Palm Pro Coming Before Palm Pre
The Palm ( PALM) Pro made my honorable mentions list of the best cell phones of 2008. Actually, it would have made my top five list if it had been sold in the U.S. But AT&T ( T) has enough top-notch smartphones and they turned down the offer. Luckily, Palm's old pal Sprint ( S) took up the gauntlet and is about to start selling a new Palm Treo Pro made just for its network. That could only be a good thing for both companies. They're struggling big time. ( TSC's Scott Moritz wrote how Palm cold make a smart acquisition for Hewlett-Packard ( HPQ) prospects as an acquiree in this story.)
The Pro is the ultimate Treo, brought up to modern-day standards. It runs on Microsoft's ( MSFT) Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional operating system and is actually the first Palm device to rely on Microsoft's Internet Explorer Mobile 6 browser. The handset is loaded with top-quality features, including full-time access to your company's Microsoft Outlook mail (as well as anyone else's POP3/IMAP email services), a 320-by-320 pixels high-resolution color touch screen, a full QWERTY keyboard, a removable, rechargeable battery pack with up to five hours of talk time and something like 250 hours of standby power per charge (unlike an Apple ( AAPL) iPhone), a 2 megapixel camera, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and a whole lot more.
Sprint brings their high-speed, EV-DO, Rev A, 3G data network to the table, as well as GPS location finding services. It will also be capable of dealing with a number of cool Sprint content and service including Sprint TV, Sprint Messaging, Sprint Music, Pocket Express and Sprint IM.
In my original tests of Palm's GSM-version of the Treo Pro world phone, last summer, I found it to be slick, powerful and easy to use. I thought it seemed to be very well made and felt like a precision instrument in my hand. I'm guessing the new Sprint version will be just as wonderful. Sprint's new Treo Pro will go on sale starting March 15. You can get yours for $199 after discounts, rebates and, of course, after signing a two-year service contract. For the record, you can still buy an unlocked GSM/UMTS/HSDPA (850/1900/2100 MHz) worldwide, 3G version of the Pro at prices starting at $550. It will work on both AT&T's and T-Mobile's ( DT) GSM/EDGE networks but 3G speeds would only come from an AT&T connection. You can find more details on Palm's Web site.