By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Palm unveiled its first U.S.-market W-CDMA PDA phone during International CES in the Microsoft and AT&T/Cingular Wireless booths here.
A week later, Cingular parent AT&T announced plans to drop the Cingular brand in favor of the AT&T brand after expanding its ownership stake in the carrier to 100 percent from 60 percent. AT&T's ownership stake grew after AT&T on Dec. 29 acquired BellSouth, which owned 40 percent of Cingular. AT&T, which had owned the other 60 percent, plans to use the AT&T name to market all its services, including local, long-distance, wireless, data and video.
The renaming plan resurrects the AT&T name in cellular after a lapse of about two years. The AT&T brand was dropped in fall 2004 after Cingular acquired and absorbed AT&T Wireless.
For the new AT&T network, the five-band Treo 750 worldphone is available through all AT&T cellular distribution channels at $399 with a two-year service contract after $100 mail-in rebate. The phone, based on Microsoft's Windows Mobile 5.0 PocketPC phone edition OS, features a touch screen and QWERTY keyboard.
W-CDMA (Wideband Code Division Multiple Access) technology is also known as UMTS, or Universal Mobile Telecommunications System.
The 750 is the carrier's first W-CDMA Treo and the carrier's second W-CDMA PDA phone. The carrier's first W-CDMA PDA phone, an HTC-made 5.0 PocketPC model, became available in November, when the carrier also launched the U.S. market's first W-CDMA-equipped smartphone. The smartphone, dubbed BlackJack and made by Samsung, is based on Microsoft's Windows Mobile 5.0 smartphone edition OS, so it lacks a touch screen but incorporates a QWERTY keyboard. Another difference is that the smartphone OS lets users view documents, but the PocketPC OS lets them view, edit and create documents.
W-CDMA technology accelerates data speeds in the carrier's network for faster Web browsing, data downloading and video streaming. W-CDMA also allows for simultaneous voice and data sessions, enabling users to send and receive e-mail or browse the Web while using the Treo's speakerphone function.
Palm's Treo 750 can also be used as a wireless laptop modem, delivering data at speeds averaging 220kbps to 320kbps. With a software upgrade to HSDPA (high-speed downlink packet access), the 750 will accelerate data speeds to an average 400kbps 700kbps in Cingular's W-CDMA network. Palm hasn't determined when the HSDPA upgrade will be available.
AT&T/Cingular has deployed W-CDMA and HSDPA in 140 markets, but the phone also operates in data mode at speeds up to 70kbps in Cingular's GPRS/EDGE-data markets. The phone can also be used in W-CDMA mode in 60 other countries
The phone operates in W-CDMA mode in Cingular's 850MHz and 1,900MHz bands and in the 2.1GHz band in Europe. It operates in the GPRS/EDGE modes in those bands and in foreign 900MHz and 1,800MHz markets.
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