Palm begins shipping new PDA

Palm m105 comes with Internet connection kit and extra memory, but there is still no sign of Palm OS 4

Palm today began shipping its latest handheld PDA, the Palm m105, in the US. The company said the device will be available world-wide from mid-March, and will cost £169.

The m105 is the first Palm device to include as standard the company's Mobile Internet Kit, which was launched last November.

The Internet kit comprises a Web clipping application that works with the Palm.net Web site. This acts as a gateway between Palm devices and Internet sites and applications. The service allows users to compose queries to Web sites while the Palm is not connected to the Web, and then subsequently post the search and retrieve the results. Palm said there are more than 550 Web clipping applications currently available for download.

The kit also offers a pair of messaging applications. HandPhone SMS is an SMS utility that makes it easier to send text messages to GSM handsets, while the MultiMail email tool provides access to POP3 and Imap4 Internet email systems.

Palm has been criticised lately for trailing competitors in the race to provide a single, integrated phone/PDA solution. While Microsoft and the Symbian consortium used the recent GSM World Congress in Cannes to show off their prototypes, Palm was a notable absentee.

The Palm m105 will come with the same Palm OS 3.5 operating system that is used in current Palm devices 8MB of RAM, four times the amount supplied in the current low-end PDA, the m100. Palm is expected to launch its new operating system, Palm OS 4, later this spring. Palm OS 4, which will ship on devices featuring a new card slot, will allow programs to effectively be launched from the storage card.

International versions of the Palm m105 will be available with French, Italian, Spanish, German and Japanese languages, in addition to English. The device has a removable faceplate, and Palm said it will provide fourteen different choices.

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