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PC World

Wireless Palm VII ships

May 24, 1999
Web posted at: 3:01 p.m. EDT (1901 GMT)

by Tom Spring palm 7

(IDG) -- 3Com subsidiary Palm Computing has shipped its much-anticipated Palm Pilot VII, which supports a host of new Internet applications at a steep new price.

Palm VII costs $599 (twice as much as the Palm III) and is selling through retailers in the New York metropolitan area, including parts of Connecticut and New Jersey. A nationwide rollout is expected by the end of the year. The Palm VII lets you send and receive e-mail and connect to the Internet for simple tasks in 260 major U.S. cities over BellSouth's wireless data network.

Keeping in line with its popular predecessors, Palm VII is simple, sleek, and small. The Palm VII offers no real hardware enhancements, but its new Internet functions include a link to a Web clipping service at Palm.Net. With this service, you can surf pared-down versions of 22 online information providers, including, The Wall Street Journal Interactive, and E*Trade.

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Palm.Net services will cost either $9.99 or $24.99 monthly for frequent users, according to Palm Computing representatives.

Palm power

The Palm VII form factor is similar to the Palm III, although the unit is a bit longer and has an antenna on the right edge. It runs on two AAA batteries for about 8 to 12 weeks, and it weighs 6 ounces.

To access the Internet, you need only to pull out the antenna. That action automatically calls up a list of applications provided through Palm.Net. By tapping on one of the host applications, you can request information ranging from traffic reports and flight schedules to stock quotes.

E-mail is available through the Palm iMessenger client and is limited to Palm.Net accounts (which come with your Palm VII purchase). Palm VII doesn't support e-mail attachments or store sent messages for later review.

The Palm VII uses the older versions of calendar, contact list, and other functions that appear on its predecessors. Palm representatives say the primary focus for the Palm VII is its wireless functionality and Internet partners.

Palm on the horizon

Analysts say the wireless Palm could be a harbinger of a new wireless war among device makers, wireless networks, and content aggregators rushing to the nascent market hoping to strike it rich. Analysts predict the wireless device market will explode.

Palm Computing has 72 percent of the handheld market, according to market researcher International Data Corporation.

Other companies developing wireless devices for Internet access include Microsoft and the U.K. firm, Psion. Many wireless phones include limited data services, but few allow you to talk and gain access to the Internet at the same time.

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