Cingular Wireless, the nation’s second largest wireless carrier, will begin selling the new Treo communicators from
Handspring, the company behind the Palm OS-powered Visor handhelds. The deal between the two companies starts next week.
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The Treo is a compact, Mac compatible communicator that doubles as a mobile phone and a personal digital assistant with Web browsing and data messaging. Like Handspring’s other PDAs, it runs the Palm operating system. The Treo comes in two flavors: the 180 with a built-in QWERTY keyboard, and the 180g with Graffiti software for text input.
Handspring and Cingular intend to market and distribute Treo products throughout Cingular’s distribution outlets. Handspring will also begin shipping Treo to its own retail partners where Cingular service contracts are available, including Comp USA and Staples. Handspring will sell the Treo 180g, the Graffiti version, exclusively online.
Cingular will also license Handspring’s Blazer Web browser to use as its Web content platform for My Wireless Window, the company’s wireless service for personalized web browsing, news, messages, and information alerts. Blazer, which costs US $20, enables wireless Internet access to content in a variety of languages including HTML, WML (WAP), and cHTML. Cingular plans to use Blazer as a platform for My Wireless Window, Cingular’s personalized Internet service. Blazer 2.0 runs on all Handspring Visor handhelds with 8 MB of memory or more, as well as other Palm OS devices that have a minimum of 8MB of memory and Palm OS version 3.5 or higher.
Although the Handspring-Cingular deal doesn’t kick in until next week, nationwide (as in the US) retail availability of the Treo 180 communicators starts today. Handspring announced that they’re shipping Treo 180 nationwide to “select” Best Buy, Staples and CompUSA stores. Treo 180 is already for sale at regional retailers Fry’s Electronics and J&R Music and Computer World, and online at Amazon.com. Availability of Cingular and VoiceStream service plans varies throughout the retail channel.
Handspring has announced availability of Treo online and in retail stores in Hong Kong, Singapore, the U.K., Germany, France, Sweden, Norway, and New Zealand. Handspring expects the Treo 180 to be introduced over the upcoming months in Canada, Malaysia, the Netherlands and Switzerland as well as other countries.