Palm to Launch Treo Pro with No Carrier

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Palm has officially announced its new Treo Pro smartphone, updating its Windows Mobile-powered device with a new design, a simplified interface layered on top of Windows Mobile, and integrated Wi-Fi and GPS capabilities. And, in an unusual move, Palm plans to bring an unlocked version to the North American market without a carrier partner.

“Businesses want the control and savings that Windows Mobile affords, in an innovative and elegant package that keeps their users happy. That’s where Palm comes in,” said Palm CEO Ed Colligan, in a statement. “Everything about Treo Pro—from the hardware design to the packaging and accessories—embodies the elegant and simplified end-to-end experience that our customers expect from Palm.”

The Treo Pro is aimed solidly at enterprise and corporate users, touting management features so IT departments can keep control of devices used by their mobile workers. The device runs Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional, offers a full QWERTY keyboard, a 320 by 320 LCD display, integrated 802.11b/g Wi-Fi networking, a built-in GPS receiver, a 2 megapixel camera, 256 MB of user memory (with microSD storage), and HSDPA/UMTS/EDGE/GPRS/GSM connectivity.

For ease of use, the Treo Pro offers a dedicated Wi-Fi button for quick management of Wi-Fi connectivity, an enhanced “Today” screen (with Web searching right up front), a switch to deactivate the ringer, and dedicated calendar and email buttons. Of course, being Windows Mobile-powered, the device plays well with Microsoft Exchange and push email/calendar/contact capabilities, and the integrated GPS means users can access mapping and other location-based services from mobile carriers.

Palm is going to launch the Treo Pro in Europe this September with O2 and with Vodafone (who will offer the Treo Pro at prices ranging from free with contract to €399). Australia will see the Treo Pro from Telstra (also with a free-with-contract deal). However, in the U.S., Palm will sell the Treo Pro directly and through retail channels…but not through a mobile carrier. Suggested price: $549.

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