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Analyst 'confirms' impending Treo 610

PalmOne signs up Verizon, apparently

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Boston-based securities and investment bank Detwiler Mitchell & Co. (DMC) has inadvertently confirmed rumours that PalmOne is preparing an update to its Treo 600 smart phone.

In a communication to investors, the company said: "We are hearing that PalmOne has plans to move away from Sierra Wireless for models following the Treo 600 and 610," Dow Jones reports.

The Treo 610 is said to be a camera-less version of the 600 with the Bluetooth functionality missing from the earlier version of the smart phone. It's likely to sport more memory too.

The DMC research note suggests that the Treo 610 will ship in the US this quarter through Verizon, the US' largest mobile operator. AT&T, T-Mobile, Cingular and Sprint are already customers. All PalmOne needs is Nextel and it has completed the set.

The Verizon connection emerged earlier this month, when a message on the carrier's website claimed that the company was taking on the 600.

Sierra Wireless apparently produces the CDMA modems used in the US versions of the Treo. The company's Nasdaq-traded stock fell $5.85 to $28.50 this past Friday on the back of fears that it will ultimately lose PalmOne's business.

"We are told [PalmOne] has chosen G-Tran... as its new vendor and [that PalmOne] has indicated that shipments from G-Tran will start coming during Q4," the DMC note continues.

Such a move, if true, isn't entirely surprising. Sierra is moving into the smart phone territory itself with Voq, a unit that, like the Treo, sports a micro keyboard (though in this case it folds out of the main body of the handset). Unlike the Treo, Voq runs the Palm OS rival Microsoft Windows for Smartphones. ®

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