PalmOne shows two in the hand

PalmOne has released the first handheld devices to carry its new branding since its 2003 restructure.

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By  Matthew Wade Published  April 29, 2004

PalmOne has released the first handheld devices to carry its new branding since its 2003 restructure. Last October the company, known simply then as Palm, divided up its business and began operating under two banners. PalmOne now refers to its handheld operation while PalmSource denotes its OS software business. PalmOne’s two new handheld devices are the Zire 31 and Zire 72, both of which are aimed squarely at the consumer market. The Zire 31’s launch marks an expansion of PalmOne’s consumer handheld range. Aimed at first-time users such as students and parents, the Zire 31 offers a wider feature set than PalmOne’s Zire 21 and now includes a colour display, increased memory (16MB compared to the 21’s 8MB) and MP3 player functionality. The firm’s Zire 71 handheld, which PalmOne recently reduced in price, was previously the only Zire model to include an MP3 player, though users must still buy a memory storage card and headphones separately. The Zire 31 runs on PalmSource’s Garnet OS (previously known as OS 5) and includes new Personal Information Manager (PIM) software, a photo viewer and Expense calculator. It can be synchronised with Microsoft Outlook and will retail in the region for around $160. The new Zire 72 will eventually replace PalmOne’s Zire 71 and runs the same Garnet OS. This model offers twice as much memory as its predecessor (now 32MB, 24MB user available) and a screen resolution of 320x320dpi. Targeted at what PalmOne calls "media savvy users", the Zire 72 features a built-in 1.2-megapixel digital camera, plus it is the first PalmOne handheld to feature video capture capabilities. Its audio capture function means it can be used as a voice recorder, while Bluetooth enables the easy transfer of data between enabled devices. In an interesting addition the Zire 72’s photocapture function has also been linked to its contacts manager, meaning images of friends and colleagues can now be placed within contact pages, helping put names to faces. As well as synchronisation with Windows Outlook, the 72 allows the creation and editing of MS Word and Excel compatible files and is available for around $325. "The Zire 31 brings great PalmOne applications like photoview and a built in MP3 player at an extremely competitive price," said Stuart Maughan, PalmOne Middle East manager. "With regards the Zire 72, it is a cutting edge PDA, which has been designed to be used as a multi-media tool and includes Bluetooth for sharing office files via MMS, SMS or e-mail." In addition to Palm’s restructure last year, the company also acquired Handspring and plans to launch the Handspring-developed Treo 600 smartphone across the region this summer. This device was launched globally by Handspring last year, though units did not make it onto the Middle East region due to production issues. As for PalmSource’s latest operating system, OS Cobalt, this has already been released, but Stuart Maughan told Windows Middle East that devices based upon this OS will probably not appear on the market until next year.

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