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Orange launches Handspring Treo 600

Targets UK, French, Swiss subscribers

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Orange today launched Handspring's Treo 600 smartphone in the UK, France and Switzerland, as we last week predicted it would.

The handset will ship in all three territories next month. British punters will be asked to pay £299.99 ($480) for the phone, while French buyers will have to fork out up to €459 depending on their contract. The Treo costs CHF499-679, gain depending on what kind of contract the user chooses.

The Treo 600 is based on the Palm OS. Its European launch comes a day after Orange and Motorola unwrapped the Microsoft Windows Mobile 2003-based MPx200 smartphone. Earlier this year, Orange said it would ship handsets running each operating system, the better to offer its subscribers a choice of platform. The network operator already offers the SPV handset, based on Microsoft's previous generation of smartphone software, and the Sony Ericsson P800, which uses Symbian's OS.

Orange's latest addition is a quad-band GSM/GPRS phone with a 160 x 160 16-bit colour display, built-in 640 x 480 digicam, polyphonic ring-tone support and a QWERTY micro-keyboard that's said by Handspring to be an improvement on the one found on earlier Treos.

An SDIO card slot provides memory expansion opportunities and room to add peripherals, such as a Bluetooth adaptor. The phone uses a 144MHz Texas Instruments ARM-based OMAP processor and contains 32MB of memory, of which 24MB is available to the user.

The handset ships with Handspring's Blazer web browser and its e-mail software. Orange is adding Update and Backup software, which deliver data synchronisation and software downloads across the network. Regular PC-hosted synchronisation is supported via USB. DataViz' Documents to Go is bundled to allow users to view and edit Microsoft Office documents.

The Treo 600 weighs 168g (5.9oz) and measures 11.2 x 6 x 2.2cm (4.4 x 2.4 x 0.9in). Its rechargeable Lithium Ion battery offers for up to six hours' talk time about ten days' standby time. ®

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