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Tungsten E on 1 October

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One of the three devices Palm is expected to launch next October has been revealed as the Tungsten E, a new PDA designed to extend the reach of the pro-oriented Tungsten line down into the low-end of the market.

Basic details of the product - its model number, provisional price and the size if its packaging - were posted on the web last month allegedly after they appeared in Best Buy's internal product database.

As we pointed out at the time, the $199 device's box was sized to match that of previous Zire releases rather than Tungsten products. However, its part number, P80880US, suggested the model was a member of the Tungsten family, all of whom sport a model number of the form P808xxUS, rather than the Zire's P807xxUS model code.

Our mooted solution to the discrepancy was a wireless Zire. It looks like we may have guessed wrong, however. New information posted on the web, supposedly from CompUSA's database names the device as the Tungsten E.

Palm recently slashed the price of the Tungsten T to just $199, the same price as the E. With the Tungsten T2 - a relatively minor update to the T - retailing for around $399, Palm clearly wants rid of its T stocks before the new model comes in.

The CompUSA database also confirms that the top-end Tungsten release is the T3, now priced at $399, suggesting that the T2's price will come on or before it ships, possibly to $299.

Just as Palm has extended the consumer Zire family to the high-end with the Zire 71, so it appears to be widening the business-oriented Tungsten line to take in the low end. Palm sells devices in bulk to corporates, so the E may be primarily intended to drive those sales by providing a more simple device that lacks the other family members' variety of wireless connections. The E uses the same stylus as the Tungsten C and W, suggesting it to lacks the T's slider mechanism and sports a micro keyboard.

With the Zire 71 priced at $299, above the Tungsten E's $199, it's clear Palm sees these two lines appealing to different buyers, rather than simplistically placing consumers at the low-end and business users at the high-end of a single continuum.

The third machine set for an October release is confirmed as a member of the Zire family, the 21 to be precise. Its $99 price matches that of the current Zire, but whether it will replace that machine or force a price cut isn't known. ®

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