Palm to pull Tungsten line down-market?

Claimed T5 successor will get Wi-Fi, though

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Palm appears to be gearing up to launch the successor to its Tungsten T5 PDA next month, along with a new low-end colour handheld.

The new Tungsten is described as the Tungsten X, though we'd suggest that from the picture of the machine posted on PalmInfocenter, that's a placeholder name rather than a codename or the device's shipping moniker. The device looks like a standard T5, but with darker keys.

Whatever it's called, the handheld is said to contain a 312MHz Intel XScale processor, 128MB of Flash memory, a 320 x 480 display, Bluetooth wireless connectivity and an SD IO slot. The CPU speed and the memory capacity are both lower than the T5's 416MHz and 256MB, suggesting that if X is a T5 replacement, Palm is trying to create some clear space between the Tungsten line and the LifeDrive.

The X is also said to feature Wi-Fi support. If that's correct, the slower CPU and reduced memory may also be Palm's way of keeping the price down. It is said to have been priced at $299 - $50 less than the T5 and $200 less than the LifeDrive, though that model is probably due for a price-cut.

That the T5 is on the way out comes from PalmInfocenter's "reliable" source, who was allegedly told the T5 had been marked for discontinuation. The replacement, he was told, will ship on 11 October.

Palm has traditionally introduced new Tungstens in October each year, ever since the first model shipped in October 2002.

As for the low-end machine, it's said to be dubbed the Zire 22 and appears to be an update to the current Zire 21, replacing its monochrome screen and 8MB of RAM with a colour display and 32MB of memory. The 22's claimed price, $99, is exactly what Palm currently charges for the 21. ®

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