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Palm eyes Ides of March for Treo 800p availability?

Hoax or 'Hollywood'?

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Palm's next Palm OS-based Treo smart phone will be called the 800p, sport an new, slim Motorola Q-style design with an "enhanced" bright 320 x 320 display, offer Wi-Fi as an option and EVDO as standard, and ship with 128MB of RAM and a 3.2-megapixel camera. That, at least, is what a poster on a TreoCentral forum would have us believe.

Said correspondent - allegedly "a decision-maker in my company regarding mobile phones" - claims the machine will "come out" - whether that means 'ship' or 'announced', he didn't say - on 15 March, the day Julius Caesar is supposed to have been offed. That's led plenty of other forum posters - and, indeed, writers on other Treo fan sites - to deride the whole thing as a hoax. A lack of customary blurry camera-phone pictures hasn't helped the claims' veracity either.

The Caesar's doom angle has a nice 'let's kill Blackberry' feel to it. It's also interesting for other reasons: Caesar crossed the Rubicon on 10 January - one of the early rumoured dates on which it was suggested Palm would launch its 'no turning back' Windows Mobile-based Treo 700w. In the end, it launched the product on 4 January.

Interestingly, yesterday Forbes magazine cited Caris & Company Equity Research analyst Susan Kalla suggesting Palm may release the anticipated Treo 700p in April rather than May. In November 2005, Kalla forecast the arrival of the EVDO-equipped 700p and a number of other, more consumer-oriented machines for the first half of 2006.

Since then, Palm itself pledged to ship three "additional" new smart phones this year. The qualification indicates they'll come in addition to the 700w, which shipped earlier this year.

One of Kalla's predicted Palms was 'Hollywood', a codenamed suggesting a multimedia emphasis and which has led some observers to equate it with the 800p.

We shall see... ®

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