PalmOne has announced a new version of its Tungsten-class personal digital assistant designed to protect data even when its battery dies.

The Tungsten T5 (£329, including VAT) Tungsten T5 uses flash memory to store data and run legacy applications brought over from the Tungsten T3, said Andrea Johnson, product group manager at PalmOne.

A total of 256MB of flash memory comes with the T5, Johnson said - 215MB of which are available to the user. Users can store data in the 160MB internal flash drive or run legacy applications out of the 55MB of application memory, she said.

Data is automatically saved to the flash memory while a user works, Johnson said. This was enabled by the Palm OS version 5.4, also known as Garnet.

Users could think of the T5 as an extremely large USB (universal serial bus) drive, said Sam Bhavnani, an analyst with Current Analysis: "It's a very Palm-like application, one of the things that drove Palm to success in the first place," Bhavnani said.

Both PalmOne and Bhavnani believed the new T5 comes with more storage capacity than any PDA on the market. Hewlett-Packard's iPaq hx4700 PDA offers 192MB of both flash memory and RAM. Other PDA vendors such as HP and Dell use flash memory to prevent data loss in the event of a power failure of dead battery, but the T5 has far more flash memory than PDAs released by either of those two companies.

PalmOne kept the large 320-x-480-pixel colour display that it introduced on the T3. The company moved on to use "T5" for this upgrade because for the "T4" models, the word "four" is translated into a symbol that resembles the symbol for the word "death" in China and some other countries in the Asia-Pacific region, Johnson said.

It is driven by Intel's multimedia-friendly 416MHz PXA270 processor. It has Bluetooth built-in, a WiFi cupgrade is also available.

It measures 4.8-inches long by 3-inches wide (12.2-x-7.6cm) and is just 0.6 inches (1.5cm) thick. It weighs 5.1 ounces (143 grammes). It will be available worldwide on November 3.