Palm To Release Wireless Handheld with GPRS
Palm Inc. will release a wireless handheld that uses the GPRS standard sometime near the end of this year. This comes from Daren Ng, sales director of South Asia/Australia and New Zealand, quoted in the Philippine website INQ7.net. From Mr. Ng's brief description, it sounds like it won't have voice capabilities. "It will be a Palm-branded wireless data device," he said. This will make it a successor to the i705 and not a smartphone.
In an interview with Cnet this week, Palm's interim CEO, Eric Benhamou, said, "A year from now there will be at least two or three different, reasonable choices of GPRS wireless networks with good footprints. Therefore, you should expect that there will be several devices, many of them made by Palm, many others made by Palm licensees like the Treo, that will have GPRS capabilities."
This news doesn't come as much of a surprise because Palm's next generation of handhelds will use processors with built-in wireless support. Palm announced earlier this year that it would be using Texas Instruments's OMAP processors in its Palm OS 5 devices. These processors have built-in support for GSM, GPRS, UMTS, EDGE, WCDMA, and CDMA2000. Of course, the radio equipment must also be included in the handheld.
GPRS is the updated version of GSM and will allow data transfers at up to 114 Kbps, though real-world speeds will be lower. While GSM/GPRS is the dominant standard in most of the world, CDMA is what rules the roost in the U.S. If Palm releases only as GSM/GPRS model, its success in the U.S. market could be limited. However, because TI's processor also supports CDMA/CDMA2000, it's possible the company will release a different version of this handheld in the U.S.
A few months ago, Todd Bradley, who is now the head of Palm's Solutions Group, said Palm would introduce a Palm-branded, ARM-based product line with wireless capabilities by fall of 2002; however, he gave no other details. If Mr. Ng is correct and this GPRS model won't be available until near the end of this year, that leaves open the question of what Palm will release earlier.
These don't have to include the ability to connect to mobile phone networks of whatever type. The phrase "wireless capabilities" can have several meanings. Palm has also promised to release this year a handheld with Bluetooth wireless networking built into it. This would allow the handhelds to use to Bluetooth-enabled mobile phones as wireless modems.
Article Comments(37 comments)
This article is no longer accepting new comments.