The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Smartphone race hots up

Calcutta, Oct. 15: Blackberry beware, the Treo is here. Following in the footsteps of rival Airtel, which launched the Blackberry smartphone a year ago, cellular service provider Hutch is bringing the Treo 650 to India.

The Treo 650 is considered one of the most advanced smartphones ' a device that functions both as a cellphone and a personal data assistant ' in the world, raking up huge sales in the US, Europe and Southeast Asian markets.

“We have tied up exclusively with PalmOne to offer the Treo 650 for Rs 29,999 in India,” said a Hutch spokesperson. The company is offering a Bluetooth headset free with the device and waiving access charges to its Hutchworld data services for three months.

Hutch is rolling out the services officially from October 20 across the country. Though the CDMA version hit US stores six months back, the GSM model ' which is being launched in India ' became available in markets like Singapore only around August.

The Treo 650 sports features like sending and receiving e-mail, Internet access, MP3 playability and digital camera for capturing video. It also has the option of entering data through a QWERTY keyboard and a touch-screen, which can be used simultaneously.

The most talked-about feature of the smartphone is its e-mail capabilities, which Hutch plans to utilise through its Hutch Mail service. “We had promised to deliver e-mail to the subscriber’s phone irrespective of the backend and the handset make. We are now extending that to the best smartphone. The e-mail will reach the phone in real time, whether one uses POP3 or IMAP mail service. Office e-mail can also be accessed on the move, provided it’s based on Microsoft Exchange,” the spokesperson explained.

The product will also be available off-the-shelf from PalmOne dealers. “We started shipping units to Delhi and Mumbai last month and there is reasonably good demand so far,” offered Mahendra, CEO of Cenzer Industries, the national distributor for the Treo 650.

The target buyer for Hutch is the “heavy data user” who requires e-mail, basic documentation and computation through software like Word and Excel on the move.

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