3Com subsidiary Palm Computing today launched its first colour display handheld computer.
The company, which will make its stock market debut next week, claims the Palm IIIc, at 6.8 ounces, is the lightest and smallest full function colour handheld on the market today. By comparison, Hewlett Packard's Jornada 430se launched last September weighs 8.8 ounces.
The Palm IIIc's battery lasts for around 11 hours, while the HP device has a battery life of seven hours. The Palm IIIc recharges like a mobile phone in a desktop cradle.
The IIIc has 8Mb of memory and software upgradeable flash Rom for future versions of the Palm OS software. It costs £349.99 including VAT in the UK.
Martin Hingley, senior analyst with research company IDC, said: "One of the worries of moving to colour is that the resolution and battery life will be compromised. But if they're really getting 11 to 12 hours battery life, then that's great."
Hingley said the move to colour could also give Palm a boost in the corporate sector: "It's always helpful to be able to do things like highlight email with colour."
In the first six months of last year, 3Com's Palm devices dominated the worldwide handheld device market, with shipments of nearly 1.2 million units, according to IDC.
Overall, the research company estimates that handheld companions will grow to 18.9 million units by 2003, compared with an estimated 5.4 million units at the end of 1999. Full year handheld market figures for 1999 are still being compiled.
Palm also announced another member of its handheld range today. The monochrome Palm Vx has 8Mb of memory and costs £299.99 including VAT.
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