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Turning Your Palm Into An eWallet

Techstination feature for Friday, January 12, 2001

Can a handheld computer replace your wallet? I'm Fred Fishkin with Bloomberg Bootcamp. The folks at Palm Inc. seem to think it can. At this year's Consumer Electronics Show, CEO Carl Yankowski showed off a new eWallet application for the Palm... beaming his credit card data to an infrared equipped cash register on stage to make a purchase...

"We have a secure credit card on our Palm and when we want to make a purchase we simply beam our Palm to the infrared receiver tied into the store's cash register and we put our secure code in there, our PIN number so that it knows that it's us, and everything else happens as a regular transaction and we simply get financial record electronically on our Palm and we get a hard copy from the store as well."

Yankowski tells us Palm users could be buying this way before the end of this year. And, he says, that's just the beginning... .

"Credit cards are only the start. Think about George's wallet on Seinfeld and all the memos and all the pieces of paper and Ids and currency that were carried in there. There's no reason that driver's licenses, passports, etcetera with governmental institutions can't be put onto silicon. Even passkeys. We have a program at Palm called Palm at Palm, as we develop our new headquarters as we grow and we're going to be able to open our doors electronically with our Palms as opposed to having to carry a smart card."

Palm faces increasing competition from PocketPC makers and others... .but Yankowski notes new figures show a 165 percent increase in sales this past holiday season. Bootcamp, I'm Fred Fishkin, Bloomberg Radio.