Palm Enables RealPlayer, Wrist PDAs

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Palm Inc.'s PalmSource software unit on Monday announced plans to develop a wristwatch/PDA in partnership with wristwatch manufacturer Fossil .

The licensing deal with Fossil comes on the same day Palm clinched a strategic alliance with RealNetworks to turn its Tungsten PDA device into an MP3 player.

The deal with Texas-based Fossil calls for PalmSource to license the Palm OS to develop a new wristwatch device (to be called Wrist PDA) under two brands -- Fossil and Abacus. The Wrist PDAs are expected to ship in the middle of 2003.

The design for the new Palm OS-based Wrist PDA features an illuminated touch screen with a stylus integrated into the band for Graffiti input. It touts 2MB internal memory, Rocker switch user interface, infrared beaming between any Palm-powered device and pre-loaded applications like address book, date book, memo pad, calculator and 'to do' list.

The Wrist PDA is expected to retail for between $199 and $299 and would feature a one-inch square screen. Fossil is the 11th company to incense PalmSource's operating system and gives the Milpitas-based firm another leg up on Microsoft in the battle for handheld OS market share.

Microsoft's Pocket PC software competes directly with the Palm OS.

Separately, as competitors Dell and HP hit the Comdex tradeshow circuit with new PDA devices, Palm teamed up with RealNetworks to release the RealOne Player Mobile on the new Tungsten handheld device.

RealOne Player Mobile, based on Real's Helix open-source platform, delivers audio multimedia playback and storage for RealAudio and MP3 files on the Tungsten PDA.

Palm said the RealOne Player Mobile would enable the transfer of digital files from desktop RealOne players directly to the Tungsten handhelds, a crucial feature for consumers looking for portability of digital music.

The Seattle-based RealNetworks said it was working with Helix Community to make the Helix DNA Client available for the Palm OS 5 platform, which would enable other media applications to be developed for the Tungsten handheld and other Palm handhelds.

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