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Handspring launches Treo 600 in Europe

Wireless service provider Orange announces details of its plans to sell the mobile device, which acts as a cell phone and a handheld computer.

Handspring's Treo 600 made its debut on Wednesday in Europe, as wireless service Orange announced details of its plans to sell the mobile device, which acts as a cell phone and a handheld computer.

The device is designed to be more phonelike than the original Treo models and adds features such as a built-in camera, a Secure Digital expansion slot and version 5.2 of the Palm operating system. The device is also slimmer and has a "candy bar" shape as opposed to the flip-phone style of the original, though both employ a tiny keyboard for dialing phone numbers or entering text.

Although Orange announced pricing and other details, the device is not expected to be available until next month. A Handspring representative said the company is shipping units to Orange and other carriers now.

Handspring, which is in the process of being acquired by rival Palm, is slated to discuss its U.S. plans at an Oct. 1 event in San Francisco. Handspring has said that Sprint PCS will launch a CDMA version of the Treo 600 this fall.

Orange, meanwhile, will be the exclusive seller of the device--for now--in the United Kingdom, France and Switzerland. The price of the device ranges by both country and calling plan, but Handspring estimated the gadget will cost from about $360 to $480.

Orange has also launched smart phones using Windows CE and other operating systems.

"Now Orange customers can choose a device with the functionality, text input and size they require as well as the operating system that best suits them, be it Windows or Palm," Richard Brennan, executive vice president at Orange, said in a statement.

One interesting capability of the Orange version of the Treo 600 is its ability to back up data wirelessly, using an over-the-air service from Action Engine, a Redmond, Wash.-based start-up.