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Friday, 13 October 2006 02:47

Palm aims new Treo 680 at consumer market

Palm has released the Treo 680 smartphone, a GSM/GPRS/EDGE quad-band device saying it will appeal to price-sensitive feature-phone owners who want a more capable mobile-computing device. It is also offering Google maps on all its smartphones.

Palm president and CEO, Ed Colligan, said he expected it to be available via 20 or more carriers around the world by the end of the company's fiscal year, June 1, 2007. "With our latest smartphone - the Treo 680 - we'll reach out to a new, larger customer set of people who today own feature phones and are ready to experience a mobile phone that is also a mobile computer.

"These customers will be able to experience the difference a Treo smartphone makes, feel the power of web and email information at their fingertips and the ease of data input with our award-winning QWERTY keyboard," he claimed. However Palm has not revealed what the price will be.

Palm's US. retail and online stores will sell exclusively an unlocked GSM version in four new colours: crimson, copper, arctic and graphite. For a limited time, they will come complete with a music bundle from Yahoo!, which includes a 30-day free trial to its music service.

Palm cites market research firm In-Stat's estimates that 25 percent of all wireless handsets worldwide will be smartphones by 2011 and says its own research suggests a substantial population of feature-phone users have not purchased smartphones, fearing they were too expensive and too difficult to use.

The Treo 680 claims to have a unique phone user interface that includes the ability to respond to calls with a preset text message and add new phone numbers to existing contact information, and three-way calling. It can be used as an MP3 player and has an integrated digital camera, camcorder and video player, improved car-kit and headset support, and support for multiple simultaneous Bluetooth connections.

Palm has also announced that it will deliver Google Maps optimised for Palm OS- based Treo smartphones as a free download. It will provide directions, local search, moveable/scalable maps, location satellite imagery and traffic updates.

"Google Maps for mobile is one of our most popular mobile applications," said Deep Nishar, director of product management for Google.

 Google Maps for mobile on Treo smartphones offers : comprehensive information on traffic conditions in more than 30 US major metropolitan areas, and partial information in many others; detailed driving directions with traffic estimates to avoid congestions; one-touch recall of favourite locations and routes; integrated search results for business locations, restaurant reviews, hotel amenities and hours of operation; interactive maps to explore further, reaching beyond current locations; and satellite and aerial views.


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