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Palm has released the second iteration of its smart phone loaded with Microsoft’s Windows Mobile operating system. The Treo 700wx is almost identical to its predecessor, with one major exception—a much needed boost in RAM.

During eWEEK Labs’ tests of the previous Windows Mobile-based Treo—the 700w—a shortage of memory available to programs caused the device to crash often.

So we were happy to see that the new Treo doubles the amount of memory allotted for program usage—from 32MB of RAM on the Treo 700w to 64MB on the 700wx.

Released on Sept. 3, the Treo 700wx is a CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) phone. Palm has not yet announced when a Treo 700 series smart phone will be able for GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) networks, which are more common in Europe. The Palm OS-based Treo 650 is available from GSM network-based carriers such as Cingular.

The Treo 700wx can be purchased from Sprint for $499.99 with a two-year service agreement. With a one-year Sprint contract, Palm’s new smart phone will cost $549.99. Without a calling plan, the Treo 700wx is priced at $649.99.

The Treo 700wx runs Microsoft’s Windows Mobile 5.0 operating system and includes the Microsoft Messaging and Security Feature Pack, which features Direct Push Technology for the automatic wireless synchronization of e-mail, calendar, contacts and tasks.

During tests, we found the Treo 700wx to be more responsive and slightly faster than the Treo 700w, but we still find the Palm OS-based Treo 700p to be more functional.

Still, the Treo 700wx is worthy of consideration at organizations dedicated to building a wireless platform on Windows Mobile or that have client applications built with Microsoft’s .Net Compact Framework.

The Treo 700wx, which is powered by a 312MHz Intel XScale processor, requires Windows 2000 or Windows XP Service Pack 2 with a USB port. The Treo 700wx has 128MB of flash ROM, with 64MB of ROM dedicated to user storage. The Treo 700wx also comes with an SD (Secure Digital) slot for memory expansion.

Click here for a review of the Palm Treo 700p smart phone.

The 6.4-ounce Treo 700wx measures 5.1 by 2.3 by 0.9 inches. The device has a functional and good-sized screen, but the resolution was disappointing: The Treo 700wx still lacks the crisp color display found on its Palm OS-based Treo siblings—instead of a 320-by-320-pixel color display, the Treo 700wx is saddled with a 240-by-240-pixel resolution.

Like the Treo 700w, the Treo 700wx offers Bluetooth 1.2 and an EvDO (Evolution Data Optimized) radio. We experienced good data transfer rates while using the device, but we are still waiting for the ability to turn the Bluetooth functionality off with the press of a button.

Palm claims the battery life between charges is up to 5 hours of continuous digital talk time. We weren’t able to completely drain the battery during the time we had to test the Treo 700wx, but the estimated talk time is a half hour longer than what was estimated for the Treo 700p. Also, since the Treo 700wx has flash memory, users won’t lose data in the event a battery dies.´

eWEEK Labs Senior Writer Anne Chen can be reached at

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