Telstra will introduce Australia's first Windows Mobile-based Palm Treo 750 smartphone on February 26, with the added bonus of compatibility with its high-speed Next G mobile network.
Pricing will be similar to i-mate smartphones at AU$80 a month. Customers can also choose to pay around AU$1,199 outright for the Treo.
Telstra chief executive Sol Trujillo announced the pending Palm invasion in a press briefing this morning, following the release of the telco's half-yearly results. He said Telstra will be launching a home wireless broadband router to connect to the Next G network, although further details were not immediately available.
"The Palm Treo will now become a product available in the Australian marketplace from Telstra on the [Next G] platform," he said. The Treo is a long-time favourite of business users due to its strong support for e-mail and other corporate applications that can be accessed remotely.
Although such users will rejoice at the higher data speeds available on Telstra's Next G network compared with rival offerings, the Treo 750 will not take full advantage of Telstra's infrastructure, supporting downlink speeds of just 1.8Mbps.
Telstra's network is (as of today) theoretically capable of speeds up to 14.4Mbps, but the telco does not expect to sell any devices capable of reaching this maximum until later this year.
The Treo 750 will enable corporates to take advantage of Microsoft Exchange or Good Technology-based push e-mail services. Telstra has an exclusive relationship with Good (now a Motorola subsidiary) in Australia. However the Treo 750 itself is understood to be compatible with the networks of other carriers such as Hutchison, Optus and Vodafone.
Trujillo said the telco's other smartphone offerings (from vendor i-mate) had already proved unexpectedly popular in the Australian market since Next G was launched in October.
"We sold out very quickly, and everytime we kept on adding more and thinking that we had enough stock, we kept selling out," he said. Telstra also experienced stock shortage problems with its laptop datacards in November and December.
Telstra also sells Next G compatible phones from Samsung, ZTE, LG and Motorola.