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Palm Announces Treo 680 to be Released This Friday

Tue Nov 21, 2006 - 11:58 PM EST - By Dieter Bohn, Mike Overbo


Read TreoCentral's full review of the Treo 680.

Today, just in time for "Black Friday," Palm announced the availability of the Treo 680 on Cingular's network beginning on Friday, November 24th. The 680 is to be available on Cingular's website, Palm's website, as well as both Palm and Cingular retail locations. Palm also announced the availability of their unlocked, colorful Treos, though they won't ship until Dec 1st.

Press Releases: Cingular | Unlocked GSM

As has been previously reported by TreoCentral in our hands-on with the 680 as well as in our video interview, the Treo 680 is intended to be a consumer-focused Treo. As such, probably the most important 'feature' of the Treo 680 is its price: it starts at $199.99 with a two-year contract.

Here's the full pricing breakdown (Cingular offers only the Graphite version):

  • $199.99 from Cingular, with a two-year contract including unlimited data.
  • $274.99 from Cingular, with a one-year contract including unlimited data.
  • $449.99 from Cingular, with no contract (there is a month trial of Yahoo!'s music service and a free 1GB SD card, for a limited time only)
  • $399 from Palm, a preorder for the unlocked GSM version (shipping Dec 1st).

Purchasing the unlocked version of the 680 directly from Palm has three advantages: you have your choice of 4 colors, a free 30-day trial for Yahoo! Music unlimited, and you'll save $50 over Cingular's price

Palm intends to aggressively market the 680 to new adopters in addition to their traditional market of business users and "prosumers." Palm hopes that these new "mobile accomplishers" are attracted to the PalmOS's ease-of-use and to the 680's broad capabilities. Their new upcoming ad campaign "On Treo" (which is apparently still "coming soon," as ontreo.com isn't up yet) will focus on doing things that the average consumer "hadn't realized they wanted" on their phones - such as accessing eBay, downloading email, and so on.

The 680 is officially the successor to the Treo 650 on GSM networks. In a webinar yesterday, Senior Product Manager Phil McClendon cited the 680's "form factor, [...] the enhanced phone application, [... and] the increase in SD memory and user-accessible RAM" as reasons a current treo 650 owner would consider upgrading. The 680 does feature several hardware and software improvements over its prececessor, including:

  • A redesigned form-factor -- most importantly, the 680 sports an internal antenna
  • A redesigned phone application (as well as PalmOS software enhancement all around)
  • More SDRAM and more user-accessible memory (64 megs each)
  • Better radio reception, despite the internal antenna

Tara Griffin (VP and General Manager of Palm) and Michael Woodward (VP of mobile professional soutions for Cingular) were also present during the webinar. Both were enthusiastic about the 680's prospects in the marketplace. Touching on the overall drive of the 680, Griffin noted that she hopes that the 680 will appeal to those "interested in technology, not in complexity."

Stay tuned for TreoCentral's full review!

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