Palm Inc. is preparing to release new mid-range and high-end handhelds in the next few weeks, according to unconfirmed information posted on several websites’ forums. Of course, these are only rumors and any or all of them could turn out to be incorrect.
Some additional information about one of these devices has recently been added to the inventory database of an electronics retailer.
Unlike the previous Zire model, which was an entry-level device, the Zire 71 will offer the very latest version of the Palm OS, a high-resolution color screen, and a built-in camera.
Reportedly, the Zire 71 will use Palm OS 5.2.1, which uses Graffiti 2. It has 16 MB of RAM, of which 13 MB is accessible to the user. It is now known this will use a 144 MHz Texas Instruments OMAP processor. This is probably the same one as used in the Tungsten T.
It has a 320 by 320 pixel, 16-bit color screen. It is not yet known if this is reflective or transflective.
It also has an SD/MMC slot for removable memory cards. This also supports SDIO so peripherals like wireless networking cards can be used with the Zire 71. It uses Palm’s Universal Connector, which will allow it to use many peripherals already on the market, like external keyboards.
The integrated camera is on the back and can be covered by a sliding door for protection. It can take images at up to 640 by 480 pixels. It is basically a point-and-shoot camera, with autofocus, auto exposure, and auto white balance. A flash is not included.
Because it uses Palm OS 5, it can play digital audio and video. It will come with the RealOne Player, which can handle MP3s and RealAudio. It will also come with a player for audio books from Audible.com. In addition, it will be able to play video in QuickTime format.
The device will be 4.5 by 2.9 by .7 inches and weighs 5.3 ounces. It is expected to cost between $250 and $300.
An employee at an electronics retailer is reporting that the Tungsten C now appears in the company inventory database. This will be a high-end model with built-in Wi-Fi wireless networking.
The Tungsten C will run a 400 MHz Intel XScale processor. It is not yet known if this will be the new PXA255 with the faster bus. It will have 64 MB of RAM and run Palm OS 5.2.1.
It will be the first Palm OS model to have integrated Wi-Fi (802.11b) wireless networking, which will allow it to connect to wireless Internet access points and exchange data at up to 11 Mbps at up to 300 feet.
It will have a 320-by-320 pixel, 16-bit color screen. Because it has an integrated keyboard, it does not have a dedicated Graffiti area.
Externally, this device is supposed to look much like the Tungsten W. It will also have an SD/MMC slot and use the Universal Connector. The size and weight of this device is not yet known.
The Tungsten C is listed in this electronic store’s database as costing $500.
It is not yet known when either of these will be available. However, Judy Bruner, Palm’s CFO, recently said, “We are planning a Spring product launch. Remember we launch products in the Fall and the Spring, but the launch will be in the second half of the quarter.” Palm’s current financial quarter starter March 1 and ends May 31, so new products can be expected between April 15 and the end of May.