Arabic comes to Palm

Palm Inc. will begin bundling Arabic language software with its PDAs (personal digital assistants) shipped to the Middle East and North Africa.

Information Appliances International Inc.’s APOS (Arabic for Palm OS) will ship with the handhelds for no extra charge in the region, according to a statement. Palm expects the first products with the APOS to ship early this year.

Users will be able to install the Arabic language software at the time of purchase and can switch between Arabic and English as they desire. The APOS language software is already used by Palm handheld users in the Middle East, Palm said, but has not previously been offered as a bundle. The APOS platform is an open platform, which allows third-party developers to create mobile applications in Arabic, the company said.

Information Appliances International, based in Falls Church, Virginia, also provides a searchable version of the Quran and the SalaTimes, which provides Muslims the five prayer times of the day for a variety of cities around the world.

Palm, in Santa Clara, Calif., can be reached at Information Appliances International, in Falls Church, Va., can be reached at