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PalmOne preps 28 April PDA updates

As new Zires surface on e-tail sites

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Update PalmOne will launch a series of new machines on 28 April, The Register has learned, with models already starting to appear on e-tail sites.

Top of the list of anticipated models are consumer-oriented Zire 31 and Zire 72 models. Details remain scarce, but both are being advertised for around $170 and $310 apiece. The two products' model numbers are P80708ML3 and P80722ML3, respectively, or P80708US and P80722US in North America.

Web rumours suggest the Zire 31 will sport a 160 x 160 colour screen and an SD Card slot for memory expansion. The case features just two application buttons, rather than the usual four.

PalmOne has taken the opportunity to upgrade the low-end consumer line to Palm OS 5 and an ARM-based processor - possibly a 200MHz Intel XScale - with the 31.

The Zire 72, meanwhile, is said to offer an improved integrated digicam - 1.3 megapixels 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 RealPlayer. It is also said to sport Bluetooth connectivity.

According to market watcher Current Analysis' PDA specialist, Sam Bhavnani, the 72 drops the slider mechanism introduced with the Zire 71.

Palm CEO Todd Bradley confirmed in interviews last month that the company would release new models in April.

Other new models anticipated from PalmOne include updates to the Tungsten T and E machines, and possibly a new, camera-less version of the Treo 600. ®

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