Palm Announces New Sub-Brands, Zire and Tungsten

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Palm today announced a new branding strategy that involves the creation of two sub-brands — Tungsten and Zire. The Tungsten brand is aimed at enterprise and mobile professional customers while the Zire brand is aimed at entry-level consumers.

This further confirms rumors of new Palm devices that have recently circulated the Web, including on Palm enthusiast sites and PalmInfocenter, and in a ZDNet UK interview with Palm Solutions Group CEO Todd Bradley.

Word is that on October 7 Palm will release an entry-level handheld under the Zire sub-brand and on October 28 it will unveil two other devices under the Tungsten sub-brand. The Zire (under $100) will come with 2 MB of RAM and run on Palm OS version 4.1, but will lack a MultiMediaCard/Secure Digital slot, according to PalmInfocenter. One of the Tungsten models — the Tungsten T — will likely be a Palm OS 5-based device with a “totally new” design, according to Mr. Bradley. Some have speculated that it will look similar to the Oslo prototype seen in pictures leaked on the Internet earlier this year. A few facts about the new device — expected to be in the $400-$500 price range — are that it will have built-in Bluetooth, sport a Texas Instruments ARM-compliant processor running at 175MHz, and have 16 MB of RAM.

Mr. Bradley told ZDnet that the third device, a wireless device rumored to be called the Tungsten W, will feature GPRS wireless networking. Although it will also be capable of voice calls using a headset, Mr. Bradley said it would be sold to mobile professionals more as a Wireless Data device than a voice-centric product. This device, possibly a replacement for the Palm i705 wireless handheld, will run on Palm OS 4.1 rather than Palm OS 5.



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