Now You Know Treo Book Review

Review: Now You Know Treo Book

November 29, 2005
Ratings: 4 of 5
By: Christopher Meinck

It’s an understatement to call the Palm Treo 650 and Treo 600 smartphones. They offer features that are well beyond that of a traditional cellphone. Both phones ship with a rather large manual, but it fails to tell you how to get the most from your new smartphone.

I recently completed reading Now You Know Treo and found it to be a very good resource for both beginner and intermediate Treo 650/600 owners.

Now You Know Treo

Back To Basics

In Now You Know Treo, the author provides a quick overview including:

  • Overview and differences between Treo 600 and Treo 650
  • Explanation of CMDA and GSM networks along with associated wireless provider
  • Quick start guide for getting your data into the Treo. This includes your contacts, calendar and to do list.

Getting Into Your Smartphone

The first chapter provides a great overview of the features of the Treo. It provides useful tips
such as 8 ways to dial a contact. The authors also provide step by step walkthroughs that cover the basics
such as:

  • Customizing Wallpaper
  • Organizing your applications
  • Programming your hard buttons and favorites
  • Setting four types of alerts (Phone, General, Calendar, Messaging)
  • Accessing the web

There is also more advanced information such as what the 7 LED status indicators mean.


The Treo is a very powerful device when it comes to multimedia features. The book does a great job of explaining the necessary steps to converting
your Treo to capable MP3 player. Although it’s authored by Palm, I was glad to see them mention both
Real Player (which is included with the Treo 650) and PocketTunes.

The authors pay a considerable amount of attention to the Treo’s camera capabilities. Included are tips
for getting the best possible photos from the Treo (who knew that my smartphone “loves cloudy days”), along with tips for viewing and adding effects. There
are certain insights which make it clear the authors had access to the minds at Palm. For instance, the silver
circle next to the camera is intended to act as a mirror for self portraits or recording video messages. How cool! Treo 650 owners will find the video techniques helpful. Throughout this section, the author does a great job of letting you know where your
images/videos can be found. As a Mac user, I was pleased to see they included information for both Windows and Mac platforms.

You’re Smartphone Is An Organizer

A large number of new Treo owners have never been exposed to the Palm OS and the vast organizing capabilities. This book offers
a chapter on the topic of organization. They have neat sections called "Real Life" that focus on how other users are getting the most from their Contacts and To Do Lists. This is the type of information that makes books such as Now You Know Treo valuable. In my experience, some of the most valuable information is not "how to", but "how do others". The chapter also includes Treo specific information that even experienced Palm users might find useful. For example, they provide a tip for exporting contacts to a SIM card for use in another phone.

Tips and Tricks

Each chapter is filled with short paragraphs with useful
tips. My guess is that the authors intent was not to recreate the manual. My only complaint is that I wish they would use
icons to “callout” specific types of information. I’ve read other computer books where the author used icons to represent different
types of information and the importance. While the information is valuable, the Palm book can at times feel cluttered. They did get it
right when it comes to distinguishing content for either the Treo 650 or Treo 600. Using orange boxes for the Treo 650 and grey boxes for
the Treo 600 will help readers select content relative to the type of smartphone they own.

Email and messaging

With a Treo, you’ve got SMS, MMS and email capabilities รข?? there is a chapter that focuses on the various aspects of messaging with your Treo. It’s a
little light when it comes to Instant Messaging, but you can always read our Instant Messaging Roundup if you need more specifics. The email
overview features the pre-installed VersaMail. The book makes the assumption that you already have your account set-up. I would have liked
to have seen them include more on setting up email accounts in VersaMail.

Smartphone Friendly Resources

The book features useful online web resources including Treo friendly websites, portals and touches briefly on using the Treo
as a GPS device. There is also a chapter that features smartphone specific applications. This is a good read, but you can find much more valuable information on our forums in threads such as, "What’s On My Treo". Missing in the book were popular Treo utilities like Butler.

The final chapter discusses the available accessories for the Treo, but as to be expected it’s limited to those offered by Palm.


I found Now You Know Treo to be an entertaining read. I highly recommend this book to any new Treo owner or intermediate user looking for new ways to get the most from their Treo. The book is filled with useful tips. The icons denoting Treo 650 and Treo 600 content are particularly helpful in reading content specific to your model. The applications section is a bit paltry, but will provide the new smartphone owner with an idea of the endless applications available. The book covers most every topic related to your Treo and provides a plethora of useful tips. The only glaring ommission from Now You Know Treo is not including Everything Treo among it’s list of Treo communities. Still, all in all, this is a great book to carry on the train or flight that will help you get the most from your Treo.

Now You Know Treo retails for $19.95.

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