New Zires aim higher

PalmOne has released a pair of new Zire handhelds designed to entice people who are holding out for high-end multimedia features at low-end to mid-range PDA (personal digital assistant) prices. The new models are the Zire 31 (pictured), which at $299 is the first PalmOne colour handheld priced under $300, and the $599 Zire 72.

PalmOne Zire

The Zire 31 has a 160x160 colour screen and comes with brightness and contrast controls. It's the least expensive PalmOne handheld to date with an SD card expansion slot, so users can add additional hardware, software, or memory on top of the included 16MB (including about 2MB for the Palm 5 operating system). Powering the Zire 31 is a 200MHz Intel XScale processor.

The Zire 72 includes a 1.2Mp, 2X digital zoom camera that can capture short video clips and also play MP3s and videos. The PDA has a 320x320 active-matrix colour screen. Also new is integrated Bluetooth support, so users with a Bluetooth mobile phone can use their handhelds to download e-mail and surf the Web. The Zire 72 is powered by one of Intel's brand-new XScale processors, the 312MHz PXA270. To appeal to users who want multimedia but also need a solid productivity tool, the Zire 72 is the first Zire to bundle DataViz's Documents to Go Standard Edition software for creating and editing Microsoft Office documents.

PalmOne Zire

Price: Zire 72 ($599), Zire 31 ($299)

Vendor: PalmOne

Phone: 1800 350 535

URL: www.palmone.com/au

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