Low-end Palm Zire PDA gets bargain price tag

Palm Inc. unveiled its Zire handheld on Monday, a AUD$239 no-frills PDA (personal digital assistant) that is the first in a new Palm product line for consumers.

The Zire, with a white front and silver back, weighs 3.8 ounces (108 grams) and is the lightest Palm handheld available today, Palm said in a statement.

The Zire runs Palm OS 4.1, has a 160 by 160 pixel monochrome display, a Motorola Inc. Dragonball 16MHz processor and 2M bytes of memory. The device lacks an expansion slot but comes with a rechargeable lithium ion battery, Palm said.

A cable for synchronizing with a PC or Mac over USB (Universal Serial Bus) is included with the Zire; wireless sharing of information and files with other Palm PDAs is also possible with infrared, Palm said.

The Zire is aimed at first-time PDA buyers. The device has the classic Palm applications: date book, address book, note pad and to dos, and can store about 3,000 appointments and 6,000 addresses, Palm said.

Higher-end PDAs on the market today typically boast a color screen, at least 16M bytes of memory, broad expansion options and faster processors.

Palm announced in late September that it will brand its forthcoming consumer products Zire and its business products Tungsten. The company will emphasize security and reliability in its business products, while stressing low price and user-friendliness when it comes to consumer PDAs.

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Joris Evers

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