October 12, 2006 11:19 AM PDT

Palm unveils 'friendly' Treo 680

NEW YORK--Palm is hoping that its new Treo 680 will be embraced by a far bigger crowd than the Wall Street and IT set.

Unveiling the latest addition to the Treo family at the DigitalLife trade show here, Palm CEO Ed Colligan spoke about the company's aim to reach beyond buyers who are typically associated with personal digital assistants (PDAs) like the Treo and RIM's BlackBerry.

Treo 680

Colligan described the new 680, a GSM quad-band device, as "a friendly and approachable product" that he hopes will expand Palm's scope into new demographics as well as new geographic regions throughout the world. And while the 680 has all of its earlier Treo brethren's aptitudes with business software, the new model is clearly marketed toward a consumer market.

It's packed with new features and tie-ins to appeal to the more entertainment-oriented, media-savvy customer--an increasingly important target buyer for many gadget manufacturers these days. The Treo 680 comes with new picture and video software, and a camera with video recording capabilities. For music lovers, there's Pocket Tunes software for listening to MP3s, and the handset facilitates streaming audio, Internet radio, and podcasts.

Palm has partnered with several familiar media companies, like Yahoo and blogging company Six Apart, maker of TypePad. The audience at the DigitalLife press conference seemed to be most impressed by the tie-in with Google Maps' traffic mashups.

The new Treo is physically simpler than its bulkier predecessors. The external antenna has been eliminated, and the skinny handset--just over 2 centimeters thick--has a simpler button interface. It's got a smaller battery, but Colligan assured naysayers that it will have the same battery life as earlier Treo models: 2 to 4 hours of talk time and 100 hours on standby. The location of the SIM card is different, too; it's now underneath the battery.

Style mavens will be interested to know that the Treo 680 will come in four colors: crimson, copper, arctic, and graphite, or to the less artsy, red, orange, white, and silver.

Colligan declined to provide specific pricing information, but insisted that the Treo 680 will be priced competitively for a handheld of its functionality and capability.

See more CNET content tagged:
Palm Treo, business software, Palm Inc., handset, battery

4 comments

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Forget the camera and music playing crap
It's nothing more than a gimmick. I have a Canon SD camera in my
bag and an iPod nano. I don't want your stupid not even half-
cocked convergence device, I just want a phone PDA that is TINY.
Posted by CentrOS (126 comments )
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Totally Disagree -- All in One Works For Me
I will only carry one device around -- right now, it's a Treo 650.

-- It's an excellent phone and organizer
-- It syncs with Exchange and desktop apps so I don't have to worry about losing data on the phone
-- It has good sound quality for playing music
-- I can load other applications on it
-- Mobile data provides news, sports scores, access to Google, etc.

Basically, the Treo keeps me from having to bring a laptop everwhere I go. The 650 camera sucks, but the newer models have better cameras (good enough for day-to-day use).

There are a lot of people who would rather have an 80% solution for 3-5 functions rather than carry 3-5 devices around.

-Mister Winky
Posted by Mister Winky (301 comments )
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Moto RAZR + iPod
and there you have a sleek stylish all in one. It took soo many years for something like RAZA and iPod to come out. It will be good if Apple can do a 'phonPod'. A decent all-in-one is yet to come. I use the HP iPaq with phone, but like other it still has miles to go.
Posted by marap (43 comments )
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All-in-one = less clutter!
While own a several digital cameras and portable music players, I hardly ever carry them on me. With a 1GB memory card, I have enough music for a couple of hours, several episodes of Seinfeld, an e-book, several games and an array of family photos. Even if you were to put the smallest camera, music player, and phone in your pocket, you wouldn't beat the compact size of the new Treo 680. BTW - It's not meant as a replacement, it's all about convenience.
Posted by technology4all (1 comment )
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