"Japan's consumers will need to wait until next year for products like the Palm VII computing device with a built-in wireless communication capability, according to Carl Yankowski, CEO of Palm Inc.
"Palm is the company that makes the Palm OS and portable information devices in the United States.
"Yankowski spoke May 24 at a press conference in Tokyo. He discussed the company's strategies in the arena of wireless communications. He made two main points: (1) Palm devices with built-in wireless capabilities will be released in Japan in the first half of 2001, and (2) in a year, all of Palm's existing devices will be able to connect wirelessly to the Internet.
"Yankowski gave no specifics about the promised new products with built-in wireless capabilities.
"As concerns the Palm devices already on the market, all existing models will be enabled for wireless Internet access by attaching an external device, he said. A variety of plug-in products will be available, including wireless modems and connection kits for linking to a mobile phone or personal handyphone system (PHS) handset.
"Already, Palm Inc. is selling the Palm VII wireless handheld computer in the U.S. market. However, no comparable model has been released in Japan.
"In June 1999, Palm (then a division of 3Com Corp.) announced that it would collaborate with NTT DoCoMo Inc. to jointly develop terminals that incorporate wireless data capabilities. But the partnership has not yet produced any goods.
"Indeed, Yankowski said nothing about the joint development project in his statement to the press, and there was no announcement from NTT DoCoMo.
"When asked what progress has been made, Yankowski said: "We continue to have an excellent relationship with NTT DoCoMo. We're now at the stage of working out the detailed specifications. I'll be able to tell you more just as soon as we get things finalized. But we haven't gotten that far yet, which is why I didn't make any mention of NTT DoCoMo in my statement."
"However, the product promised for Japan in the first half of 2001 will apparently not be the Palm VII in its present form.
"According to Craig Will, president of the Japanese subsidiary, Palm Computing KK, "the upcoming model will be a compact, lightweight device, with more features than the Palm VII."
"The Palm VII is a relatively bulky model in comparison with others in the Palm series.