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Palm, Handspring Camps Get A Boost

Palm and Handspring strengthened their product lines last week with new features and price configurations that include more expandability and a boost in memory.

On the Palm side, the company bolstered its low end by adding an SD/MMC slot for the first time to its m100 series. The new m125 model also has a faster 33MHz processor and a new flip cover.

Like the m500 line, the m125 uses a Dragonball VZ33 processor and has 8MB of RAM. It ships with a USB cradle and uses the same connector cradle as the m500 line. It will accept all new SD cards and SD IO accessories including the SD Bluetooth Card due from Palm before the close of the year, at an estimated retail price of $150.

Palm will also begin shipping several new SD cards including a language translator at $39.95, an e-book mystery series card at $29.95, an e-book Sci-Fi series card at $29.95 and an e-book personal finance card at $38.95. Palm is also co-marketing a Rand McNally Atlas card with the map company at $39.95.

The new M125 also differs from the m100 and m105 in that is has a rubberized flip lid and the faceplate comes in a two-tone in-mold decoration style. It ships with a bonus Software CD with over $100 worth of software including DataViz Docs to Go, Palm Reader, AOL Mail, Palm connectivity software and AvantGo.

Handspring’s two new units include the first Palm-based handheld to offer 16MB of RAM.

At the mid- to high-end is a new Visor Pro with 16MB of RAM and rechargeable lithium ion batteries for power users. It uses a Dragonball VZ 33MHz processor, includes the company’s Springboard expansion module and has a silent alarm with blinking LED. Available in silver, the Visor Pro has an estimated retail price of $299.

At the lower end is the new Visor Neo which is 50 percent faster than the Visor Deluxe. It comes with 8MB of RAM, and has a Dragonball VZ 33MHz processor as well as a Springboard module. The Visor Neo is available in red, blue and smoke at an estimated retail price of $199.

IDC, Framingham, Mass., while there was a dip in Palm’s market share earlier in the year, Palm had regained some percentage points. IDC’s current format analysis places Palm-based handhelds at a 69 percent share of the worldwide market, and Pocket PC at about 17 percent.

In other handheld news, PowerLOC Technologies released a new GPS-navigation product for the Pocket PC called the Destinator. The software allows turn-by-turn directions to you destination with voice instructions in three languages. It comes with a separate GPS antenna at a suggested retail price of $300.