Palm IIIc adds color
- By Michelle Speir
- Feb 29, 2000
Handheld computing got a lot more convenient — and colorful — when Palm
Inc. last week introduced the Palm IIIc, the first in its line of handheld
computers to include a color display.
The best part is that Palm — a 3Com Corp. company — hasn't had to compromise
other features — most notably battery life — to accommodate color. The Palm
IIIc also sports an enhanced operating system, rechargeable battery and
other new features that raise the bar for convenience in handheld computers.
The 8-bit, 256-color thin film transistor (TFT) display is easier on
the eye than monochrome displays and has the added benefit of increased
functionality. For example, if two conflicting events are entered in the
Datebook, the Day View shows the overlapping conflict bars in red. The screen
is easy to read even under fluorescent light and can be viewed from a variety
of angles. The only real drawback is the minor glare inherent with all touchscreens.
The Palm IIIc uses the new Palm operating system, Palm OS Version 3.5,
which features several enhancements:
* The menus are now tappable. To open drop-down menus, you can just
tap on the menu text at the top left corner of the screen in any application.
Different menu options are available depending on where you are in the application.
Menus still are accessible by tapping on the menu button at the bottom of
* Navigating and managing the system is easier. For example, a new function
called the Agenda View has been added to the Date Book application. This
new view allows you to see your schedule and to-do list at the same time
for easier task management.
* A command bar feature allows quick access to context-sensitive functions
such as copy, paste and delete. Simply write a forward slash in the Palm's
onscreen writing area to make the command bar appear. Different menu options
appear on the command bar depending on the application and context.
* Security is improved in the form of a new masking feature. Unlike
hidden records, which are completely invisible, masked records appear on
the screen as a gray bar with a padlock icon next to them. This helps users
keep track of records' existence and location.
* You can duplicate address book records with one tap for easy creation
of similar records. The new record is marked as a copy, and you can easily
change appropriate information.
* You can use the infrared port to beam all the records in the Address
Book, To Do List or Memo Pad to another Palm device at once, rather than
having to beam each record individually.
The Palm IIIc also features two HotSync improvements. (The HotSync function
synchronizes data between the handheld and the Palm desktop software on
* It has higher data transmission rates for faster synchronization.
* The infrared port can be used to HotSync without docking the device
in its cradle.
In addition to the software improvements, Palm has made some significant
hardware changes. The Palm IIIc features a rechargeable lithium-ion battery
that officials said lasts about two weeks with normal use. The battery automatically
recharges whenever the device is in the cradle, so most users won't have
to think about the charging process. The lithium-ion battery is convenient
and is a nice improvement over previous Palm devices, which use standard
With the increased memory capacity of the Palm IIIc, users can store
years of appointments and thousands of addresses as well as run more applications.
The unit has 8M of memory, compared with 4M in the other Palm devices. The
memory is software-upgradable, making the Palm IIIc compatible with future
Palm OS upgrades and enhancements.
Also, because its design is based on the Palm III, the Palm IIIc maintains
compatibility with snap-on accessories that are currently available.