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Palm investing in handheld content

The company is taking a minority stake in a start-up that will produce software for the memory cards used in handheld devices.

    Palm plans to announce Tuesday that it is taking a minority stake in a start-up that will produce software for the memory cards used in Palm and other handhelds, a source told CNET News.com.

    The start-up known as Mobile Digital Media aims to create programs that can be stored on postage stamp-sized MultiMediaCard (MMC) and Secure Digital (SD) cards, according to a source familiar with the company's plans. Palm includes on many of its handhelds an expansion slot that can use both SD and MMC cards, as do other handheld makers such as Hewlett-Packard, Handspring and Toshiba.

    The privately held venture is led by Barry Cottle, Palm's former co-chief operating officer for content and access. Cottle, a former Disney executive who joined Palm in March of 2000, was responsible for the handheld maker's efforts to create a mobile portal and online services business, an effort the company has largely unwound in recent months.

    Palm said earlier this month that it was dropping support for its WeSync online service, which allowed customers to share information among multiple handhelds. The company has also ended a Web-based MyPalm portal, which stemmed from its acquisition of Anyday.com.

    Separately from the new venture it is investing in, Palm has an internal unit that markets electronic books that are stored on SD cards, known as Palm Digital Media. However, that unit is now a part of PalmSource, the Palm subsidiary that develops and licenses the Palm operating system.