Palm Targets Consumers

Treo 680 is the first palm device for a general audience

Palm announced on Oct. 12 the Treo 680, the first of the companys smart phones to specifically target the consumer market.

While Palms smart phones are widely used within enterprises, this is the first Treo designed for a general audience. The Treo 680, released at the Digital Life trade show, also is the first Treo to have an internal antenna.

The new quad-band (850/900/1,800/1,900) phone will use GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) technology and run on GSM, GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) and EDGE (Enhanced Data for Global Evolution) networks. The Treo 680 is intended to increase Palms demographic and geographic market share, said Ed Colligan, president and CEO of Palm.

"With this product, were trying to connect with more people around the world," Colligan said here at the show. "Weve been focused in the past on mobile professionals, on reaching IT people using [our products] in their business life. We hope this product will reach a more accessible group … and [will] benefit them personally as well as with their work usage."

Palm officials did not disclose the price of the Treo 680 or its availability but said that the smart phone will make its debut in the United States and will eventually be available worldwide.

GSM networks are widely used in Europe and Asia, and by the T-Mobile and Cingular carriers in the United States. While Colligan did not rule out the possibility of a Code Division Multiple Access-based phone, he said that CDMA networks are less common worldwide and may not make sense for the Treo 680.

The Treo 680, which runs Palm OS, is the first Treo with an internal antenna—a feature that will not reduce the devices reception, according to Palm officials.

The smart phone is powered by an Intel 312MHz processor and will have 64MB of user memory and 64MB of SDRAM (synchronous dynamic RAM).

The Treo 680 has a 320-by-320-pixel TFT (thin-film transistor) display and supports Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint, as well as PDF files. It also has a VGA camera/video recorder.

The smart phone offers Bluetooth connectivity but does not have Wi-Fi capabilities and will not support Palms Wi-Fi card. Palm officials said the Treo 680 will deliver as much as 4 hours of talk time and 30 hours of standby time.

Senior Writer Anne Chen is at

PDA Picks

Following are links to some of eWEEK Labs most recent PDA reviews

iPaq rx5900

* Hewlett-Packards iPaq rx5900 Travel Companion may not be a smart phone, but it is smart. With a GPS receiver, the Microsoft Windows Mobile-based device offers business travelers effective navigation, connectivity and entertainment options.

Treo 700wx

* Palm has released the second iteration of its smart phone loaded with Microsofts Windows Mobile operating system. The Treo 700wx is almost identical to its predecessor, with one major exception—a much-needed boost in RAM.

Treo 700w

* The Treo 700w marks the marriage of Microsofts Windows Mobile 5.0 operating system and the slick and functional smart-phone design thats made previous Palm OS-powered Treos a fixture in the fists of so many always-connected mobile workers.

BlackBerry 7130e

* Research In Motions BlackBerry 7130e has been part of Verizon Wireless lineup for a while now, but the version released in June brings EvDO (Evolution Data Optimized) capabilities to users on the Sprint Nextel Network.

10 years of palm testing

* eWEEK Labs recounts what Palm did right—and wrong—as the PDA platform celebrated its 10th anniversary.