Palms New Tungsten Handhelds Shine

Tungsten T3, E devices offer high resolution and enhanced software.

Palm Inc. has bolstered its lineup of enterprise-oriented handheld computers with the Tungsten T3 and Tungsten E, two new devices marked by their high-resolution displays, compelling software enhancements and affordable prices.

In the case of the $399 Tungsten T3, eWEEK Labs was impressed enough by the quality and implementation of the units half-VGA display and integrated Bluetooth radio to award it an Analysts Choice designation.

The $199 Tungsten E provides companies with a new, lower entry point into Palms business-focused handheld line, albeit one that lacks any wireless functionality beyond infrared.

The devices, both of which began shipping this month, run Palm OS 5.2.1, the latest release of Palms 32-bit mobile operating system, and feature a better-organized preferences menu in which all configurable settings are organized into a single page.

The company also began shipping this month the Zire 21, a $99 consumer-targeted device that also runs Palm OS 5.2.1. (The previous Zire model was based on the 16-bit Palm OS 4.)

We didnt review the Zire 21, but were pleased to see that Palm has extended support for its new platform from the low to the high end of its product spectrum. While some users might not care what operating system their mobile device runs, it certainly matters to the Palm development community.

Both the T3 and E ship with software for synchronizing to Windows and Macintosh machines, and we could sync our handheld data to our Linux desktop using the GNOME GPilot application.

To synchronize data with Microsofts new Outlook 2003, we had to download a free software update from Palm, which is available at support/downloads/ outlookupdate2k3.html

We had a bit of trouble setting up synchronization between our Exchange mail account and Palms VersaMail e-mail application: The initial account setup screen asked us to choose between Post Office Protocol and IMAP account types and didnt mention anything about synchronize-only accounts. Once we got synchronization going, we were pleased with VersaMail, particularly for its support of e-mail subfolders.

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