Palm chip speed doubles

New processors pave way for handheld multimedia apps

Motorola's semiconductor operation Monday announced a pair of speedier new DragonBall processors -- a 33MHz DragonBall VZ and a 20MHz DragonBall EZ.

The DragonBall, in its current incarnation as the 16MHz DragonBall EZ, serves as the processor for Palm Computing's line of handheld devices, as well as other handheld devices based on the company's Palm operating system. The new chips offer higher clock speed and improved support for color displays, which should allow for greater multimedia abilities for applications such as MP3 players.

At the same time, the new chips are code-compatible with the current generation DragonBall EZ. That means developers -- Palm Computing included -- should be able to support the chips with minimum fuss or reprogramming.