CES: Cingular Gets a 3G Treo

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The Treo 750
LAS VEGAS -- Cingular users who have enviously been eying the speedy EVDO-compatible Treo 700 models available to Sprint and Verizon customers finally have their own high-speed alternative. On the eve of the giant Consumer Electronics Show here, Palm today took the wraps off its eagerly anticipated Treo 750, which supports the carrier's next-generation UMTS network.

At launch (Cingular says the unit will be available starting tomorrow), the Windows Mobile-based Treo 750 won't be as speedy as Cingular's relatively new 8525, which supports HSDPA service capable of 400 to 700 kilobits per second. But out of the box, the Treo 750 supports UMTS, which at 200 to 300 kbps will still be faster than the dial-up-like EDGE service on Cingular's existing Palm OS-based Treos, including the aging 650 model and its recently introduced successor, the Treo 680. A free firmware upgrade is expected to add HSDPA support later this year.

Sleeker Design for Business Users

Like the 680, the Treo 750 features a sleeker design than past models. Gone is the stubby antenna that was once a hallmark of a Treo. The 750 features a softer, rubberized finish, designed to make the candy-bar-style device more comfortable to hold. It includes a QWERTY thumb keyboard and a 240-by-240 touch-screen display.

While the Treo 680 was designed to attract a wider audience, the 750 is being positioned as more of a business device, Cingular says. It will cost $500 with a two-year contract (but a $100 mail-in rebate will bring that price down to $400). It will be available at Cingular's Web site and retail stores, and through Palm's Web site.

UMTS allows users simultaneous access to voice and data, so you can surf the Web or check e-mail while also making a phone call on the Treo 750. UMTS is available in 160 major metropolitan areas in the United States; where it's not available, the device will support the slower EDGE network.

The 750 is also being billed as a world phone that will allow users access to GSM, GPRS, EDGE, and UMTS networks in 61 countries worldwide. As well as in most major European countries, users will be able to access the full features of their 750s in Japan, China, and Hong Kong, Cingular says.

Cingular's Answer to the Treo 700

The Treo 750--like the Treo 700w from Verizon and the 700wx from Sprint--will run Windows Mobile 5.0 Pocket PC Phone Edition and will include applications for editing and viewing Microsoft Word and Excel files, as well as apps for viewing PowerPoint and PDF files. Mobile versions of Internet Explorer and Windows Media Player are also included.

For messaging, the 750 will include Microsoft's DirectPush e-mail technology, as well as Cingular's XPressMail client, and will feature Palm's threaded messaging application for viewing text and MMS messages.

Also included are a 1.3-megapixel camera, 60MB of user-accessible storage, and a miniSD card slot for additional storage. The 750 features Bluetooth wireless, but no built-in Wi-Fi or GPS. However, users can purchase a Bluetooth GPS receiver for access to Cingular's TelNavGPS Navigator service.

Stay tuned for a review of the device later this week.

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