Axim folds, but Dell may be eyeing Palm purchase

Dell kills Axim handhelds, stays mum on Palm purchase

Dell has stopped selling its Axim handheld computer line, and will not discuss rumours of a gearing up to introduce a smart phone product possibly by buying Palm, according to a spokesperson.

Officially, Dell pulled the Axim X51 products off its website and stopped selling them April 5, after first launching the Axim Pocket PC in 2002, spokesperson Jennifer Allison, said. Dell still shows the Axim product line on its website, although Allison said only add-on products awere for sale.

She said there were no plans for a smart phone, although Dell wa still selling GPS devices and smart phones from other makers.

The decision by Dell to discontinue the Axim line is a good example of the demise of the personal digital assistant, or PDA, an analyst at J. Gold Associates, Jack Gold, said.

"The PDA is dead. Long live the smart phone," he said.

The Axim decision has been predicted for some time, Gold said, and Dell was likely to introduce a smart phone later this year. It might also purchase Palm to make it happen.

Palm itself sold PDAs, but they were a minority of Palm's sales, Gold said.

HP's iPaq PDA has become a smart phone as well, he noted.

"Dell has the money to buy Palm, and it's clear now that Motorola is not buying Palm," Gold said.

Dell could build a smart phone or buy an established player. Palm already has a line of four smart phones that are built on both the Windows Mobile and Palm operating systems.

Allison said she could not discuss a possible purchase of Palm.

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Matt Hamblen

Computerworld

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