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Palm preps upgraded Palm V

Palm Vx expands organiser's memory to match much cheaper Handspring Visor

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3Com's Palm Computing subsidiary is set to release an updated version of its sleek Palm V organiser next month. The Palm Vx will ship on 4 October, according to company sources cited by US newswires, and feature more memory (8MB, up from 2MB in the standard Palm V). Palm is expected to drop the price of the current Palm V to $399 and release the Palm Vx for $449. The Palm IIIx will fall to $299, but that still puts it above Handspring's top-end PalmOS-based organiser, the Visor Deluxe, due to ship in October for $249 and with a spec. that matches the Palm Vx. The basic Visor will cost $199. Palm refused to comment on the release or even existence of the Palm Vx, but now we're six months on from the original Palm V's launch, shipping a new version now would certainly follow Palm's past upgrade schedule. You might also expect the company to ship an upgraded version of the IIIx, rather than simply cutting its price, and that may suggest the company is focusing on the executive market, leaving the low end to Handspring -- the firm formed last year by Palm founders Jim Hawkins and Donna Dubinsky. De-emphasising the Palm IIIx will allow Palm to focus on the V for executive toy market and the VII for the wireless data arena. It also sends out a message to potential PalmOS licensees that that company really isn't out to dominate the whole palmtop market and will allow its partners to carve out their own niches. Of course, that doesn't stop the licensees targetting each other, and it will be interesting to see to what extent Apple's anticipated Palm-based entry into the market, believed to offer the company's AirPort wireless networking technology as standard and be styled along iMac lines will do for Handspring's chances in the consumer and education spaces. ®

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