Camera PDA seen in Palm readings

Images and specifications of a rumoured new model of the Zire handheld, featuring OS 5.2, a colour screen and an integrated camera have surfaced on Web sites

Palm appears to be readying new Zire and Tungsten devices, including its first handheld with an integrated camera, according to rumours that have circulated on many Web sites.

When delivering its latest financial results two weeks ago, Palm said it would launch its spring products in the second half of its fiscal fourth quarter, which could be as early as mid-April.

Despite maintaining its market share lead in the handheld computer business, the company reported a loss in its third quarter that was greater than that of the same period a year ago, and said it is pushing out the schedule for the spinoff of PalmSource, its operating system subsidiary.

Photos and product details of the new gadgets that have surfaced on several sites suggest that one of the devices, the Zire 71, includes a 320x320 pixel colour screen, 16MB of RAM, the Palm OS 5.2 operating system and an integrated digital camera capable of capturing 640x480 pixel images. Palm introduced the Zire last year as its consumer-oriented product line.

The Palm Zire 71 will run on a TI OMAP ARM processor, and could retail between $249 and $299 (£157 and £188), according to Web leaks. Images published on the Web show that it has a five-way joystick-style controller, stereo headphone jack, speaker, SD/MMC expansion slot and Palm's universal connector, making it compatible with an array of accessories.

The Tungsten C appears to be a variation of the business-oriented Tungsten W, which competes directly with Research In Motion's BlackBerry and similar wireless messaging devices. Like the W, the C will have a built-in keyboard, but will feature integrated Wi-Fi instead of a mobile phone radio, according to reports. The device is expected to retail at about $499.

CNET's Richard Shim contributed to this report.

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