Palm Treo Pro To Be Released, For Real This Time

The third time's the charm for the Palm Treo Pro. Palm on Wednesday officially unveiled the smart phone, the latest and thinnest iteration of its flagship handset.

The unveiling comes after a series of missteps concerning the device. Late last week, Palm accidently leaked information on the Web about the Treo Pro, also known as the Treo 850. The details were quickly pulled. Then, on Tuesday, an emailed press release again announced the Treo Pro, but the link within the emailed release was disabled allowing device specifications to disappear into the ether.

But on Wednesday, Palm made it official, issuing a legitimate, working press release and offering up several photos of the device. The release of the Treo Pro comes as the once struggling Palm stages a comeback of sorts to battle Research In Motion's BlackBerry line and the growing popularity of the Apple iPhone 3G. Palm's Centro, a device geared toward the first-time smart phone buyer with a price tag of just under $100, has sold 2 million units in less than a year and, more recently, Palm and Sprint Nextel unveiled the Treo 800w, a leaner and meaner version of its signature handset.

According to Palm, the Treo Pro "balances simplicity and productivity in a streamlined design for business professionals" and is an "an effortlessly usable smart phone for businesses that want to simplify their IT infrastructures and lower costs, and for users who want to stay on top of their professional and personal lives."

The key features of the Treo Pro are its streamlined design and Palm shortcuts layered on top of Microsoft's Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional operating system.

"Businesses want the control and savings that Windows Mobile affords, in an innovative and elegant package that keeps their users happy," Palm president and CEO Ed Colligan said in a statement. "That's where Palm comes in. 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."

Windows Mobile also offers access to thousands of various business process applications. And takes a familiar Windows experience and makes it mobile, letting users browse the Web with built-in Internet Explorer mobile; open, view and edit Word and Excel files; review PowerPoint presentation and PDF files; and open ZIP files remotely.

The Treo Pro features Microsoft Direct Push technology, which offers direct connection to Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 SP2 or 2007 to give users up-to-date, real-time email, contacts and calendars. It also features Microsoft System Center Mobile Device Manager 2008, which lets the device deliver increased security, easier smart phone management and access to information on the corporate network, better enabling IT pros to manage large Treo Pro deployments.

The handset enables access to corporate and personal email accounts, Web access and the ability to stay on top of appointments and contacts.

The Treo Pro also features Wi-Fi connectivity, Bluetooth 2.0 and integrated GPS for access to maps, turn-by-turn directions and points-of-interest searches. It is a world phone that uses high-speed UMTS and HSDPA network capabilities to accommodate international travel and global workforces along with tri-band UMTS, EDGE, GPRS and quad-band GSM. For now, the 3G HSDPA will work only on ATandT's high-speed network. It runs on a Qualcomm MSM7201 400MHz processor.

It features a thin design, measuring 4.49 inches long, 2.36 inches wide and 0.53 inches deep and weighs 4.69 ounces. It has a flush, high-resolution (320x320) transflective color TFT touch screen and a full QWERTY keyboard. It also houses a removable battery that allows up to five hours of talk time and up to 250 hours of standby time and has 256 MB of memory and 128 MB of RAM. It also offers a 2.0 megapixel camera with up to 8 times digital zoom and video capture along with Windows Media Player Mobile to listen to music and podcasts and watch video on the go.

For Palm shortcuts, the Treo Pro offers an enhanced "today screen" to enable Web searching directly from that screen; a one-touch Wi-Fi button, that offers a fast Wi-Fi connection over 802.11 b/g; a ringer switch, which lets users silence the device immediately; a screen saver feature lets users know at a glance, without turning on the device, what time it is and whether they've missed a call or have a new SMS or MMS message; a new voicemail indicator though which the center button flashes to alert users that a new voicemail is waiting; and dedicated email and calendar buttons for fast one-button access to those popular mobile applications.

The Palm Treo Pro will be available in September in Europe through Vodafone (from free to EUR 399 with contract) and O2 (pricing is available from O2 direct sales and online business stores), and in Australia through Telstra (from free with contract). It will be available in the United States in the fall through the Palm online store as well as select Internet, retail and enterprise resellers for a suggested retail price of $549. The U.S. version is unlocked and unsubsidized, giving end users the flexibility to simply insert their existing active SIM card and immediately start using their Treo Pro without a new contract.

The smart phone will come with an international power charge, a microUSB cable and a 3.5 mm stereo headset. Other accessories will include a vehicle power charger, a leather side case, a travel microUSB cable, an extra battery, a TTY audio adapter and replacement styli.