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Palm courts Taiwan mobile makers to boost production

Anticipates rocketing demand

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Palm is seeking to expand production of its PDAs through a series of deals with Taiwanese manufacturers, the company's head of North Asian operations admitted last week.

Taiwanese producers make almost all of the world's portable PC products, constructing notebooks for the likes of Apple, Sony, IBM, Toshiba, Compaq, Dell, Hewlett-Packard and others.

Palm has been talking to those same suppliers, according to company executive R F Jaio, cited by Taiwan's Commercial Times newspaper. Jaio said Palm has had discussions with Inventec, Acer, First International and Mitac.

With the worldwide shortage of key PDA components - Flash memory and colour LCDs, in particular - apparently easing and with new, colour palmtops coming soon, it's no wonder Palm is looking to ramp up production to meet the growing demand it expects to see during 2001.

Palm shipped some 10.9 million PDAs up to 1 December 2000. Some analysts are predicting much more than that number of palmtop devices - between 15 million and 20 million, according to CT - will be sold during 2001, with Palm accounting for around 70 per cent of them. ®

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