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Palm Launches First W-CDMA Treo

Las Vegas — Palm unveiled its first U.S.-market W-CDMA PDA phone in the Microsoft and AT&T/Cingular Wireless booths here at International CES.

The five-band Treo 750 worldphone became available Monday through all Cingular Wireless distribution channels at $399 with a two-year Cingular 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 Cingular’s first W-CDMA Treo and the carrier’s second W-CDMA PDA-phone. Cingular’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 Cingular’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.

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, Palm said.

Other key 750 features include internal antenna, stereo Bluetooth, miniSD slot, 1.3-megapixel camera, support for multiple personal and enterprise e-mail boxes, and onscreen voice-mail controls.

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.