Comments on: Palm Announces the Zire Handheld

Palm ZirePalm Inc has announced the new entry level, low cost, Zire Handheld. With a street price of $99, the Palm Zire handheld is designed for the first-time purchaser and is being billed as "The ultimate alternative to paper."

The Palm Zire handheld represents the first major introduction to mainstream consumers, a new Palm OS handheld model at the sub-$100 price point. It has a polished white face and silver back design reminiscent of an Apple iPod.

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Tungsten T

carr7 @ 10/7/2002 12:42:23 AM #
Hope the Tungsten is not far behind!!
RE: Tungsten T
Palmcicle @ 10/7/2002 12:51:59 AM #
Carr 7 are you looking at the new sony or are you set on the Tungsten? I really want to give Bluetooth a try buy I am concerned about the 'slider' wearing out.
RE: Tungsten T
M3wThr33 @ 10/7/2002 1:00:26 AM #
But you don't fear a twisty display or a bendy hinge or a wi-fi port collecting dust?

I don't think you understand the gravity of the situation. We're in space.
RE: Tungsten T
carr7 @ 10/7/2002 1:28:16 AM #
The siding mechanism is my only worry. It's flash upgradability and bluetooth are what I am really looking forward to.

I currently have a 10meg IIIx that I have upgraded several times. I am also guessing the Tungsten T will also be upgradable for years to come.

I also just bought a SonyEricsson T68i I can't wait to try out the bluetooth connection to.

IR port? Wasn't listed in the specs...

Palmcicle @ 10/7/2002 12:42:39 AM #
Palm just updated their site within the last hour. I noticed that there was no IR port listed in the specs. Does this thing have one?

With an intro. price of 99 bucks this thing will be sfuffing stockings at $59. Until Sony (or Dell) buys Palm out in February. I will probably grab a few just for kicks, it will make a great raffle item at the office party.

Phew! Whats that smell?!? Did someone Zire in here?

RE: IR port? Wasn't listed in the specs...
re_ality @ 10/7/2002 1:05:49 AM #
The Zire demo shows IR beaming (see "get started")

Zire? why not a Palm V or Vx?

dhchung @ 10/7/2002 12:50:52 AM #
At that price, I think I would choose a 2nd hand Palm V or Vx if I am the first time user.
Zire only has a newer os which can be flashed to V or Vx anyway.
Palm V looks more professtional, and it has more buttons.
Vx even has more MHz and more RAM.

RE: Zire? why not a Palm V or Vx?
Palmcicle @ 10/7/2002 12:54:15 AM #
There aren't any 'ebay displays' next to the checkout stand a wal-mart though. These will sell like hotcakes during Christmas then die.
RE: Zire? why not a Palm V or Vx?
djpedro @ 10/7/2002 9:03:57 AM #
A palm V or Vx also won't have a full warranty on them. When the price slides town to $50/60 I think these will be a hot commodity indeed.
This is the type of Palm that people on the "other" end have been waiting for, while the the top end is slowly but surely getting what they've been awaiting as well.

RE: Zire? why not a Palm V or Vx?
Wenda @ 10/7/2002 9:52:15 AM #
Palm Vx was suppossed to be a high end PDAs. It's discontinued anyway.

Nothing to kill or die for.
RE: Zire? why not a Palm V or Vx?
OzziePalmDieHard @ 10/7/2002 11:40:57 PM #
If you were a first time buyer, you wouldn't know what a Palm VX. FIrst time buyers still call them PalmPilots for goodness sake.

Even if the buyer saw a V or VX next to the Zire in the shop, they wouldn't see much difference apart from the outward appearance. These people are interested in uses, not specs.

People have a psychological sense that a used object is worth much less, however untouched it is.

That is why your car drops several thousand dollars in woth when you drive it out of the dealership, and that is why the Zire will sell.

Several Months Ago at Palm Headquarters;

"Hah! Those sony bastards think that they can beat us in stupid names. The Tungsten T is infinitely more ridiculous than "clie"....."

It's finally here!

robman @ 10/7/2002 1:00:16 AM #
As an educational researcher deploying handheld computers in the field, the Palm Zire is a godsend. We've been waiting for a machine that is inexpensive, maintains widescale software compatibility, and --- this is important -- comes standard with rechargable batteries.

I would strongly prefer that the Zire came with a Universal Connector over mini USB. While mini USB is a *physical standard*, meaning devices will be less expensive to construct, it's not an existing Palm peripheral standard, meaning that all the current Palm add-ons are incompatible with the Palm.

Palm Research at the University of Texas at Austin

RE: It's finally here!
asiayeah @ 10/7/2002 2:05:45 AM #
Hi robman,

Are you from the Palm Research at the University of Texas at Austin? I am interested in it, what does the division do? Can you show us a URL to it?


RE: It's finally here!
robman @ 10/7/2002 9:00:44 AM #
Hi Tony,

Our group information is at

Palm Research at the University of Texas at Austin

Wait a Second...

JFM3 @ 10/7/2002 1:45:13 AM #
Wait a second here, isn't the m105 also $99? Doesn't it have 8mb instead of 2mb? Doesn't it have a 20mhz Processor (maybe 33mhz, i forget) instead of a 16mhz Processor? Why would anyone buy the Zire? Am I looking at the right information or does it seem that the zire is overpriced or the m105 is underpriced? Comments Anyone? I can think of a lot more reasons why the m105 is a bargin for only $99 when compared to the Zire? Don't get me wrong, I'm a diehard Palm fan with my m505 but what's going on here?
RE: Wait a Second...
twizza @ 10/7/2002 2:00:42 AM #
well. at first i felt like the previous poster and said that this was a nutty attempt for Palm. But then i realized that one, this is designed to be sold for less than $100 before the end of its run. that 2) it is in a lot of respects better than the m100/m105. i ran a class where students had m105s and one of the things that they didnt like was that they had to replace batteries. they liked the idea of an internal rechargable batter better. they also liked the slimmer profile of the m515 compared to the m105. the Zire delievers on these fronts. the last means that i think that this is better is that u will not normally see the Zire in best buy or circuit city next to the m105. You will see the Zire in Walmart and Target, where they will get more 'oooh they sell Palms here too' reaction than what you would get with teh m105.

overall i think that this is a good start for Palm. i just hope that the market feels the same way.

RE: Wait a Second...
cbusch @ 10/7/2002 2:11:31 AM #
Shh! They're hoping no one will notice.

RE: Wait a Second...
hotpaw4 @ 10/7/2002 2:42:07 AM #
> Wait a second here, isn't the m105 also $99?

That's the before Christmas price. After the holiday shopping season, the Zire will probably be priced lower. The m105's seems to be priced low to clear out inventory... get 'em while you can.

RE: Wait a Second...
myname @ 10/7/2002 3:13:13 AM #
hmm should they just discontinue the m105 ??
it's so strange .. the m105 is more expandable, more memory, Palm really love to make strange decisions.

RE: Wait a Second...
alexp @ 10/7/2002 11:39:43 AM #
Remember, the m105 debuted at $250. $250! It's NOW down to about $100, if you can find it at all.

This unit is debuting at the m105's "bottom-out" price, and it'll only get lower over time. Don't be surprised if it's $60 in time for the holidays.

This isn't the Palm for me, obviously, but I can see why a number of people would buy it. There was a time when all of us would have gone nuts for a 2MB Palm for $100.

RE: Wait a Second...
hotpaw4 @ 10/7/2002 3:22:28 PM #
>hmm should they just discontinue the m105 ??
it's so strange .. the m105 is more expandable, more memory, Palm really love to make strange decisions.

What's so strange? If you could choose between producing and selling for $99, a product which cost *you* personally around $60 to manufacture, or a product which cost you less than $30 to manufacture, which would you choose? Don't forget to add up the interest costs on the huge amounts of money you have to borrow to make hundreds of thousands of units, and that you have to give the stores and distributors a healthy chunk of the retail price.

Sounds like an easy decision to me...

It's a classic

asiayeah @ 10/7/2002 1:58:42 AM #
The hardware spec looks similar to a Palm III device, but with USB and rechargable batteries. We could see it as a Palm classic manufactured with today's technologies and latest software.

However, I still wonder why there are only 2 hardware buttons, instead of 4. And wouldn't it be nicer for a single cable, instead of one hotsync and one power cable?

And why it is a 16Mhz CPU, instead of a 33Mhz?


RE: It's a classic
twizza @ 10/7/2002 2:11:12 AM #
i noticed that on the processor too. seems to me that it will suck for those people that get this around christmas. cause it seems like the kind of model that will drop in proce around mid-jan to about $70-75.

RE: It's a classic
Ricky @ 10/7/2002 2:13:43 AM #
The difference between the m105 and Zire is production cost. The 105, with it's relatively good stats, is more expensive to build than the Zire. Right now, it's at the end of it's life and close to being discontinued. My guess is that they are making very little in terms of profit margins right now on that thing. The Zire, however, is $100 on the day that it comes out, and they probably will drop the price a few times. As we all seem to have concluded, it is much cheaper to build, so they actually make some money off of it. I can see them officially discontinuing the m105 in the VERY near future now, as it does make the Zire rather bad.

btw, lists the Zire as only having a MONOCHROME screen, as opposed to grayscale.

RE: It's a classic
asiayeah @ 10/7/2002 3:00:33 AM #
I hope Palm can make some money out of the Zire products. It's also good for the consumers, so that Palm would have enough bullets to fight with the PPC camps.


RE: It's a classic
UZI4U182 @ 10/7/2002 12:10:37 PM #
>MONOCHROME screen, as opposed to grayscale.

I don't see what the difference between the two are.

--Devan-- | Email me:

Webmaster of
Palm OS apps, news, reviews and such
Check out the brand new forum!
Proud owner of a Palm m100, Sony CLIÉ PEG-S320, and Sony CLIÉ PEG-SJ30!

RE: It's a classic
cbulock @ 10/7/2002 12:51:33 PM #
Monochrome means black or white. Grayscale means black and white and all the shades in between.

RE: It's a classic
bcombee @ 10/7/2002 12:58:46 PM #
Actually, monochromw literally means "one color". Most monochrome displays can do different levels of that color, as as noted in Dan's review, this one does do 16 levels of gray with its monochrome screen.

Ben Combee, CodeWarrior for Palm OS technical lead
Programming help at
RE: It's a classic
hansh @ 10/7/2002 3:41:31 PM #
Stop wondering about the low-end specs of this device.

It is just a marketing strategy to offer a single very cheap bottom-end device. I think they deliberately put in so little memory and processing power, in order to win a large market share form first time buyers on the one hand, while on the other hand they don't spoil their marketshare for the more advanced users, who need more memory, processing power and expandability.

I am pretty confident that Palm will soon bring out 8MB 33Mhz and maybe even 16MB 66mhz (color?) versions of this handheld, at a higher price, to cater for the more advanced users who need a new (and definately better looking) alternative to the M1xx series.

just my 2 (euro)cents...

Hans H

RE: It's a classic
myname @ 10/9/2002 5:00:15 AM #
i am sure if it sells for 75 or 50 dollars there will be alot less complaints.

second hand Palms =better choice

serpico @ 10/7/2002 2:41:04 AM #
I think a second hand Palm from ebay or your local buy&sell papers is a better choice. I feel like we're going back to the beginning reading the specs on this! I know why they are bringing this out, but for most of us we would recommend to our friends and family a used Palm V/Vx or IIIc.

The look is different for Palm, but they needed something different than the m1xx series. Anyway, we're waiting for the big OS5 guns! Another 2 weeks I think for the Tungsten.

RE: second hand Palms =better choice
asiayeah @ 10/7/2002 2:58:44 AM #
That's true. We would probably just give our old Palm devices to our relatives or friends, when we buy the new Tungsten T at the end of this monht!

That's probaby why the Zire is released before the Tungsten T! ;-)

RE: second hand Palms =better choice
MikeInDM @ 10/7/2002 8:53:28 AM #
But it's not marked to people who already own Palms... or to their friends. We are talking about a blister pack at Wal-Mart. We are talking about stocking stuffers at Christmas. We are talking about the non-techie parents and grandparents who are spending less than $100 on a first time Palm user. Hopefully, this person will find their experience with Palm a good one and *want* to upgrade to a more expensive machine with "more buttons" :)

If E-bay had a way to physically pickup a used V or Vx while you were standing in line at Wal-Mart it might be an issue. They don't.


RE: second hand Palms =better choice
serpico @ 10/7/2002 4:05:43 PM #
Of course we know that is what Palm is trying to do, it's kinda like the little items near the cashier. They want you to pick up those things as impulse buys. I can see how this Zire can be that too for people who don't know anything about palms or no anyone who owns one. They are after a different market for sure.

Four reasons to buy Clie SL10 instead of Zire

achen @ 10/7/2002 3:10:24 AM #
By spending only $50 more, you get four upgrades:

RAM: 2MB -> 8MB
(After you own it for 1 week, you're going to regret because there is no more space to install software)

CPU: 16 MHz -> 33MHz
(Even palm IIIc has 20 MHz !)

Expantion slot: NO -> YES
(After you own it for 2 week, you're going to regret because there is no expansion slot to take advantage of Palm OS 4.1)

Resolution: 160x160 -> 320x320
(Well.. Palm fans say they don't need HiRes since Clie N series came out, however you only know how good it is after you actully see it and use it.)

Why get Palm when you can get a Clie?

RE: Four reasons to buy Clie SL10 instead of Zire
amike @ 10/7/2002 4:04:45 AM #

RAM: 2MB -> 8MB
why install software? Another PIM ? Too many features for most users, Games (color !)... Remember 80/20 rule !

CPU: 16 MHz -> 33MHz
better speed for what software ?

Expantion slot: NO -> YES
Will you buy APN for your Zire? Really?
And Zire is not e-book for "big" readers

Resolution: 160x160 -> 320x320
I find the clie-10 display very slow, and the use of greyness make it very ugly. So....

Why get Palm when you can get a Clie?

RE: Four reasons to buy Clie SL10 instead of Zire
myname @ 10/7/2002 4:27:01 AM #
One thing I think most peope would like to put on a PDA .... a DICTIONARY !!! that's not a game, that doesn't need any color screen.

As for the rest of your comment, I think it's a waste of my time to even respond to, you should know how wrong your really are.

RE: Four reasons to buy Clie SL10 instead of Zire
twkermit @ 10/7/2002 4:29:51 AM #
I agree with you. Also,
I think the customers are smart enough to reject the terrible Zire from their pockets.
In fact, Zire is a newly-named PDA with a 1997 Hardware spec. except the rechargable battery and the "new" OS.
Dear all, if you care about the weight get a Visor Edge, if you care the resolution, get SL10 .....
just not "Zire".
Don't spend one cent on a dummy machine.

RE: Four reasons to buy Clie SL10 instead of Zire
Strider_mt2k @ 10/7/2002 7:04:49 AM #
You guys are missing the point again.
If Sony hung the SL10 in Target, they would probably blow the Zire away in sales.

But they aren't.

RE: Four reasons to buy Clie SL10 instead of Zire
achen @ 10/7/2002 10:21:47 AM #

You might be right,
-- not everybody needs 8MB
-- not everybody can feel the difference between 16MHz and 33MHz
-- not everybody make use of the expansion slot
-- not eveybody wants HiRes

However, can you say those four upgrades does not worth $50?

Zire might be a good PDA at this price, however comparing to something which is only $50 more but having much more features (which should be treated as standard -- for a Plam OS 4.x model comes out in late 2002), I feel the Zire does not have a pretty low and terrible C/P ratio.

Why get Palm when you can get a Clie?

RE: Four reasons to buy Clie SL10 instead of Zire
cbulock @ 10/7/2002 12:57:11 PM #
I think a lot of people here don't realize that the typical consumer doesn't go to Palm websites like this one and compare the MHz of each device. They don't even know that the Zire has only 2MB and even if they did, they woudn't know if that was good or bad. All the average consumer would know is the Palm brand name and that its an electric organizer with a stylus for $100.

RE: Four reasons to buy Clie SL10 instead of Zire
hotpaw4 @ 10/7/2002 3:36:16 PM #
I forget the actual sales curves, but very roughly, consumer products priced at $99 have unit sales volumes almost double that of $150 products with about the same amount of features per dollar. Retailers sell at lot more $99 DVD players than $150 DVD players, even though the $150 models have more features.

Of course the lower priced products often have smaller profit margings, so usually you want a mix of products with at least one at each major price point ($99, $149, $199, $299, $399, $499, etc.) Palm, Inc. looks like they're going to place the Zire line at the bottom, maybe the m5xx in the middle, and the Tungsten line at the top.

The SL series looks like it might cost more to manufacture (hard to tell, Sony have a very efficient manufacturing group...), so Palm might own the bottom (and highest volume) portion of the majorOS/PDA market.
Sony gets the top end with the "kitchen sink" NX models.

RE: Four reasons to buy Clie SL10 instead of Zire
adamrichman @ 10/7/2002 7:44:03 PM #

RE: Four reasons to buy Clie SL10 instead of Zire
gaia @ 10/7/2002 9:07:37 PM #
For people who argue that Zire buyers do not need so many functions and thus Zire is perfect for them. I only have one question:

WHY SPEND $99 ON ZIRE WHEN YOU CAN DO EVERYTHING ON $15 ~ $30 DEVICE (which you can purchase from Wal-mart)???

RE: Four reasons to buy Clie SL10 instead of Zire
cbulock @ 10/8/2002 1:12:25 PM #
You make a good point. I was checking out the organizers at wal-mart and was quite suprised on what can be done on a $20 device. They had touch screens and I think 512K memory. The only thing they couldn't really do is run Palm applications. I think the target audiance that Palm wants to buy this device, might go for a $20-30 Franklin or Rolodex device. They had all the important features (contacts, to-do, calander) and for a much better price tag.

RE: Four reasons to buy Clie SL10 instead of Zire
kevinbeard @ 12/13/2002 6:38:15 AM #
Here in the UK, the Zire retails for £79 sterling and the SL10 for £89 sterling. And lets face it, the Clie looks pretty cool, although I've only seen the pictures, whereas the Zire looks cheap at best.

The only thing that Palm seem to be doing right here is they are really pushing the Zire in places like stationery stores, the sort of places kids go. Sony are barely plugging the SL10 at all....perhaps there just isn't enough profit in it for them. And if that's the case, better grab one quick.

Spec comparison

McMagnus @ 10/7/2002 3:04:02 AM #
I checked out the comparison table for the Zire and m105 and it seems peculiar to say the least. First, the depth is listed as 2.9 inches. Ok, the 360 degree rotation demo shows that it's much thicker than it looks, but 2.9 inches??? The width isn't even listed. (It should probably be width:2.9 Height:4.4 and depth unlisted)

Further, someone else mentioned that is seems to have monochrome LCD instead of grayscale, so it's probably just black&green and nothing in between. And it also seems to lack backlight!? That would really bother me.

The third and what really drops my jaw is the "Alarms" column. It says plain "No". What? Doesn't it have a speaker? What good is a date book application without a speaker??? Hopefully it means that you can't change the default beep.

RE: Spec comparison
pocketscience @ 10/7/2002 6:51:50 AM #
It definitely has an alarm if you check out the flash demo... it talks about using Datebook to set alarms etc...


Rechargeable battery VS 6MB RAM and Expansion Possibilities

tiger_bb @ 10/7/2002 3:33:27 AM #
Do you think it's worth to have rechargeable battery and sacrifice 6MB RAM and expansion possibilites? I don't think so.

Besides, a rufurbished Visor Edge is now selling at $129 only. It's faster, with more RAM, good looking, using rechargeable battery, and with expansion possibilities...

Maybe, Palm is having too many 16MHz dragonball processor and 2MB RAM/ROM chip in stock!

RE: Rechargeable battery VS 6MB RAM and Expansion Possibilities
Fly-By-Night @ 10/7/2002 6:23:16 AM #
Hmm, I was considering buying one as a universal remote control running the Philips Pronto software. However, not without a backlight, and not with only a mono screen. I was also sort of assuming it would have an enhanced IR port, seeing as it's designed as a 'consumer' device. Judging by the rest of the specs we're damn lucky to have any kind of IR port at all.

Think I'll buy a ProntoNEO remote instead (probably more powerful than a Zire anyway).

Shame Visor Edge has IR port at the side. Does anyone know if Pacific NeoTek still make the Springboard Remote unit? Can't find their website anywhere.



ikea55 @ 10/7/2002 4:04:21 AM #
seems like "Zire" is not a sub-brand or a series name. but in fact a model name after all.


it's 0.6in thick, not that thin compare to m105 at 0.7in.
has mono-chrome screen and no back lit.

I bet this thing will hit ~$35-50 around Chrismas.

RE: hmm...
myname @ 10/7/2002 4:30:26 AM #
hmm hopefully it'll be free 6 months from now. buy one Mickey D happy meal you'll get a Zire for free .

RE: hmm...
M3wThr33 @ 10/7/2002 6:30:20 AM #
And it would still be profitable, something most people don't understand.

I don't think you understand the gravity of the situation. We're in space.
RE: hmm...
pocketscience @ 10/7/2002 6:59:27 AM #
That's the thing - most users don't care if a device is profitable for the company - they just want the most features, for the lowest possible price. It's only when you work for a company, or own part of it through shares that you start seeing things differently. Personally I hope they sell a squillion of these little puppies...! :-)


Two Big Surprises...

bcombee @ 10/7/2002 6:30:06 AM #
I guess the two things I'm most surprised by in the description of the Zire is that the processor is running at 16MHz, and that the screen has no backlight. The processor speed issue is probably to increase battery life. Motorola currently only sells the Dragonball EZ chip in its 20MHz variety, so the 16MHz chips are either old stock or deliberately underclocked. The lack of backlight is solely a cost-reduction measure.

I wonder how much margin Palm is giving the retailers on this. At standard retail markup, these probably wholesale for $60-$70, which means Palm's cost-of-goods can't be much more than $40 for them to pay the rest of costs and make their profit target. At that price, saving a couple of dollars on the processor, the memory, or the screen, can have a big impact. Even the manufacturing complexity of the device can affect it -- if there are fewer moving parts, then its easier to build, and that might save fifty cents of labor on the device, giving that much more margin.

I would guess that these will hit $79 by the end of the year, and will probably be part of the product line until late 2003, when Palm will be able to replace them by a similar low-speed ARM-based unit.

Ben Combee, CodeWarrior for Palm OS technical lead
Programming help at

RE: Two Big Surprises...
Strider_mt2k @ 10/7/2002 7:08:57 AM #
I wouldn't be suprised if you are right.

RE: Two Big Surprises...
kevdo @ 10/7/2002 10:25:39 AM #
The San Jose Mercury News article noted the manufacturing costs were $80 for Zire. Ouch! I, too, would have thought it would have been far less.

-Kevin Crossman

RE: Two Big Surprises...
bcombee @ 10/7/2002 1:02:11 PM #
Note: the Merc says "less than $80". I don't think Palm would indicate how far less than $80 it really is; that probably just means the Zire's wholesale price is around $80 and Palm is still making a profit, something they just couldn't do in the past.

Of course, there's one cost I didn't think about earlier -- the PalmSource tax. I wonder how much Palm "pays" PalmSource per unit for OS 4.1? Yes, they're still one company right now, but they have separate financials, and there has to be some transfer happening on the books.

Ben Combee, CodeWarrior for Palm OS technical lead
Programming help at

RE: Two Big Surprises...
hotpaw4 @ 10/7/2002 4:03:44 PM #
bcombee writes:
>At that price, saving a couple of dollars on the processor, the memory, or the screen, can have a big impact.

Not dollars, pennies. A penny or two can make a huge difference in the bottom line of a high volume product. One afternoon, back when I was a junior engineer, my boss came by and told me to spend some time figuring out how to save 3 cents on one part. At first, I thought he was joking. But the final product sold in sufficient volumes that that one parts cost difference more than paid for several months of my junior engineers salary. I think I earned my keep that day.

Palm sells low end products in the millions of units (and probably employs a bunch of manufacturing engineers trying to keep their jobs). Do the math...

Are we going back in time

carl @ 10/7/2002 7:31:54 AM #
The Zire has definitely a good design but the specifications are the worst.
2 MB of RAM: that's really not much, but for people who doesn't want to install programs it maybe enough.
16 Mhz is really slow.
I mean 99$ is too much for this device it should have cost 50$.....
Come on palm we want to see the Tungsten, that should be a reall device.....

RE: Are we going back in time
PacManFoo @ 10/7/2002 8:31:50 AM #
This makes my old IIIxe seem like a Beast! The 16mhz is fine for datebook, address, ect. The newer games won't play to well unless you overclock it a bit. Maybe the third party software companies can dig out their early software to sell again.

RE: Are we going back in time
formerlyanon @ 10/7/2002 11:40:32 AM #
16 mhz is ok. sim city and bebop occasionaly (or hwen things get big) need averclocking to 20mhz

My palm III was 50p from a charity shop, and introduced me to pdas

Palm Zire

SabMary @ 10/7/2002 8:22:59 AM #
I've noticed a lot of people comparing the Zire in price and saying it would probably be better to get a used Palm. I think Palm is very smart in marketing the Zire. Most likely, the people who visit this web site would not buy a Zire for their own use. From the postings I've read, I can tell that most are more tech-savvy and would require a more expandable product. But the Zire is perfect for the person who just wouldn't give up their paper planner until they see this product at an affordable price in one of their favorite mass retailers. And once you get exposed to the capabilities of Palm through this entry level model, most of these people will probably buy a better (more expensive) Palm after less than a year. What a great way to get new customers!

Extra Stock

jgb9348 @ 10/7/2002 8:31:44 AM #
As much as I love Palm, I really do think that this device came from an excess of old materials, specifically Dragonball Processors and 2MB Memory Chips. Since the processors and memory were used on old devices, and haven't been used in their 'newer' devices (705, 515, 130), I suspect that they wanted to come up with a strategy to get the most amount of money for old stock, so their company could turn a larger profit to raise the expectations/earnings of their stock prices. They decided to put it in a new case, and added a few featurers that might drive the consumer, such as the heavily favoured rechargable battery and the slimmer/lighter feel (compared to a m105/m705. Just my guess, but if it is the case, I don't mind....It just passes me by, as I wait for the Tungsten T!


RE: Extra Stock
asiayeah @ 10/7/2002 9:01:21 AM #
Hi jeremy,

I agree with you. I remember Palm has stocked a lot of old components for an over-estimate of demands. It's probably one of the reasons for producing Zire.

On the other hand, the Zire should increase the Palm's market share by opening its doors to new PDA users. It's pretty much a win-win situation for consumers and Palm.


RE: Extra Stock
Palmcicle @ 10/8/2002 1:10:13 AM #

Where in the crap did you get that information "I thought I remember somwhere that Palm has some extra parts" First of all, Palm dosent have a big warehouse somwhere in the Mojave desert full of parts. Actually, they buy completed processor boards from companies like "Manufacturers Representatives, Inc." (Look em up.) They {Palm} *probably* looked at the cost per unit of the 2meg boards an decided to place an order. Believe me Motorola didn't have to "re-tool the factory" to start cranking out 2MB boards again.



KB2PMD @ 10/7/2002 9:02:53 AM #
I was looking at the Zire accessories, and noticed that Palm is offering Bluetooth access points under the "Connectivity" section of the Zire-customized accessories page. Thought it was strange...

Brilliance or signs of panic?

mac_z @ 10/7/2002 9:03:02 AM #
My first thoughts when I saw the Zire and its specs (first saw it on QVC this morning) was that it was an obsolete model repackaged and I "what is Palm thinking?". Then I wonder if the approach doesn't have its merits. As someone pointed out, this could be sold at the likes of Walmart and perhaps lure in some of those who would not otherwise buy a Palm. It probably also has a big market potential in education which is a terribly price conscious market. Get more Palm PDAs into education and the students are more likely to buy "grown up" Palms when they get older - I think that would work. I work in educatio and I can tell you I would love for all my students to have Zires - Oh, what fun things we could do! :-) So I think this is a good move from Palm to widen the market base for their products, but I also think they need to bring something out in the middle and the top of their range soon to keep up with the competition. I want to see some exciting things happen elsewhere in the Palm line-up - it needs it bad.
RE: Brilliance or signs of panic?
Palmcicle @ 10/8/2002 1:19:00 AM #
Finally, someone who gets it! (You must teach at a private school ;)

I was actually having thoughts of buying them for our sales staff who don't already have a this price level I just might.

RE: Brilliance or signs of panic?
gaia @ 10/8/2002 2:04:03 AM #
no offense, but, are you sure you want to do that??? Why not buy m105 (with more RAM, faster CPU, and be able to use it in the dark) with the same price?

Or, go with Clie CL-10 for the possibility of expansion for $50 more?

IMO, Zire will be in Harvard case study regarding how a lousy strategy might kill a company!

Zire won't sell in Chinese and Japanese Region

homiei @ 10/7/2002 9:42:33 AM #
From my view, Zire is a good entry machine but in Chinese market like Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, it takes from 300K to 2Mb to install Chinese system. I read, write English fluently, but my parents are not, how can I introduce to my relatives or friends whose English is poor? Hope there is ZireX that offers more ram.

RE: Zire won't sell in Chinese and Japanese Region
bcombee @ 10/8/2002 2:42:47 AM #
Acer already has a Chinese device with support direcly in the OS. If Palm wants to introduce the Zire into those markets, I'm sure they would put a good input method directly into ROM, where it wouldn't affect the available RAM.

Ben Combee, CodeWarrior for Palm OS technical lead
Programming help at


SaabCaptain @ 10/7/2002 9:55:35 AM #
I didn't see it in the specs but I assumed they just didn't mention it. Nope, which has been using a unit hands on confirms it... no backlight. This is just insane. $99 is a good price point but when in the past year you offered a unit with 2 times as many buttons, backlight, faster processor, twice the memory, cradle etc. then this is nice getting your moneys worth.

owned: Pilot 5000, PalmPilot Pro, Palm V, IIIc, m505, Sony T615.
SaabCaptain @ 10/7/2002 10:04:42 AM #
Obviously I am typing to fast, I meant to say that Palm's 100 series barely cost more than this in the past year or two and had many more features so even though it is a little less you aren't getting your money worth with the Zire. The lower memory and lack of backlight are the worst offenders. Doing without the cradle and 33 mHz processor can be tolerated I suppose. The look of the unit is nice.

owned: Pilot 5000, PalmPilot Pro, Palm V, IIIc, m505, Sony T615.
legalalien @ 10/7/2002 11:18:44 AM #
Remember, the target market is people using paper organizers. Ever seen a paper organizer with a backlight?
SaabCaptain @ 10/7/2002 11:47:00 AM #
Yeah but people upgrade from paper organizers for advantages, ie. electronic organziation with PC links, etc. AND one of the reasons also is to have easy access to your PIM at all times and in all lighting. I mean no Palm unit has been without a backlight since 1996! That is 6 YEARS AGO.

owned: Pilot 5000, PalmPilot Pro, Palm V, IIIc, m505, Sony T615.

But it is greyscale though...

Fly-By-Night @ 10/7/2002 10:23:06 AM #
There's a brief review and some nice hi(ish) res photos on Infosync ( The pictures and review do confirm that the screen is greyscale rather than just black and white, which is a bit of a relief.

As for being better off buying a 2nd hand Palm; I remember thinking very hard about buying my first Palm on eBay, but not wanting to take the risk with something I then knew little about. I was quite happy to pay nearly double for a Visor DLX from a high street vendor. I imagine your average Zire buyer will have the same misgivings about buying something that they know little about from eBay.

As for the backlight -- it's a bit irritating, but I never used mine much on my old Visor. Guess I never read to many eBooks under the duvet! Still, it scuppers my plan for using one as a universal remote...


RE: But it is greyscale though...
kevdo @ 10/7/2002 10:33:41 AM #
Actually, Palm's site confirms the screen is monochrome rather than grayscale. Another blow...

-Kevin Crossman
RE: But it is greyscale though...
Fly-By-Night @ 10/7/2002 10:42:12 AM #
Trust me, look at the photos (particularly the 2nd hi res Zire on InfoSync -- the battery on the launcher screen definitely has grey details). Plus, Palm shows a screen shot of 'Bank Book' software with grey shading. Whether this screenshot is from a Zire or not is impossible to tell.


RE: But it is greyscale though...
cbulock @ 10/7/2002 1:37:28 PM #
If you look closly, I think that is just dithering, but is kinda blurred in the photo. You might also notice none of the icons show any grayscale.

RE: But it is greyscale though...
bcombee @ 10/8/2002 2:27:57 AM #
Having played with the device tonight, it definitely supports 16-levels of grey.

Ben Combee, CodeWarrior for Palm OS technical lead
Programming help at


twalk @ 10/7/2002 4:59:15 PM #


Palm is targeting the marketing of Zire to replace paper.

Think about that for a moment.

I've tee'd off on Palm's marketing for about a month now, and now I see this latest point of idiocy. There is no way in hell that Palm can convince people using paper that a Zire is a good idea.

There are a *lot* of ways Palm could market this, but beating PAPER?!? I use a Palm frequently, and I still have lots of post-its around.

Palm's management seems to be finally doing a decent job, they're in a market leading position, no real debt, and they have decent products. And they also have several marketing blunders in the last year.

Palm's marketing is going to kill them.

(Has *any* company won big-time in trying to replace paper?)

RE: Paper
bcombee @ 10/8/2002 2:28:47 AM #
They should have named it "Scissors". Everyone knows that scissors beats paper.

Ben Combee, CodeWarrior for Palm OS technical lead
Programming help at
RE: Paper
twalk @ 10/8/2002 4:36:31 PM #

Unfortunately, Palm's marketing would call the next one after that "Rock" :-).

Really, Palm is asking people to buy a $99 product, without giving a sharp and clear use for it. Of course, it's a hand-held computer, so it has many uses. However, trying to sell it that way really blurs the message.

Why should a 40 year old soccer mom buy a Zire? They have to learn grafitti (not difficult, but try to sell that idea). Why is it better than a semi-smart cell phone for them? Why is it really better than a paper calander/appointment/address book?

Why should a teenager buy a Zire? It's only grayscale. It's more expensive than a gameboy advance, and not as good for games. It doesn't play MP3's. Why shouldn't they get a game-playing Nokia cell phone instead of this?

These are the 2 major groups that people at PIC have said are going to buy this in large quantities. I don't see it without the right kind of marketing.

You want soccer mom's? Do a piggyback routine with tupperware/cosmetic/school parties/meetings. Get Oprah to use and give free advertising for it.

You want teenagers? Sell to schools. Have package deals with Zire's, m500's (teachers), KBs for Zires, IR capable printers, calculator and word processing software. Sell it as the computer cheap enough to put on every desk.

Expanding markets takes a lot of work, and I just don't think that Palm's marketing group it up to it.

Slot on back

kempokaraterulz @ 10/7/2002 6:37:51 PM #
I wonder what that slot thingy on the back is for...

Ed Hardy: The best damn palm news editor. Ever.
Ansi soit-il.
RE: Slot on back
bcombee @ 10/8/2002 2:35:03 AM #
That slot is where the cover for the device attaches. The cover is a springly translucent blue substance, with a built-in curve to cover the whole front of the device.

Ben Combee, CodeWarrior for Palm OS technical lead
Programming help at

look at the packaging

ikea55 @ 10/8/2002 1:11:08 AM #
look at the packaging. Clearly it's design for display in a Warmart isle, insted of a locked storage in Staples.

When they lower the price to $50 these thing will fly off the shelf. I bet they will lower the price within 2 weeks.
and graduly reach to $50 or less before chrismas.

RE: look at the packaging
Palmcicle @ 10/8/2002 1:30:43 AM #

Mini USB instead of a cradle...a stroke of genius?

Palmcicle @ 10/8/2002 1:31:55 AM #
If I were to buy a hundred of these puppies for use in an educational, group, or research setting the mini-USB would be a great benefit. You could get an 'extra' hotsync 'cable' for 3 bucks at any computer store. This was a good move for the worlds first "mass market PDA". I think we will all have a chuckle the first time we see a busload of 3rd graders with their Palms in hand.


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