Palm (NASDAQ:PALM) is back from a brief European vacation, just in time for the new school year. On September 12, press reports say, Palm, which is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor selection, will launch its newest Treo smartphone in the U.K.

The news follows up from last month's announcement of a deal with Britain's VodafoneGroup (NYSE:VOD), in which the carrier agreed to resell the Treo in Europe before the end of the year. But that was conditional on Palm earning compliance with long-standing European pollution guidelines. Now it appears it has.

Good timing, too. Palm should be able to get its newest Treo into the hands of interested resellers before the all-important holiday shopping season heats up. But will they be interested? Probably on some level, though rivals have earned plenty of momentum. Consider Motorola (NYSE:MOT). Its Q smartphone has earned a following since its debut last month. And pre-production models of Nokia's (NYSE:NOK) latest -- the E62 -- are already winning praise.

Nevertheless, the new Treo could be competitive. Press reports suggest that Palm's latest, which is expected to be once again based on Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Mobile operating system, will catch up to competitors by building in support for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

Just don't expect a "catch-up" release to generate much enthusiasm. It won't, because it shouldn't. Palm has the unfortunate distinction of being in a market that's measured by features and functions. Users check the checklists, and buy the coolest devices. Carriers such as Deutsche Telekom's (NYSE:DT) T-Mobile and Verizon (NYSE:VZ) know this, too. That's why their stores stock, and promote, the phones that earn "must have" status.

It's been too long since the Treo was a "must-have" among phoneaphiles. Management must a find a way to restore Treo's premium rep if investors have any hope of reaping meaningful long-term gains from the stock. So, make September 12 special, Palm. Don't just play catch-up; surprise us.

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Microsoft and Vodafone Group are Motley Fool Inside Value picks.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers still owns a Treo 650, which he beats up every day. Tim owns shares in Nokia. Get the skinny on all the stocks he owns by checking Tim's Fool profile . The Motley Fool's disclosure policy is never on hold.