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PalmOne to turn off wireless service

Handheld maker says it will close down its Palm.Net wireless e-mail and Web service soon.

PalmOne will shut down operation of its wireless service, Palm.Net, by the end of the month.

The Milpitas, Calif.-based handheld maker posted a statement on its Web site at the end of July to say features such as Palm.Net e-mail and the MyPalm mobile portal and "Web clipping" service won't be available after Aug. 31.

There has been a gradual decline in the number of users of the Palm.Net service over the last couple years, and the current total is about 42,000, said David Westendorf, senior director and general manager of Palm.Net.

Next-generation cellular networks have proved to offer better performance and more features than the data-only Mobitex network on which the Palm.Net service is based, Westendorf said.

"The next-generation networks are much, much faster and far more robust with voice to complement data, which is important to carriers," Westendorf said.

USA.net will provide e-mail service for Palm.Net subscribers, whose accounts will be moved over to USA.net, according to the posting. However, the Palm VII, VIIx and i705 devices will not be supported by USA.net, as they are only compatible with the Palm.Net network.

The wireless service was initially made available with the Palm VII in mid-1999. The $599 handheld device was the first to connect directly to the Internet.

Palm.Net offered a pared-down version of Internet content that was optimized for its small screen through its Web clipping service.

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