AlphaSmart Dana Palm OS Laptop Available Now
AlphaSmart has unveiled Dana, a portable device larger than a handheld and less expensive than a laptop, intended for students. Powered by Palm OS 4.1, Dana includes a full-size, integrated keyboard and a 560 by 160 pixel touch screen that is roughly 7.5 by 2.25 inches. It has 8 MB of memory and two SD/MMC slots. It costs $399 and is available now from the Palm Store.
(To find this on the Palm Store, you must enter 1209839 into the search for Products box on the left hand menu. I could not find a direct link.)
The backlit, monochrome screen is 3.5 times wider than what's on the typical Palm OS handheld. The screen image can be rotated horizontally and vertically, 90 degrees so it is both a 160 by 560 and 560 by 160 pixel screen. HandEra helped AlphaSmart develop this larger screen.
It comes with a rechargeable battery and an AC adapter. It can also run off three AA batteries. AlphaSmart rates the battery at 30 hours, off of a single charge.
Dana weighs two pounds. It is 12.4 inches wide, 9.3 inches deep and 1.9 inches thick. It is made of strong ABS polycarbonate plastic and has been designed to survive being mistreated. It has an infrared port and two USB ones and can be HotSynced like any other Palm OS model.
Dana comes with the standard Palm applications that have been resized for Dana's wide screen. It also comes with AlphaWord, a word processor with spell-checker and thesaurus that is compatible with Microsoft Word file format. This has been licensed from BlueNomad. It also comes with PrintBoy from Bachmann Software, which provides direct printing from AlphaWord to IR or USB printers. Also bundled with Dana is QuickOffice from Cutting Edge Software, which has a word processor and spreadsheet. These are special versions capable of using the screen in either its extra wide or extra tall configurations.
"The introduction of AlphaSmart's Dana shows the potential for innovation with Palm OS," said David Nagel, chief executive officer of PalmSource. "The versatility of Palm OS, combined with AlphaSmart's education expertise, has enabled this breakthrough product that meets specific needs of the education market."
Thanks to Ryan B. and Craig G. for the tip!
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