Palm Computing debuted the first color screen version of its handheld devices today, called the Palm IIIc, and unveiled its first keyboard add-on as well as replacement to the Palm IIIx.
At 6.8 ounces the new IIIc is also the lightest Palm device to date and is the first III-series product to ship with batteries that recharge automatically in the Palm's docking cradle.
Palm claims it has solved the battery-life problem (inherent in a memory-hungry color screen), as the unit will operate for approximately two weeks when fully charged.
The Palm IIIc has 8MB of memory and shares a similar design to the Palm III. The screen is a 256-color TFT display and the unit ships with Palm's newest 3.5 Palm OS software which adds such features as agenda view (which allow users to view appointments and to-do items on the same screen simultaneously).
It also allows access to menu views by tapping at the top of the screen and has enhanced security, quick duplication of address records, faster HotSync speeds and support for the infrared HotSync function. The unit has begun shipping at an estimated retail price of $449.
Now that the Palm platform supports color screens, several new classes of third-party applications are becoming available. Available now is a free Internet service from AvantGo that allows users to browse interactive and personalized Web content. Another application is Album To Go, a digital photo viewer from Club Photo that lets computer users download JPEG photos to their Palm through a drag-and-drop interface. And on May 1, Rand McNally is expected to debut a color version of its new StreetFinder Deluxe 2000 mapping software for the Palm. The software is also expected to be accompanied by a GPS clip-on device for the Palm IIIc this summer.
Palm also announced the shipment of its first Palm Portable Keyboard, a full-size collapsible unit that is about the size of a paperback book when folded. It is a full QWERTY keyboard with the same key spacing and key travel as notebook computers. The keyboard will allow Palm users to compose e-mail and type text documents. The keyboard also has specially designated keys for one-touch access to Palm core applications such as address book, datebook, memo pad and to-do lists. The keyboard will come in two versions, one for the Palm III and Palm VII series and one for the Palm V series at an estimated retail price of $99 each.
Other new announcements from Palm include the launch of the Palm IIIxe and a new service plan for the Palm VII. The new Palm IIIxe replaces the IIIx and adds double the memory at 8MB at for an estimated retail price of $249.
Palm is also adding an unlimited access Internet service plan to its Palm.Net offerings for both new and existing users at a monthly flat fee $44.95.
For previous TWICE Online coverage of this topic see...
Palm `Synchs' Plans With Wireless, Internet Firms, 15-Dec-1999
Wireless Palm Goes Nationwide, 05-Oct-1999
Club Photo Aims To Replace Wallet Photos, 09-Sep-1999
3Com Announces Palm IIIe, USB Cable, 20-Jul-1999