Don't need Color? Then give the Palm IIIxe a look!
by Shawn Barnett
Somewhat overshadowed by the news of the Palm IIIc was the debut of the monochrome Palm IIIxe, the successor to the Palm IIIx.
The Palm IIIxe draws features from three of the other Palm III devices: from the Palm IIIc it gets Palm OS 3.5, offering all the features of its color sibling except the color screen and the rechargeable battery. It also gets the cool slate-gray casing. It betters the memory size of the Palm IIIx by 4MB, effectively maxing the memory out at 8MB. Which brings us to what it shares with the Palm IIIe: it has no expansion slot, since it can hold no more memory, though it does have flash RAM for future memory upgrades, unlike the IIIe.
Confused? Then let's just say that the Palm IIIxe is a Palm running a 16MHz DragonBall processor, with a very readable monochrome LCD. It has 8MB of RAM and runs Palm OS 3.5. It's OS is upgradeable and it will work with all of the Palm III-size peripherals on the market. Like past units, it runs on two triple-A batteries.
Unlike the Palm IIIc, the Palm IIIxe's pen is in the traditional Palm III position. The pen itself, however, is no longer the nice metal-barreled pen of past Palm IIIs. It is plastic like the Palm IIIe. That's okay, until you realize that you'll occasionally need a reset pin or a paper clip to recover from a crash.
Incidentals include a forest green power button and a silver logo, again with no reference to 3Com or US Robotics. Just Palm, thanks.
It benchmarks at 108% of a Palm IIIx, suggesting that Palm has incorporated changes similar to Neil Bridges Streakhack to eliminate the streaks that came with the IIIx units.
With the Palm IIIx selling at US$229, I don't know how they're going to clear them out, because the IIIxe, with twice the RAM is only US$249. It's a bargain, especially considering that the IIIx was selling at US$349 just a few months ago. You can get nearly all the horsepower of the IIIc, sans color, for US$200 less in the IIIxe, so I'll give it a buy rating.