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O2 to offer Palm Treo 650 smart phones

Smart-phone maker wins second big European carrier

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Exclusive Palm has won the support of another major mobile phone operator for its Treo 650 smart phone, Reg Hardware can confirm. O2 today told us that it will shortly begin offering the handset to its business customers "from next week".

The deal is an important one for Palm, which this week celebrated the tenth anniversary of the launch of its first PDA, the Palm Pilot. Palm is keen to extend to Europe the success it has experienced in the US with its smart phone family. To that end, in October 2005 it opened an R&D centre in Ireland, the better to service with European telcos. It's not clear whether that move led to the O2 deal, but it can't have hindered the partnership.

The Treo family now account for around 75 per cent of Palm's revenues and device shipments, in part thanks to the uncertainty that surrounded the outcome of Research in Machines' legal spat with technology holding company NTP. Palm said it shipped 564,000 Treos in its most recently completed quarter, but its carrier partners and resellers sold 569,000 of the devices.

To date, only one big-league European cellco has taken on the Treo 650: Orange. Vodafone, T-Mobile and - thus far - O2 have chosen instead to build their business smart-phone offerings around RIM's BlackBerry line-up and upon own-brand Windows Mobile-based devices made by HTC.

O2 declined to provide pricing information but it's believed to be planning to offer the 650 for £235 or £325, depending on the kind of airtime tariff the business customer chooses. It also offers a £325 upgrade package. These prices do not include VAT. ®

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