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PalmOne to launch 'big RAM' Tungsten next week

Cutting PDA prices, too

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PalmOne is set to cut the prices of its current PDA line-up next month as it gears up for the Holiday sales period and the release of its latest Tungsten handheld, The Register has learned.

Reliable sources familiar with the company's plans suggest that the new Tungsten's launch could come as early as next Monday.

The new machine is expected to be dubbed the Tungsten T5, skipping past the T4 moniker to avoid offending buyers in nations for whom the number four is held to be bad karma.

Past leaks, if accurate, have pointed to a machine with a 520MHz Intel XScale PXA270 CPU and 128MB of memory. Comments from people claiming to have seen the device suggest the new machine contains 256MB of memory, possible some or all of which is Flash, in order to preserve data after hard resets. It has also been claimed that part or all of the device's memory can be mounted on a host computer's desktop as a removable storage device.

Interestingly, that's a feature that was many years ago suggested as an option Apple and (then) Palm were working on for early versions of Mac OS X. In the end, Apple developed iSync. More recently, PalmSource - as the OS developer is now called - said it would no longer support synchronisation with the Mac OS.

But back to the T5, and our sources strongly suggest that PalmOne will be talking up the PDA's memory configuration at launch. That suggests to us that the 256MB figure.

Like the current top-end Tungsten T3, the T5 is said to feature a 320 x 480 display (switchable between landscape and portrait views) but this time minus the slider that has become a key feature of the Tungsten T line-up since the first model shipped almost two years ago.

Like past Tungstens, the T5 is expected to include Bluetooth support, and possibly Wi-Fi too, if some past speculation proves correct. The latter could be provided by bundling PalmOne's new Wi-Fi SD card.

PalmOne is also known to be working on a successor to the Treo 600 smart phone, but it is not believed that the so-called Treo 650 - aka 'Ace' - will be launched next week.

Sources close to PalmOne confirmed a number of upcoming PDA price cuts, but were unable to provide further details. ®

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