Palm delays Web browser

After a much-publicised launch at the CeBIT trade show, Palm's Web browser has failed to appear on time - the company says it is still 'optimising' the application

Palm has delayed its Web browser -- considered by some industry observers to be a key part of its wireless strategy -- while it fine-tunes the software, the company has said.

The Palm Web Browser was announced at the CeBIT trade fair in mid-March and was originally due to ship on 8 April in the US, or by the end of April for Europe. It is to sell for 23 euros (about £16), roughly the same price as the Blazer browser for Handspring's Palm OS handheld computers.

Palm said it is "optimising the solution" at the moment and will release the browser "as soon as possible", though it didn't give a new release date. A preview version has been circulated to a limited number of beta testers.

The new browser will allow handhelds based on the company's operating system to view any site on the Internet, using wireless access or a modem. Typical handheld browsers have difficulty displaying many Web sites. The software also allows customers to save information for offline viewing and record a history of visited sites. Versions are available in English, French, Italian, German, Spanish and Japanese.

Palm has until now put off developing a Web browser for its market-leading devices, instead promoting its "Web Clipping" applications, which grab specific information from participating Web sites. Users have had to rely on third-party browsers to view HTML pages.

Handspring released the Blazer 2.0 browser, which works with Palm OS products, in October.

CNET's Margaret Kane contributed to this report.

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