Tungsten E2
PalmOne is updating its most popular handheld with the introduction of the Tungsten E2. Read our review here.

The company claims it didn't want to change too many details on what was its best-selling PDA during 2004's holiday shopping season.But it has added a brighter display, Bluetooth, and flash memory on the unit.

It has also almost doubled the battery life on the E2 by using a larger battery and switching to flash memory away from RAM. Longer battery life was the one thing customers wanted most, PalmOne said.

PalmOne is gradually rolling out flash memory throughout its Tungsten business PDAs and Treo smart phones. Flash memory is used extensively in mobile phones to store data, since it can store information without a constant supply of electricity.

This means if the battery runs out on the device during operation, users will not lose all their data, Doshi said. Flash memory also consumes less power than RAM because it doesn't need to be refreshed as often, he said.

Additional applications that let it play MP3 files, browse the Internet, and view photos are included by default on the E2, freeing up memory space. Users will have 26MB of Flash out of a total of 35MB. Previously, Tungsten E users had 28.3MB of total RAM.

When PalmOne switched the Treo 650 to flash memory last November, it also slightly reduced the amount of memory available to the user, but that situation was exacerbated by problems with the file system used to store data. That file system, based on the FAT system used by older versions of Windows stored data in large chunks that were often several times bigger than the file itself.

PalmOne has fixed the problem and the Tungsten E2 ships with the ROM update that PalmOne made available shortly after the release of the Treo 650 to correct that issue, Doshi said. Tungsten E users who wish to ditch their Palm PDAs and switch to the new E2 should be able to move RAM-based data to the flash memory with only a very small increase in the amount of storage space required, he said.

Users can wirelessly access other PDAs or computers with the device's Bluetooth chip, a new feature on the E2. The E2 also features an expansion card slot that works with MMC (multimedia card), SD (secure digital) and SDIO expansion cards.

The Tungsten E2 will be available from today worldwide and online for an estimated $249. Our review is here.