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New Palms With Built-in WiFi, Camera

Palm will deliver two new handhelds, one each under the Zire and Tungsten brands, including the first Palm with built-in camera and 802.11b wireless capability.

The new Zire 71 has a VGA camera and improved color screen. The unit can play back MP3s and video and comes with an SD slot and a universal PC cradle.

It is aimed at younger professionals, “people new to the workplace and college graduates,” said Raj Doshi, senior product manager for the Zire 71. Palm’s research found that 29 percent of those who want to purchase a PDA in the future, would like to buy one with a built-in camera, Doshi said.

The Zire 71 uses a color TFT, 320-by-320 transflective screen. The unit is designed so that the display doubles as a viewfinder when the camera lens is exposed. The camera will interrupt any mode for spontaneous shots and the unit has a built-in photo album. It has 16MB of RAM and battery life is about week with normal usage. Suggested list price is $299.

The new Tungsten C is aimed at the business professional who is rarely at his desk, “the campus-based networker or the corridor cruiser,” said Paul Osborne, Tungsten C product manager.

It allows wireless network access via 802.11b and comes with embedded antenna. The unit uses the Intel XScale 400MHz processor with 64MB of memory. It has the same screen as the Zire 71 and ships with easy WiFi set-up software. Also pre-installed is security and data encryption, VersaMail 2.5 e-mail client, wireless document handling software and wireless compatibility with Microsoft Outlook, as well as a PPT VPN client. It also allows users to wirelessly hot-sync with a desktop.

Other features are proxyless Web browsing and voice jack for voice recording.

Battery life for the Tungsten C is about one week. It will be available in a limited rollout on April 23 with a full channel rollout on May 5. Suggested retail price is $499.

Because of a technology breakthrough by the Palm Solutions Group, the Tungsten C is the first Palm to offer more than 16MB of memory. Palm says it is now able to provide up to 128MB in handhelds using the Palm OS.

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