Palm adds SD Wi-Fi card

PalmOne has finally released an SD Wi-Fi card, enabling PDA users to connect to office wireless Lans and public hotspots.

PalmOne has finally released an SD Wi-Fi card, enabling PDA users to connect to office wireless Lans and public hotspots.

However, difficulties with implementing wireless Ethernet on PalmOS mean that the $129 (£70) card will only work on the Tungsten T3 and Zire 72 models.

"The engineering effort has been quite complex," said Rick Hartwig, PalmOne's head of European product marketing. He added that the company worked with SanDisk to develop the driver software.

That complexity has caused other SD Wi-Fi suppliers to shy away from Palm. For example, Socket Communications decided not to support Palm devices earlier this year.

Martin Croome, Socket general manager for Europe, said there was undoubtedly a market opportunity, but that the problems and variations between models, and the corresponding customer support workload, made it uneconomic to address.

The PalmOne card is not perfect: the built-in Bluetooth has to be turned off before using Wi-Fi, as the two operate on the same frequency band.

Wi-Fi is the one area where PalmOne has lagged behind Microsoft-based Pocket PCs.

Bryan Betts writes for Techworld

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