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In the wireless industry, the carrier that is fortunate enough to obtain exclusivity on a device usually receives publicity and an uptick in subscribers as a result.  After being pushed back time and time again, we received an e-mail this morning about the Palm Treo Pro arriving at Sprint on March 15th.  However, should a rumor out of the BGR camp be true, Alltel Wireless may be beating the third largest carrier to the punch. 

The device is said to be $199 on a two-year contract with both carriers and will sport 3G, Wi-Fi, and GPS connectivity.  The source goes on to caution that the phone may be launching in Alltel’s divested markets only, which would (needless to say) be a frustrating decision for the non-divested folks.  With one rumor and one official press release, the question remains: which carrier will be the first to release the device?  For more information on Sprint’s launch, check out the press release below.

Sprint and Palm Announce Upcoming Availability of Treo Pro on America’s Most Dependable 3G Network

Elegant Windows Smartphone Supports Blazing-Fast 3G Data Speeds, First Palm Phone to Offer Internet Explorer Mobile 6

SUNNYVALE, Calif. and OVERLAND PARK, Kan., March 4, 2009 – Palm, Inc. (Nasdaq: PALM) and Sprint (NYSE:S) today announced the upcoming availability of the Treo™ Pro smartphone for the Sprint Mobile Broadband Network on March 15.

Treo Pro will be available through all Sprint retail channels, including www.sprint.com/treopro, 1-800-SPRINT1 and Sprint retail stores, for $199.99 with a two-year subscriber agreement (after a $100 instant rebate and $100 mail-in rebate, with an Everything plan with data or a $30 per month or higher data add-on). It also will be available through the Palm Store (www.palm.com/store) and Palm’s B2B sales organization beginning March 16.

Treo Pro is a sleek, full-function smartphone offering users the ease of use and robust features they demand while providing the reliability and manageability IT departments require. With the EV-DO Rev. A speeds of Sprint’s Mobile Broadband Network, Wi-Fi, GPS and Windows Mobile 6.1 capabilities, Treo Pro helps busy professionals stay connected on the go so they can structure their lives around their priorities without sacrificing work productivity.(1)

“Business decision makers require a product that not only integrates seamlessly into their existing IT infrastructures, but one that’s also cost-effective,” said John Traynor, vice president, business products, Palm, Inc. “Treo Pro delivers just that – a feature set that IT managers need to support their mobile work force.”

Treo Pro is the first Palm phone available with Internet Explorer Mobile 6, with options for either a mobile-optimized or desktop-like Internet browsing experience on America’s most dependable 3G network.(2) It blends a high-resolution color touch screen and a full QWERTY keyboard with a removable battery that packs up to five hours of talk time and enough strength for the business user’s needs, offering a powerful yet effortless mobile experience. Palm’s Wi-Fi hardware and software innovations on Treo Pro make it easy to get online fast and manage network connections and power usage. The one-touch Wi-Fi button provides a clean, uncluttered Wi-Fi experience that gets Treo Pro users rapidly connected at home, in the office or in Wi-Fi hotspots.

“The combination of Sprint Mobile Broadband with EV-DO (Evolution - Data Optimized) Revision (Rev.) A technology and Windows Mobile 6.1 on a Palm smartphone creates a mobile solution that meets the needs of today’s mobile professionals,” said Kevin Packingham, senior vice president of product & technology development for Sprint. “For years, Sprint, Microsoft and Palm have worked together to provide businesses large and small with an affordable mobile experience that is second to none, and Treo Pro continues that collaborative tradition.”

Sprint EV-DO Rev. A, Exclusive Content and Services

In 2008, Sprint revolutionized unlimited pricing in the wireless industry by moving beyond its competitors to deliver more features for a flat monthly rate of $99.99. Sprint’s Simply Everything(SM) plan is ideal for smartphones that can extensively leverage wireless data applications and provides unlimited nationwide calling, messaging, email, Web browsing, GPS navigation and much more – all for the monthly rate of only $99.99.(3)

Treo Pro offers integrated GPS, enabling Sprint Navigation with turn-by-turn directions, maps and point-of-interest searches for locations such as restaurants or stores. Additional Sprint-exclusive content available on Treo Pro(4) includes:

•    Sprint TV® – Allows Treo Pro users to watch TV or video-on-demand or catch the latest news, sports, weather, entertainment and movie trailers on the go.
•    Sprint Music – Enables users to wirelessly download digital music tracks to Treo Pro and choose from hundreds of thousands of full-length songs from virtually every genre.
•    Pocket Express – Retrieves customized, up-to-date Web content such as sports, weather, news, money and movie information with the push of a button.

Treo Pro users can easily stay in touch with family and friends using Sprint Messaging, offering threaded SMS, and the ability to share pictures and video with MMS seamlessly in one application. It also offers Sprint IM with access to Yahoo! Messenger, AOL’s AIM® service and MSN Messenger.

With an open network platform, Sprint is able to offer customers new business applications created through Sprint’s Professional Developer Program. A robust community of application developers that previously focused on desktop services is now finding it easier to generate services that can perform on both the desktop and mobile devices.

The Palm Experience on Windows Mobile 6.1

Treo Pro supports Microsoft Direct Push Technology(5) for up-to-date email, contacts and calendars. With the deployment of Microsoft System Center Mobile Device Manager 2008, Treo Pro can deliver increased security, easier smartphone management, and access to information on the corporate network. IT professionals can confidently manage large Treo Pro deployments the same way they manage PCs.

With Internet Explorer Mobile 6, Treo Pro brings users a new, full-featured, high-quality browsing experience. Users can choose to browse in a mobile-optimized mode or in a desktop browser mode. Microsoft brings a mobile Web-browsing experience on par with what end users and developers have come to expect from their desktops – the ability to easily view Web pages and multimedia on the Web and best-in-class capability to complete transactions, from banking to checking in for a flight. Treo Pro helps optimize business processes by mobilizing users with several Palm specific enhancements to the Windows platform, including:

•    One-touch Wi-Fi button -- Easy, fast Wi-Fi connection experience (802.11b/g).(1)
•    Ringer switch – Silences the device immediately.
•    Clock and date screen saver – Lets users know at a glance – without turning on the device – what date and time it is and whether they’ve missed a call or have a new SMS/MMS message.
•    New voicemail indicator – The center button flashes to let users know that a voicemail is waiting.
•    Dedicated email and calendar buttons – Fast one-button access.

Sprint also launched Ready Now, a revolution in the wireless retail experience, in all company-owned Sprint stores last fall. With Ready Now, Sprint has trained and committed its retail associates to work one-on-one with customers to personalize phones, set up features and demonstrate how phones work – before customers leave the store. Treo Pro customers can work with Sprint retail associates to learn more about how they can fully leverage the strengths of their device on Sprint’s Mobile Broadband Network.

Pricing and Availability

Treo Pro will be available March 15 through all Sprint retail channels, including www.sprint.com/treopro, 1-800-SPRINT1 and Sprint retail stores, for $199.99 with a two-year subscriber agreement (after a $100 instant rebate and $100 mail-in rebate, with an Everything plan with data or a $30 per month or higher data add-on). It will be available through the Palm Store (www.palm.com/store) and Palm’s B2B sales organization beginning March 16.

NOTE: Photos of the Treo Pro smartphone for the Sprint Mobile Broadband Network are available from Business Wire (http://www.businesswire.com/cgi-bin/mmg.cgi?eid=5909453) and Palm’s Multimedia Library (www.palm.com/mml).

About Sprint Nextel

Sprint Nextel offers a comprehensive range of wireless and wireline communications services bringing the freedom of mobility to consumers, businesses and government users. Sprint Nextel is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies, including two wireless networks serving more than 49 million customers at the end of the fourth quarter 2008; industry-leading mobile data services; instant national and international push-to-talk capabilities; and a global Tier 1 Internet backbone. For more information, visit www.sprint.com.

About Palm, Inc.

Palm, Inc. is a leading mobile products company, creating instinctive yet powerful mobile products that enable people to better manage their lives on the go. The company’s products for consumers, mobile professionals and businesses include Palm® Treo™, Pre™ and Centro™ phones, as well as software, services and accessories.

Palm products are sold through select Internet, retail, reseller and wireless operator channels throughout the world, and at Palm online stores (http://www.palm.com/store).

More information about Palm, Inc. is available at http://www.palm.com.

# # #

(1) Within wireless coverage area only. Wi-Fi within range of 802.11b/g Wi-Fi network. Some Wi-Fi hotspots require fee for usage. Email, Web, and GPS require an account and data services at additional cost. GPS coverage not available in all areas at all times.
(2) Dependability based on independent, third-party drive tests for 3G data connection success, session reliability and signal strength for the top 50 most populous markets, June to November 2008.
(3) Monthly rate does not include taxes and surcharges.
(4) Within wireless coverage area only. Additional fees may be required for some services.
(5) Microsoft Direct Push Technology requires Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 with SP2 or Exchange Server 2007. Additional fees and software may be needed to comply with corporate IT policy. VPN may be required.

Palm, Treo, Pre and Centro are among the trademarks or registered trademarks owned by or licensed to Palm, Inc. All other brand and product names are or may be trademarks of, and are used to identify products or services of, their respective owners.



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