palmOne Quickly Raises Price of Unlocked Treo 650

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Just a day after beginning to offer an unlocked version of its latest smartphone, palmOne already raised the price.

Because this phone isn’t locked to any carrier, it can be used with most GSM wireless service providers worldwide by plugging in a SIM card.

When the unlocked Treo 650 went on sale Wednesday, palmOne was selling it for $600. Late yesterday, that price jumped up to $700.

According to palmOne, the original price was an error, but many in the handheld community are suspicious of this excuse.

Previously, a Treo 650 that works only on Cingular’s network was selling for $550 without a contract, while the unlocked one that works on almost any carrier’s network was selling for just $50 more. It’s possible that so many people were choosing the unlocked version that Cingular put pressure on palmOne to raise the price for the unlocked version, although there is no confirmation of this from either company.

Not surprisingly, palmOne is honoring orders that were placed before the price hike at the original price.

New orders for the locked and unlocked versions of the Treo 650 can be placed through the palmOne web site.

An Overview of the Treo 650

The Treo 650 is palmOne’s latest smartphone, and the company’s new flagship model. As a smartphone, this device has been designed to be both a handheld and a mobile phone in one.

Treo 650 Most users agree that viewing web pages on the Treo 650 is much more satisfying than on typical smartphones because it includes a 320-by-320 pixel display, a much higher resolution than most of its competition.

To make writing email and SMS messages easier, this model has a small QWERTY keyboard below the screen.

In addition, the Treo 650 includes Bluetooth wireless networking, so it works with wireless headsets. It still isn’t clear whether palmOne will eventually allow the Treo 650 to use its Wi-Fi SD card; at this point it can not.

This smartphone runs Palm OS Garnet (5.4) on a 312 MHz Intel XScale PXA270 processor.

The Treo 650 has only 23 MB of built-in Storage capacity, so the device’s SD card slot is an important feature.

Also, it has an 1,800 mAh swappable battery, which palmOne says is good for up to 6 hours talk time and up to 300 hours standby time.

The Treo 650 is 4.4 inches tall, 2.3 inches wide, and 0.9 inches thick (113 by 59 by 23 mm) and weighs 6.3 ounces (178 grams).

This new model’s built-in camera is capable of taking both still images and video. Maximum resolution is 640 by 480 pixels for photos or 352 by 288 pixels for videos.

Both the device being offered by Cingular and the unlocked version are GSM/GPRS quad-band (850/900/1800/1900 MHz) world phones.

The Treo 650 also supports EDGE (Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution), which means its average data transfer speed is around 135 kilobits per second (kbps), noticeably faster than regular GSM/GPRS networks.

There is also a CDMA version of this smartphone available from Sprint.

More information is available on the palmOne web site.

Thanks to Treonauts and Gizmodo for the tips.

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