Palm, Sony launch new handhelds

FRAMINGHAM (10/03/2003) - Palm Inc. and Sony Corp. each launched new personal digital assistant (PDAs) last week, with features such as a landscape display option, faster processors and additional memory.

Palm's new handhelds include two models in the Tungsten line (the Tungsten T3 and Tungsten E) and the US$99 Zire 21, the successor to last year's budget-model Zire.

The Tungsten T3 ($399) includes a high-resolution color screen (320-by-480-pixel TFT) that can display in landscape and portrait modes. When used in landscape format, the handheld display offers better viewing for applications such as spreadsheets, movie clips and Web page browsing. The screen on the Tungsten T3 is about 50 percent larger than any other Palm-branded device, Palm says.

Other features include built-in Bluetooth connectivity, 64M bytes of RAM (with 52M bytes available for users), a 400-MHz XScale processor and an expansion slot that supports and MultiMediaCard (MMC) and secure digital media.

The $199 Tungsten E device includes 32M bytes of RAM (with 28.3M bytes available for users), a 320-by-320-pixel color display and an improved five-way navigation button for easier one-handed use. It runs on a Texas Instruments OMAP 311 ARM processor and includes multimedia software that lets users listen to audio files, watch movie clips or view photos. The device also has an expansion slot that supports secure digital and MMC media.

The Zire 21 comes with 8M bytes of memory (four times as much as the original Zire, with 7.2M bytes available for users), a faster processor (the 126-MHz Texas Instruments OMAP processor), and the newest versions of the date book, address book, notepad and to-do-list applications.

Palm also updated its core applications for the new Tungsten handhelds. New features include an agenda view (shows appointments, daily tasks and a new "year view"); scheduling that lets users beam multiple appointments with a single command; additional contact information (including multiple contact addresses, more spaces for phone numbers and e-mail addresses, instant-messaging names, Web site URLs and birthdays); a larger memos and notes field; and more built-in Microsoft Outlook compatibility.

New from Sony

Sony's latest Clie handhelds, the PEG-TJ25 and PEG-TJ35, are expected to be available by the end October, and priced at $200 and $250, respectively.

The devices include a high-resolution (320-by-320-pixel) color liquid crystal display screen and an enhanced Jog Dial navigator that now provides four-directional movement for quick access to applications, Sony says. Two applications, Clie Memo and Clie Viewer, have been pre-installed onto the read-only memory of the new devices.

The handhelds include a 200-MHz processor, integrated MP3 player, Decuma Latin's handwriting-recognition software and the Picsel Viewer application for viewing native Word, Excel and PowerPoint files. The TJ35 model includes 32M bytes of RAM (23M bytes available for users), and the TJ25 includes 16M bytes of RAM (11M bytes for users). Both devices include a Memory Stick Pro expansion media slot for memory expansion up to 1G byte, Sony says.

Shaw can be reached at kshaw@nww.com.

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