SUNNYVALE, CA: Both Palm and its firm had to balance secrecy while planning perhaps the widest launch of its Treo franchise, the 680, a model geared towards a broader demographic.
The target audience for the 680 is people who want to upgrade from a regular cell phone and want better e-mail access. The in-house PR team, led by Jim Christensen, Palm's director of product communications, is trying to tell customers they deserve more from a phone. The tagline: "Not a cell phone, a Treo."
Among the company's target markets are recent college graduates and those starting in business. To reach them, Palm will be pitching holiday gift guides.
The 680 comes with Palm's personal information-management features, along with Web browsing and e-mail, delivered through a quad-band EDGE radio.
But despite the wide net, Palm and A&R Edelman still had to hide all the details from the enterprising core Treo fanatics.
"The real challenge began late last year when the name started to leak on the Web," Christensen said. "Our users are a ravenous set of fans. They will write, take photographs, and blog. They will make up products [laughs]."
Andrew Carton, founder and executive editor of the Treonauts weblog, who covered the launch, said via e-mail, that the 680 will "appeal to an entirely new generation of Treonauts thanks to aggressive pricing, new software, and a fun range of colors."
The device debuted October 12 at New York City's DigitalLife.