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Palm: The parts are in the mail

The handheld maker says a display shortage delayed the return time for repaired Zire 71 devices, but the issue has been resolved and all the repaired units will be mailed by today.

Palm Zire 71 owners who sent their devices in for repairs may have had to wait longer than they expected to get their units back.

Company representatives confirmed a shortage of displays had caused the return time for repaired Zire 71 devices to reach up to three weeks, but they said the issue has been resolved and all the repaired units should be in the mail by the end of Tuesday. Some customers sent devices in because of screen problems, which may have also affected battery life, according to the company.

It generally takes one week for the Milpitas, Calif.-based company to repair and return a damaged unit, said Marlene Somsak, vice president of corporate communications at Palm. Some customers had to wait an additional week. At its worst, the component shortage meant some customers had to wait up to three weeks.

"There was a temporary imbalance in our component supply," Somsak said. "We have high customer loyalty and you earn that every day."

Repeat buyers make up a large percentage of Palm's customer base, according to analysts.

Somsak added that the popularity of the Zire 71 device has been partly to blame for the component shortage and that only a "tiny fraction" of Zire 71 customers have been affected by screen problems. The Zire 71 has been one of the top-selling handhelds in the United States since its introduction.

The $299 Zire 71 comes with a color screen with a resolution of 320 pixels by 320 pixels, and a built-in digital camera and audio player.