RumorMill™: More about the Tungsten E and Zire 21

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It was learned last month that several major electronics retailers list three upcoming handhelds from palmOne in their inventory databases, along with some basic facts about these models. Now Palm Infocenter has what it claims is some additional information about two of these.

One of the three models will be the Tungsten T3, of which pictures and other details were leaked this summer. Supposedly, the Tungsten T3 will use a 320-by-480 pixel screen that supports both portrait and landscape modes. The device supposedly also uses a new button layout and will have more RAM than the T2. Otherwise, it will be quite similar to the current model. It is expected to sell for $400.

Also listed in the retailers’ databases is the Tungsten E at $199 and the Zire 21 at $99. However, little else was known about these. Today, Palm Infocenter posted some additional details on these two..

Tungsten E

According to this information, the Tungsten E will run Palm OS 5.2 on a 144 MHz Texas Instruments OMAP processor. It will have 32MB of RAM.

This device will have a 320-by-320 pixel color screen and a dedicated Graffiti area, not a virtual one. It also won’t include a thumboard, as some had speculated. There was no mention of Bluetooth wireless networking. It will include cables for HotSyncing and power, not a cradle. In appearance, the Tungsten E will look like “a cross between the m515 and Zire 71.” It will probably include an SD/MMC slot.

This handheld will come with palmOne’s Versamail 2.6 and DataViz’s DocumentsToGo 6.0, which may allow users to work with Microsoft Office files in their native formats. This is a feature DataViz promised would be in an upcoming version.

If this rumor is correct, the Tungsten E will be the first entry-level Tungsten model. Its name also indicates that it has been designed primarily for business users. Many people might be under the mistaken impression that the Tungsten line is only for Palm’s high-end models, while the Zire line is for less-expensive ones. Actually, the Tungsten line is for handhelds designed for business users, while the Zire line is for consumers. When Palm first introduced these lines last year, it said there could be Zire models that cost more than some Tungsten ones.

Zire 21

The Zire 21 will an update for its very successful original Zire model. According to Palm Infocenter, it will run Palm OS 5.2.1 on a TI OMAP processor, though the speed of this is not yet known. It will have 8 MB of RAM.

It will include a 160-by-160 pixel monochrome display, which will make it the first Palm OS 5 device to use a low-res monochrome screen. It will use the same casing as original Zire, which means it doesn’t use the Palm Universal Connector, limiting its ability to make use of peripherals. It almost certainly won’t have a memory card slot.

All three of these are expected to be announced on October 1.

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