I have posted this week's 1SRC.com Editorial, Coming Soon: The Palm Treo Pro.
The Palm Treo Pro: Coming Soon
Two months ago, Palm President and CEO Ed Colligan told us that Palm would be delivering new smartphones offering “major advancements” built on the Windows Mobile platform. The new Treo 800w on the Sprint network and recently leaked images and details for unannounced Treo Pro/850/Drucker show that Palm is serious about delivering on the promises made back in June.
Making Good on Promises
Palm has been talking about returning to a leadership position in the mobile computing arena by focusing on people, design, and platform. With Elevation Partners help, Palm has addressed “People.” We know that Palm is addressing “Platform” with the continuing development of the Palm OS II/Nova operating system. That leaves “Design” and if the recent Treo 800w and leaked images of the Treo Pro/850 are any indication, Palm has figured out how to make devices that work well, and look great while they are doing it.
WMExperts, PalmInfoCenter (here, here, and here), and Brighthand have posted several good articles that provide product details and clear pictures of the unannounced addition to the Treo product family. What I find encouraging about the Treo Pro rumors is that Palm is poised to provide an elegant looking phone with a robust operating system that enables them to deliver value added features such as Wi-Fi, GPS, and the usual Palm refinements that making using their hardware a delight.
Corporate customers and Windows Mobile power user will have plenty to be happy about with the Treo Pro. Included in this device are a number of nice features including a flush with the body, 320x320 touch screen display and integrated Wi-Fi and GPS radios. According to the rumors, the Treo Pro will also have lots of memory (about 100MB each for application and storage space), a peppy 400MHz processor, a 1500mAh removable battery, and a 3.5mm headphone/headset jack. BlackBerry who?
The recent digital flood of “leaked” Palm Treo Pro information can only be seen as a back door product announcement and leads me to believe that the official release of the new smartphone is imminent. I would be surprised if the Treo Pro doesn’t go on sale in Europe on Vodafone in the next four weeks. The photos and videos that have surfaced on the Internet clearly show a production-grade device. If that prediction turns out to be true, customers in the United States should expect the Treo Pro/850 to arrive on AT&T before February 2009.
What’s In a Name?
Another thing to consider about the new Windows Mobile Treo is the name; the Palm Treo Pro. The Centro is clearly the entry level, consumer-oriented smartphone. The Treo Pro, as the name suggests, stands poised to take over as the corporate flagship smartphone from Palm. But I have to wonder what else Palm has planned for their smartphone line up.
Palm has segregated their smartphones into two clear lines: Palm OS for non-business customers and Windows Mobile for corporate customers. Will Palm further segment their Windows Mobile phone business? The Treo Pro will become the new corporate smartphone. Is Palm’s intent to make the Palm Treo 500v, or similarly styled device, an entry-level device, and what would Palm position as a mid-range candidate for the Windows Mobile platform? Should we expect two see five smartphones in Palm’s 2009 line up? The Centro and a Palm OS II/Nova would hold down the entry-level and consumer mid-range device market. On the Windows side, the Treo 500v would be the value smartphone, a less expensive and feature-laden edition of the Treo 800w/Pro for the mid-market, and the Treo Pro for the high-end enterprise customer.
Fans and enterprise customers should be very happy with Palm’s new high-end feature phones. The yet to officially be announced Treo Pro is a great looking device that incorporates features that have long been absent from Palm’s smartphone line up. The recent appearance of high-quality photos and video of the Pro indicate that that the device will likely be announced and go on sale in the not too distant future on Vodafone’s wireless network.