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Rumor: More Info on Palm's Upcoming Models

Geek.com has obtained more leaked information on upcoming handhelds from Palm Inc. This comes from the same person who leaked info to that site on these models earlier this week.

According to this source, which the site characterizes as very reliable, the names "Tungsten" and "Zire" will be the names for product lines, like the way Handspring makes the Visor and Treo lines. The Tungsten line will be high end and run Palm OS 5, while the Zire line will be entry-level and run OS 4.

Tungsten
The Palm OS 5 model will be very much like the Oslo prototype, an image of which was leaked early last month. Though it lacks a jog wheel, its directional pad is even more flexible because it allows Left and Right, in addition to Up and Down. In addition, the user can select items by pressing down in the middle of the D-pad.

The Geek.com source confirms the device will have a 320 by 320 screen. Palm OS 5 has built-in support for hi-res screens and Palm announced at the PalmSource conference in February that it would begin to use them in some of its future models.

Palm OS 5 also has multimedia support built into it and the Tungsten takes full advantage of it. It has a microphone, headphone jack, and speaker. OS 5 has the ability to play CD-quality digital audio and the ability to record sound.

According to previous information for this source and others, this model will have an SD/MMC slot and Bluetooth wireless networking.

Of course much information about this model is still not available, like how much RAM it will come with and what it will cost. According to this source, it will be available at the end of October.

Zire
Geek.com's source also had some information on the entry-level model. According to them, the Zire will not use Palm's Universal connector and won't come with a cradle. Instead, it will use a mini USB cable and separate charging cable that will connect directly to it. The source says this model will be available at the beginning of October.

According to a seperate source, this is a very basic model with 2 MB of memory and no SD/MMC slot. It is not a member of the m100 series. Instead, it has a shape which is described as being similar to Sony's T series and will come in an all-white plastic casing. It will have the standard Up/Down keys but only two app-launching hardware buttons, not the four that have always been on Palm OS devices.

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Zire Huh...

I.M. Anonymous @ 8/29/2002 4:05:33 PM #
No universal connector and just a mini-USB cable...man, this really is entry-entry-level...
RE: Zire Huh...
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/29/2002 4:07:16 PM #
On top of that, not only will it be a monochrome screen, but it won't be LCD. It'll be etch-a-sketch. When you're done drawing graffiti, you shake the Zire and it disappears. Very nifty.
RE: Zire Huh...
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/29/2002 4:12:15 PM #
Palm is too late, another manufacturer already came out with one that has a peel-and-erase screen, and that technology would be similar enough for a patent infringement lawsuit :)
RE: Zire Huh...
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/29/2002 4:14:02 PM #
Sort of redefines the term "universal connector" don't you think?
RE: Zire Huh...
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/29/2002 4:15:10 PM #
I wish it supports SD card.
This makes the Palm much more powerful.

Just wonder how much the SD support will add
the cost to the machine.

Anybody has knowledge of this?

RE: Zire Huh...
Token User @ 8/29/2002 4:18:13 PM #
MY guess is Zire is set to compete with devices like the daVinci (http://www.royal.com/content/pda/comparisons.adp), rather than lowend Sony, Handspring, whatever devices.

My mother doesn't need the same capabilities I do. Like many users, this device will be a replacement address book with a builtin calculator and calendar. She probably wouldn't load up anything else, and will be lucky if she remembers to back it up (ever). I think she is the type of user this device will be targetted at, not the average PIC reader.

RE: Zire Huh...
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/29/2002 4:20:57 PM #
looks like the m105 blows the doors off the Zire, for probably around teh same cost.
RE: Zire Huh...
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/29/2002 4:23:55 PM #
For all we know, the "low end" palm might be $49 with everything they are leaving out (only 2 meg, no cradle). Imagine how many devices they could blow out the door at Wal Mart for that price!
RE: Zire Huh...
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/29/2002 4:36:05 PM #
They'd never release a new device that costs as much as an older device and has a LOT less features. I bet this is going to be <$80
RE: Zire Huh...
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/29/2002 4:38:14 PM #
Oh, they wouldn't release a device that is underperforming yet costs as much as an older device, huh? You must not be getting the same vibes from Palm as the rest of us are. I would stake...my granny's cookie jar on the fact that this unit will be priced OVER $80 and most certainly will make liars out of Palm (again) with their much touted promises of adherence to the Universal Connector. I suppose those were just little "white lies" designe to get us to abandon our Vx's and buy m500s, thinking our new keyboards would be future proof for a couple more years. Heck, I'd not be surprised if the Oslo/Tungsten models forego the UC as well (citing some vague "port incombatabilities with the new OS" reason).

While in theory a bargain basement unit is a tremendous idea, every aspect of the Zire model is that of a directionless, clueless company with no forward thinking vision whatsoever. I'd think a moderately equipped model selling for around $90 with 4 buttons and the UC would do their reputation less harm than a totally stripped down model whose hardware is totally incompatible with every other Palm unit ever and shares only branding and OS with the rest of the lineup.

So here we go again, Palm's gonna go off and alienate a whole new segment of the user base, *just* as they had managed to cobble together a reasonable lineup of UC/SD equipped OS4 handhelds. If this is an indicator of what's to come, I'd rather have seen refreshed versions of the current lineup for the holiday season (faster draonballs, 16 megs of ram, etc).


RE: Zire Huh...
RobZombie @ 8/29/2002 4:53:54 PM #
> I suppose those were just little "white lies" designe to get us to abandon our Vx's and buy m500s

How many people who had a Vx and then an m505 are going to run out and buy an bargain basement PDA like this? Zero.

Palm is being very smart to target the people who want minimum function for minimum cost. If they can get the Zire out for $50, they will have a huge hit. You are clearly underestimating the effect of brands. Someone who just wants a PIM is going to be thrilled when they find one in a store that is $50 and comes from a brand name they know: Palm.

Palm has a vision for what they are doing. You might not like it but they sell more handhelds than any other company and you're just some guy complaining on the Internet.

RE: Zire Huh...
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/29/2002 4:57:32 PM #
Troll.


Heh, all kidding aside, you have a pretty good point. I think that a low-cost Palm OS based PDA is in order, but why not stick with the m1XX type connections etc.? Well, unless this new one IS very low cost (a possibility!), it won't sell well. IMO. I mean, they're not even going to have the Palm name -- they'll be regarded as a completely 'new' company by those uninformed about Palm news.

I also don't get the 2 button thing. Really, put a few more cents into it and have 4 buttons.

RE: Zire Huh...
bobes @ 8/29/2002 5:58:22 PM #
It would be nice if it had the universal connector. That way the fold-up keyboards will still be compatible and that will satisfy a lot of student needs.

RE: Zire Huh...
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/29/2002 6:00:17 PM #
Funny, It seems all the Low end Sony stuff (Sj10, Sj20, S320, S360) DOESN'T (Read: DOES NOT) come with a cradle and instead comes with a cable for Syncing and a cable for Recharging (or a combo cable) just like this rumored Zire. So why all the whinning and crying?

The Zire is not intended for those who hotsync daily. Period. It's for on the go people who want a small, inexpensive device to remember all their phone numbers and appts and so on.

RE: Zire Huh...
bobes @ 8/29/2002 6:09:02 PM #
I still don't understand the big deal for having a cradle... I personally don't find it that important. As long as there is some sort of cable to sync then I'm ok.

But I still think that Palm should've stayed with the Universal Connector

universal connector
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/29/2002 6:50:51 PM #
Either the Zire is not to be a large component of the product line or Palm feels they haven't boxed themselves into a corner with their universal connector quarantees to developers. Perhaps they've worded it more strongly elsewhere, but their wording in this PDF is:
http://www.palm.com/shared_intl2/ie/products/whypalm/Expansion_white_Paper.pdf

"The Future of Palm Handhelds:
...The expansion slot will be an integral part of the majority of our handhelds offered in the next two to three years, with the first product introductions scheduled for the first half of 2001... No matter where the future takes handheld computing, Palm will be leading the way."

They've slipped in the second part of that (my opinion), so maybe the first part too? Either that or delay the product launch and they'll be in the clear in a year or so ;-)

-Craig Bowers

RE: Zire Huh...
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/29/2002 7:05:02 PM #
Remember these specs are just for the first models. According to the source Zire and Tungsten will be brands therefore each brand will eventually have several models. The Zire brands will be for retail and the Tungsten brands will be for the enterprise.
RE: Zire Huh...
mcseym @ 8/29/2002 10:22:41 PM #
I can't understand the barrage of negativity for Palm bring out a low end device. Would I buy a Zire or a Sony NR70V for my wife? The Zire would be perfect and the smarts at Palm know that. All my better half wants is something that (like me) is simple to use, small, reliable and looks good. Now, when she steps on me and the PDA with her stilettos, I won't just be seeing dollar signs in front of my eyes.

RE: Zire Huh...
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/30/2002 9:23:10 AM #
No, I don't think that the majority of posters here have a "barrage of negativity for Palm bring out a low end device". I think it has much more to with the execution of that particular low end device--we're worried about the long term impact on the OS this might have. Better to have a $90 "usable" unit with 4 buttons and Universal Connector than a $50-$60 unit that creates confusion (again) at the retail level and excludes a great number of legacy apps and games. I wonder if they unit will even have an IR port?

Of course, the real tragedy in all of this is that Palm are likely going to sell a unit that should not (since it's too late to redesign it) sell for a penny over $50 for $90-$100 (I predict)!

Thiz Zire in its current execution will...well, it's current execution may very well execute Palm themselves. I think that, on top of everything else, there are going to be a few "joe six packs" at Best Buy scratching their heads and wonderng why the new Palm is named after an African nation. As much as I hate to say it, something "recognizable" by the masses might have been effective, such as the "iPalm 100" or even resurrect the "Palm Personal" moniker.

RE: Zire Huh...
cddv @ 8/30/2002 9:35:33 AM #
> looks like the m105 blows the doors off the Zire, for probably around teh
> same cost

You are comparing what you *think* the Zire will cost on the first day it is released to what the m105 cost 2 years after its release. In a few months, the Zire will drop in price another $20 -$30. Before it is discontinued, it will be half its original cost, if it follows the usual price trend.

Even on that first day, the Zire will have several advantages over the m105. We know it won't have the large housing that turns so many people off. It probably won't have a reduced size screen that also turns people off. That's enough to put it ahead in my book.

I hear people calling for the Universal Connector. I don't think it is going to be an issue. How many people are going to buy a $50 - $60 handheld and a $100 keyboard? About the same number who buy a $500 PC at Wal-Mart and a $2000 graphics card and get mad that the two don't work together.

RE: Zire Huh...
epall @ 8/30/2002 12:59:20 PM #
A palm III is better than a Zire!! You can pick up a Palm III with goodies for around $60. I think the Zire will have to be below $50.

RE: Zire Huh...
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/30/2002 7:04:06 PM #
here's a question...
so the palm name cant be slapped on zire...but what about some sort of "company formerly known as palm label? would that be doable? joe six pack responds, ex-palm rakes it in.
RE: Zire Huh...
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/30/2002 10:39:26 PM #
> here's a question...
> so the palm name cant be slapped on zire...but what about some sort of "company
> formerly known as palm label? would that be doable? joe six pack responds, ex-palm
> rakes it in.

answer - Maybe they will do something like that for the first couple of year. It would be a good idea and an a legal license could easily be written. They will do everything in their power to retain as much of the Palm brand identity as legaly possible. What they cannot do is allow brand confussion between Palm and Palmsource and that will be impossible if they keep the Corp name of Palm. The Palm Tungsten from Palm powered by Palmsource will not work. If they do that then any company will be able to be called a Palm PC because the trademark will become dillited and confused and therfore considered abandoned by law. If they tried to keep Palm for both comanies then the term Palm PC will be as common as desktop PC once the hardware competitors start legaly eating away at the trademark by refering to their computers as Palm PC's. "Handsring announces it's latest line of Palm PC's the Visor, Treo....." They would love to do that and they would.
If you don't understand the trademark laws when it pertains to company splits then read this. http://www.pattishall.com/pdfs/TrademarkLicensing.pdf

And remember we are talking about 2 separatly owned but similar companies here not one company selling corn and the other light bulbs.

RE: Zire Huh...
I.M. Anonymous @ 9/9/2002 10:49:52 AM #
Of course it could be the greatest of marketing ploys. I buy my highschooler a $50 Zire in two years he want a Tungsten for 10 times as much. Brand loyalty even OS loyalty may have a lot to do with a starter model, would i buy one for me NO but my wife, my mother and my kids who need date books, and contact management that alllo ties together on the family PC knowing that in a number of years and after using a Palm you just know that the next will be a Palm
RE: Zire Huh...
I.M. Anonymous @ 9/10/2002 1:49:42 PM #
This is going to sound off the wall, but Zire may actually prove to be a very good move for Palm. See, right now the largest obstacle to PDA's is that most people (not us "techie" types) feel they are doing just fine with a paper planner. They need something that does what a DayTimer/Franklin Planner does, but is easy to learn and use, fits in a shirt or pants pocket, and is less expensive than what they spend on their paper products. Zire fits this model very well, and may be what it takes to make PDA's go truly "mainstream", which will make Palm (and those following this same model) more profitable in the long run, which is what business is all about. Going mainstream is really the only hope for handheld companies to remain profitable, because the techie market is now pretty saturated, and those who buy the newest product as soon as possible and have a dozen "outdated" PDA's are a distinct minority niche.

Just my $0.02. =)

Sliding graffiti area?

I.M. Anonymous @ 8/29/2002 4:05:39 PM #
They didn't say whether that middle area with the graffiti is going to be a slideable area, or is just a space for a snap-on keyboard or other input device? Anyone?
Cutomer looking at Sharp Zaurus
dmkozak @ 8/29/2002 5:12:18 PM #
Overheard at store with customer looking at Sharp Zaurus. "I don't get it. If I have to slide the thing open to use it, why build in the sliding cover? It seems like one more step I have to go through before using the PDA, and one more thing to possibly break. What's the point?"

If this has driven customers away from the Sharp, rather than toward it, why is Palm trying this? Unless it seemed like a good idea at the time, before anyone knew the sliding cover would be purchase detriment, not attraction.

RE: Sliding graffiti area?
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/29/2002 5:44:43 PM #
There two major points Palm always seem to strive for;

1/ Battery life(hence only using 320x320 not 320x480 & virtual grafitti)
2/ Size. The sliding grafitti area will reduce the size of the unit (maybe slightly thicker) and make it more pocketable. 50% of users will only need to slide open to use grafitti 50% of the time. And yes you would still be able to get to a home button somehow. Remember all this talk about voice recognition, and now the Palm will have the processing power, WHAT THIS SPACE!

Bruce B

Zaurus design makes sense, Palm doesn't
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/30/2002 1:57:10 AM #
For the Zaurus, the answer is simple: the sliding keyboard gives it a big screen and a keyboard without making the whole thing impractically big. Furthermore, the Zaurus does on-screen handwriting recognition so that for shorter text entries, you don't need to open it.

For the Palm, I don't know why you would want it to slide. You need the Grafiti area for almost everything, and the Palm-with-Grafiti area really is pretty compact already since the screen is smaller and square.

m555 (aka. Oslo)

I.M. Anonymous @ 8/29/2002 4:31:22 PM #
Anonymously posted on the net

Release date Last week of October 2002
Likely Part Name Palm M555
Features include but are not limited to:
New Dragonball processor ~175Mhz
New Screen 320X320 65000 color
16MB RAM
Bluetooth included
SD card slot
Headphone port (MP3 support included)

Palm OS 5 , yes that's right Palm OS 5
New included software includes bluetooth based games, standard apps like web clipping, PIM stuff, documents to go, and basic picture stuff.

Expected list price
$499 (I think is expecting a little much, $399 and we're talking a winner)

RE: m555 (aka. Oslo)
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/29/2002 4:43:37 PM #
$500 would not be too much if it includes Bluetooth and MP3 support. This is only $100 more than what the m505 is selling for (?). And it has 320x320, mp3, bluetooth..
RE: m555 (aka. Oslo)
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/29/2002 4:47:08 PM #
Any further proof (ie where this post occured etc) that this is valid?

Was this from a newsgroup?

the m555 name sounds fishy to me, if for no other reason is that 555 is the prefix used for fictitious phone numbers in movies and on TV. Otherwise, the unit sounds top-notch!

Also, any word if this unit supports the current Universal Connector standard?

RE: m555 (aka. Oslo)
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/29/2002 4:50:17 PM #
"New dragonball processor ~ 175Mhz"

Bogus -- there isn't and won't be a dragonball processor at that speed.

RE: m555 (aka. Oslo)
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/29/2002 4:59:59 PM #
$499 is NOT too much with built-in Bluetooth. The new iPaq with Bluetooth sells for a ridiculous $749 and most Pocket PCs except the low end e310 are all around $599. For a new product line its not bad, and a few months later it'll drop to $449 and then $399. If I had a new line with new processors, multimedia, and OS 5, I'd price it that high too!
RE: m555 (aka. Oslo)
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/29/2002 5:08:19 PM #
> "New dragonball processor ~ 175Mhz"

> Bogus -- there isn't and won't be a dragonball processor at that speed.

Not completely true.

The Dragonball MX1 has an ARM core, has been announced at 150Mhz and is rated up to 200Mhz. And it's been OS5 certified.

RE: m555 (aka. Oslo)
Token User @ 8/29/2002 5:24:33 PM #
I thought the first OS5 device from Palm was slated to be a TI OMAP based CPU, mainly because of its "kitchen sink, everything one one chip" design.

However, MX1 hits the 175MHz mark, is certified, and Bluetooth support chips are said to add about $5 to the cost of a unit.

The m555 does sound bogus though. I guess time will tell. I hope the October and price estimates are true ... this could be the device I am waiting on (astill on 3.1H, and 3.0 in my VII :)

Token

RE: m555 (aka. Oslo)
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/29/2002 5:39:46 PM #
I own a 515 - but I am convinced that if this unit is not at 399 - palm has dug its own grave...for I am sure sony is gonna OVERMATCH - everything palm is giving - at a lower price.
Geez....for the love of God - can't anyone see that sony gives more for your dollar - and has been doing so consistently????
Don't get me wrong...I have been a palm owner for the past 5 years...but its time we accept the fact - sony has given more at a lower price and EARLIER than palm....
RE: m555 (aka. Oslo)
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/29/2002 5:59:51 PM #
This is a fantasy. Palm has publicly announced repeatedly that its first OS 5 model will use a TI OMAP processor.

Palm is losing the name 'Palm', PalmSource is getting it. There will be no more Palm mXXX. I don't know if these new names will be Tungsten or Zire, but they won't be 'Palm'.

Even if it were real, that's not nearly enough RAM.

RE: m555 (aka. Oslo)
useybird @ 8/29/2002 6:04:40 PM #
Sounds like m555 is as phony as TV numbers with the same digits.

----------------------------------------
A few years ago at the Sony handheld Dept.:" That's the most stupid name ever. Who would want to buy something called a 'Clie'? You must be out of your mind!"
OMAP1510 is rated at 175 MHz
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/29/2002 10:36:17 PM #
The rumored 175 MHz number is quite interesting. Check out the TI product bulletin for the OMAP1510 (on the TI web site). This puppy includes a 175 ARM925 core with MMU, 8K icache, 16K dcache, 1.5 Mb of internal low-power SRAM *AND* a 200 MHz C55x DSP core. The extra DSP processor would be quite useful in a non-phone handheld because it's probably around twice as power efficient at decoding mp3 and mpeg streams compared with ARM code.
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