Handspring launches colour Treo PDA in UK

The Treo 90 adds a whole host of features to the Palm licensee's range - support for SD and MMC cards is just the beginning

Handspring has released its latest colour-screen organiser -- the Treo 90 -- in the UK, with non-English versions to follow later this year. The organiser builds on Handspring's Treo line of PDAs that also include mobile phone features, although the Treo 90 is not itself a wireless device.

The £249 (inc. VAT) device contains a few features distinguishing it from other Palm OS-based organisers, including a built-in QWERTY thumb-board, an expansion slot for Secure Digital (SD) or Multi-Media Cards (MMC), a colour screen and a flip cover. It comes with 16MB of memory and a lithium ion battery that lasts 10 days on a full charge, Handspring claims.

The Treo 90 runs Palm OS 4.1.1H, Palm's most recent operating system, with some Handspring enhancements.

Handspring is currently best known in the UK for its heavily hyped line of mobile phone organisers, which include the Treo 180 and Treo 270 Communicators, available through mobile phone retailers. Handspring is shifting its entire line toward the flip-cover, keyboard-equipped Treo design and away from its earlier designs, which included a handwriting-recognition area.

Handspring has had high hopes for its Treo line, which first hit shops early this year. But in the second quarter, the company faced steep declines. It shipped 170,590 handhelds during that period, almost half as many as it did during the first quarter. Still, it held fourth place among the handheld makers -- behind Palm, Hewlett-Packard and Sony -- and grabbed 6.5 percent of worldwide unit shipments.

Earlier this month, Handspring released a software upgrade for the Treo line which allowed the devices to use SD card peripherals, such as a Bluetooth card.

CNET News.com's John G. Spooner contributed to this report.

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