Palm's new colors

Palm Computing Inc. will add a little color to its popular line of handheld computing devices Tuesday when it introduces the Palm IIIc. The company, a 3Com Corp. company, also is adding several new features that should make the devices more convenient and easier to use.

The Palm IIIc will be the first in the line to have a color display. The color screen offers better visibility and increased functionality, using color to enhance on-screen information, such as indicating appointment conflicts and other problems.

The Palm platform has become popular in the government market. Users include the Army, where the Palm is used to capture head count data in some of its dining facilities, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where the device is used to collect information about patients.

The Palm IIIc is powered by an onboard, rechargeable lithium-ion battery, instead of standard AA batteries previous models used. Company officials said the lithium-ion battery should power the device for about two weeks under normal use.

The system also comes with a new version of the Palm OS software, Palm OS 3.5. New features include drop-down menus that can be activated by tapping on the screen and a new command toolbar, as well as enhanced address book features. The operating system is available for free at www.palm.com.

A standard 8M of application memory in the Palm IIIc holds years of appointments and thousands of addresses.

The estimated retail price for the Palm IIIc is $449. It will be available on the General Services Administration schedule from CompUSA, GE Capital IT Solutions, CDW-G Inc. and GTSI. The unit also will be available on NASA's SEWP II contract.

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