Handspring delivers killer smartphone

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It has been a busy few days for Orange. Earlier in the week the network unveiled the Motorola/microsoft smart phone – the MPx200. Now it has announced a second smartphone this time using the Palm operating system in the Handspring Treo 600.

Already highly regarded in the US we think this phone is likely to become a huge seller here.

Its key is its size. Sure it looks and feels like a PDA, and has all those handy Palm applications (it runs Palm OS 5.2.1) plus compatibility with a huge number of downloads for the OS. Yet Handspring/Orange has shrunk the phone so it is small enough to be pocketable. It comes in at 11.2 x 6 x 2.2cm and weighs around 170g.

Another bonus is the keypad, which is on the whole very easy to use and the rocker-style navigation switch. The only thing we didn’t like about the design was the large protruding aerial at the top.

Handspring/Orange has also kept the feature-count high.

* POP3 e-mail with multiple accounts
* Push e-mail, so messages are sent straight to the device when they arrive on the server
* Internet access via its Blazer browser
* 160×160 colour display
* VGA camera
* Polyphonic ringtones
* SDIO slot (so users can add Bluetooth/Wi-fi cards)
* Pocket Tunes MP3 player

Perhaps the only thing users might feel short-changed about is a not especially fast processor (144MHz Texas Instruments ARM OMAP), just 32MB of memory – way behind recent Palm PDAs.

Best of all is its very competitive price of around £300.

It goes on sale in October.

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