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Palm to cut handheld prices

The handheld maker will join a list of PDA competitors slashing prices in hopes of enticing new customers during what is traditionally a slow sales season.

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Palm will join the list of handheld makers slashing prices in hopes of enticing new customers during what is traditionally a slow sales season.

The handheld maker will announce Thursday that it is cutting prices by up to 34 percent on five of its six handheld lines. Santa Clara, Calif.-based Palm joins Sony and Handspring in reducing prices as the competitors muddle through the late summer sales doldrums.

"Historically, summer is slow for PDA sales," said Kenyon Scott, Palm product marketing manager. "Most suppliers use this time to create demand for sales through either re-pricing or promotions."

Last year, handheld makers were engaged in a fierce price war, caused by high levels of inventory. Yet Scott downplayed any concerns of a repeat.

"We see this as a seasonal adjustment, nothing atypical," Scott said.

The company cut the m105 handheld from $149 to $99, the m125 from $179 to $169, the m130 from $279 to $249, the m500 from $299 to $199 and the i705 from $449 to $399. The i705 still includes a $100 rebate if consumers sign up for a one-year service contract for the Palm.net wireless service.

Palm did not cut the price of its m515 device, which remains at $399.

"The 515 has shown to be incredibly popular, so we are not cutting its price," Scott said.

Overall, device makers are pushing prices lower. In June, Palm interim CEO Eric Benhamou said that the company has its eye on devices that flirt close to $100, saying the price point has, in the past, proven to be a launching pad for other popular consumer products--such as the DVD player and the Walkman portable music player.

Sony is also pushing toward lower prices with its $150 Clie PEG-SL10, which it unveiled Monday.

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