Palm to add BlackBerry Connect to Treo 650

Palm looks set to announce the availability of RIM's BlackBerry Connect (BBC) push-e-mail and calendar software to Australian users of the Palm Treo 650 handheld. In a media invitation to Palm's "first in Australia" launch briefing to be held on Thursday April 27, Palm says it "will be launching a significant new solution for the Treo, which promises to provide users with…an even more powerful and compelling mobile computing solution.

Palm looks set to announce the availability of RIM's BlackBerry Connect (BBC) push-e-mail and calendar software to Australian users of the Palm Treo 650 handheld.

In a media invitation to Palm's "first in Australia" launch briefing to be held on Thursday April 27, Palm says it "will be launching a significant new solution for the Treo, which promises to provide users with…an even more powerful and compelling mobile computing solution."

While the invitation did not specifically mention BBC, a BlackBerry spokesperson told CNET.com.au the briefing would involve the announcement of a partnership between Palm and BlackBerry.

The deal should come as no surprise to followers of the push-e-mail space, as RIM first announced that it would be licensing its BBC software to Palm in October 2005, and the pair -- in cooperation with Singapore operator SingTel -- have since rolled out BlackBerry-enabled 650 devices in Asia.

While it's currently unknown which Australian telecommunications company (or companies) Palm will initially partner with, the fact that it has chosen SingTel for the Asian market implicates Optus as a highly likely candidate (SingTel is Optus' parent company).

Previously exclusive to BlackBerry handsets, BBC enables users to receive e-mails as they reach their e-mail server -- much like an SMS text message -- as opposed to forcing them to log into the server in order to collect new messages. It also allows for calendar synchronisation. Naturally, this makes the service a boon for mobile professionals who need to remain connected to their office at all times, but the BlackBerry has more recently been gaining mindshare amongst non-business consumers as well.

The partnership with RIM is unique in that it's Palm's first chance to give Treo customers automatic synchronisation with calendaring.

Palm has not yet decided to include BBC on Windows-based Palm devices, but this shouldn't be ruled out as RIM is currently working on a Windows Mobile client. It may be too late, however, as CNET.com.au sister site, CNET News.com, recently reported that Microsoft's new push-email software "will soon be available on Palm's site for users to download and install on their Treo 700w [not yet available in Australia], Palm's first product to use Microsoft's Windows Mobile operating system."

CNET News.com's Michael Singer contributed to this report.

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