Palm launches the i705


Palm today launched its latest handheld organiser, i705, which can securely send and receive wireless e-mail, and browse the Internet, Paula Mythen writes.

The Palm i705, set to replace the Palm VII model, uses the Palm.Net network to access e-mails and stripped down Web pages via a built-in antenna. The Palm.Net service for the new handheld is provided via Cingular Wireless' US nationwide mobitex-based packet data network.

The i705 comes with a personal e-mail client, Palm multimail deluxe desktop and link, as well as an e-mail wizard utility for installation of six different Internet e-mail accounts. The PDA will also notify a user of incoming e-mail by sound or vibration as it is received.

Weighing in at 5.9 ounces, including battery, the i705 measures 4.65 inches by 3.06 inches by 0.61 inches. The handheld is based on the Palm OS v4.1 platform. It features 8MB RAM and 4MB Flash ROM, a 33MHz Motorola Dragonball VZ processor, a rechargeable lithium polymer battery and HotSync USB cradle. The PDA has a monochrome screen with a resolution of 160 pixels by 160 pixels and an expansion slot to up the 8MB memory by an additional 64MB, with an option to add expansion card.

The Palm i705 will sell for about $450. This summer, Palm will roll out a $2,500 server-based system that allows companies to securely transfer information to and from workers in the field. The corporate e-mail solution for Microsoft Exchange Outlook and Domino Lotus Notes server, called the Palm Wireless Messaging Solution, is currently in beta testing and will be available later this year.

The new device is to feature AOL's Instant Messenger which will provide users with access to AOL Mail, news, driving directions, and local event and entertainment information.

Palm has traditionally dominated the PDA market, but competition is becoming much fiercer. An IDC report in late 2001 claimed that Microsoft powered Pocket PCs were making a bid to overtake Palm in the market for handheld devices, which it projected would be worth USD6.6 billion by 2005. According to the research firm Palm devices still account for almost 60 percent of purchases by business and the popular iPaq handhelds by Compaq were at 30 percent market share and showing signs of rising.

Meanwhile a Canadian firm known as Research in Motion (RIM) launched a product last year in the US called the BlackBerry, which gives users instant mobile access to e-mail as well as calendar and scheduling facilities. Blackberry is now making inroads in Europe after RIM signed a deal with mmO2 to supply the devices here.

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