First look at Palm redesign

Palm will refresh the VII and add an entry-level product in August. Stylewise, this isn't your father's PDA

Palm will next month debut radical product redesigns and a new entry-level model, according to sources.

Palm will add an entry-level model, the M100, with the lowest introductory price yet for a Palm PDA, $149.

The M100 will represent a drastic design overhaul for Palm, featuring a curvy case and five removeable front plates coloured silver, gold, black, royal and light blue. The model will also come with a flip cover with a small window that displays the date and time, as well as reminder notices. The case will have a thicker plastic than previous models had, and it will have dimensions similar to the Palm V, sources said.

The screen will be about 25 percent smaller, as will the overall unit, making it easier to fit in a user's hand. And instead of a synchronisation cradle, the M100 will come with a hot sync cable.

Palm is working with third-party manufacturers on MP3 players, cameras, modems and self-contained backup products for the M100. The M100 will replace the IIIe PDA, which was introduced last year to compete on price with the Handspring Visor. Palm's wireless PDA, the Palm VII, will also be upgraded.

An upgrade from the Palm VII, the VIIx will come with 8MB of RAM instead of the VII's 2MB, answering critics who said product sales were dampened by memory constraints of the unit. The VIIx will also come with a new look: a slate gray case.

The unit will ship with 40 query applications -- programs that request small bits of information such as a sports score or stock price -- including several new Post Office Protocol 3 email clients, such as Yahoo! mail, Juno and ThinAirApp. Other new applications will include Ticketmaster, Buy.com, Moviephone and Amazon.

The VIIx will be based on the 3.5 OS and sell for $449.

According to sources, the subscription pricing plans to the wireless network will remain the same.

Both units will run on alkaline batteries.

In late June, Palm announced new expansion and communications features that would be built into future Palm PDAs. Neither of the units incorporates the announced technologies. Units with the technologies will be available by the end of the year.

A Palm spokesman said the company will not discuss unreleased products.

Take a look at the new Palm M100 PDAs

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