Palm maps its route to wireless perfection with new Treo Pro

20 Aug 2008

GPS mapping and one-touch Wi-Fi are just some of the neat features on Palm’s sleek new business smart phone, the Treo Pro, which will be sold across Europe by Vodafone and O2.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s knowing, laugh-out-loud response to the iPhone – “It hasn’t got any buttons” – as a potential threat to Microsoft’s mobile market share said it all.

The new Treo Pro from Palm, sporting Windows Mobile software, shows what he was already thinking – the business world has certain refinements and the idea of the buttonless iPhone ripping the business mobile market apart is a pipedream.

According to Palm, the new Treo Pro is designed to let IT managers support an increasingly mobile workforce with ease of use and features that business users will demand.

“Businesses want the control and savings that Windows Mobile affords, in an innovative and elegant package that keeps their users happy. That’s where Palm comes in,” said Ed Colligan, president and chief executive officer, Palm.

“Everything about Treo Pro – from the hardware design to the packaging and accessories – embodies the elegant and simplified end-to-end experience that our customers expect from Palm.”

The new Windows Mobile 6.1 device promises IT managers easier device management across the corporate network using Microsoft System Centre Mobile Device Manager 2008.

The thin device – which does everything an iPhone can do – will allow business users to send and receive email, connect with appointments and contacts and use Wi-Fi and GPS on the go.

The new device features Microsoft Direct Push technology to get all the latest email, contacts and calendar information on the go.

Featuring both UMTS and HSDPA capabilities, Palm are describing the new Palm Treo as a “world phone” ideal for companies with an international workforce.

The integrated GPS system provides maps, turn-by-turn directions and point-of-interest searches.

The device also comes with Office software to enable users to open, view and edit Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDF and even open ZIP files remotely.

The device will go on sale in Europe at a suggested retail price of €499.

“Windows Mobile is delivering mobile solutions that help businesses address the changing competitive landscape,” said Andrew Lees, senior vice-president of Microsoft’s Mobile Communications Business.

“The Treo Pro smart phone brings together a powerful combination of Palm’s feature innovations and Windows Mobile 6.1, providing access to the information people need when away from the office.”

Other neat new features of the device include a screensaver that records missed calls and new messages, a voicemail indicator whereby the centre button flashes red and dedicated email and calendar buttons.

By John Kennedy

Pictured: the Treo Pro, the new business smart phone from Palm

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years