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PalmOne launches Treo 650

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PalmOne today introduced 'Ace', aka the Treo 650, the jazzed up successor to the 600. The launch confirms almost everything leaked out about the new smart phone to date.

PalmOne Treo 650The 650 will indeed sport a 65,000-colour, 320 x 320 display, up from the 600's 160 x 160 screen. Bluetooth is built in, but the handset's battery is now removable. The integrated digicam still offers a 640 x 480 resolution, but now provides a 2x digital zoom feature and works better in low-light conditions, PalmOne claimed.

As anticipated, the 650 is based on a 312MHz Intel XScale processor, almost certainly a PXA270, though PalmOne has not yet confirmed this. The 600 had 144MHz CPU. There's 22-23MB of available user memory, out of a total of 32MB, all of which is Flash, following the pattern laid down by the Tungsten T5. There's an SD IO slot for expansion. The device runs PalmOS 5.4, aka 'Garnet'.

Also taken from the T5 is PalmOne's new Multi-Connector interface, so old Treo 600 accessories are unlikely to be of much use to upgraders.

The handset now sports phone-style call make and call break buttons, and the micro QWERTY keyboard is now backlit. As before, it will be available in quad-band GSM/GPRS and CDMA/1xRTT versions, the former now with EDGE support for faster data transfers. PalmOne's VersaMail is now the standard email app, brought over from the company's PDAs, and updated to support direct connections to Microsoft Exchange 2003 mail servers as well as POP and IMAP sources.

The 650 weighs 178g and measures 11.3 x 5.9 x 2.3cm, pretty much what the 600 is. The battery provides up to five hours' talk time and 14 days' stand-by time on the CDMA version, with six hours' talk time and 12 days' stand-by time on the GSM handset.

PalmOne said it expects carriers to begin offering the 650 "later this year" in the US, with worldwide availability coming sometime in 2005. It gave no indication as to pricing. ®

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