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Discounts under the Palm tree

Price reductions for the popular handheld device bring the highest-end PalmPilots under $300.

    If you have a PalmPilot user on your holiday buying list this year, shopping should be a breeze, especially as discounts bring the highest-end PalmPilots under $300.

    The popular handheld devices are expected to be one of the hottest sellers this holiday season--and retailers are scrambling to offer the lowest price on this must-have item for the geek on your shopping list. With older models priced well below $200, the PalmPilot seems to have hit the sweet spot for the mass market.

    The Palm III, the top of the line Pilot with 2MB of RAM, was originally priced at $399 but now has a list price of $369 when purchased directly through 3Com.

    On the Internet, however, the devices can be found for under $300. For example, NECX is offering a Palm III for $279, Cyberian Outpost has a Palm III for $299, and at BuyComp, the Palm III goes for $248.95.

    Lower-end Palm devices go for under $200 online. The PalmPilot Professional normally goes for an estimated retail price of $249. But at Micro Warehouse, it is priced at $199, and at BuyComp, the mid-range device can be had for $187.95.

    In addition, gifts abound for owners of these popular handheld devices. Does a family member absolutely need a chrome-plated stylus with an integrated reset button? No problem. Would you like a gift box with that? And if early sales are any indication, Palm accessories and add-ons will be one of the more popular gift ideas this season.

    "We're definitely seeing an increase in sales," said Kenny West, president of PalmPilot Gear HQ, a PalmPilot store based in Texas. "We're about a year-and-a-half old, and we're seeing a 40 percent increase [over last Christmas]."

    The preponderance of PalmPilot products is a sign of the maturity of the platform, according to Bob Preston, an analyst with market research firm ARS. "The commitment to the platform is definitely here," he said. "There's tons of stuff that's starting to pop out."

    For the discriminating Pilot user, posh luggage purveyor Coach offers two leather PalmPilot cases in mahogany or black for $110 and $69 respectively.

    If Coach's leather cases aren't quite durable enough for your rough-and-tumble PalmPilot user, RhinoSkin offers a titanium case which purports to withstand up to 200 pounds of pressure without a scratch. The price: $99.95.

    Cases, as well as database, email, and backup applications are all proving popular this season, but the most popular gifts for Pilot users this year are styluses, the pen-like sticks used for inputting data into the PalmPilot, West said. Pilot Gear is selling multi-function stylus that also serve as mechanical pencils and pens.

    In addition, fancy styluses can be found at PDA Panache, which offers chrome-plated or black stylus options with built-in reset pin.

    Concept Kitchen is offering a PDA Survival Kit, for $69.99. The kit comes with a Fingertip stylus, WrightRight Screen Enhancements to reduce glare on the display, Brain Wash smudge remover, and Karma Cloth cleaning cloth.