3Com partners with NTT DoCoMo for wireless Palm roll-out

Japanese wireless data service to mirror recent US launch

3Com's Palm Computing subsidiary has won the support of Japan's largest cellphone company, NTT DoCoMo, with a major technology and business alliance that puts the Palm platform at the heart of DoCoMo's mobile data service plans. Essentially what we have here is a Japanese version of the wireless trials Palm is currently running in the US on the back of its recently released Palm VII. Those trials are being conducted with BellSouth Cellular, but Palm always said the technology could easily be taken to other cellphone companies and territories. It's not yet clear, however, when the Japanese service will be launched, but it clearly can't be that far off. The deal is particularly good news for Palm, which doesn't appear to have won quite as much support in Japan as it has in the US and Europe. The company only just released a Japanese version of PalmOS, and the Palm V is the first Palm to offer the kind of cool styling favoured by the gadget-hungry Japanese. Many buyers have opted instead for Windows CE devices with their colour screens. DoCoMo brings a subscriber base of around 28 million subscribers to the deal, plus a rapid technology upgrade programme -- it is already working on rolling out a Wideband CDMA digital network for next year. ®

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