WiFi + PDA = FADWiiP?

Visor PrismI’ve been thinking about buying a new PDA for about a year now. I cut my teeth on a Handspring Visor back in 2000, and have been a PalmOS PDA user ever since. Last year I upgraded to a refurbished Visor Prism. I was worried about battery life, and evils of backlit color. The Prism is still working great, but I’m wanting more.

PalmOne Tungsten TThis search started when the sleek new PalmOne Tungsten caught my eye. I have some basic requirements for a PDA.

1. It can fit in my pocket and take said abuse. The Prism is a bit on the bulky side. It’s the limit of what I will cram in my front pocket. So anything thinner / shorter would be an improvement.
2. It runs PalmOS and stores; Phone numbers, to-do lists, journal entries, email drafts, alarms, and some random astronomy applications. The “camera-phone-cappuccino-maker-mini-keyboard” option does nothing for me. A high res color screen would be nice – but that just leads to palm pr0n.
3. Some sort of upgradeability. Springboard, SD, MemoryStick, etc. Even if no company ever makes 3rd party stuff for the gameboy sized slot on the back of your PDA. It’s there and it makes me THINK that I have options.

WiFi Baby!… and finally
4. WiFi. No, not Bluetooth. I mean 802.11B. This is where we hit our big stumbling block for PDA’s. Even PocketPC’s have this problem. “That’s not true Kris! My iPaq is on teh int@rw3b!” Well, it’s a hack at best. Pull the giant PCMCIA WiFi card out of the ass of your PDA, and ask yourself if it’s an “integrated solution”.

Failed attempts: Let me blame Xircom right off the bat. They held a wired Ethernet SpringBoard Module over our heads for like 2 years, and never released it. They actually MADE a WiFi Ethernet module! Did it! W00t! – It sucked. Not only that – but it cost MORE then the Visor! @ $299. The 4 people that bought them are on EBay right now trying to get rid of them. Look for SWE1130. They also made a “WiFi cradle-thingy” for the Palm V series that didn’t look or perform any better. This dated article on the Palm Source site still speaks highly of their efforts.
Sony is also dropping the ball. BrightHand reported that The WiFi Memory Stick was due out in July of last year. Sony did make a WiFi card for the for Sony Clie’ NX60, NX70V and NZ90 models. Yeah – the really expensive ones. Hold the applause.

SD WiFi?More failure to come?
SanDisk has released an SD WiFi card that supports 15 devices. The iPaqs, Samsung phones, and three ViewSonic models. Disappointed yet? Did SanDisk SEE the SD slot on every Palm device for the last 3 years?

Okay, okay. Focus:
There ARE integrated WiFi PalmOS PDA’s out there.
The PalmOne Tungsten C. Selling currently for $500.
The Sony Clie’ UX50 Almost not a PDA at $600.

Here’s the line:
PalmOne, Sony, anyone? Build a Tungsten E / Clie’ TJ25 that has built in WiFi. I’ll take at least 16MB of memory, color screen, graffiti pad, and an SD card slot. Make it $300, and you will sell a metric ton of them. The camera MP3 player PDA’s are nice, but it’s overkill. Like needing to fly to Texas and taking the Space Shuttle. You get there – but you never used the gamma-ray spectrometer did you?

– Kris

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