Verizon launches three new PocketPC phones, including the Treo 700w

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It’s a big day for Verizon Wireless. The company has officially announced the release of not one, not two, but three new smartphone devices on their network. Besides the eagerly awaited Palm Treo 700w, Verizon is also launching the UTStarcom XV6700 and Samsung i830 PocketPC phones. Unsurprisingly, all three devices feature support for Verizon’s growing 3G EVDO network, a fact that greatly works in favor of any serious data device.

The Treo 700w, Palm Inc’s long awaited crossover to the Windows Mobile side of the fence, brings the tradional Treo form-factor combined with Windows Mobile 5.0. Rounding out the package is 128 MB of flash memory (60 MB available), Bluetooth 1.2, and a 240 x 240 screen. While the wording of the press release is less that clear, it suggests that the 700w will also feature out of the box support for “push” email from Exchange servers.

The Treo 700w will be available for $400 with a two year contract, which requires voice plan plus unlimited data. No word on what it will cost without a contract, but probably around $600 to $650.

The XV6700 delivers a more data-oriented, Blackberryesqe design, with a larger sliding keyboard and more spacious screen at the expense of one-handed dialing. The device also features WiFi, Bluetooth, and a 320 x 240 screen. Customers will be able to buy the XV6700 on January 19th for $300 with two-year contract and data service. Once again, off-contract price isn’t specified, but will probably be in the range of $500 to $600.

The specs on the Verizon site note that the XV6700 does not support all Bluetooth Object Exchange, or OBEX, profiles, suggesting that Verizon may have disabled this function in the device’s ROM. Verizon has been known to do this in the past as a way of forcing customers to use Verizon’s paid services to move files and perform other tasks that Bluetooth could do for free.

Last but not least is the i830. A modified version of the existing i730 PocketPC phone, the i830 loses its predecessor’s WiFi, but gains a GSM radio using the 900 and 1800 MHz bands. This allows the device to operate in Europe and elsewhere that CDMA phones are traditionally useless. The i830 ships with Windows Mobile 2003 SE, 128 MB of ROM, and a 520 MHz processor.

Meanwhile, the word is that Verizon is planning another expansion of their EVDO coverage, though where and when is yet unclear. Today’s releases, along with the similarly EVDO-enabled Motorola RAZR V3c, and upcoming 3G service announcements, make it evident that Verizon is very intent on pushing their 3G network over the near future.



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