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Palm at fives and sevens over release schedule

Will the successor to the Palm III be the Palm VII or the Palm V?

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Palm Computing seems just as confused about its product release schedule as the rest of us, if comments from the company's European general manager, Neville Street, are to be believed. According to Street, quoted on a UK newswire, the next version of the Palm handheld organiser to be released in Europe will be the Palm V, which will ship in April or May. Sounds fine, except that the next version of the Palm is supposed to be the Palm VII, the wireless comms-equipped Palm III that was premiered at last month's Palm Worldwide Developers Conference (WDC). The Palm V will be half the thickness of the Palm III, use sophisticated Li-Ion batteries and contain a low-reflectivity screen. That sounds like one of the early specifications for 'Razor', the upcoming Palm device originally said to be the replacement for the Palm III. Details of Razor began to appear back in August, and since then the device has steadily accrued more and more sophisticated features, such as a full-colour screen. Certain UK pundits have speculated that Street's Palm V is Razor, but this is probably unlikely. A more sensible scenario is that Palm V is simply the next version of the Palm III, offering the same features as the Palm VII but without the wireless data components, which is why it's thinner than the V. Razor, if it is a working prototype and not simply a proof-of-concept design (at the WDC, Palm pooh-poohed speculation over Razor's spec.), will be mark the generation beyond the V and VII. That still leaves the question of why the version numbers go up by two and not one, but that's Palm for you. ®

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