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Palm III unveiled

By CNN Interactive Editor Steve Baxter

March 9, 1998
Web posted at: 5:19 PM EST (1719 GMT)

3Com Corporation has introduced the newest version of its popular handheld PalmPilot organizer. Available in April, the Palm III will feature a thinner, redesigned look, infrared data sharing, added memory and an improved user interface.

The original PalmPilot was criticized for lack of durability. The Palm III has been redesigned with ruggedness in mind, adding a protective flip cover to protect the screen. Ergonomics have also been considered with the softening of the organizer's edges and a new metal stylus that its makers say provides users with a more natural fit and feel.

Infrared (IR) beaming will enable Palm III users to share information wirelessly with others by simply selecting an entry, file or application to be transferred and pointing the Palm III unit at another Palm III unit within a distance of one meter. The information will be automatically stored in the proper place on the receiver's organizer. A special "business card" option will allow a user to automatically transfer business card information to another user by simply aiming the organizer and pressing and holding the Address Book button.

The Palm III will also come standard with two megabytes of RAM. That's enough to store 6,000 addresses, five years of appointments (approximately 3,000 entries), 1,500 To Do items, 1,500 memos, and 200 e-mail messages.

Owners of the original PalmPilot models can upgrade to the new version of the operating system along with the IR capabilities and increased RAM. Those who buy the Palm III can trade in their old organizers for $75.

The PalmPilot has captured the majority of the handheld computer market, selling well over one million units since it was introduced just two years ago. Its success is attributed to a small, fit-in-your-shirt-pocket size and the ability to synchronize data with a desktop computer at the push of a button. Industry acceptance has been enthusiastic with over 5,000 developers working on PalmPilot compatible software and over 150 producing hardware add-ons. Current PalmPilot models sell from $200 to $300. The Palm III will be priced at $399.

Apple Computer recently announced it would get out of the handheld computer business by canceling the production of its Newton organizer.


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