Axim Folds, but Dell May Be Eyeing Palm Purchase

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

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

She said there are no plans for a smart phone, though Dell continues to sell 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 PDA, said Jack Gold, an analyst at J. Gold Associates in Northboro, Massachusetts.

"The PDA is dead. Long live the smart phone," Gold said in an interview.

According to Gold, the Axim decision has been predicted for some time, and Dell is likely to introduce a smart phone later this year. Dell might purchase Palm Inc. to make it happen, Gold said.

Palm itself sells PDAs, but they account for a minority of Palm's sales, Gold said. Hewlett-Packard'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.

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

PC World Senior Editor Yardena Arar comments on the rumors in her blog entry "Hey Dude, Your Palm's a Dell! (?)" in our Today@PCWorld blog.

This story, "Axim Folds, but Dell May Be Eyeing Palm Purchase" was originally published by Computerworld.

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