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PalmOne Unwraps Two Zire PDAs

PalmOne introduced two new color Zire models, including its first unit with Bluetooth, and an MP3 model under $150.

PalmOne also announced that it has sold more than 3 million Zire handheld computers.

The Zire line, which was introduced 18 months ago, has helped expand the Palm user base since about 70 percent of the original Zire sales were to users new to PalmOne and more than 50 percent of these were women, the company said. In addition, 90 percent of the early Zire buyers said they were not tech-savvy, according to PalmOne

The newer Zire 71 attracted close to 40 percent new users, added the company.

Now PalmOne is replacing the Zire 71 with a Bluetooth-enabled unit called the Zire 72. It adds an improved 1.2-megapixel digital camera, expanded memory to 32MB, video-rendering capability, MMS, and the ability to run native Word and Excel files. It has an SD/SDIO expansion slot and is based on a 312MHz processor. The Zire 72 unit shipped April 28 at $299.

The new Zire 31 is the first color Zire to fall under the $150 mark. It has an expansion slot, infrared port and offers 16MB of memory. The Zire 31 comes with a built-in MP3 player, photo viewer and new PIM software. It runs on a 200MHz processor at $149.

In other PDA news, Intel announced last month a new family of XScale-based processors that will allow PDAs to support DVD-quality video and will also allow cellphones to support full-motion video conferencing.

The new PXA27x processors, formerly code-named “Bulverde”, provide added flash memory, lower power consumption and use a new multimedia accelerator for 3D rendering. They will be available at clock speeds running from 312MHz up to 624MHz, with as much as 64MB of flash memory, said the company.

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