Handspring Treo ready for 3G

Handspring Treo ready for 3G

On the heels of the launch of the first 3G (third-generation) voice and data network in the US, handheld maker Handspring on Monday released the latest version of its Treo combination phone-PDA (personal digital assistant) that supports the wireless high-speed network.

The Treo Communicator 300 is being made available from Handspring and Sprint PCS Group, which last week launched its high-speed CDMA2000 (Code Division Multiple Access) network capable of sending voice and data to wireless devices at speeds equivalent to a 56Kbps modem connection.

"It represents another step in our strategy of re-orienting a large part of our business around the wireless space," said David Weilmuenster, director of business development at Handspring. "We believe, in the handheld category, that this particular [wireless] segment is by far the best opportunity for growth."

The previous versions of the Treo, including the Treo 180 and the more recent Treo 270 colour version, are based on the GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) wireless telecommunications technology. Few new features have been added to the latest hardware release, other than its ability to support CDMA2000 technology, Weilmuenster said.

The Treo 300 runs a customised version 3.5 of the Palm OS that includes features specific to Handspring devices. The Treo 300 includes 16MB of memory and a 33MHz processor. It features a Web browser, e-mail and text messaging software, as well as basic organiser functions, with an added feature for dialling a number directly from the device's phone book. The device also has a built-in keyboard and a colour screen.

The Treo 300 carries a price tag of $US499.99 and is available through Sprint PCS sales channels as well as on Handspring's Web site, Handspring said. Pricing for phone and data service on Sprint's network will range from $44.99 to $119.99 a month, depending on the number of voice minutes and the level of data transmission a user wants, according to Sprint.

Handspring is one of the first hardware makers to release a device equipped for Sprint's new 3G network. Other devices that are expected to become available in the coming months include mobile phones from Sanyo and Samsung, a Sprint-branded digital camera that can e-mail pictures directly from the device, and wireless cards for PCs and laptop computers.

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