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Sleek Palm V due Monday

New details about the next generation of PalmPilots are emerging, and some retailers have already begun taking early orders for the new handhelds.

New details about the next generation of PalmPilots, due next week, are emerging, and some retailers have already begun taking early orders for the new devices.

3Com's Palm Computing division is expected to expand its highly popular line of palm-sized devices when it releases two new products on Monday, sources say.

Palm Computing is expected to release both the Palm III X, a version of its popular Palm III device for the "power-user," and the Palm V, a sleeker handheld targeted at the high-end market.

The rollout will be Palm's first product launch since the introduction of the Palm III last March. Since that time, Microsoft and its manufacturing partners have flooded the market with palm-sized devices running the Windows CE operating system, and industry observers expect that the sheer number of these devices will begin to chip away at Palm's 72 percent market share.

By 2002, Windows CE devices are projected to account for 52 percent of the market, according to market research firm International Data Corporation.

The Palm III X is expected to offer 4MB of memory, a clearer display with less reflectivity, a Microsoft Outlook conduit for easier synchronization, and an open connector slot.

The Palm V also features an improved display, but will only offer 2MB of memory.

Code-named Razor, the Palm V is slimmer than the Palm III, measuring only 11 mm thick, according to Nigel's Palm V Page, which posted the images.

A retail source familiar with the device has confirmed the images as authentic.

Like the recently announced palm-sized devices running on Windows CE, the new Palm V will include a rechargeable lithium ion battery. Batteries on Windows CE devices offer up to 10 hours of use.

CompUSA in San Francisco has already begun accepting early orders for both the Palm V and the Palm III X. The computer superstore will sell the Palm V for $449.95, and the Palm III X for $369.95, according to a sales representative. Other retailers are expected to follow similar pricing.

In a move seen as a precursor to the rollout of new products, 3Com reduced prices on both the Palm III and Palm Professional earlier this month, to make room in its pricing structure for the new devices. The Palm III was discounted from $369 to $299.

The new devices will not be widely available on Monday. Instead, the Palm III X and Palm V will be sold through selected retailers, such as

Palm has announced it will launch its wireless device, the Palm VII, in the second quarter of this year. Expected in May, the device will be priced under $800.