At the DigitalLife conference in New York, Palm, Inc. has just unveiled the Treo 680. As was promised in December of last year by this company’s CEO, this is the fourth new Treo model to debut this year.
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As many had been expecting, this smartphone will greatly resemble previous Treos, but not need the unpopular external antenna that those models had to have.
It is also thinner that its predecessors, and will come in a variety of colors: silver, red, orange, and white.
The 680 will have the same screen resolution as other Palm OS-based Treos, 320 by 320 pixels.
In addition, it will have a VGA camera and Bluetooth 1.2 built into it.
Despite what earlier reports said, this device will include a slot for full-size SD cards, not miniSD ones.
This Treo will have more built-in memory than its Palm OS-based predecessor: 64 MB of user-available storage.
It will come with Documents to Go Professional — a suite of applications to allow users to view and edit Microsoft Office files — as well as its web browser and email application.
The 680 will be 4.4 inches tall, 2.3 inches wide, and 0.8 inches thick, making it smaller than earlier models. However, Palm says this will not have a negative effect on this device’s battery life. It will reportedly offer 4 hours of talk time.
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Emphasizing Ease of Use
Palm believes that many people who currently have simple feature phones haven’t upgraded to a smartphone because they are afraid the new device will be too hard to use.
That’s why it took up a large part of today’s presentation talking about improvements it has included in this smartphone to make it easier to use.
One of these is a redesigned Phone application with the user’s address book built into it.
Palm has made other changes, too, like a simplified application launcher.
No 3G Here
All today’s news isn’t good. Unlike the Windows Mobile-powered Treos Palm has introduced this year, the 680 will not offer 3G cellular-wireless networking.
It will work on GSM/GPRS networks around the world, and have support for the 2.5G service EDGE, but it won’t be able to access UMTS or HSDPA networks.
In addition, it appears this smartphone won’t support Palm’s Wi-Fi card, and it definitely doesn’t have this short-range wireless networking standard built in.
Pricing and Availability?
At today’s announcement, Palm was not yet ready to say what the Treo 680 will cost, what carriers will be offering it, or exactly when it will be available.
Without getting specific, the company will only say it will be attractively and competitively priced.
Ed Colligan, Palm’s president and CEO, did say this model will be available within the next 30 days, and he expects the Treo 680 will be available from 20 or more carriers around the world by the middle of next year.
Additional information on this upcoming device can be found on Palm’s web site.