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PalmOne goes for flash with new Tungsten

Flash memory and Bluetooth are key features in company's new Tungsten E2 handheld.

PalmOne's latest Tungsten handheld comes with a Bluetooth wireless connection and nonvolatile flash memory.

The new Tungsten E2 can connect to desktops and compatible phones via Bluetooth, a short-range wireless specification, and features a brighter color screen and longer battery life than the Tungsten E, the company said Wednesday.

Tungsten gallery

The use of nonvolatile flash memory means that data isn't lost if the battery runs out of juice. The device comes with 32MB of flash, but only 26MB is available for actual storage capacity. Last fall, PalmOne fielded complaints from some consumers about the available memory in its Treo 650.

PalmOne maintains the lead in the declining handheld market--last year, shipments slipped below 10 million for the first time since 1999. The company also is searching for a new CEO.

Treo sales helped PalmOne swing to a profit of $4.4 million in its most recent quarter from a loss in the year-earlier period, though the company's forecast for the current quarter came in below analysts' expectations.

Computing power in the Tungsten E2 comes from a 200MHz Intel XScale processor, and expansion cards let people play MP3 music files or show off digital photos.

"Customers get more of what they want--Bluetooth and a brighter, richer color screen that brings calendar, contacts, documents, photos and videos to life," Ken Wirt, senior vice president of marketing at PalmOne, said in a statement. "Flash memory keeps important information safe, even when you forget to charge the device."

The device, priced at $249, is available now. PalmOne also reduced the price of its Zire 31 handheld by $20 to $129.