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Palm gears up for Treo Pro launch

Device will be available imminently, according to Palm execs.

Palm's Treo Pro will hit shops this month.

The wait for business users who want a workhorse of a device during the week and a little something for the weekend will soon be over, according to Palm, which is edging ever-closer to the UK launch of its Treo Pro smartphone.

At an event held in central London yesterday, Palm executives took to the stage to discuss why they're so excited about the new arrival and how they think it will make life easier for both end users and IT managers alike.

The new device runs Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional and boasts easy PC set-up - it even comes without an installation CD to exemplify that point.

"Palm has always been and still is about making the end user experience as easy as possible. That is our mantra," said John Walker, Palm's product marketing manager.

"Most Microsoft products to date have had to ship with an Active Sync CD. What we wanted to do was to minimise the size of the packaging and also make the end user experience easier. Wherever you travel and whatever machine you use, you will always have the software with you."

Smartphone growth in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) is tipped for 39 per cent over the next few years and the company intends to aim for a large slice of that pie, according to Palm's Phil Moore. "That's a massive market opportunity for all of us out there," he said.

What's more, the new device also comes with a microUSB cable and 3.5mm stereo headset, plus GPS and Wi-Fi built-in.

"A first for Palm, we've integrated Wi-Fi and GPS. We haven't done this before because we wanted to make sure that when we did we did it right," added Moore.

Palm reckons the phone is its sleekest and slimmest to date, blending lower costs, ease of management, security and productivity enhancements with style, a point that the director of Microsoft's mobile business group Alex Reeve concurred with.

"This strategic relationship with Palm is very important to Microsoft. This is the latest in a long line," he said. " [The device] looks cool, which is important for members of staff. They don't want it to look like a brick."

O2 and Vodafone will be offering the new handset on their networks in Europe and Palm will also be making an unlocked version available to eager users in Asia Pacific, Europe and the US. It'll be available free, depending on contract.

Palm is remaining fairly tight-lipped on precisely when this month the device floodgates will open, but information posted on its European website suggests that orders will start being fulfilled from 15 September.

IT PRO will be bringing you a full review of the new Treo Pro as soon as we can get our hands on one as well as updating you on availability of the device.

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