Palm Treo 680: Swansong to the Palm OS

Today Palm announced the Palm Treo 680. It's similar to the Palm Treo 750v, but uses the Palm OS -- one of the last Palm handsets to do so

Today Palm announced the Palm Treo 680, which comes in blue, orange, white and red (as pictured). It looks very similar to the Palm Treo 750v, which was announced last month, but it doesn't run on Windows Mobile. Instead, the 680 runs on the Palm OS version 5.4.9 and will be one of the last Palm phones to run on the original Palm OS, as the handsets are moving to a Linux-based OS next year.

According to our sister site ZDNet UK, "Palm sold its PalmSource OS division to Japanese firm Access last year -- it is now called Access Linux Platform (ALP). PalmSource will be no more and instead Palm Inc who make the Treo range among other devices will use the ALP platform. The Palm emulation environment within ALP is set to stay for at least a while, so old Palm applications will continue to work, but analysts say the new OS will still have a lot to prove."

The 680 is powered by an Intel PXA270 312MHz processor and features a large colour touchscreen, full Qwerty keypad and VGA camera for basic snapshots. There's quad-band connectivity, so you can use it anywhere in the world that has a GSM network, and Bluetooth and infrared connectivity for transferring data to another device.

It has 64MB on-board memory and there's an expandable memory slot so you can add extra storage space if you need it. Other features include a speakerphone mode, polyphonic ring tones and a 2.5mm headset port.

The 680 comes into its own on the business side of things, giving corporate users access to email on the go. The Treo series has developed a reputation as an alternative to the BlackBerry, but the question remains whether the change to a Linux OS will affect users and application compatibility. According to Palm, the 680 will be available before Christmas. Expect a full review soon. -AL

Update: We now have a full review of the Palm Treo 680 live in our Reviews channel.