 650 has only been adopted by a few of the major carriers to date. These include: Verizon (I’ll contain myself on this one, since I’ve not had any experience with their cellular product — but would NEVER recommend their land line service to ANYONE — ahem), then there is Sprint (I hear from some of my Real Estate clients that this is a good service, but have never tried them) and then there’s Cingular (my own service, and therefore my favorite).

PalmOne is rolling this out for additional services soon (or so the rumors say). You may want to check in with them ( regularly to see if your favorite carrier has joined the Treo troupe. (PalmOne also run specials if you purchase a Treo and a plan at the same time through them, so keep an eye on it if you plan to buy sometime, but not this second.)

If you like to hop from cellular plan to cellular plan, you should be aware that the Treo 650 and 600 offer “unlocked” versions of the hardware that will be more flexible than the branded versions. Branded Treos limit the Treo to use on a single service. I understand that some online vendors offer to “unlock” your phone for a fee, but I’ve had no personal experience with that. I’d recommend you get what you need in the first place rather than trusting someone else to crack that for you.

Also note — the unlocked version is much more expensive. So don’t buy it if you don’t need it. If you are hot for an unlocked version, you might want to try going to and see what you can find. I found both of my Treos on The sellers were great and they shipped quickly and understood my desire to have it NOW so I could begin playing. :O)

A couple words of warning to those new to If you are a novice, you probably don’t want to make a purchase of this size as your first attempt. If you do plan to purchase through, check the longevity, the rating and the buyer comments on the seller you are considering. Also note what they say about others. Don’t make split second decisions. Don’t assume that a few bad feedbacks are simply “bad luck.” Usually if there are more than two or three negative feedbacks, there is a reason.

The last thing you want is a battle to get your new Treo once you have paid for it. You, if you are anything like me, will want it and want it now. Quick delivery is important, good shipping practices and safe handling are important. Get it insured. Be sure you sign for it so it’s not left on a porch or with a neighbor.

Unless you are an veteran, I’d recommend getting the main unit from a more established source, like Palm or your cellular carrier.

If you already own a Treo, take it out of the box and charge it for the first time. I know you are anxious, and I know four hours will be an eternity — but longer battery life from here on out depends on this critical first charge. Plug it up and leave it plugged up until the light is green and stays green. THEN you can begin to play!

Slip in your SIM card (if that’s not already been done) and make your first call. The green phone button will launch the standard phone application. Now you can toss your old cell phone — forever.