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December 2, 1998


By CBR Staff Writer

Palm Computing yesterday unveiled a new version of its PalmPilot handheld PC that offers users wireless connectivity to the internet for the first time. But those expecting full blown net access will be disappointed. Rather Palm, a subsidiary of networking giant 3Com, will offer customized access through a series of partnerships with content providers including, among others,, Bank of America,, Fodor’s, MasterCard and Moviefone. The Palm VII organizer, priced below $800, is scheduled to enter field trials in early 1999, with widespread availability in the US later next year. Internet access service will be available from less than $10 per month, 3Com said. As part of the announcement, 3Com said it was launching its own internet service, called Palm.Net, using infrastructure from BellSouth Corp. Lucent Technologies Inc will provide the communications chip for the device. The handheld PC also includes a two-way radio with integrated antenna, bundled as part of Palm.Net service. To access Internet data on the Palm VII organizer, a user raises the antenna, which calls up a screen containing a list of applications. By tapping on one of these applications, the user calls up a screen called the Palm query application. This allows the user to define the specific type of information required, for example a stock quote, flight schedule or restaurant listing, by selecting from pre-installed options. After processing the query, by tapping on a built in stylus, a web clipping is returned with a page of results catered to the user’s specified requests. All e-commerce transactions are secured using built in technology from Certicom Inc, 3Com said. As well as internet access, the company will also offer an instant messaging service, called iMessenger. The application is used in the same way as the standard Palm Mail application, 3Com said, except that iMessenger mail is sent instantaneously via the wireless radio connection. To check for new messages, the user raises the antenna and presses a button, and all messages waiting in queue appear on the Palm VII screen. Janice Roberts, senior vice president of 3Com and acting president of Palm Computing described the device as the beginning of a new era of personal communications. She added: The Palm VII organizer is our first step in enabling a new class of information access and e-commerce solutions for the handheld computing industry. Roberts said the Palm VII organizer is designed to address the needs of the mobile workforce who want quick and easy access to the internet. But the Palm III and PalmPilot organizers will continue to serve as the company’s mainstream offerings, she said.

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