Faced with increasingly fierce competition in Japan, Palm will begin selling its M100 PDA (personal digital assistant) for the equivalent of less than £30 plus tax from this Saturday.

The price represents a drop of almost two-thirds from the current retail price and is part of a special promotion, currently scheduled to run for three months, that is intended to boost Palm's market share both for hardware and for its PalmOS platform in Japan.

The company is launching the promotion in the face of a growing lineup of devices based on Microsoft's PocketPC operating system from major Japanese electronics manufacturers.

This year Toshiba and NEC began selling PocketPC-based PDAs and Fujitsu is in the process of developing its own device.

A spokeswoman for Palm in Tokyo, Hitomi Yamabe, wouldn't comment on whether the company is making any money at the promotion price, although she said, "the idea is to get customer attention and make a larger user base". So probably not. Whether this might happen here in the UK is not known.