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New Treo out of the Box

Introducing the first new mobile device in two years based on its native operating system, Palm Inc. today unveiled the long-awaited Treo 700p, a voice/mobile email device that runs on high-speed EV-DO networks. Delayed more than once, and the object of feverish speculation in online forums, the new release is the first Palm OS-based smartphone since the Treo 650 came out in October 2004. (See Treo Hits New Highs .)

"This is all about offering the Treo on the Palm OS and on the fastest EV-DO networks," says Tara Griffin, Palm's vice president of enterprise markets. "Just as we've done in the Windows environment [with the release of the Treo 700w earlier this year], we're also innovating on top of the Palm OS."

"This is a great addition," says Justin Hectus, director of information at law firm Keesal, Young & Logan, which has offices in Long Beach, San Francisco, Seattle, Anchorage, and Hong Kong. "I'll be able to use the 700p as a wireless modem when I'm not in a hotspot. That means I no longer need an EV-DO card for my laptop and I'll have one less bill every month."

In addition to EV-DO connectivity, the new smartphone features twice the memory of the 650, four times the image resolution on the built-in digital camera, faster connections to Bluetooth, and support for a wide array of Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) Office applications. The 700p also has an integrated version of Documents To Go, the mobile document-viewing application from DataViz Inc. , which runs as an add-on application on many older smartphones.

The new Treo release has been the subject of much speculation ever since the Windows Mobile version, the 700w, came out in January. Apps developers have long demanded a Palm OS-based smartphone that runs on the new high-speed EV-DO networks, available in the U.S. from Verizon Wireless and Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S). Clearly concerned about the drift of application development to the Windows environment since the 700w came out, Palm was working hard to make the 700p device available this quarter.

The company tried to keep the final release date under wraps, but news of today's launch leaked out last week.

Based on CDMA standards for high-speed wireless connections, EV-DO networks offer speeds much faster than conventional wireless networks. Both Verizon and Sprint will offer service plans for the 700p.

The Treo 700p arrives less than two weeks before two other highly anticipated new smartphones are expected to make their market nod: the BlackBerry 7130i from BlackBerry , and LG Electronics Inc. (London: LGLD; Korea: 6657.KS) 's LX550.

— Richard Martin, Senior Editor, Unstrung

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