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Wednesday, November 20 12:01 AM EST

Palm Introduces New Consumer Level PDA - Timekeeper

By Barry Mitchell

Milpitas, CA - In a move to bolster its control of the consumer-level PDA market, Palm, Inc. has introduced a new low-end PDA, named Timekeeper. The sleek new handheld sports the typical size Palm screen and a minimal interface of four buttons - Date Set, Time Set, Up, and Down.

"We think the new Palm Timekeeper is perfect for the everyday consumer who needs the convenience of having the current date and time in the palm of their hand throughout their day," says Ken Wirt, Senior VP of Marketing.

"People's lives are getting busier each year," stated Steve Manser, Senior VP of Worldwide Product Development. "We don't have time to find a clock or ask the person next to you for the time. With the Palm Timekeeper, you don't have to rely on anyone else."

The Palm Timekeeper will retail for $89, well under the $100 threshold industry experts cite for consumer-oriented information devices.

PDA Times analyst Stephen Carter commented that "Palm seems to be making all the right moves to control the consumer PDA market. The Timekeeper is the definite 'must-have' gift this holiday season."

Device Net correspondent Rose Howland agreed. "This device will be favored by consumers who are typically daunted by the more technologically advanced PDAs on the market. Palm has streamlined their display and controls to make telling time easier - advanced technology with a minimalist approach."

The new Palm Timekeeper offers a challenge to the growing competition from Microsoft Pocket PC devices. Following Palm's announcement, Compaq and Toshiba both released statements reporting that they had partnered with Microsoft to release a Pocket Clock, by early 2003.

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates also announced the development of Windows TD for use in the Pocket Clock devices. "Windows TD, will be the most advanced time and date operating system on the market when it is released to developers in December. With our industry partners, we'll be helping people tell time like no other device in the history of computing."

Gates handed the presentation over to lead TD developer Michael Fritz. "Windows TD will have a compact version of Windows Explorer as a it's core display architecture," Fritz said. "We're also looking for ways to incorporate up to 10 multiple function buttons in the Pocket Clock design. We're just not sure yet what use they'd have."

Pocket Clock products are expect to be priced at around $120. Palm, Inc. is rumored to be investigating a lawsuit against Pocket Clock manufacturers and Microsoft over the use of the patented Timekeeper technology.

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