Makers of Palm Pilot Develop New Wireless Service for Earlier Models

Healthy competition is good, but competing against yourself? 3Com Corp, makers of the Palm Pilot line of personal digital assistants (PDAs), along with Aether Systems, Inc., have announced a new wireless service called Open Sky that will serve the Palm III and Palm V. The service is expected to debut first quarter 2000.

3Com has beta-tested its new Palm VII this summer in various markets, and plan to roll out the model in mass this fall. Although the VII employs the same technology as earlier Palm models, its prime difference is its wireless dial-up capabilities to receive Internet pages and send/receive e-mail using a specified, subscription-based network called Palm.net.

3Com said that the new Open Sky system enables users to pay a flat rate using four carriers, versus the sometimes skyrocketing cost of $200 paid by some users of the Palm VII. Another advantage of the Open Sky is that it will allow direct access to corporate e-mail accounts.

Previously excluded from any 3Com-related products due to its platforms, users of Windows CE PDAs like the Compaq Aero 2110 and Cassiopeia E-100 also may use the new Open Sky technology for dial-up service.

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