Could your next Treo sport a black-and-white screen? Well, of course not all the time, but MobileRead has dug up a patent filed by the PDA and smartphone manufacturer that would throttle a device's screen down from Palm IIIc-style backlit color to Palm V-style monochrome when battery power drops below a certain threshold. While the idea doesn't seem all that innovative, Palm's "unique" take on this switcheroo would have the device prompt users to drop the color, and then automagically reinstate it when some of that sweet, sweet juice was added. It's great to see that Palm is trying to squeeze every last drop out of their products -- the screen switch could alleviate power consumption by as much as 75% -- but we'd prefer them to focus that zeal on other areas, like, say, allowing our Treos to actually make a phone call when the battery is still 25% full.

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