AT&T Wireless to Debut Palm’s ‘W’ in U.S.

AT&T Wireless Monday said it has inked a deal to support Palm’s latest wireless handset on its next-generation GSM/GPRS network.

The partnership involves the Tungsten ‘W’, which combines a PDA with cellular telephone functions. The Santa Clara, Calif.-based handheld computer maker markets the devices to business class “Power Users.” The systems can be preordered now and are expected to debut in U.S. retail stores beginning Feb. 28.

The ‘W’ retails for $549 without wireless service and operates on Palm’s OS 4.1.1 operating system over a 33mHz Motorola DragonBall VZ processor. The PDA features 10 hours of talk time and includes a 320×320 color display and is the first Palm to sport an internal GSM/GPRS radio with Class 10 GPRS capabilities and a built-in QWERTY keyboard. The device supports three GSM bands: 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, and 1900 MHz.

Web browsing comes courtesy of Novarra’s WebPro browser. The ‘W’ comes pre-installed with VersaMail, Palm’s software for POP and IMAP e-mail. The Palm Tungsten W also supports AT&T Wireless’ Office Online service for an additional $2.99 per month.

Monthly data plans from AT&T Wireless range from $29.99 for 10MB to $99.99 for 100MB. Voice plans, which can be added to any data plan, may be purchased separately and begin at $19.99 per month. In addition, a special 8MB data plan is available for $19.99 when a customer also subscribes to a voice plan.

“During the past several weeks, more than 10,000 people have registered online at The Palm Store to be notified of Tungsten W availability. This level of interest illustrates the growing demand for high-end wireless handhelds with e-mail, messaging and phone functionality,” said Palm Solutions Group senior vice president of marketing Ken Wirt.

The Tungsten W has already made its worldwide debut with a service in Singapore. Vodafone U.K. and Rogers AT&T Wireless in Canada announced similar plans last October but have yet to begin rolling out.

The device is well connected to the business world. Some 35 third-party software and hardware developers, including IBM, Oracle and Siebel Systems have all shown support for the Tungsten product line.

Palm today also announced it will soon introduce an audio phone flip cover in June for $39.95. The add-on allows users to hold the device to their ear, in addition to using a hands-free headset.