Palm TX Goes Multimedia With WiFi Capabilities

Palm yesterday unveiled a new PDA with built-in WiFi and — rock n’ roll. Palm is working with Alliance Group Entertainment to provide multimedia content on Palm handhelds, mobile managers and smartphones.

Dubbed Palm TX, the PDA-maker’s latest device hit store shelves yesterday complete with the sounds of pop artist Jake Coco’s new hit single “Graceland.” The street price is US$299.

In addition to its multimedia capabilities, Palm said the TX handheld features a high-resolution 320X480 color screen and all the power needed to efficiently access and conveniently manage information on the go.

“The Palm TX handheld is a sleek, professional product that speaks directly to the needs of our customers — fast, integrated wireless, a large color screen and 128MB of memory at a very competitive price,” said Ken Wirt, senior vice president of worldwide marketing for Palm. “This is the wireless device customers have been waiting for. There is no other handheld on the market today with the same capabilities at the same affordable price.”

The Multimedia Play

Wirt makes a bold statement with which some of his competitors might disagree, but one thing is certain: no other PDA features Coco’s music. The multi-media play is part of Palm’s latest strategy to push the devices to a broader market.

“Today, people demand more from their handhelds than the standard applications,” said Page Murray, vice president of marketing at Palm. “Multimedia content is the key to making mobile computing interactive and fun.”

From the LifeDrive mobile manager to the newest Palm TX handheld, Palm said users can enjoy a range of digital entertainment on the go, such as viewing a favorite TV show with MobiTV, playing a home video or music video clip, showing off a photo album of a recent trip or listening to MP3s.

“Digital technology has revolutionized the music industry,” said Justin Nesbitt, president of Music at Alliance Group Entertainment. “Products on the forefront of mobile digital entertainment, such as the Palm TX handheld and LifeDrive with its multimedia capabilities, have changed the way we work. It’s easier than ever to demo and enjoy videos and songs directly from our handhelds.”

The WiFi Play

The Palm TX also features integrated WiFi and Bluetooth wireless technologies. From professionals to students to home-networking enthusiasts, more than 100 million people worldwide will use WiFi by 2006, according to a June 2004 Economist report.

Palm said it sees this number as a huge market of potential buyers for the Palm TX handheld. Palm TX customers can check e-mail, browse the Web and download media and documents anywhere they have WiFi access.

New and Improved Classic

Enderle Group Principal Analyst Rob Enderle told TechNewsWorld that the PalmTX is the current rendition of the original Palm: it’s small and it’s lightweight. The only question is, do consumers want a multimedia Palm with so many other competing devices on the market?

“Palm has maintained a fairly loyal audience with this product class. This may very well be one of the last Palms running the Palm operating system,” Enderle said. “We’ll see how everything matures, but for the most part, this is the current rendition of the original Palm, new and improved much more attractive.”

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