Palm's long-awaited new wireless handheld came one step closer on Monday as the company received US government approval for the device.

The i705 will allow users to tap into their corporate email accounts and surf the internet via the MyPalm portal, according to a Palm filing with the US Federal Communications Commission.

Plans for the device include a blinking red/green indicator light to alert users to incoming email and a SD (secure digital) memory card expansion slot for add-on software and hardware. The indicator light will also be used to indicate when users are out of range for wireless transmission.

The four buttons along the base of the handheld will by default link to the calendar, address book, MyPalm portal and MultiMail Deluxe email application. That's a slight departure from Palm's traditional setup which has the buttons keyed to the calendar, address book, To-do list and memo programs. Users can reassign the buttons to launch any application on their device.

The Palm i705 will be Palm's first new handheld with built-in wireless functionality since it released the Palm VII (pictured) in 1999. Palm has not committed to a release date for the i705, but the company is widely expected to launch the new handheld before the end of 2001. UK buyers may have to wait longer, as Palm never released the VII in Europe.