Palm’s (Nasdaq:PALM) timing may be questionable in releasing its latest Treo 800w smartphone for Windows on the heels of Apple’s 3G iPhone; but the struggling smartphone has managed to grab attention away from the iPhone craze.
With the release of a slimmed down version that just hit the market Monday, Palm is offering a Treo 800w that runs on Windows Mobile 6.1 and supports EV-DO RevA data connectivity, which promises faster networking speeds on Sprint’s Mobile Broadband Network.
It is the latest installation in the six-year-old smartphone line, which, although its fans were once as legendary as the iPhone’s are, has been struggling in recent years to hold on to slipping market share against its rivals such as RIM’s Blackberry and Apple’s iPhone.
Recent stats by IDC should give the company heart. The research firm said Palm’s market share in the smartphone category was 13.4 percent in the first quarter of this year, which is close to double its 7.9 percent market share in the quarter before..
The IDC numbers contrast with ChangeWave, which reported in April that Palm was in second place, ahead of Apple in the enterprise smartphone market, with Research in Motion’s popular e-mail device, the BlackBerry, holding 42 percent of consumer smartphone user market share.
RIM’s BlackBerry holds 42 percent of consumer smartphone user market share, the firm said, and Palm is in second place, with 16 percent.
The latest version of the Treo is even slimmer, and features a full QWERTY keyboard (something the iPhone doesn’t have) and lots of one-touch buttons for popular applications, as well as easy IT integration due to a direct connection feature for Microsoft Exchange Server.
Other new features include using a ‘Today Screen’ where users can email, text, Web search, and get quick touch dialing. Voicemail functions replicate a VCR experience offering rewind, delete and fast forward capabilities. Mobile users can watch TV or video on demand.
A less than stellar reception would just be the latest in a rough six months for Palm, which in January closed down its retail stores as part of a strategy reorganization aimed at shoring up its standing.
Treo is keeping price in mind. The Treo 800w costs less than the iPhone, $249.99 after discounts and rebates with a two-year contract.