Palm Treo Pro targets business professionals

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Palm has announced a new Windows Mobile smartphone aimed at business professionals, designed to give users easy access to common functions while integrating better with corporate infrastructure, according to the firm..

Available in the UK from September through Vodafone and O2, the Palm Treo Pro is based on Microsoft's Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional, but has Palm customisations such as one-touch access to Wi-Fi and a prominent indicator for new voicemails.

"It's small and compact, but a very, very capable device with great battery life," said John Walker, product marketing manager for Palm Europe.

In specification, the new Treo matches other high-end handsets with a Qwerty keypad for messaging, HSDPA network capability, 802.11b/g Wi-Fi support and built-in GPS receiver for location-based services such as navigation.

The new device is thus a rival for the Nokia E71 and the new BlackBerry Bold, according to Walker, both of which also target business professionals.

Among its user-friendly features is a screensaver displayed when the Treo Pro is on standby that shows at-a-glance whether the user has missed any calls or has new messages.

A hot key on the side of the device also controls Wi-Fi access, scanning for access points and automatically reconnecting to preferred networks if available, according to Walker. "It's a one-button press and you're in," he said.

Like earlier Treos, the Treo Pro also has a hardware ringer mute switch and dedicated email and calendar buttons. The centre button of the handset also flashes to indicate that a new voicemail is waiting.

One unusual feature is that, when connected to any PC for the first time, the Treo Pro checks whether the computer has ActiveSync installed. If this is not present, the user is given the option to download it directly from Microsoft's web site.

The Treo Pro also fully supports all the corporate features Microsoft introduced in Windows Mobile 6.1 earlier this year, such as client support for System Center Mobile Device Manager.

This lets IT departments join mobile devices to a corporate domain and control them via Active Directory policies.

Walker said that the Treo Pro supports up to five hours talk time and upwards of 250 hours on standby from its 1500mAh battery pack.

The device weighs 133g, about the same as the new BlackBerry Bold, and has a 320 x 320 touch-screen. The handset has 256MB total memory, 100MB of which is available to the user, plus a Micro SD slot for Flash storage cards.

The generic Treo Pro will ship with Google Maps providing satellite navigation support, but models supplied by network operators may have the carrier's own-brand subscription-based software instead.

An unlocked version will be available through the Palm online store for £399, while the price will depend on tariff when acquired through a carrier.

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