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Home > City Resources > Computers and Internet > Interview



New era in handheld
Indian English Via Voice
Taking IT to the Masses
A Social Dimension
Dr Sankaran P Raghunathan
N. Parameshwaran
A Akthar Hussain

In what must go down as a new era in the history of handheld computers (do I still hear somebody saying palmtops...), Palm Inc., announced the launch of its Palm m500 series handhelds.  Welcome to the world of sleek, expandable and simple handheld computing. If you want to expand, be mobile and smart, then these are made just for you.  The two new models - the Palm m500 monochrome and the Palm m505 colour, with its 16-bit colour screen combine the best of both plug and play expansion as well as mobile Internet access capability. 

Palm m500And what justifies the m500 series claim to be the most expandable and wireless capable handhelds in the market today?  Well, it's their Secure Digital (SD) and Multimedia card expansion slot. And the new Universal connector for hardware and add-on modules and Internet connectivity software.

While the majority of Palm users at present use their handhelds for personal purposes, the handheld is slowly making its way into the corporate environment.

The m500 is estimated to cost around Rs 18,500/-, the m505 would cost around Rs 25,000/- (prices are exclusive of local taxes and levies).  They will be distributed in India through Palm's two distributors - Ingram Micro and Tech Pacific.  Also on offer along with these two latest models will be the whole Palm handheld family.  While Palm products were available for quite some time in the grey market, the official entry of the world's leading producer of handhelds holds promise of better after sales and service support for future Palm users.  There are also a host of other add-ons and accessories for Palm products, more of which you can read about on

Palm m505Palm Inc is the market leader in Singapore, Australia and Hong Kong with a market share of more than 60% according to International Data Corporation's - Asia Pacific figures.  The company recorded a 35 % growth in the year 2000, up from 18% in 1997 in the international markets other than the US.  According to Daren Ng, Palm's Sales Director for South Asia, Australia and New Zealand, the company's phenomenal growth is due to its large developer base, "We have over 1,65,000 developers and we have 1,300 new developers registering with us every week.  In fact we already have over 1,500 developers in India alone, even though we are entering the Indian market only now.  We maximise the return on their efforts by helping them leverage our resources and we provide them exposure to our huge installed base of users" he said.

"If I were to sum up our success and tremendous market acceptance, I would highlight just two key decisions of ours that were responsible for it. The first to adopt a design policy that would result in wearable, easy-to-use and elegant products.  The second was to base the Palm OS platform on an open architecture, which would make it easy for independent developers to create applications and accessories for Palm handhelds.  Today the result is that we have sold more than 15 million handhelds, with 7,000 and more Palm OS base software titles and more than 100 hardware add-ons, thanks to our 165,000 and more strong developer base" said Peter Mah, Sales Manager, South Asia.

Palm branded SD Expansion CardA very important feature of the m505 is its new colour screen, which is reflective and offers easy viewing both indoors and outdoors, unlike the traditional backlit LCD displays which are not easy to view outdoors.  And all this without compromising on the battery, which is a new powerful lithium polymer that provides three to four weeks of average use on a single charge.  The m500 monochrome display is one of the clearest 'almost paper white' among handhelds.  Both offer a faster processor - the Dragonball VZ 33 Mhz, for faster handheld operations, with 4MB flash memory, and 8 MB RAM for storage of additional data and applications.  The m500 series also comes with a number of third party software applications, that are bundled free of cost.  The third party software include the Palm Reader for reading electronic books, Data Viz Documents To Go 3.0 for viewing and editing word documents, excel spreadsheets and even Power point.  The MGI Photosuite Mobile Edition helps users view images and video clips, while the AvantGo software provides wireless and offline access from a handheld to content and applications on the web. The value of these software is estimated to be over Rs 5,000/-.

Text : Joseph Pradeep Raj R


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