Palm has introduced new Zire and Tungsten handheld products, integrating Wi-Fi into its Tungsten product and adding multimedia features to its consumer handheld Zire.
Palm's new consumer-friendly product, the Zire 71, has a built-in digital camera and a high-resolution colour screen. It costs £249, and can also play back MP3s, watch video clips and view digital images.
Palm Solutions Group senior VP of sales and marketing Ken Wirt said: "Multimedia became the focal point of our new Zire handheld because a gap exists between the people who want this functionality and the cost they have to pay to get it," he said. "For £249, customers can enjoy music, share photos, play short videos and grab snaps," he said.
A bright 320-x-320 display supports over 65,000 colours and acts as the cameras viewfinder. Images can be saved with the 16MB of memory (13MB usable) or onto expansion cards that range to 256MB and beyond. The camera automatically activates by sliding open the device. Software for all this products multimedia functions is built-in.
The £399 Palm Tungsten C integrates 802.11b Wi-Fi, with a built-in keyboard and more memory and power than any Palm device released so far. This device, which is aimed at professional users, is built to exploit the ever-growing international network of Wi-Fi hotspots. Its support of the standard means users can use their Tungsten C to access the Internet, email, messaging, and corporate data when they are on the move.
The sleek silver device weighs just 178 grammes and also supports many of the features introduced with the Tungsten range, including one-handed navigation, an integrated thumb keyboard and 15mm integrated speaker.
The device runs Palm's new 5.2.1 OS. This offers proxyless Web browsing with colour themes, on-screen writing and support for Graffiti 2, Palm's new, intuitive handwriting-recognition software. It also offers VersaMail 2.5, the latest version of the company's personal email application. This supports up to eight accounts and offers a range of automation and personalization options. Additional functions include the capacity to download and view Word documents, JPEGs, ZIP files and HTML email attachments. The product also ships with built-in security features, such as virtual private networking software, application-level 128-bit encryption and password protection. Expandability is in the Palm Expansion Slot for SD cards and MultiMediaCard and a Palm Universal Connector for hardware add-ons.
The device hosts 64MB of memory to run applications with a 400MHz Intel processor for better performance. The handheld is equipped with a 320-x-320 TFT display, which Palm calls its "sharpest screen to date". It also ships with a number of applications for travelling professionals, including VersaMail 2.5 for email and DataViz Documents to Go for handling Word, Excel and PowerPoint files. Its equipped with a battery that offers a full day online using Wi-Fi, or a full week of normal use per charge.
Palm believes the new 400MHz Intel Xscale processor to be the fastest available for handhelds. "This handheld provides the most memory available for any Palm OS-based device, representing a technology breakthrough by Palm," the company said. Palm Solution Group CEO Todd Bradley thinks the device: "Arms mobile professionals with constant access to their most important data."
The company has spent time making alliances with others who offer services to professional users, for example IBM. This product will integrate with IBM's WebSphere Everyplace Access platform, meaning users can access enterprise data and applications, productivity applications and Lotus Instant messaging over Wi-Fi.
Optional accessories for Tungsten C include: a clip on battery recharging pack, Power TO Go, £49.99; 64MB Backup Card (£59.99) and the £39.99 Palm Travel Kit, which lets users sync data and recharge from a USB port, vehicle cigarette lighter or wall socket.