Kodak shutters Palm camera

PalmPix has been discontinued, but observers say Palm's business moves are more important

Kodak has quietly discontinued its PalmPix digital camera add-on for Palm's range of handheld computers.

The camera, which connected directly to the handheld, was originally launched for the black-and-white older Palm models such as the Palm III and Palm VII. Kodak updated the module for newer hardware, including handhelds based on the Universal Connector introduced last year. PalmPix was the main digital camera product for Palm.

Palm's Web site still lists PalmPix as an option, but it has been removed from both Palm and Kodak's online shops. Kodak's main PalmPix site has been replaced with a page that says, "KODAK PalmPix Cameras are discontinued products," and directs the user to a support site.

Kodak and Palm did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The cancellation may not be welcome news at Palm, which has spotlighted PalmPix as one of the platform's main hardware expansion options, with others including a GPS receiver, a modem, a folding keyboard and a Bluetooth connector. However, hardware expandability is less of a central feature than it was in the boom days of handheld computers, when Handspring touted its Springboard expansion modules as its main innovation to the Palm OS platform.

More recently the focus has shifted to wireless capabilities and enterprise features, with Handspring saying it would phase out the Springboard modules in favour of wireless devices.

"It may cause some consternation among the users who would use that device, but in my opinion the Palm platform has insufficient power and storage to deal with heavy duty uses like large numbers of pictures, anyway," said Andy Brown, research director for mobile computing with IDC. "I don't think it will have a major impact. The space they are aiming to move towards is the business market, and they stand a chance there."

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