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PalmOne preps Zire, Tungsten ‘updates’

Rumored to be ditching sliders, too

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PalmOne is preparing a range up updates to its Zire consumer PDA family and new versions of its popular Tungsten E and T pro devices, according to a variety of web sites publishing snippets of what are alleged to be leaked product specs.

If accurate, the rumours indicate the company will soon drop the T series' trademark slider mechanism.

Machines said to be in preparation include the Zire 31, a follow-up to the low-end Zire 21. The 31 adds a 160 x 160 colour display and an SD Card slot. A piccy of the device (now removed) showed the familiar budget Zire styling but with only two application launch buttons on the front.

With a rumoured 200MHz Intel XScale CPU, the 31 will almost certainly run Palm OS 5. It is said to sport 16MB of memory.

The Zire 72, meanwhile, is the focus of speculation concerning PalmOne's next mid-range consumer PDA. Another Palm OS 5 machine - version 5.2.1, as per the existing Zire 71, apparently - the 72 will offer an improved integrated digicam - 1.3 megapixel compares to the 71's 640 x 480 job. It will also contain 64MB of memory, of which 56MB are available to the user. The device is said to have extra buttons to activate the camera and fire up the music player.

As we noted in our review of the 71, what it really needs is Bluetooth. The 72 will feature the wireless technology.

The Zire 71 also has a slider mechanism, and we wonder if PalmOne is actually considering dropping this one, rather than the T series' version, or both. Certainly, such mechanisms add to the cost of manufacture, and PalmOne may well have decided that the extra expense is no longer justified.

Both the new T and Zire 71 are said to borrow styling elements from the Tungsten E, PalmOne's low-end pro PDA. The E is getting an update, too, the rumours sites claim, expanding its screen to 320 x 480, as per the Tungsten T3. It is said to offer Bluetooth connectivity too, which would remove one of the few differentiators between the E and the T series. ®

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