Mobile computing device maker Palm (PALM) has announced a new cooperation with China Mobile and the establishment of Palm's first Research & Development and Operations Center in the Asia Pacific region.

The company also announced the launch of the new Palm Treo 680 smartphone in cooperation with CEC Telecom Science and Technology Company and Treo 680 distribution partner, Beijing Riverwill Communication Technology Company.

The Palm Treo 680 smartphone, a GSM/GPRS/EDGE quad-band world phone, will be brought to market with CECT, certified by China Mobile and distributed by Riverwill. Though the company says this presents a tremendous growth opportunity for Palm Treo smartphones, the company is very late to market, as Nokia, Motorola, and others already have much wider name recognition and market share among China's top digerati, the potential users of Palm products.

"We're growing the Palm infrastructure for success in China, an important part of our international-expansion strategy," said John Hartnett, Palm senior vice president, Global Markets. "With a stronger local presence, we believe we can accelerate the success of Treo smartphones across Asia and beyond. And we are thrilled to serve the Chinese marketplace by working with the world's largest carrier, China Mobile."

To meet the growing global opportunity, Palm is establishing its first R&D and Operations Center in the Asia Pacific region. The Shanghai-based center will work to accelerate the delivery of next-generation smartphones to mobile operators, partners and customers worldwide; ensure local language capabilities are incorporated into Treo smartphones; and facilitate close collaboration between Palm and its manufacturing partners. The center will be key to the delivery of new mobile-computing solutions aimed at redefining the smartphone experience through award-winning Treo smartphones.

"The increasingly mobile work force in China is looking for mobile devices that feature superior ease of use and excellent hardware and software integration — all to manage their busy lives," said Wu Zhi Yang, chairman, CECT. "Palm's innovative and easy-to-use smartphone, together with CECT's well-established status in the local mobile-phone market, will provide a competitive edge for Palm and help it lead the development of smartphone trends in China."

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