Sprint PCS Group this week announced a cameraless version of PalmOne Inc.s popular Treo 600 smart phone.
Available immediately, this noncamera version was designed to address the needs of corporate customers who want high-end devices but dont want cameras in their offices—in a phone or otherwise—for security reasons.
Government offices especially have strict rules about allowing cameras for fear of espionage, and fitness centers around the country are banning camera phones for fear of patrons being photographed unknowingly.
The cameraless Treo has been in the works since last November.
“Camera phones can bring a great advantage to many industries, especially real estate and insurance, but some companies have credible concerns about the devices being used to copy sensitive information,” said Phil Bowman, vice president of Integrated Solutions at Sprints Business Solutions division in Overland Park, Kan.
The new versions other features are the same as those in the standard Treo 600—Palm OS version 5.2.1, a backlit QWERTY keyboard, e-mail, short message service, a Web browser and a Sprint PCS phone.
The Treo 600 retails at $599.99 through Sprint business channels. The company will continue to carry the camera version in all of its sales channels, officials said.
Other carriers have voiced plans to explore cameraless versions of their high-end phones, based on enterprise customer demand. Verizon Wireless Inc. runs its prospective handset designs by a core board of Fortune 500 CIOs before deciding whether to sell them.
Officials at the Bedminster, N.J., company said 50 percent of those CIOs have said they wouldnt be able to buy phones with cameras in them because of security concerns.