April 2003

Palm Zire 71 has hidden camera, MP3 playback

The new Zire 71 shares only its relative shape and name with the original Zire. In fact, it integrates so many advanced features, it bests the Tungsten T in some ways. It runs a 144 MHz OMAP 310 (a processor with the same ARM 925 core, but without the DSP of the OMAP 1510 found in the T), and includes 16MB RAM. The hidden feature may be the most compelling, a 640 x 480 digital camera that is revealed when you slide the front of the unit up. This mechanism is tight and smooth, offering a feel of quality. A new 320 x 320 transflective TFT makes operating the Zire 71 almost surreal, with its vibrant color and excellent contrast. It has a five way joystick where a simple toggle used to be, and an SD slot for expansion. Real Player is bundled for MP3 playback, and video playback via Kinoma Player is identical to the Tungsten T, only with a far brighter screen. New to the entire Palm OS line is Graffiti 2, a version of Jot, that replaces the original Graffiti so many have come to know. The bundled Palm Desktop has also been improved, offering a place to sync photos, and a new Quick Install program is included. The device has a new set of sounds, with a softer, more discrete click on each tap, and softer tones all around. It comes with a case, cradle, charger, and bundled multimedia software. It weighs 5.3 ounces, measures 4.5 x 2.9 x 0.67 inches, and retails for US$299. www.palm.com -- Posted Wednesday, April 23, 2003 by sab

Palm Tungsten C offers 400MHz, 64MB RAM, WiFi
Palm SG announced two Palm products today, first of which is the Tungsten C, aimed at better penetrating the corporate market. Its chief weapon in breaking through what Palm SG sees as a thick barrier is WiFi. The Tungsten C has WiFi (802.11b) built in, and its look is familiar: it appears to be none other than a Tungsten W without its antenna. It has the same keyboard and exterior shell, and the screen appears to be about the same, until you turn it on. When you do, you'll see Palm's first backlit transflective TFT color screen. It also appears in the new Zire 71, and it is dazzling. The brightest display we've seen on any Palm OS device, and we don't have a Pocket PC here in the office that is its rival. Contrast is also excellent. But it goes deeper than that. We're talking about Intel Inside: a 400MHz XScale PXA250, and 64MB RAM to go with it. Something else is left over from the Tungsten W as well, and that's a monaural headphone jack. They didn't intend it for music playback, but for voice recording; and developers are said to be working on VOIP (Voice Over IP) solutions, which should start appearing in June. This would enable voice communications over WiFi. A new version of VersaMail is bundled, with a two-line email display option so that users can see the email address and title. It has the same 1500 mAh Lithium Ion battery as the W. The literature also describes a portable battery pack that connects via the Universal connector, available for US$99.95 (this is also usable for all Palm Universal connector handhelds, shipping in May).

The C also integrates DataViz Documents to Go Pro 5.1 onto the device, as well as browser and Palm PhotoView. A bundle of software includes various IP connectivity applications, including one that allows you to print directly to network printers (PrintBoy, from Bachmann Software). Perhaps most interesting is this, which we have yet to see, taken directly from the press release: "For mobile and small- or home-office professionals who need behind-the-firewall access to their networks, the Tungsten C handheld ships with a built-in PPTP (point-to-point tunneling protocol) virtual private network (VPN) from Mergic. This solution enables individuals to securely check email, browse the Web or company intranet and wirelessly synchronize with their desktop to back up information and manage email."

The Tungsten C weighs 5.82 ounces, and accepts SD, SDIO, and MMCs. If you thought the T was fast, wait until you see this thing. Available in stores and online May 5 worldwide. US$499.
-- Posted Wednesday, April 23, 2003 by sab

Dell beats HP in PC shipments in Q1/2003
According to IDC, based on its strength in direct sales, Dell passed HP/Compaq once again in total worldwide PC sales in the first quarter of 2003. A total of 34.6 million PC were shipped, up 2.1% over last year. With notebooks taking an ever larger share, notebook specialist Toshiba moved into the Number 5 spot worldwide, with IBM and Fujitsu/Siemens being No. 3 and 4. -- Posted Saturday, April 19, 2003 by chb

Palm increases memory ceiling to 128MB RAM
Palm SG announced today that it has increased the memory addressable on a Palm OS device beyond the current maximum of 16MB to as much as 128MB. The advancement will allow creation of higher-capacity devices for storing music, images, and more data, and many programs will likely run faster than they currently do when running from SD or MMC cards. http://www.palm.com -- Posted Thursday, April 17, 2003 by sab

End of an era as Handera drops Palm OS
Citing increased licensing costs for the Palm OS, HandEra Wednesday announced the "End of Life" of its two Palm OS products, the Handera 330 and TRGpro. "We regret the impact that this announcement will have on our customers," said mark Kubovich, President of Handera. "HandEra will offer new products to serve the OEM mobile computing market in the near future." Shipment of Palm OS products will cease after May 31. While rumors of a color product were circulated and Symbol products utilizing HandEra's color screen were seen over a year ago, no color product emerged. Stock of the 330, the only Palm OS product to feature two competing expansion slots, is limited, and last time buy orders will be considered on a case by case basis, according to the company. http://www.handera.com -- Posted Thursday, April 17, 2003 by sab

Good news, bad news for RIM
The good news for Research in Motion, the Canadian maker of those nifty Blackberry email devices is that subscriptions increased to over 530,000. This allowed RIM to increase its revenue forecast. The bad news is that RIM remains unprofitable, reporting another loss. RIM also remains involved in a number of patent lawsuits, both its own and some against the company. As is, almost 90% of revenue comes from sales and service revenue of Blackberry wireless devices. In the future, RIM hopes that technology licensing revenues will provide a larger percentage of its overall revenue. -- Posted Monday, April 7, 2003 by chb

New Casio Pocket PC Japan only?
A while ago, Casio Japan introduced the consumer-market Cassiopeia E-3000, powered by a 400MHz PXA255 XScale processor, and using both a SD/MMC and a CF card slot. The device is said to have a very long lasting battery and a semi-transflective display. Unlike the Wistron-built E-200 that was sold in the US, the E-3000 is OEM-ed by Asus (and bears a bit of a resemblance to their NEC P300). -- Posted Wednesday, April 2, 2003 by chb

NEC halts PDA sale in Japan
According to Digitimes, NEC decided to halt the sale of PDAs in Japan for the time being. This affects the MobilePro P300 made by Asustek as well as the Mitac-made MobilePro 200E and 300E. NEC will continue selling the 200/300E in markets outside of Japan. -- Posted Wednesday, April 2, 2003 by chb

Acer said to introduce new Pocket PC
Taiwanese Acer is unique in that the company sells both Palm OS and Windows Powered PDAs. The Palms include the S10, S50 and S60 whereas the Pocket PC side is covered with the n20 and the wireless n20w. Now Acer gears up to introduce the low cost n10, designed for younger consumers and using an Intel PXA255 processor. -- Posted Wednesday, April 2, 2003 by chb