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Kyocera to debut revamped Palm-cell phone hybrid

The Smartphone, which will be officially announced Nov. 27, is the successor to the pricey, bulky Qualcomm PDQ.

The original gadget to combine a Palm handheld and a cell phone is making a comeback.

The Kyocera Smartphone, set to be officially announced Nov. 27, is the successor to the pricey, bulky Qualcomm PDQ.

When Qualcomm introduced the PDQ in 1998, it offered a glimpse of a futuristic device that combined a handheld organizer and phone. However, the unit was widely criticized because it was heavy, didn't do a good job integrating the phone and the handheld, and cost more than a cell phone and a Palm device purchased separately.

Now, Japan-based Kyocera appears to have solved some of those issues. Photos of the prototype and a draft of the user's guide were posted to the Federal Communications Commission Web site. The Web addresses were posted Friday to Silicon Investor message boards.

A Kyocera spokesman said Monday that some modifications have been made to the device since the photos were published, but that the photos appear to be genuine. Although the prototype sports the Qualcomm logo, the final Smartphone will instead have Kyocera's logo as well as the Palm Powered insignia.

Kyocera would not go into details about the dimensions or features of the device, but a representative said it is considerably sleeker and the Palm functions are better integrated than in the original PDQ. The Smartphone will be available early next year, the spokesman said.

Kyocera bought Qualcomm's wireless handset business in February.

Last month, Kyocera acquired a license to the Palm operating system and said it would unveil products by the end of the year.

Although wireless carriers will set the prices, a Kyocera representative said the unit is designed to be sold for considerably less than the original PDQ, which cost about $800.

The new unit will allow more access to wireless data via a built-in Web browser and email, as well as compatibility with standards such as Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) and Short Messaging System (SMS). It also will offer voice dialing, a speakerphone and the ability to sync with a PC, according to the draft of the user's guide. In addition, the phone will be able to serve as a wireless modem for a laptop, the document said.

Analysts have long trumpeted the convergence of handheld computers with cell phones. Wireless executives have said that designs in the works include devices that look like cell phones but have handheld features such as calendars and address books, handheld computers with voice capabilities, and new-look devices that combine both functions.

In September, Handspring introduced the VisorPhone, a $299 attachment that turns a Visor handheld into a cell phone. And Palm has a deal with Motorola to develop a next-generation wireless device combining handheld computer and phone features.