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February 22, 1999


By CBR Staff Writer

3Com Corp’s handheld subsidiary, Palm Computing Inc yesterday announced two new versions of its popular Palm series of personal digital assistants. Priced at $499, the Palm V rounds out the product family at the high end and is being touted by 3Com as the optimal handheld solution for executives, mobile professionals and design-conscious consumers This basically means it is very small, weighing just 4 ounces, and is covered with an aluminum finish with recessed buttons and a leather carrying case. Andrea Butter, acting VP of marketing unashamedly admits the device is specifically aimed at those mobile users who see their organizer as a reflection of their personal style, but she admits that not everyone will want to spend money on what is essentially exactly the same as 3Com’s other new handheld, the Palm IIIx, only sleeker and smaller. One added benefit is that the Palm V does come with a rechargeable battery, unlike any of the III series. Priced at $369, the Palm IIIx is so called for its emphasis on expandability. The handheld comes with 4Mb of memory (the V has only 2Mb) which can be upgraded, via an expansion slot, as needs demand. Butter said the IIIx was aimed primarily at power mobile users; salespeople on the road who need to constantly hook into the company’s database and download, and store, data. It’s for those mobile and enterprise users who need to carry a lot of add- on software with them, she said, both sales users and people who use their Palm in the office to link up to their PC. Butter added that both the Palm V and IIIx come with 3Com’s standard line-up of basic applications including address book, date book, to do list, memo pad, expense and e-mail software. Additionally, she said both models feature new advanced LCD (liquid crystal display) screens with improved contrast and clarity for easier viewing, although neither have a color option, something long overdue according to critics of the Palm series. However, Butter dismissed the need for color, saying that, at present, it would only serve to drain the battery power which would, in turn, downgrade performance. Color could be in a future model if it can be used in a way to make the screen clearer, she said, At the moment, color on a small screen could actually be a burden. It would definitely be a burden on battery life and that would detract from overall performance. Both the Palm V and IIIx are available immediately. International versions of the products also are available in Europe, Latin America and Asia in local languages, including French, German, Spanish and International English.

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