By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Palm unveiled the Treo 700w PDA phone, its first Treo based on the Windows Mobile platform and its first to incorporate CDMA 1x EV-DO high-speed wireless-data technology.
The device is available from Verizon Wireless at $399 after $100 instant rebate with a two-year service agreement for a voice plan of at least $39.99 and an unlimited PDA phone data plan, Palm said.
The Treo 700w, when operating on Verizon's EV-DO network, will receive data at an average download speed of 400Kbps-700Kbps, Palm said.
Palm already offers Treo PDA phones based on the Palm operating system, but the company is diversifying into Windows Mobile because many enterprises have decided to use only Windows solutions for their portable devices, a spokeswoman said. This enables the device to run mobile versions of standard Microsoft applications — such as Office and Outlook — natively rather than through third-party applications that must also be loaded onto the device.
The 700w also supports Microsoft Exchange e-mail servers out of the box, although it can also be loaded with third-party software to support third-party e-mail-redirection software for e-mail servers.
Adopting Windows Mobile also gives Palm an opportunity to differentiate its 700w from other Windows Mobile-based devices, Palm added. For example, users can dial by photo, decline incoming cellular calls via an SMS text message and use the same onscreen icons to control multiple voicemail accounts. Other differentiating features include the ability to support a wider variety of ringtone formats, including video ringtones, and simplified support of multimedia messaging service (MMS) and POP/IMAP4 Web e-mail synchronization, the company said.
The 700w will be one of the first PDA phones to use Microsoft's latest PDA phone operating system, called Windows Mobile 5.0 Pocket PC Phone Edition. It supersedes Windows Mobile 2003.
For Palm, the Treo 700w is also the company's first PDA phone with a dial-by-picture feature, 1.3-megapixel camera, and Bluetooth 1.2, which offers faster connect times between Bluetooth devices and adaptive frequency hopping to minimize interference with other 2.4GHz devices. Palm's current PDA phones offer cameras with resolutions up 1.2-megapixels.
Like Palm's other Treos, the 700w comes with miniature QWERTY keyboard and hard dialing keys, but phone numbers can also be dialed on a virtual keypad on the touch screen, and alphanumeric characters can be entered via a stylus.
Besides receiving Microsoft Exchange e-mail, the device also receives e-mail from POP3 and IMAP 4 Web mail accounts.
The U.S. market's first PDA phone with Windows Mobile 5.0 was UTStarcom's PPC-6700 PD, which is equipped with EV-DO and was launched in 2005 through Sprint Nextel.
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