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Travel books fit the world into a Palm

In another sign that the Palm has cemented a place for itself in the computing firmament, two publishers are porting their travel and entertainment content to fit onto the screens of the popular handheld devices.

    Now Palm owners can do Bali--or brunch--at a touch of a button.

    In another sign that the Palm has cemented a place for itself in the computing firmament, two publishers mostly known for their print titles are porting their content to fit onto the screens of the popular handheld devices.

    Well-known guidebooks like Lonely Planet and Zagat are adapting their content for Palm handhelds, making it easier for travelers to access information about hotels or restaurants while on the go.

    Like software makers who have been tuning their applications for the Palm, these publishers are exploiting the popularity of Palm as a distribution channel for their traditional guides.

    The combination makes sense: Palm owners, typically "mobile professionals," are one of the most desirable demographics for travel and restaurant guides.

    Lonely Planet today launched guides for both New York and Los Angeles, in addition to downloadable guides already available for Chicago, Hong Kong, Las Vegas, Paris, San Francisco and Sydney. In the works are guides for London, New Orleans, Miami and Bangkok.

    Lonely Planet guides include information about popular attractions and hotels, shops and restaurants, according to the company. Jointly developed by Concept Kitchen, the Palm software includes interactive maps, travel notes, and the ability to beam travel information to other Palm users.

    "Lonely Planet has always put the traveler first," said Eric Kettunen, Lonely Planet's U.S. general manager. "We see this as an exciting new way to help travelers explore the world."

    Palm users can download the individual cities for $19.99 from Lonely Planet. A CD-ROM version will be available in April.

    Meanwhile, Zagat has released a version of its well-known dining guide for the Palm. Zagat ratings and restaurant information are available for Palm users, as well as the ability to search by cuisine, price, location and top choices. Additionally, the software allows people to synchronize restaurant reservations with their Palm datebook.

    The Zagat guide for the Palm is available for $29.95.