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New Treo Out September 12

Palm Inc. will introduce its newest Treo model in the U.K. on Sept. 12, according to a report from Reuters. The introduction of the new handset, which will operate on the Windows Mobile operating system and be sold through Vodafone in several European countries, is seen as a critical step for the company after it was forced to end sales of the Treo 650 in Europe because it is incompatible with new telecom technology regulations.

A Palm spokesperson in the U.S. said that president/CEO Ed Colligan will be in London to make "a significant communication to the news media about its strategy to serve customers in Europe" on Sept 12.

Reports about the new Treos have circulated on the Internet for several months. Late last year an analyst at Sagio Investments claimed that Palm would release a "fancier," "more stylish" Treo, dubbed "Hollywood" and designed to operate on 3G networks in Europe.

Other rumors foresee two new Treos -- codenamed "Lennon" and "Nitro" and running Windows Mobile and the Palm OS, respectively -- to be released this fall. (See Tracking the New Treos.)

In May the company released the Treo 700p, the first smartphone based on the Palm OS since the Treo 650 was launched in October 2004. (See New Treo out of the Box.)

Last month Vodafone and Palm released a statement saying that, indeed, they are working on a new Treo and that it will be out before the end of this year.

"The Palm Treo smartphone that will result from this collaboration," the release said, "will represent an industry first by operating on Vodafone's 3G/UMTS network and delivering the hallmark Palm experience on top of the Microsoft Windows Mobile operating system."

A Palm spokesperson gave the following, somewhat contradictory, quote to a Reuters reporter: "The announcement is going to be made in the UK on September 12, and we will give all the details then but at the moment all we are saying is that it will be out before the end of the year."

While the new Treo 700 models have been well-received by enterprise users, Palm sales have been hit by stiffer competition and dissatisfaction with the aging Palm OS. Palm shares have dropped to the $15 range after hitting $24 in April.

— Richard Martin, Senior Editor, Unstrung

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