New Palm: customised and in colour


31 Oct 2002

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Handheld manufacturer Palm has just unveiled its latest high-end model, the Tungsten T. The new handheld incorporates a new design and is the first Palm handheld to feature its new operating system, Palm OS 5.0.

According to the manufacturer, the Tungsten T is the most compact Palm-branded handheld on the market. Unlike previous models, the new model has its Graffiti writing pad hidden within the casing. To access it, users must slide out the bottom of the handheld.

The Tungsten T features a high-resolution 320×320 colour display and is the first Palm handheld to feature integrated Bluetooth wireless communication capabilities, enabling users to communicate with other Bluetooth-enabled devices, such as mobile phones, printers, PCs or personal digital assistants.

The new model also features full functionality for popular business file formats such as Microsoft Excel, PowerPoint and Word. Classic Palm applications such as Date Book, Address Book, Note Pad and To Do List have been updated to take advantage of the new navigation buttons and operating system.

Other features include a Texas Instruments OMAP1510 processor, 16MB of RAM, a stereo headphone jack and MP3 playback. Users can customise and extend the capabilities of the Tungsten T handheld with an expansion slot for Secure Digital cards and MultiMedia cards.

The Tungsten is now on sale for Irish customers from Palm’s Online store (www.palmdirect.com). It is priced at €623.15.

The Tungsten T is the first Tungsten-branded Palm to be released. The company announced a re-branding exercise in September whereby all high-end, business-orientated models would be branded Tungsten, while entry-level models would be branded Zire.

A second model, the Tungsten W will be released in early 2003. The model is a combined mobile phone and handheld. It will feature a small Qwerty keypad and GPRS (general packet radio service) for high-speed mobile data transmission. No European pricing is available as yet, but a price of US$549 has been cited (approximately €551).

Palm is launching these new handhelds in an increasingly competitive (and shrinking) market. According to Gartner Dataquest, shipments for the first three quarters of 2002 are down 8.3pc from the same period last year. Palm remains a market leader with a 30.6pc market share. It faces competition, however, from Palm OS licensees Handspring and Sony, while vendors such as HP and Toshiba are selling handhelds running Microsoft’s Pocket PC operating system. In the longer term, however, the increasing amount of computing power in new mobile phone models along with the expected arrival of Dell into the budget end of the handheld market may lead to stiffer competition.

By Dick O’Brien