RealTime IT News

Palm To Pump Up Tungsten, Zire Lines

Palm is expected to release three new handhelds this week, the Tungsten T3, Tungsten E, and Zire 21 internetnews.com has learned.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based handheld computer maker declined to comment on any of the details saying it would not respond to information posted on what it calls "rumor sites."

According to sources familiar with the devices however, the high-end T3 will be marketed to Palm's professional base and command a $399 price point with the low-end Tungsten E priced at $199. In Palm's consumer focused line, the Zire 21 will replace the company's ultra-popular entry-level Zire.

The Tungsten T3 will feature the sliding mechanism familiar to users of the Tungsten T and T2 with a 320x480 color screen, enabling a wider viewing area. The device will run on an updated version of Palm OS 5 over Intel's 400MHz XScale processor. It also features 64MB RAM and integrated Bluetooth wireless for connecting with phones, PCs or other handhelds. Palm's other Tungsten release -- the T2 -- ran on a Texas Instruments OMAP processor and allowed for MP3, video playback, and photo software for listening to music files, playing movie trailers, and storing photos.

The Tungsten E will similarly run an updated version of Palm OS over an OMAP chip and will feature 32MB RAM. The device will feature a 320x320 pixel screen (higher resolution than the standard 240x320 on Pocket PCs). As with most handhelds today, the E will feature a Secure Digital expansion slot. The device is expected to replace the Palm V series and will be the first sub-$200 model in Palm's business class lineup of Tungsten handhelds pitting it against similar devices like the Dell Axim X3 and the HP iPaq 1935.

Other Tungsten offerings include the original Tungsten T, the GSM/GPRS functional Tungsten W, and the Wi-Fi enabled Tungsten C.

In the consumer space, the Zire 21 features the same form factor as the original and will be offered at the same $99 price point. The device features 8MB of RAM (a 4x improvement over the original Zire's 2MB) and a faster processor. The device is still a monochrome device with a plastic case. Palm found the $99 Zire to be a tremendous success with first time buyers. The company has noted its Zire 71 with internal digital camera also as being a hot seller.

Palm has said in the past that it has not officially begun to phase out the older Palm m515 and Palm m130 models but going forward has decided to pursue its Tungsten and Zire brands as well as its Treo products, which it is acquiring from Handspring .

In an announcement Monday, Palm said it has scheduled a proxy vote at its annual meeting of stockholders on Oct. 28, 2003 to approve a three-way deal to change its corporate name to PalmOne; acquire the assets of Handspring; and split off its PalmSource software division as a separate publicly traded company.

The company said its stockholders at the close of business on Sept. 23, 2003, would be entitled to vote on the proposal.

Palm also announced that the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday, Sept. 26, declared effective Palm's registration statement on Form S-4. That form includes the proxy statement that will be mailed to Palm stockholders related to the annual meeting.

If the proposal is approved by shareholders, the "PALM" ticker symbol would split into PalmSource's "PSRC" and PalmOne's "PLMO."