Handspring steals a jump on Palm with PDA phone

Handspring have stolen an important jump on their chief rival in the PDA arena, by announcing the availability of a handheld computer with a built-in cellphone for the European and Asian markets.

Called Treo, the 150-gram monochrome display product will go on sale for around $600 in January in an English-language version, starting in Britain, Hong Kong, Australia and Singapore. Other languages will follow in later months.

The Treo is designed for the GSM (global system for mobile communications) mobile transmission technology prevalent in Europe and Asia, but also used in the U.S.. The GSM device would be available in the U.S., but Handspring said it did not plan a version for the dominant wireless networks there, based on CDMA (code division multiple access) technology.

With its announcement, Handspring steals a march on rival handheld computer maker Palm Inc (PALM) , which last month postponed the launch of its long-anticipated i705 model, which is expected to be a PDA-phone combination.

A colour screen version of Trio will go on sale at an estimated $750 next summer, when Handspring also plans an email service similar to the one offered by RIM's Blackberry devices.

News source: CBS MarketWatch

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