By Wolfgang Gruener, Senior Editor
September 26, 2005 – 14:26 EST
San Francisco (CA) – Palm this morning announced a future Treo smartphone, which will run Windows Mobile 5.0 instead of Palm OS. The company touted a feature expansion for the device, but left many questions open, including the future of Palm OS for Palm hardware. The “Treo on Windows” will be available “early” in 2006 and sold exclusively through mobile carrier Verizon Wireless.
Palm’s news came after rumors about a Windows-based Treo have been spreading for years and some details of the device have been leaked in the last week. While the announcement was important enough for Ed Colligan, president and chief executive officer of Palm, Bill Gates, chairman and chief software architect of Microsoft and Denny Strigl, president and chief executive officer of Verizon Wireless to appear on the stage on Monday morning, it was somewhat surprising how many questions surrounding the new product were left open.
For example, there is no product name so far, spec details were limited to “an Intel processor” and pricing was indicated to be “slightly higher” than current Treo products. The executives however revealed that the new device will distributed exclusively through Verizon Wireless to take advantage of the carrier’s 400-700 kbps 3G EVDO network and it will run a modified version of Windows Mobile 5.0 for a Palm OS-like feel.
Ed Colligan made sure to limit any upset among Palm OS enthusiasts with promoting the new device as an opportunity to grow the firm’s business and reach new customer user groups while continuing the Treo’s heritage as much as possible. “Partners sometimes compete and competitors sometimes partner,” he commented on the switch to the Windows operating system. “This is a strategic partnership and not about things going away. The new Treo acts like a Treo, it feels like a Treo, it is a Treo,” he said. (more…)