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Palm Intros Treo Pro

Sunnyvale, Calif. — Palm introduced a new business-aimed, unlocked smartphone called the Treo Pro with Wi-Fi, GPS and push email.

The 3G worldphone device runs on UMTS/HSDPA and has a flush-mounted screen, full QWERTY keyboard and five hours of talktime. The Treo Pro also provides a one-touch Wi-Fi button for 802.11b/g and it offers Web search directly from the unit’s “Today” screen.

The Treo Pro will be available in the United States this fall through the Palm online store and select retailers at a suggested retail of $549. As an unlocked phone, it is not subsidized by a carrier and allows users to insert their existing SIM card in the device to continue service via their existing service contract.

The device provides a direct connection to Microsoft Exchange Server for pushed email, contacts and calendars and has Microsoft Mobile Device Manager for security and smartphone IT management.

GPS is offered in two forms. Users can get a monthly subscription to TeleNav’s GPS Navigator that delivers voice “spoken” turn-by-turn directions. In addition, the Pro is embedded with an application that can access Google Maps when the user is in Wi-Fi range.

Palm, challenged recently by RIM’s strong presence in the business market and by Apple’s iPhone 3G in the consumer sector, is still among the top five smartphone players, said IDC senior research analyst Ramon Llamas. He noteed the company recently found a niche in courting first-time smartphone users with the Centro, which sold more than 2 million units worldwide.

According to Gartner’s first-quarter rankings, Palm lost its No. 2 slot to Apple. During the quarter, Palm was ranked the No. 3 supplier, with a 12 percent market share, behind RIM, with a 43 percent share, and Apple, with a 21 percent stake. Last year, Palm’s share was almost 18 percent during the second quarter.