Handspring meets challenge of Palm and Microsoft with colour PDA phone

Handspring is hoping to fight off competition from Palm and Microsoft's Pocket PC systems with a colour version of its Treo PDA...

Handspring is hoping to fight off competition from Palm and Microsoft's Pocket PC systems with a colour version of its Treo PDA phone, writes Eric Doyle.

The Treo 270 colour communicator is a PalmOS-based handheld computer which incorporates a GSM phone. It allows the user to access and send e-mail or browse the Web using wireless connections.

The Treo 270 can also be used to send SMS messages and works as a hands-free phone using an in-built speaker and microphone or a headset.

Handspring is expected to release software to upgrade the phone from the GSM network to the always-on GPRS system later in the year.

There is a format battle brewing between mobile phones with PDA capabilities and units such as the Treo which are basically PDAs with phone features built-in.

Adding colour to the Treo means that it will be able to take advantage of video playback when the next PalmOS operating system is introduced. This will put it on a par with the leading Pocket PC system, the Hewlett-Packard iPaq, which currently needs a cumbersome adaptor option to give it wireless capabilities.

The Treo 270 is expected to sell for about £400.

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