Med Gear Buyer Goes 650

Medical-equipment purchaser Broadlane said today it has standardized its smartphone deployment on the Treo 650 from Palm Inc. , using the GoodLink mobile email system from Good Technology Inc. Covering around 250 Broadlane executives and salespeople, the choice represents a customer win for Good and for Palm in their efforts to overtake BlackBerry-maker BlackBerry , which dominates the corporate mobile email market. (See Treo Hits New Highs .)

The choice of the Treos, says Broadlane vice president of technology and architecture Mike Howell, was a simple one for the company. "We were on the RIM devices for probably a year, and at that time real-time updates were not built into the BlackBerries we had. Everybody loved the push-pull capacity on the Treos and found the device much easier to use than the BlackBerry."

Based in Dallas, Broadlane sources the purchase of medical equipment for large hospitals and healthcare organizations. The company first began shifting to Treo 600s three years ago. The 650s, says Howell, are significantly more stable than the previous model, in addition to having an improved user interface, fewer dropped calls, and longer battery life.

The 650s are going out to all VP-and-above Broadlane executives who request one, plus all salespeople who travel a significant portion of the time. The new devices cost around $400 to $450 under a bulk purchasing discount, says Howell, and Broadlane has sold its Treo 600s to another company to recoup some of that investment. The GoodLink service costs around $200 per user per year, with another $30 or so per user in carrier fees.

Broadlane now uses Cingular Wireless as its carrier, having switched from Sprint Wireless (NYSE: PCS) last year.

Howell says he will take a hard look at the new Palm 700p, which supports GoodLink and runs the Palm operating system, but he expects the new 650s to serve the company's needs for the next couple of years at least. He doesn't anticipate shifting back to BlackBerries.

"I think the Treo is just a superior machine," he says. "To me it's a slimmer, easier-to-handle device that's better for everyday use."

— Richard Martin, Senior Editor, Unstrung

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