The lower-end models emphasize price Palm's original Zire model was the first PDA under $100 from a major manufacturer and the higher-end models emphasize multimedia capacity, including features like cameras and audio playback functions suitable for listening to MP3s.
Palm Zire & Palm Zire 21
The Palm Zire
The Palm Zire and Palm Zire 21 are inexpensive and are differentiated from the rest of Palm's line by having monochrome screens without backlighting, having only two quickbuttons instead of four, and a traditional up/down navigation button instead of a 5-Way Navigator, though both of these entry-level models are lightweight (3.8oz or 108g), sporting a white front with a matt gray plastic back.
The Zire, released in the fourth quarter of 2002 (also known as the m150), is the handheld responsible for starting the value-conscious handheld craze. It sported only 2MB On-Handheld RAM, a 16 MHz Motorola DragonBall EZ processor, and Palm OS 4.1.x. The Zire was superseded by the Zire 21 at the release of the "First Breed of PIM Plus Handhelds" on fourth quarter 2003.
The Zire 21, released at the same time as with the Tungsten T3 and Tungsten E, sported an improved PIM suite (known as the Palm PIM Plus), a 126 MHz TI OMAP311 ARM-Compliant Processor, 8MB On-Handheld RAM, and Palm OS 5.2.1.
Neither the Zire nor the Zire 21 had SD/SDIO/MMC expansion, which was vehemently shunned by venerable handheld aficionados. As of August 2005, both of these handhelds have been discontinued, making the Palm Zire 31 the entry-level Palm-branded PDA citing a strong demand for color.(the z22 is the current cheapest color model, running at $99.99 per unit..)
The zire 21 is capable of displaying pdf files using the free Adobe Reader for palm OS version 3. Like most palm handhelds, text from the pdf file can be copied and pasted into other applications such as memo pad, greatly enhancing the utility of this cheap device. It is capable of, in effect, acting as a portable word processor, albeit a very basic one.
Palm Zire 31
PalmOne Zire 31 and stylus
Main article: Zire 31
The Palm Zire 31 is a budget multimedia-oriented device. While the display is still 160160, it is now color; it has twice the RAM of the Zire 21 (16 MiB/ 13.8 MiB usable), a 200 MHz PXA255 processor, SD/SDIO/MMC expansion slot, Palm OS 5.2.8, 3.5mm stereo headphones jack and a 5-way navigator pad, though the Zire 31 still only had 2 quickbuttons, as opposed to the standard 4 on the mid-range Zire 71/72 models. The ROM includes RealOne player giving the device some digital audio player capabilities and a photo album application. It doesn't have a direct successor - the newer Palm Z22 is more akin to the Zire 21, albeit having the same 160160 pixel CSTN 4096-color display as the Zire 31. While Zire 31 has the ability to play video (video player not included), the experience is limited by the maximum SD/MMC card size limit (1GiB), the poor screen resolution, color depth and passive matrix display technology.
Main article: Palm Z22
The Z22 is a successor of Zire 21, but without the "Zire" moniker. Released October 12, 2005, it is priced at $99 USD. It has a CSTN 4096 color 160x160 display, but features 32MB NVRAM (20MB available to user) using NVFS, a Samsung 200 MHz processor, and Palm OS Garnet 5.4 operation system. Its weight is 3.4 oz (96g). This is the only current color PDA priced under $100 ($99.99 at launch in October 2005)
Included in the box are cables for syncing with a computer via USB, and for charging from a wall outlet, Palm Desktop software for Mac and Windows, and a screen protector to apply if desired.
Palm Zire 71
The Palm Zire 71 was PalmOne's first attempt at a PDA with a built-in digital camera. It was introduced on April 23, 2003. At the time of its release, the Zire 71 was the highest-end model of the Zire brand, sporting a 144 MHz TI OMAP310 Processor, 16MB On-Handheld Memory (13MB usable), 320x320 TFT 16-Bit Color Screen, Palm OS 5.2.1, and a VGA-Quality Camera (300K Pixel with 640x480 support). It also featured a small joystick for quick navigation. Audio playback capability was possible with the inclusion of a SD card slot, and a Palm version of RealPlayer was included. To counter the slow file transfer rate for uploading songs to the device, Palm offered an MP3 playback kit including a memory card writer. Its introduction price was $299, but later was reduced to $249 shortly before it was replaced by the Zire 72. The 71 still had advantages over the 72, as the camera was constantly protected by a shell on the 71, and it had a PalmOne "Universal Connector."
Picture taken with the Palm Zire 71.
The Zire 71 did not ship with any wireless capabilities other than the infrared port. Wi-fi capability can be added to the Zire 71 via the SD slot. Only one Wi-Fi/SD card, SanDisk model SDWSDB-000-A10M, is reported to work with Zire 71. Wireless capabilities can also be added through the use of a folding portfolio, such as the Enfora Wireless LAN Portfolio.
Reviewers were impressed by the excellent quality of its LCD and the comparatively good quality of its camera compared to similar generation VGA digital cameras.
Certain users found issues with the sensitivity of the device's joystick, which on certain devices was prone to powering up the PDA inside pockets, bags, and other containers, thus draining the batteries. The recommended utilities for the Palm Zire 71 (and all other Palm-branded PDA users as well) addressing the in-pocket power-up problem are as follows:
PocketProtector by Geakware
Power by Whizoo
OffAlready by Toysoft inc
Disable Buttons (freeware) by Pasquale Foggia
Alternatively, one could simply lessen the frequency of this occurring by inserting the PDA into its case top first (so that the joystick is at the wider end of the pocket). Additionally, after many cycles of opening and closing the camera, the small cable that connects the halves of the device may fracture, leading to a loss of hotsync ability, and eventually being unable to charge the device.
Palm Zire 72
Main article: Zire 72
The Palm Zire 72 is an upgraded version of Palm Zire 71. New features include Bluetooth, voice recording, and video capture with sound. The joystick was removed and replaced with a recessed pad similar to that of the Tungsten models, and the camera was upgraded from 0.3 to 1.2 megapixel. The Zire 72 has 32MB on-handheld RAM (25MB usable) instead of 16MB, a 312 MHz Intel PXA270 Processor instead of a TI OMAP Processor, and weighed 4.8oz as opposed to 5.3oz for the Zire 71. This models features the newer PIM apps, like the E, T3 and Z22 Models. The Zire 72 was available in two models. The standard Zire 72 had a bright blue painted body with silver back. The Zire 72 Special Edition was an all-silver model.
The Zire 72, while it had more features than the Zire 71, was hit with a lot of criticism and friction over time. Some users report problems with the camera: the camera lens is not covered, the camera doesn't work in lowlight conditions, and broken pixels are common. (Third-party cases include a lens cover.) The screen quality, while good, may be not as brilliant as the Palm Zire 71. Many users complained of the blue paint chipping and peeling after moderate use.
Palm Zire 73
The supposed "Zire 73", rumored to exist, doesn't exist. The rumor had been started when a product on "Buy.com" had labeled a "form fitting" protective case for the Zire 72 & 73. Not only had the palm in the picture been a Tungsten, but there were links to Zire 73 accessories (which also, do not exist.) There was also talk of some of the specs that were "going to be in the 73." Some of which were a 320x480 pixel screen, a 1.7 Mega pixel camera, 64 MB of on board RAM and Palm OS 6 Cobalt (while they are currently only producing 5.4 Garnet), a faster processor, and a black or a lime paint coating, among many others.
Comparison of various Zire devices
3.8 oz (109 g)
3.4 oz (96 g)
4.1 oz (116 g)
5.3 oz (150 g)
4.8 oz (136 g)
RAM size: total/available/Non-volatile
LCD, b/w, 16 gray levels
STN passive matrix, color, 12 bit
TFT active matrix, color, 16 bit
Motorola DragonBall EZ
Intel Xscale PXA255 (ARM v.5TE)
Palm OS version
Headset Jack + Speaker
MP3 player, video player
Additional features and devices
Camera (640*480, 0.3 Megapixel, covered, photo), 5-way joystick
Camera (1280*960, 1.2 Megapixel, uncovered, photo and video), microphone and voice recording capability, Bluetooth
Tungsten - Palm's band of Business-Grade Handhelds
Treo Series - Palm's band of Smartphones
LifeDrive - Palm's band of Professional-Class Mobile Managers
Personal Digital Assistant
Palm Debuts First $99* Handheld - The Zire Handheld, Palm Press Release, Oct. 7, 2002
Palm Introduces Sequel to Top-Selling Zire Handheld, Palm Press Release (Zire 21), Oct. 1, 2003
Review for Palm Z22
Complete specs by CNet for Zire 71
PalmOne, inc. website
Mac OS X: Palm Desktop 4.2.1 - Rev D (Disable "Media" sync before using Palm Zire 1, not implemented in the first Zire, or use Rev A instead)
v d e
List of devices by manufacturer branding and series
as Palm Computing
as U.S. Robotics
III IIIx IIIe
Visor Deluxe Prism Platinum Edge Neo Pro
90 180 270/300 600
as Palm, Inc. (2000)
m100 m105 m125 m130
m500 m505 m515
T T2 T3 W E
31 71 72
as Palm, Inc. (2005)
Foleo (never released)
680 700p 700w 700wx 750 750v 755p 800w Pro
Italics indicate that a device has been discontinued. Devices are organized by the company's current name at time of product release; several devices were also sold under subsequent corporate identities.
Categories: Palm OS devices