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3Com readies Palm IIIx two months before Palm V is due

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The next version of the 3Com's Palm handheld organiser will be called the IIIx, according to reports from US sources. The details of its specification that have so far leaked out suggest the device will offer 4MB of memory and offer improved screen clarity, though it remains a monochrome display -- colour is clearly some way off still. The Palm IIIx is set to ship at the end of February, coming it at the Palm III's current price-point, and forcing that device down in price. That will leave the III's remaining life very short indeed. According to Palm's European general manager, Neville Street, the Palm V -- which, according to US sources, has yet to be specced out -- will ship in the April/May timeframe, effectively just two months after the IIIx. Street's comments, made earlier this year (see Palm at fives and sevens over release schedule, suggested the Palm V would be half the thickness of the Palm III, thanks to improved battery technology, and offer a much clearer, black and white screen. How to reconcile these two sets of information? The most likely scenario is that the IIIx is what Street was calling the Palm V, possibly minus the new battery, which may have proved too costly, and so the new, thinner shell too. That slimline styling was first mooted as part of the spec. for Razor, Palm's next-generation palmtop, which was soon suggested would eventually be released as the Palm V. Of course, where all this leaves the Palm IV is anyone's guess. Still, only the supremely cynical would suggest Palm itself is leaking all this often contradictory data just to keep rivals guessing... ®

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