Europe could have a long wait for 3Com's ecommerce enabled handheld device, the Palm VII, as the company tries to overcome incompatibility with European mobile networks, it emerged at Cebit today.
The Palm VII enables Internet based transactions, such as booking entertainment tickets and stock trading, by inserting a credit card in the mobile network connected device. It is currently being trialed in the US and will retail at around $800.
But, while in the US the mobile networks allow the device to automatically transmit information across the Internet, Europe's GSM networks would require the user to dial up, connect, transact and disconnect, something 3Com's Palm Computing division says is unsatisfactory.
"In the GSM world, you don't have quite the right architecture to give customers a great solution," said Neville Street, Palm Computing's general manager of international marketing.
3Com is working on an alternative product, compatible with GSM, for the European market but will eventually launch Palm VII once European operators have rolled out broadband General Packet Radio System (GPRS) mobile networks.
"What we're working on with Alcatel and Bluetooth is to enable a solution for that kind of technology in Europe," said Street. "When GPRS is deployed, we will have a packet switched network and will deploy a similar product into the European market."
3Com and Alcatel announced a partnership to create better compatibility between GSM mobile phones and Palm Pilot devices at Cebit on Wednesday.
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