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All Hip, No Chip

February 04, 2001|Mark Ehrman

Technophobes take note: The PaperPalm (Chronicle Books, $4.95), the "new alternative to the electronic hand-held device," is coming.

This portable information processor puts a silicon technology facade--silly icons and all--on the otherwise analog-age memo pad.

While the PaperPalm won't hit the stores till June, we got a sneak peek at one of the prototypes. Packaged in a silvery space-age plastic pouch, it looks like a serious appliance, except there's no novella-length instruction manual printed in seven languages.

Our rigorous field test demonstrated that it functions flawlessly in a variety of conditions. Telephone numbers, appointments and even complex graphic elements such as diagrams and doodles are easily and faithfully recorded in its memory bank using the stylus-shaped No. 2 pencil. Text and graphics can be retrieved at any time, with nary a byte of data lost.

Because the PaperPalm emits no stray radio frequencies, the promo material boasts, you can even save and access material during takeoffs and landings. Of course, getting the unit wet will compromise its functionality, but if you do drop it in the bathtub, it's much less expensive to replace.

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