PalmOne to open first smart-phone center in Europe

PalmOne Inc. is opening its first smart-phone development center in Europe to target carriers and customers in the region, it said Thursday.

The facility, located in Dublin, is set to open in the third quarter of this year, the Milpitas, California, company said. Details of PalmOne's investment in the facility were not disclosed.

Engineers at the center will focus on accelerating the delivery of next-generation smart phones, as well as working on radio technology and carrier-specific services and applications, it said.

European carriers are known for their cutting-edge technology, such as third-generation (3G) networks and advanced messaging applications, and the center will help PalmOne develop products to align with their needs, the company's vice president for Europe Francois Bornibus said in a statement.

The company hopes that work in the region will particularly benefit the development of its future Treo smart phones, it said. Treo is one of its top sellers, combining a mobile phone with a Palm-powered organizer.

The push behind Treo and other smart phone products comes at a time when the PDA (personal digital assistant) market is eroding as consumers opt for integrated voice and data devices. With a European development center PalmOne hopes to keep its hand on the pulse of leading smart-phone markets, it said.

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