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10 most memorable Palm PDAs

Does the Palm Pre mark the start of a new era?

Will the Pre be the last in Palm's line of products, or will it mark the beginning of a new era for company? Here's a quick look at the devices Palm has created over the years.

Palm diversifies: the Tungsten and Zire

Undeterred, Palm refined its line over the next couple of years with the m100 and m500 series, which replaced the III and the V, respectively, adding such features as much-improved colour displays and expansion slots (for the new SD card/MMC format).

In 2002, the company dropped the numeric model names in favour of two new brands: the high-end Tungsten, outfitted with high-res screens and powerful processors; and the entry-level Zire, configured with a monochrome screen, no expansion slot, and limited storage capacity.

Palm continued to manufacture the two brands even after its 2003 merger with Handspring and its adoption of yet another company name, this time PalmOne. Shown here are the Tungsten E2 (above left) and the Zire 72 (above right), later models that appeared after Palm's PalmOne rechristening.

Photo: Courtesy of Palm

Handspring pioneers Palm phones

In the early 2000s, successfully marrying a PDA to a mobile phone with data capabilities became the Holy Grail of handheld computing. Several Palm licensees - most notably Kyocera with its 6035 and Samsung with the i300 - brought products to market, but their efforts were typically too large, too heavy, and insufficiently phonelike.

Meanwhile, Research in Motion's BlackBerry handhelds were attracting more and more business customers who needed a usable keyboard to handle email on the road.

In mid-2002, Handspring, a Palm OS licensee founded by Palm cofounders Jeff Hawkins and Donna Dubinsky, came much closer to the mark with its first Treo PDA/phone hybrids - devices with flip-phone lids that when opened revealed QWERTY keyboards (while retaining color screens that supported Graffiti input).

The Treo 270 (shown above), was a GSM phone while the Treo 300 worked on CDMA networks.

Photo: Courtesy of Palm

NEXT PAGE: The Treo takes off

  1. Does the Pre mark the start of a new era for Palm?
  2. Enter the Palm III
  3. The first wireless Palm
  4. The Tungsten and Zire
  5. The Treo takes off
  6. The Centro
  7. Finally, the Pre

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