Palm's new colour PDAs go wireless

Handheld computer maker Palm will launch its spring collection in the US today (Monday 4 March). New additions include the new...

Handheld computer maker Palm will launch its spring collection in the US today (Monday 4 March). New additions include the new entry-level m130 and the premium m515.

The company will also launch the Palm Bluetooth Secure Digital Input/Output (SDIO) card that grants wireless collaboration and connection capabilities.

This season's emphasis is on bright colours and no cables. Both PDAs boast 65,000 colour displays and wireless capabilities using the Bluetooth card. The new products complement Palm's wireless-ready i705 handset, which was released in January.

The m130 sports a rechargeable Lithium-ion battery, a built-in expansion card slot that allows users to add multimedia and SD expansion cards, and a universal connector. The m130 runs on Palm OS 4.1 with 8Mbytes of memory and 2Mbytes of ROM. The new handheld comes in a fetching new two-tone look, complete with a rubberized flip screen and measures 12.2cm by 7.9cm by 2.3cm. The m130 weighs in at 153 grams. The m130 is expected to cost about $279 (£200)

The 100 series was designed with the mass market in mind because of its more affordable price, said David Christopher, Palm's senior director of product management.

For business users, the m515 touts 16Mbytes of memory, 4Mbytes of ROM and a new colour screen that allows backlighting adjustment, making it easier to read in outdoor light, Palm said. Like the m500, the new model also features a built-in dual expansion card slot and universal connector, vibrating and LED alarms, and wireless and Internet e-mail options.

Users can connect to the Internet with a data-enabled mobile phone or modem, and send and receive e-mails, SMS and data. The m515 weighs just 138g and is a sleek 113mm by 78mm by 12mm. The latest in the 500 series runs on Palm OS 4.1 and is priced at $399 (£281).

"The m515 is for professional and executive customers who use corporate databases and run large applications," Christopher said.

Both new handhelds will be widely available in the US from 7 March and come with $100 worth of bonus software, Palm said. The bonus software includes an updated version of DataViz's Documents To Go, which allows users to view and share Word Excel and PowerPoint documents. Users will also receive Palm Reader, complete with two e-books, AvantGo Mobile Internet Service, MultiMail SE and MGI PhotoSuite Mobile Edition.

In addition, consumers will be able to enjoy the colour notebook feature allowing them to personalise pen and background colours.

The Bluetooth SDIO card is already available in most international markets, Palm said, but multi-language versions will be available from 4 April. The Bluetooth card enables consumers to send data from their handheld to their Bluetooth-enabled mobile phone, laptop or printer. Palm's Bluetooth SDIO card is priced at $129 (£91) in the US.

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