Palm Squeezes More Wireless Out of Orange

Handheld computer maker Palm Wednesday said it has again courted British phone maker Orange SA to help it sell its Tungsten line of products.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based firm said the companies will offer the “Orange bureau” service powered by the Palm Tungsten W handheld computer, scheduled for release in France this summer via Orange’s distribution network.

Orange France’s data mobile option, Orange bureau, offers wireless access to e-mail, contacts and other information while within Orange’s network coverage area.

“Mobility has always been central to Palm’s strategy,” said Rick Hartwig, senior product manager of wireless handhelds, Palm Solutions Group. “The solutions that we’re currently proposing with Orange considerably expand the field of access to information for professionals looking for reliable, secure and cost-effective resources. In this way, they can gain fast access to enterprise data and increase their productivity while on the move.”

The two companies have conspired over the Tungsten lineup before. The previous relationship centered on a Bluetooth pack for the Tungsten “T”.

While the Tungsten W is one of Palm’s better sellers overseas, it doesn’t hurt to have France’s leading mobile telecom operators on your side. Orange currently boasts 49.4 percent market share in the country and a roster of more than 19.2 million customers.

The Tungsten W handheld is a data-centric handheld with a fast radio for the GSM/GPRS network (GPRS Class 10) and comes with up to 10 hours of talk time. It also features one-handed navigation; a built-in QWERTY keyboard, color screen; and access to Internet content through the Palm WebPro browser, a technology powered by Arlington Heights, Ill.-based Novarra.

In addition to classic Personal Information Management (PIM) software, the $549 “W” supports wireless e-mail, SMS messaging, basic phone functions, and select business applications.

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