Palm Enlists Heavy Hitters


Palm Inc. said it will work with Intel Corp., Motorola Inc., Texas Instruments Inc. and other computer-chip companies, as the maker of hand-held computers seeks to improve products and boost sales.

Palm is preparing the latest version of its software, using specialty chips based on designs by ARM Holdings, which will let devices feature functions such as video and audio. Palm, whose shares have fallen 82% this year, makes computers and licenses its operating system to companies such as Sony Corp. and Handspring Inc.

The new software will help Palm vie with products that run on Microsoft Corp.'s PocketPC software, which already lets users access video and audio. PocketPC devices such as Compaq Computer Corp.'s iPaq have eaten into Palm's market share.

"For the last year, Palm has been fighting the perception that it's less powerful than PowerPC," said Kevin Burden, an analyst with researcher IDC.

In the U.S., IDC forecasts that the market share for devices running on Palm's software will fall to 65% this year from 82% last year. PocketPC will rise to 30% from 11%.

Leica to Work With Partner Leica Camera, the German maker of luxury cameras, is teaming up with Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., the biggest consumer electronics maker, to develop digital cameras.

The new models of the Leica and Panasonic brands will be ready in the fall. Leica aims to generate a quarter of its sales within three years from the digital cameras produced from the partnership.

Leica will be bringing its optical technology into the partnership, and the Japanese company will offer its digital audio video technology.

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