Handspring has introduced its newest consumer-friendly products, the Treo 600 series.

The new device integrates a QWERTY keyboard with a small form factor. The design benefits from "significant" research and development work to reduce size while improving the utility and ease-of-use of both phone and data function.

All the Treo 600 products will combine a mobile phone with a Palm OS 5-based personal organizer with messaging, email and Web browsing features. The first products are expected to ship in autumn worldwide.

Handspring chairman and chief product officer Jeff Hawkins said: "In product design, making things smaller often makes the product better because it forces designers to break through old design ideas. Treo 600 truly is a breakthrough for smartphones."

Handspring is working with leading operators including Sprint in North America and Orange across Europe to customize products for their respective networks, applications and brands.

The ARM-powered Treo 600 line has been designed to make using the different features of the device easier than before with domed keys that make typing less troublesome than in previous devices. Letters and numbers on the keyboard are easier to read than before. A five-way navigation system (up, down, left, right and centre) make it easier to navigate the various Palm functions.

Other features include an expansion slot for third-party secure digital and add-ons such as MP3 and wireless networking solutions, a built-in VGA camera for taking and sending pictures and setting up picture caller ID, and a dual speaker architecture for high-quality phone and system audio. A dual-band radio and a quad-band radio will power respective versions of the product.

Handspring is working with carriers and business partners to prepare rich email, SMS, and MMS solutions that will be customized for specific channels and announced in more detail over summer. Handspring will offer free developer tools for companies to build additional software and hardware expansion solutions.