Palm has announced this morning the availability of its latest smartphone - the Treo 680, which it first announced in October.

The Treo 680 smartphone is the fourth smartphone launched by Palm this year and comes hot on the heels of the recently announced Treo 750v smartphone, Palm's business-oriented smartphone for Europe, running on Windows Mobile 5.0 software.

Priced at £299 without contract Palm is hoping to stem the huge success of RIM’s BlackBerry device.

Designed for business users, the Treo 680 runs on the Palm OS and is based on the same form factor as the recently-announced 3G Treo 750v. It has a full QWERTY keyboard, a 320 x 320 screen, and a number of new innovations to improve communication applications.

The user interface allows users to respond to calls with preset text messages, add new numbers easily to contacts, and carry out 3-way conference calls. Text messages are displayed more like IM conversations in a threaded chat.

The quad-band phone can be taken anywhere in the world and used. It includes 64MB of memory expandable to up to 2GB with memory cards.

Exchange ActiveSync synchronises calendar, email, and contacts, and the Blazer 4.5 browser has improved loading and displaying speeds. Multimedia has been enhanced to allow users to stream music, play audio, and view and organise photo albums.