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Palm to bring wireless Web to Japan

Will work with NTT DoCoMo

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Palm will bring its brand of wireless Web access to the Japanese market next year, the company said today. The service will be offered in partnership with DoCoMo, Japan's largest mobile comms company.

The PDA company's timetable is broad. A PalmOS-based wireless PDA and the links to cellular phone networks that provide the connection to the Net will be rolled out "in the first half of next year, between January and June", according to Kazuki Furuya, Palm Japan's head of marketing.

The network connection will be provided DoCoMo, and probably forms the basis for the hints that Palm and DoCoMo are in discussions on the development of handheld devices, as we reported earlier today (see Palm, DoCoMo begin joint development talks).

Those discussions - plus the long timeframe put in place for getting the service up and running - suggest Palm and DoCoMo may want to offer something more than the standard Palm VIIx wireless handheld. Both companies may want to wait for Palm's next iteration of its wireless-enabled PDA, or may be planning a special, dual-branded device solely for the Japanese market.

Furuya said subscribers will pay less for the data service than ordinary DoCoMo cellphone users do. They pay on average ¥4000 ($38) per month. ®

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