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Palm Introduces Tungsten Line

After shoring up the low end of its fall lineup with the Zire, Palm is now offering its most powerful model to date, the Tungsten T. Also new is the Tungsten W improved wireless PDA, with phone capability.

The new Tungsten T is the first Palm to venture away from the Motorola Dragonball processor, to an OMAP 1510 ARM enhanced processor from Texas Instruments. The most compact Palm to date, it measures 4 inches by 3 inches, but it has a sliding mechanism to expose a Graffiti writing area, elongating the unit, when the user wants to input data.

Product manager Anthony Armenta explained that “80 percent of what people do is view and access information” so it made sense to go to the smaller form factor, which “can fit comfortably in your jeans pocket,” he said.

The unit also has the brightest screen for a Palm to date with 320 by 320-pixel resolution and over 65,000 colors, said Armenta. It runs on Palm 5.0 and supports SD. It also incorporates Bluetooth and an easy set-up application called PhoneLink, which promises to let users synchronize their handheld with a Bluetooth phone or other device in a minute. It also offers a “whiteboard” application called BlueBoard for allowing users to share notes with up to seven other people via Bluetooth and BlueChat for text messaging.

At 16MB, the Tungsten T is not positioned as a Pocket PC direct competitor. Its aim is “to bring in a lot of power but still keep the ease of use and practicality of the Palm,” said Armenta, who claimed that most people already have a desktop and do not necessarily want the same functionality in a handheld. Suggested retail price for the Tungsten T is $499.

It is joined by Palm’s next-generation wireless device, the Tungsten W. It also has 16MB of RAM and uses the same display as the Tungsten T, but runs on a Motorola Dragonball Z processor and has a thumb-style keyboard that is always exposed. It has an SD slot, and is designed for GSM or GPRS service. The unit also has a headset jack for voice calls and has a suggested retail price of $549.