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Palm OS, EV-DO In Civil Union

Sunnyvale, Calif. — Palm has unveiled the industry’s first PDA phone marrying the Palm OS with high-speed CDMA 1x EV-DO cellular-data technology.

The announcement of the Treo 700p follows Palm’s launch earlier this year of the 700w, Palm’s first PDA phone to incorporate EV-DO and its first device based on the Windows Mobile platform. That model, based on the Windows Mobile 5.0 Pocket PC Phone Edition platform, has been available through Verizon channels at $399 with two-year contract for a voice plan of at least $39.99 and an unlimited PDA phone data plan, Palm said.

Palm didn’t disclose which EV-DO carriers will sell the new device or when, but product marketing director Michelle White said Palm currently sells CDMA devices through Alltel, Sprint, Verizon and small regional CDMA carriers. Palm also sells Treos via distributors to enterprises. Activated Treos are available on Palm’s Web site.

Palm plans a GSM version of its 700w in the second half. The company currently sells through regional GSM carriers and has sold through T-Mobile.

For EV-DO carriers, the 700p and 700w offer a choice of operating systems and other feature differences, said White. The 700p, for example, features a 320 by 320-pixel screen compared to the 700w’s 240 by 240 screen. The 700p also adds voice recording, which is a new feature for the Palm OS, and a “threaded chat view,” which displays SMS and MMS messaging conversations in a Web-style chat room format. The 700w, in turn, adds photo speed dial, Web-search lookup on the main screen and standard voice command. The 700p offers voice command as a separate application downloaded from a CD-ROM.

The two devices’ battery lives are “very close,” offering 4.5 hours of talk time or 12 days of standby and similar PDA-function battery lives, White said.

Both models also feature SD/MMC card slot, 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. Both also let users ignore an incoming voice call and reply to the caller’s cellphone via a text message.

The 700w does not support new 4GB SD cards, but testing of the 700p indicates that it will be compatible with most 4GB cards. Testing, however, wasn’t completed at press time.

Unlike the 700w, the 700p can be used as a laptop modem when Bluetooth-connected to a laptop.

With EV-DO, average throughput speeds hit up to 700Kbps in U.S. networks. Although it doesn’t allow for simultaneous voice and data sessions, it lets users in a data session take a phone call, then revert back to the data session when they hang up, White said. Users can also send a text message while on a voice call.