Palm unveils two new devices

Palm Inc. unveiled two handheld devices today that are customizable and enable users to add storage, wireless modems and more—expandability that the company is hoping will make the new Palms appealing to federal customers.

The Palm m500 and m505 feature Version 4.0 of Palm's operating system, increased security and a universal cradle.

Agencies and commercial organizations have been requesting handhelds with more memory and more robust security, and these new offerings provide both, said John Inkley, Palm's manager of federal sales. The Army is considering both devices for future deployments, he said.

The Palm Operating System 4.0 enhances security by enabling users to mark data as private so that it can be hidden or masked when someone else uses the device. It also offers users the ability to lock the device, setting it with a password so that no one can access anything on it without that password.

The new devices also have the Secure Digital/Multimedia Card, the standard throughout the industry, with more than 200 companies developing solutions for the SD format. Each SD card can be write-protected and encrypted and can hold up to 64M of data. Another added feature is the universal cradle, which eliminates the need for a serial port. This is an important development for agencies interested in purchasing large volumes of devices, since they can now be sure that the cradles will not become obsolete with the next new product line, Inkley said.

Commercial pricing for the m500 will start at $399, and the m505 will list at $449. The m505 costs more because of its 16-bit color display.

General Service Administration pricing will be determined by Palm's GSA schedule holders: CompUSA, CDW-G Inc. and GTSI Corp. The devices will begin shipping in early April.

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