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Updated Tungsten, Treo set for release

PalmOne's product revamp includes a Tungsten handheld that won't let data die and a Treo packed with higher-end features, sources say.

PalmOne on Monday will release a handheld computer that holds on to data even when the battery runs down, as part of a revamp of its mobile-device line-up.

The Tungsten T5, the latest in PalmOne's line of business handhelds, will include nonvolatile memory to make sure the data will not be lost, according to sources. The feature adds flexibility to the $400 gadget, increasing its reliability as a storage device.

And on Oct. 25, PalmOne will continue its highly anticipated product revamp with the introduction of the Treo 650, an update to its smart-phone family that will have a high-resolution screen and a higher-end processor, the sources said.

PalmOne representatives declined to comment for this story.

With the releases, PalmOne is looking to increase its market leadership over Hewlett-Packard and others in the gradually shrinking handheld market. It has also set the pace for the emerging smart-phone industry by successfully combining phone and organizer capabilities, something rivals such as Nokia have yet to match.

While the Milpitas, Calif.-based company has been making strides in both markets, expectations are high. A good example came earlier this month, when PalmOne posted a profit, exhibited strong revenue growth and beat analysts' expectations--but still saw its stock fall, because its guidance for the next quarter didn't match Wall Street estimates.

Despite this, PalmOne has been pumping out devices. It shipped about 981,000 handhelds and phones in its last quarter, ended Aug. 27. That breaks down to 273,000 Treo 600 phones and 708,000 handhelds. The company has shipped about 661,000 total Treo 600 units. The average selling price for handhelds was $183.

Members of handheld enthusiast sites such as Brighthand and TreoCentral have been speculating greatly about the look and details of the expected PalmOne additions.

The new Tungsten T5, which was modeled on the popular, entry-level Tungsten E business device, uses a high-end Intel XScale processor and comes with 256MB of memory and a Secure Digital expansion slot.

The Treo 650, set for release later this month, will become PalmOne's top-of-the-range smart phone. It will have a case similar to that of its Treo 600 predecessor, but with slightly more rounded edges, and a new keyboard with flatter keys, sources said. It will feature a high-resolution screen of 320 pixels by 320 pixels and a built-in 1.3-megapixel digital camera. Inside, it will have a high-end Intel XScale processor, a removable battery and Bluetooth wireless connectivity.

The new smart phone will use PalmSource's Garnet operating system. PalmOne has said one factor in its decision to use Garnet is its compatibility with the Mac operating system and the community of consumers using it. PalmSource is not expected to create a Mac version of its Palm Desktop for Cobalt--so far, it has developed a Windows version only.

The present top-model Treo 600 will continue to ship but will carry a lower price, PalmOne has said, as part of its effort to create a family of phone devices.