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Royal Looks to Extend PDA Reach

Techstination feature for Friday, November 22, 2002

Can an old typewriter company take business away from Palm? Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. Chances are you have an old typewriter stashed up in the attic... that bears the brand name Royal. Today the company, part of Olivetti now, is better known for its paper shredders and low end electronic organizers. One model... that stores names and numbers sells for as little as 8 dollars. But now Royal is taking on Palm in the 100 dollar range... with its new Linea models. Marketing executive director Bob Robinson...

"They're at 2 megabytes at 99 dollars. For 99 dollars we give you 16 megabytes of memory. They don't give you a modem, we give you a modem. Their screen is a 2.8 inch screen. We're a 3.8 inch screen. So it's a much bigger screen, much easier to work with, easier to read."

The built in modem can connect to a variety of online services for email... but Royal has partnered to create its own service for 9.95 a month. But with Palm's brand recognition... and the tremendous amount of software available for its operating system... can Royal really make a dent?

"We believe that there is a niche for maybe a hundred and forty nine dollars and below for a product with a proprietary operating system."

And Royal intends to push further into the higher end of the market with a Linux based handheld in the months to come. For now... Royal is offering new comers who don't really care which operating system they use in a handheld... a legitimate new choice. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.