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PalmOne brings forward Euro Treo 650 debut

Once delayed from Q1 to Q2, now back to Q1

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PalmOne's Treo 650 smart phone looks set to ship in Europe earlier than anticipated, with a ship date around two and a half weeks from now.

The PDA pioneer said on Friday that mobile phone networks Orange and Telecom Italia Mobile (Tim) will begin offering the 650 in "early March". Tim will offer the handset to its customers in Italy; Orange to subscribers in the UK, France and Switzerland.

Friday's announcement updates the guidance given by the company's UK division early last month. Back then, PalmOne said the 650 was "scheduled to be available in Q2 2005". At the time, only Orange was named as a supplier.

Launched in the US in October 2004, the 650's European debut was initially pegged for February 2005, according to comments made at the time by Ed Colligan, the company's president and interim CEO.

This week, industry sources suggested that the "early March" timeframe can be narrowed down to 17 March, at least as far as PalmOne's own SIM-free version goes.

The 650 improves on its predecessor, the 600, with a higher-resolution 65,000-colour 320 x 320 display, integrated Bluetooth, VGA digicam with 2x digital zoom, a faster, 312MHz Intel XScale processor and 32MB of Flash memory, of which 22MB to 23MB are available to the user. There's an SD IO slot for expansion, and the device runs PalmOS 5.4, aka 'Garnet'. The new model also sports an easier-to-use QWERTY backlit keyboard, now with call make and break buttons. According to PalmOne, the GSM version of the 650 provides up to six hours' talk time and 12 days on stand-by. ®

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