Palm might release Wi-Fi-enabled Treo soon

Palm's recent FCC filing suggests they might be ready soon to release a Wi-Fi-enabled Treo.

Palm's recent FCC filing suggests they might be ready soon to release a Wi-Fi-enabled Treo. Last year, the CEO of Palm, Inc. committed to building Wi-Fi into future Treo models. Apparently Ed Colligan was referring to a model that was just beginning its development cycle, but it seems the debut of this model is fast approaching.

This detail is deeply buried in some of documents filed with the FCC related to the Centro getting its stamp of approval from this U.S. government agency.

An email that's part of Palm's filing lists four upcoming smartphones by their code-names: Gnome, Gryffon, Otto, and Zeppelin. There's a note next to the reference to Zeppelin that says "This device needs to be submitted to FCC because it has the co-locating WiFi and radio".

Is this the Treo 800w?
For quite some time there have been persistent rumors that Palm, Inc. is in the process of developing the Treo 800w, a Windows Mobile-based smartphone with Wi-Fi. The FCC filing gives no additional details on the Zeppelin, but it's possible it will turn out to be the code name for the 800w.

Due to limitation in this operating system, it's virtually impossible for there to be a Treo running Palm OS (a.k.a. Garnet OS) that includes Wi-Fi.

It's not known whether the Zeppelin/800w will run on GSM or CDMA networks, or if there will be versions for both.

Coming when?
As the emails were related to the Centro and mentioned the Zeppelin only in passing, they don't say anything about when this model will be released.

However, they do seem to indicate that this model had not yet been submitted to the FCC as of mid-July, but it was close. This means the Zeppelin could get FCC approval any day now.

This fits in with the rumored time-table for the Treo 800w, which is expected to debut in the first quarter of 2008. Also, it's been about 18 months since Colligan mentioned that a Treo with Wi-Fi was being developed, and that's a normal amount of time for a smartphone to go from concept to release.

In any case, most people would agree this device is long overdue; Wi-Fi is now a standard part of high-end smartphones, and its lack has been hurting Treo sales.

Other models?
The three other code-names given in Palm's email are for Palm smartphones that are better known that the 800w.

The Gnome is the version of the Centro for GSM networks, while the Gryphon is the CDMA version. The Otto is the Treo 500w.

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