- If anyone doubted that Palm could compete on an equal footing with the feature-laden Pocket PCs, the introduction of the Palm Tungsten C and Zire 71 should put those doubts to rest.
With almost a year under its belt of living with Palm Computing's Palm OS 5, the Palm Solutions Group is introducing the first Palm handheld with 64MB of memory, built-in IEEE 802.11b, a keyboard, and a claimed six-hour battery life under full and constant usage with Wi-Fi and the display activated.
On the software side, Palm in partnership with IBM will create a set of APIs to connect Palm's VersaMail client directly to Domino Lotus Notes Server in May. Using DataViz's Documents to Go, Version 6, the device will have full Microsoft Word, Excel, and Powerpoint compatibility. Users will also be able to open text and graphics with Documents to Go by tapping once on the attachment icon.
Despite The Tungsten C's many features, one industry analyst says the business market for handhelds is extremely difficult at this time.
"No one is buying systems unless there is a compelling reason, and on the business side there is no compelling reason," says Tim Scannell, senior analyst with Shoreline Research in Quincy, Massachusetts.
Nevertheless, Scannell adds that incorporating Wi-Fi into the handheld was a smart move.
"Every company that has a computing device will need Wi-Fi," he says.
The Tungsten C handheld will be priced at $US499 and ships with a 400MHz Intel XScale processor, Palm OS 5.2.1 operating system, a TFT color display, SD/SDIO expansion slot, and a Palm universal connector that will allow Palm users to interchange add-ons between Palm models.
On the consumer side, Palm will introduce the Zire 71 priced at $US299. The Zire 71 ships with a built-in digital camera that uses the full handheld display as its viewfinder. It also ships with Palm OS 5.2.1, a Texas Instruments OMAP 310 processor running at 144MHz, 16MB of memory, and a built-in MP3 player.
The Zire 71 is shipping now and the Tungsten C will see worldwide availability by May 5.