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Handspring announces the Treo, available in 2002

Mon Oct 15, 2001 - 9:16 PM EDT - By Marcus Adolfsson

Handspring today offically announced their new Treo family of PDA/Cellphones, which we first reported on last month.

VisorCentral will publish an indepth look of the Treo family later this week - until then, check out Handspring extensive new Treo section.

From Handspring's Press Release

Handspring today introduced the Treo family of compact communicators, combining a mobile phone, wireless email, messaging and web browsing, and a Palm OS organizer in a small, lightweight device. Treo will be available in two versions: the Treo 180, featuring a built-in keyboard for text input, and the Treo 180g for those who prefer Graffiti text input. Both will be available in early 2002 for an estimated street price of $399 with GSM service activation. A product presentation, demonstration video and full product details are available at

Jeff Hawkins, founder of Handspring and chief architect of the Treo family, said, "The idea for Treo was to combine a phone, a pager and an organizer into one small product so people could carry a single device instead of two or three. These first two Treo products are the beginning of a new era of innovation for Handspring that will fundamentally change the way people stay in touch."

Treo is designed for anyone who carries multiple mobile devices - phones, pagers or handheld computers. Even for mobile professionals who rely only on cell phones, Treo brings a greater level of usability, convenience and value by adding a powerful organizer and advanced wireless data applications while maintaining the compact size and light weight of a phone. For any person on the go, Treo offers an important lifeline to the home, office or to information accessible through email or the web.

"Unlike any other product, the Treo 180 combines a GSM phone with a world-class organizer that's equipped with a keyboard and sophisticated software to make phone calls, email, messaging and web browsing more convenient than ever," continued Hawkins. "People will appreciate having this much power in a device that fits easily into your pocket."

Handspring is developing a $599 color display version of Treo for mid-2002. The company plans to sell Treo through most Handspring distribution channels including, retail outlets and carrier stores throughout North America, Europe and Asia. Treo operates on GSM networks. GSM is the most widely used digital phone standard in the world, with coverage in over 10,000 cities and towns in North America, and in 171 countries worldwide. Handspring expects Treo service plans to be provided by leading GSM carriers in North America, Europe and Asia.

Handspring Innovation

Treo introduces a shift in mobile device design that makes advanced phone functions and wireless applications hassle-free. For example, one-handed dialing by name from the PhoneBook is achieved with just a few key taps on the built-in keyboard of the Treo 180. The familiar QWERTY keyboard simplifies the process of entering text messages, email messages, appointments, URLs and other information. A jog rocker on the side of Treo enables fast one-handed scrolling through the PhoneBook, Date Book, messages, memos or web pages. A flip lid protects the digitizing screen, so Treo can be comfortably slipped into a pocket or purse for easy carrying. The speakerphone in Treo's flip lid acts as both a standard earpiece for normal phone calls and a speakerphone for hands-free calls or conference calls. The flip lid's clear window allows people to see who is calling, read messages and emails, and check the calendar with the lid closed. Opening the lid automatically answers incoming calls. A switch on top of Treo makes it easy to change the phone from ring mode to vibrate mode, also allowing people to quickly silence incoming calls.

New Core Applications

Treo offers the core Palm OS organizer applications and is compatible with all Palm OS applications. The four primary application buttons on Treo are PhoneBook, Date Book, web browsing and messaging. The PhoneBook replaces the 'address book' application on other Palm OS devices. It seamlessly integrates the user's contact list with the phone function of Treo and offers many quick and easy ways to dial. The Date Book application maintains the same improved Date Book functionality of Handspring's Visor family. The web browsing button launches Handspring's popular Blazer web browser, a fully HTML- and WML-compatible browser optimized for fast wireless access to a broad range of content. The messaging button launches an SMS messaging application for sending short messages to other GSM phones or email addresses. Any button can be reassigned to another application, such as the included Internet email client.

Enhanced Phone Functionality

Treo does everything a mobile phone can do, with greater speed and ease. Treo users can quickly dial from any of thousands of numbers stored in Treo's PhoneBook, and can easily create up to 50 one-touch speed dial numbers. A detailed call history stores up to 1,000 entries and enables fast redial and call-back. With the intuitive interface of Treo's phone application, three-way calls can be set up by simply dialing two numbers and pressing the "3-way call" button on the screen. The Caller ID function looks up phone numbers from the PhoneBook and displays who is calling by name. Using the personal speaker phone function, Treo users can speak on the phone completely hands free without a headset - an ideal feature for conducting conference calls or to simultaneously conduct a conversation and take notes or check for information on the device.

Treo is a dual-band phone which can be used to roam internationally. Treo is also compatible with GPRS, a new industry standard for wireless data transfer. With additional software that Handspring plans to deliver when GPRS service plans are widely available, Treo will fully exploit the benefits of GPRS networks.

Powerful Messaging & Email

In addition to its mobile phone features, Treo includes great solutions for sending and receiving text messages and email. With the SMS messaging application, short text messages are easily composed and sent to any email address or to any SMS-enabled phone. Mobile numbers and email addresses can be chosen directly from Treo's PhoneBook. Sending commonly-used messages is simplified with a pull-down menu that includes short phrases like "running late" or "call me." Treo automatically stores messages so that they may be read, forwarded, replied to or deleted later.

Treo also provides a great experience for wireless email access with One-Touch™ Mail from JP Mobile. One-Touch Mail is a full-featured Internet email application that makes it easy to send and receive email, contacts, appointments and memos wirelessly. It is easily user-configured and connects with Internet-based POP3 email accounts like AT&T Worldnet, Earthlink and Yahoo!. Additionally, Treo is compatible with other wireless Palm OS email applications including AOL Mail, and MultiMail for IMAP accounts.

In Spring 2002, Handspring plans to deliver a downloadable email solution that will provide secure, automatic delivery of corporate desktop email such as that from Microsoft Exchange, and Internet-based POP3 email, to Treo. Powered by software from Visto, the Handspring email solution will offer integration with the desktop email inbox, so changes to the inbox on Treo will be wirelessly synchronized with the desktop email system.

To enable IT departments to deploy secure, behind-the-firewall wireless access to email for the enterprise, Handspring is working with leading wireless solution providers including Aether Systems, Infowave, Neomar, Synchrologic, Visto, Wireless Knowledge and others, to ensure their applications work seamlessly on Treo. In addition to email, some solutions can provide wireless access to critical groupware, database, SFA and CRM data, and can be customized to meet the specific needs of the corporation.

Full Web Access

Treo provides full, secure access to the Internet through an updated version of Handspring's popular Blazer web browser, which is optimized for fast web access from communicators and handheld computers. With Blazer, web pages are streamed dynamically from the web so they appear on the Treo screen in seconds, unlike typical browsers that download an entire page before presenting the information. This process makes for a much faster overall browsing experience. Blazer users also have one-touch access to key functions such as home page and back/forward navigation. A powerful bookmarking feature with an elegant new user interface allows users to store up to 100 bookmarks in ten different categories, displayed as large buttons on the bookmark page for easy one-tap access to most-used web sites. Strong 128-bit SSL encryption provides a secure browsing environment for online purchasing. Powered by Handspring's BlueSky Proxy Server system, Blazer supports multiple web and wireless standards including HTML, WML (WAP), HDML, cHTML (used in i-Mode content), and xHTML

Treo Details

The steel-blue colored Treo is easily pocketable at 4.3 x 2.7 x 0.7 inches, and weighs only 5.4 ounces (11 x 6.9 x 1.8 cm, 153g). Treo features the Palm OS, an integrated dual-band GSM radio module developed by Wavecom for voice and data communications (900/1900 MHz for use in U.S., Europe and Asia, 900/1800 MHz for use exclusively in Europe and Asia), 16 MB of memory, a fast 33 MHz Motorola Dragonball processor, a rechargeable lithium ion battery, a travel charger with HotSync cable, and a headset for hands-free phone use. The battery provides approximately 2.5 hours of talk time and 60 hours of standby time. Both new products have a 4-bit gray scale display rendering 160 x 160 pixels. Handspring will offer accessories including belt clips and car chargers.

Treo comes with Palm Desktop software to synchronize PIM data between your desktop and communicator. A software link to Microsoft Outlook is included for Windows users to synchronize data between Treo and Outlook. Third party software solutions (sold separately) are available to synchronize Treo with other desktop PIM software such as Notes, ACT! and Goldmine. Current Palm OS device users can easily update their Palm Desktop software and transfer their existing data to Treo with the included Handspring CD-ROM.


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