Palm OS gets Midway games, discounts

US company Midway releases five arcade games for the Palm platform, and Palm OS hardware is set to drop in price

Palm OS handheld users can now turn their PDAs into gaming machines with the release of a suite of classic arcade games for the platform.

It also appears that Palm and its licensee Handspring are about to drop prices on older models, following recent product introductions.

Midway games Spy Hunter, Joust, Defender II, Sinistar and Root Beer Tapper arrived this week from software developer Pocket Express, which has also adapted other games like Tetris and Lode Runner.

The new games are a boost for the Palm platform, which suffers from something of an image problem -- having been painted as a "low-end" hardware platform by rivals such as Microsoft. Microsoft's Pocket PC operating system powers handhelds like the Compaq iPaq and the Hewlett-Packard Jornada, which mimic PCs and are based on more powerful processors than Palm devices.

Classic arcade games are considered an important driver of handheld sales, and the mobile games market is expected to boom over the next few years as PDAs and even mobile phones grow more and more powerful. In June a UK company called iFone announced it would port several Atari games to mobile phones.

The Pocket Express games support both grayscale and colour Palm devices, and include all levels and characters from the original games. Defender II, Sinistar and Root Beer Tapper include a two-player mode, and all games support three levels of difficulty.

The set of games sells on the company's Web site for $29.99 (about £20).

In a related story, Palm OS devices look set to drop in price in a few days' time. According to leaks on various Web sites, US retailer Best Buy will be dropping prices on the Palm m100, the m105 and the Handspring Visor Prism as of 9 October. The m100 will sell for $99.99, the m105 for $149.99, and the Prism for $299.99.

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