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Computers in Your Palm: Tough Competition

On the exterior, Casio's E-10 and other models from other companies look almost identical to the Pilot, but they run Windows CE. That's a lightweight version of Microsoft Windows that enables the devices to easily transfer information to and from computers running Windows 95 or 98. It even has the familiar Start button in the lower left corner. But the factors that have made the Palm Pilot the best selling device with sales of over one and a half million promise to keep it on top, at least for now. It is easy to use, rugged and connects easily to both PCs and Macs. At 3Com, Greg Shirai says the latest model, the Palm III adds some new featuresÂ…

"The main differences are that we have a sleeker, more rugged design. We've added infrared to enable sharing of information directly with other Palm III users. We've added twice the amount of memory as the Palm Pilot Professional and we've made a variety of software enhancements to just really improve the ease of use of the device."

Like larger fonts that makes names and phone numbers much easier to read. And while some of the new Windows CE devices add new features like voice recordingÂ…3Com continues to keep it simpleÂ…

"People come up to us and sayÂ…you know, you could have added all of these different features and functionalities. But you have a simple product. I opened it up, I get it, it works for me."

Can 3Com hold onto it's advantage? We'll have to check with a palm reader.