One of the highlights of this year's CeBIT show was the appearance of the first Palm PCs - Windows CE 2.0-based 'pocket' computers with a form factor remarkably similar to 3Com's million-selling PalmPilot - which is itself about to be upgraded to the Palm III. Prototype Palm PCs were shown by Casio, Everex, Philips and Samsung.
Casio's Cassiopeia E-10 is powered by a 64-bit NEC RISC processor, comes with 4Mb of RAM, has a 240 x 320 pixel backlit LCD touchscreen and features serial and infra-red communications ports. It comes with a serial-linked docking cradle for easy synchronisation with a desktop PC, while an optional modem will be available for remote synchronisation and email exchange. Casio will also offer 2, 4 and 10Mb CompactFlash memory cards for extra data storage. The Cassopeia E-10 weighs around 156g.
Everex's Freestyle is the most compact of the four Palm PCs on show, being almost exactly the same size as a PalmPilot. It comes in three versions: the 150g Freestyle Associate is the basic 2Mb RAM system; the 8Mb Freestyle Manager has a foldable docking cradle, while the 8Mb Freestyle Executive has a deluxe docking cradle incorporating a 33.6Kbps fax modem.
Philips' stylish-looking Nino 300 features a 16-greyscale display, 4Mb of RAM as standard, a Philips-made 75MHz processor and weighs a relatively hefty 200g with batteries. Controls include a mechanism for one-handed scrolling and quick-start keys for direct access to favourite applications. Like the other Palm PCs, the Nino will come with a docking cradle and feature an optional modem.
Few details were available on Samsung's Sens Palm, which appeared to offer a standard implementation of Microsoft's Palm PC specification with 240 by 320 screen, rocker switch for navigation, AA battery support for 15-20 hours' operation, docking cradle with AC input, speech-quality microphone input, serial and infra-red ports, at least 2Mb of RAM and CompactFlash support.