October 4, 2004
SAN JOSE, Calif. - Handheld computer maker PalmOne Inc. unveiled Monday a new memory-packed personal digital assistant that can double as a portable data storage drive.
In its continuing fight against competitors closing in on its market lead, the PDA pioneer is capitalizing on the popularity of so-called USB drives, which mostly come in packages smaller than cigarette lighters but can store large amounts of data that once required hundreds of floppy disks.
PalmOne's new Tungsten T5 handheld has 256 megabytes of built-in flash memory, of which 215 megabytes will be available to the user and the remainder will be reserved for internal applications. The T5 will be available Nov. 3 with a suggested retail price of $399.
The price of the Tungsten T3, its closest cousin, will drop in price by $50 to $349.
The T5's flash memory means users will be able to play digital music or video files right off the PDA instead of having to keep them stored on a separate SD memory card accessory. A new "file transfer" feature also will allow users to easily drag-and-drop one or two documents between the user's PDA and desktop computer without having to go through the entire data synchronization process.
Because flash memory retains data without the need for a power source, the Tungsten T5 also boasts the largest backup memory than any of its counterparts and rivals, so users no longer face the frustrating problem of losing data when their batteries run out.
"The entire device is based on flash memory, so now you could pick up where you left off, even if the battery dies and it was sitting six months in a drawer," said Anthony Armenta, PalmOne's director of software product management.
Other features of the new PDA include: a five-way navigation button, a 340x480 color screen that displays in both landscape or portrait mode, and built-in Bluetooth wireless technology.
"It's a solid product that I think will be popular," said Ken Dulaney, an industry analyst with Gartner G2 market research firm. "It has what PalmOne needs to do to maintain its client base."