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PalmOne blunders on Treo 650 pricing

To dismay of customers, handheld maker bumps up price for unlocked Treo 650 devices after making an earlier pricing error. Photo: PalmOne's Treo 650

Handheld maker PalmOne upped the price of unlocked Treo 650 phones--to the dismay of customers--citing an error in pricing as the reason for the increase.

"Unlocked" phones are not attached to a service contract with a specific carrier. Generally, phones are subsidized by a service provider when they're purchased under a contract; in most cases, unlocked phones are more expensive than those linked to a contract.

PalmOne said Wednesday it would be offering an unlocked version of its Treo 650 phone for GSM/GPRS networks for $599. However, on Thursday the company increased the price to $699, saying the $599 price was a mistake.

The company said it received customer complaints about the price change and has said it would honor sales made before the Thursday evening pricing change.

PalmOne and Cingular are also offering the Treo 650 for GSM/GPRS networks for $449.99 with a two-year contract, and for $549 for customers who already have a contract with Cingular.

While consumers can already buy the device, they won't ship for another week or two, according to the PalmOne Web site. The phones will be available in select Cingular retail stores later this week.

The Treo 650 is a combination cell phone and organizer with a keyboard, allowing customers to wirelessly surf the Web, check and respond to e-mail and make phone calls. The Treo 650 from Cingular will be able to use Cingular's Enhanced Data for Global Evolution (EDGE) network, accessing data at speeds of up to 135kbps.