Sunday, April 1, 2001

The next generation of Palm devices: the m105, m500, and m505

FIRST LOOK

By Steve Niles

On March 6, 2001, Palm, Inc. released the new Palm m105, an extension of the popular low-end model, the Palm m100. The Palm m105, pictured in Figure A, improves on its predecessor by moving up from 2MB of memory to 8MB, adding a cradle, and making available 14 new replaceable faceplates.

FIGURE A

The Palm m105 adds new features to Palm's low-end model. (click for larger image)

As exciting as this new device was, we industry watchers were waiting to see what the rumors were telling us was coming right around the corner. Sure enough, on Monday, March 19, 2001, Palm, Inc. unveiled the next generation of its top-selling Palm V design, the new Palm m500 and Palm m505, pictured in Figure B.

FIGURE B

The Palm m500 series takes the Palm V to the next level. (click for larger image)

With these devices, the company succeeded in the difficult task of combining a slim, sleek form factor with expansion slot capability.

In conducting its market research, Palm polled consumers, asking them what they pictured when they thought of the quintessential Palm device. Overwhelmingly, the answer was the Palm V. It was clear this particular form factor had, through marketing and consumer acceptance, worked its way into the public consciousness as being the definitive look for what a handheld device from Palm, Inc. should be.

The challenge, then, was to maintain this popular form factor while adding the type of expansion capability and screen appearance necessary for Palm to hold on to its position as market leader. All evidence suggests they've done it.


"With innovations like these, Palm is sure to remain king of the mountain in the handheld industry."

Both devices in the m500 series retain the slim, curved design of the Palm V. However, they have the addition of a postage stamp-sized SD (Secure Digital) and MultiMediaCard expansion slot in the top back panel, as seen in Figure C.

FIGURE C

The m500 series features an SD and MultiMediaCard expansion slot. (click for larger image)

The Palm m505 also features a 16-bit color screen, allowing Palm bragging rights for having the lightest, expandable color-screen handheld ever released.

The Palm m500 is scheduled to be available in the United States in late April for an estimated street price of $399. International availability is expected in May. The Palm m505 handheld is scheduled to be available in the United States in May for an estimated street price of $449. International availability is expected in June. Normally, PalmPower only runs reviews of currently shipping products. But, because of the excitement over these new products, this time we're going to provide you with an in-depth preview of everything the new devices have to offer. Our full, hands-on review will follow in a future issue.