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Handhelds Hardware

Garmin Palm Device With GPS 175

Posted by timothy
from the useful-convergence dept.
Moritz writes "Garmin is introducing a PalmOS5 handheld with GPS, MP3 and 32MB of memory. That's very nice, but why is there no bluetooth? Why can't somebody just get the spec right? Other than that this seems to be a nice addition to the PalmOS lineup."
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Garmin Palm Device With GPS

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  • Screw bluetooth... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Dman33 (110217) on Monday January 20, 2003 @12:12PM (#5118849)
    Give me 802.11g and more memory. Seriously, 32MB? How hard would it be to put 64 or 128MB? My ancient MP3 player has 64MB integrated... Is there a limitation of the PalmOS or something???
    • by jeremyp (130771) on Monday January 20, 2003 @12:18PM (#5118887) Homepage Journal
      No, Palm OS is a lot smaller than the equivalent Pocket PC or whatever Microsoft is calling it now.

      32Mb is a lot for the average Palm device. Mine only has 8Mb and I've never got close to filling it.

      However, 32Mb is smallish for GPS mapping. I have a Garmin GPS receiver with 24Mb which is not enough to get the Garmin maps for the whole UK in.
      • I do agree with you in that 32MB is sufficient memory for an Palm device... I just cannot see why they should be stingy with the memory since it is cheap and this device touts MP3 playback along with GPS.

        As a correction to my origional post, the 802.11g can just be an add-on card... but it would be nice to see 802.11g added to palms in the future as they are backward compatable with 802.11b...
        • Another possible reason not mentioned is that RAM sucks battery power; the less, the better. So, even though lots of cheap RAM seems to make sense, it diminishes one of the few remaining advantages of the Palm platform.

          Some day, batteries will last for months or years of continuous use, and handhelds will have speech recognition, telephony, email, great color screens, hundreds of gigs of storage, and life will be good. ;-)

          I do agree with you that it would be nice to have built-in wireless networking. Let's just make it part of every computer and move on.


      • 32Mb is a lot for the average Palm device. Mine only has 8Mb and I've never got close to filling it.

        You obviously have a greyscale Palm. If it was colour that 8 MB would be stuffed with pr0n.
      • Well if Garmin is selling this and they do make GPS' and maps. You think they would want more memory so you can add maps
      • No, Palm OS is a lot smaller than the equivalent Pocket PC or whatever Microsoft is calling it now.

        Whilst this is true ...

        32Mb is a lot for the average Palm device. Mine only has 8Mb and I've never got close to filling it.

        I disagree with this. 32 Mb is a lot of memory for the average Palm device - that is mainly greyscale and used extensivily for PIM.

        But with the Tungstun Palm are rapidly entering PocketPC space ie. movies, sounds and things other than your basic PIM/ebook applications.

        A 5 Mb spreadsheet is 5 Mb whatever platform you put it on. On a PocketPC, this will take up 50% less space because it has double the memory of a Palm Pilot.

        Sure, applications are smaller but the datafiles will still be the same. I could upload my entire company phonebook to a 32 Mb PocketPC, but not to my 8 Mb Palm. The fact that Palm apps are smaller doesn't really help me here.

        With the Tungstun, Palm are entering the power user/road warrior/business professional market who will want to fill their PDA up with databases, spreadsheets, presentations, MP3's and movies and quite simply 32 Mb is not enough.

        Finally how much does it cost these days to stick 64 Mb in anyway? If Palm want to break PPC's stranglehold on the high end market (as Palm never were there in the first place), they have to accept that a 5 Mb data file will still be 5 Mb whatever platform you put it on and, with a Palm, that takes up a lot of what precious little space you have.

    • I would agree a little on the memory, however, the average GPS unit only has 8 megs for maps. The higher end units have 24. So that is either 24 or 8 megs that you are going to reserve for whatever you want. I would accept that as a nice tradeoff. Today, I need more maps, great, got 32 megs worth about to use. Lots more than entry level GPS units.
      This really depends on how you want to view the GPS part.
      • The higher end Garmin units have 24 megs of map memory. The memory used for the trails, waypoints, routes etc isn't counted in that 24 megs. That's why the low end units have 0 megs of map memory, but still have the same number of waypoints [garmin.com] etc. Also not counted is the flash memory used for the software.
    • >> Seriously, 32MB? How hard would it be to put 64 or 128MB?

      not hard at all - but, palmos applications dont need large memory footprints. the amount of available ram on palmos is very limited, from 20k on very early units, to 2 megabyte on the latest beasts. if your an application developer, you were lucky to have 256kb of dynamic ram available for use prior to os 5.0 (or, custom devices like sony for hires support)

      32Mb on a palmos unit is plenty. ram on a palm is used for program storage, not data storage in many 'normal' situations. surely, storing an mp3 in ram is crazy. thats what expansion memory is fore. 32Mb on a palmos unit is comparing to 96Mb on a PPC unit. palm has a very low memory foot print, and, the applications are not bloatware (unless, of course, programs are written badly) :P

      i barely use the 16Mb in my T|T - and, my device gets pushed to its limits on a daily basis playing audio and - of course, being pushed by our own developments :) external memory is perfect, its just a simple swap to get new memory/data for alternative purposes.

    • by Tha_Zanthrax (521419) <slashdot AT zanthrax DOT nl> on Monday January 20, 2003 @12:31PM (#5118978) Homepage Journal
      screw bluetooth, gimme 802.11g

      add 802.11 would be nice, but the point is:
      You cannot compare Bluetooth with 802.11g...
      Bluetooth is a standard used mostly by small and portable devices to connect to eachother.
      802.11g is a wireless networking standard.

      both are great technologies but they just can't be compared.

      sure you can use Bluetooth for wireless networking but they quality of your connection will surely be beaten by 802.11... cuz that's not what BT was designed for...

      These kind of posts are even worse then "M$ sucks and Linux rulezz!!" At least they're comparing two of the same things.
      • I was not really comparing them. It is just difficult to have both since they both operate on the 2.4Ghz range. I just prefer wireless networking because I find the functionality of bluetooth to be a subset of the functionality of 802.11 in my usage requirements. That is not to say that should be for everyone, so I guess keeping the 802.11 to the expansion bay is appropriate...

        These kind of posts are even worse then "M$ sucks and Linux rulezz!!" At least they're comparing two of the same things
        Huh?
    • by victim (30647) on Monday January 20, 2003 @01:03PM (#5119194)
      Yes, please do screw bluetooth. But not in favor of 802.11[abg]. The 802.11 series of protocols is much faster, but also require more power. Bluetooth uses very little power, but is speed limited.

      The problem with bluetooth is that it is extrordinairily complex. needlessly complex. The standards comittee took years to create a spec so byzantine that it takes vendors years to implement.

      An alternative is coming. Cypress Semiconductors is rolling out wireless USB. In a nutshell...
      • lower cost (simpler = less silicon; $3.50/unit. That is the wireless and the little CPU to run your keyboard, mouse, game controller, or interface to your larger device.)
      • lower latency (low enough for FPS games. 8ms, up to 20ms with 7 devices. Human reaction time is something like 50ms.)
      • higher speed (217kbps)
      • standard software (everything is still USB to your computer)
      Their first releases are an integrated HID controller and the upstream bridge which should be available now or very soon. It isn't clear to me if the bridge chip can be used by people making non-HID hardware devices, like PDAs, as a client interface.

      You can read their old press release here [cypress.com]. There is a link to a nice PDF at the bottom of that page.

      Leading unanswered questions...
      • How does it get along with 802.11[bg]? They are in the same band, both frequency hop.
      • Cell phone companies do not move quickly. Will they consider a cheaper alternative to bluetooth?
      • Is the product on track? Their press release is from November. There is a suspicious lack of information on the Cypress site. Their projected milestone was Q1'03, so they still have time.
      Me, I hope Wireless USB catches on. I'd love to make wireless USB connected balls like these [gadgets.co.uk] to use as system status indicators. Yes it is needlessly complex, but it compensates by being oddly cool.
      • If they are calling 217kpbs (kilobits per second) fast, I want to know what they are smoking?

        With a standard protocol it takes 11 bits to move one 8 bit byte, so that would give you about 19.7 kilobytes per second, and since under USB the controller can't allocate bandwidth (like FireWire), this is best case I'm guessing (couldn't find this in the article). I wouldn't want to try UT2003 over this.

        I the article it stated that they were 2.4GHz devices, but only spec'ed a range of 10m (30 feet for the metrically challenged), that is not a lot of roaming range.

        Lower power is good, but usually translated in to lower range, good of keyboards, mice, and such low bandwidth devices used for input/use close to your machine, but not good for surfing in another room

        • First, I think the 217kbps is referring to encoded data. you don't have to do async encoding on top of that. Still, I distrust any claimed maximum speed. We'll see...

          Second, USB does have isochronous transfers for guaranteed bandwidth applications (like speakers and video cameras). I don't think 1.0 had it, maybe it crept in at 1.1? Still, at only 217kbps the wireless isn't going to do speakers or video well, not the target.

          Third, short range. Yes! That is because they are low powered. Bandwidth, range, and power consumption are tied together by physics. You can play with the constants by using different modulation schemes, but ultimately more bandwidth or range is going to take more power.

          You can't take my 802.11 systems away. I'm not suggesting that wireless USB or bluetooth would ever replace those. Heck, even 11mbps inspires me to walk upstairs and plug in my 100mbit wire for some operations.

          Wireless USB can be a cheap addition to any computer ($10?) and allow me to get rid of my keyboard and mouse wires plus let all of my gadgets communicate with my digital hub. I look forward to having computers have "2 USB ports plus wireless USB" as a standard feature.
  • It has an SD slot (Score:5, Informative)

    by biglig2 (89374) on Monday January 20, 2003 @12:14PM (#5118857) Homepage Journal
    So, if this is SD/IO capable then you can drop a bluetooth card in there.

    • Problem is, then you have an antenna sticking out of a device that's supposed to fit into your pocket, ready to snag on something and break off.

      SDIO bluetooth is no substitute for an integrated solution.
      • Good point, although a cynic might point to the GPS antenna... OK, OK, that folds in when not in use, I know.

        Actually I imagine it would need quite a lot of force to snap an SD card in too.
    • Yeah, but it's only got 32MB of built-in RAM. Between GPS maps and MP3s, you're going to want to use that for additional memory.
  • I'd prefer... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ClockworkPlanet (244761) on Monday January 20, 2003 @12:15PM (#5118862)
    ... one of these to go with my Sony/Ericsson T68, HBH30 bluetooth headset and Palm Tungsten T:

    Socket Bluetooth GPS Receiver [socketcom.com]

    This offers much more flexibility, and I can leave the phone in my pocket, the GPS in my bag and use two hands to navigate the maps and links on the Palm.
    • That doesn't look like it's compatable with the Palm OS. It only says Pocket PC 2002 and mentions Tablet PCs as well I think.

      Are you sure that setup would work? Have you tried going online using your Palm with your T68? (And if so, what cell phone service/plan do you use?)
      • Re:I'd prefer... (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Locutus (9039)
        They'd be idiots if they didn't implement this with the SPP Profile( serial ). That' way it's just a serial device and any software which can read a serial device and parse NMEA would work.

        Of course they seem to be somewhat idiotic by only mentioning Microsofts crappy products as being compatible. IMO.

        LoB
      • Yes it is - it's Bluetooth and supports NMEA. All you need is a Palm OS program that knows to access it via BT instead of via the serial port. One of these is Digi-Map (search at Google).

        I've been connecting my Palm m505, m515 and Tungsten via BT and an Ericsson T39 and it works great. Will work great with a T68 too. If you combine it with GORS (fast establishment of connection and fast download rates) then it's quite nice. You can surf the web, check email while waiting at the tram stop.
      • by ClockworkPlanet (244761) on Monday January 20, 2003 @12:51PM (#5119107)
        One of the best things about the T68/Tungsten combo is how easy it is to get online with it. The Tungsten discovered the phone quickly and I was able to set it up easily. Having the two connected is great - I sent all of my phone contacts to the bluetooth with a couple of clicks and use the Tungsten SMS software regularly.

        Getting on to the internet was also fairly simple. My phone is connected to the Orange network in the UK, so I called them (dial 156) and got them to activate GPRS. With GPRS activated Orange become my ISP and I pay them for KB downloaded.

        Then I opened the preferences on Web Pro and set the service as orange, the user name as orange, entered the password, and chose my 'BT to t68' connection. In the phone number box I wrote "*99***1#" (information I got from a newsgroup) and I set up the primary and secondary DNS information from the Orange web site.

        I'd reccommend turning off images to safe money.

        Setting up Versa Mail was a little trickier, but the system very useable once set up.
    • That's awesome, thanks for the link. Now, if the mobile phone vendors would only do the same thing( sealed pod with Bluetooth ). Of course the T68i isn't THAT large but still could be smaller without all the UI stuff.

      LoB
    • Re:I'd prefer... (Score:2, Informative)

      by letxa2000 (215841)
      I have an m130 and just last month purchased a Navman m-series GPS adapter. You just slap it onto the back of the m130 and you have NMEA GPS via the serial port. It seems to work great! M130=$230 and Navman=$160. Total price=$390.

      That said, what I've found most lacking is good GPS software for the Palm. I wonder if the authors of the GPS software actually use their own software. The best I've found so far is Cetus GPS. What it does, it does well--but there are many "obvious" features missing, IMHO.

      I'm working on new software, though... :)


    • This is slightly OT but what the hell...

      Those Sony/Ericsson T68i's sure do look cool but their website is impossibly short on information. I've yet to figure out the answers to these simple questions:

      1) What cellular provider supports these phones?

      2) What is the average speed for Internet access?

      3) When accessing the Internet through these phones, do you have to dial up first or are the packets handled by the cellular provider?

    • Socket Bluetooth GPS Receiver
      Online Price: $399.00


      Ouch! With prices like that, I'll stay with the $100 GPS + a $20 regional map book.

      Guess these might become affordable in 2005 or later...
  • Three words (Score:5, Informative)

    by anlprb (130123) on Monday January 20, 2003 @12:15PM (#5118867)
    Secure Digital Slot.
    This is functionality that is being moved out into secondary cards, because the chipsets and antenna have become small enough. A GPS Antenna has to be significantly larger, hence, the Handspring cards, and this Antenna. Personally, I use the eTrex Vista a LOT, and this will probably be my next handheld, after a Visor Platinum. Good work Garmin.
  • by helixcode123 (514493) on Monday January 20, 2003 @12:17PM (#5118881) Homepage Journal
    If this unit comes with 32 MB that's room for only seven songs. Gee, why not advertise that it plays movies too. 30 whole seconds worth!
    Oh. You want maps and music? Sorry Charlie.
  • by MosesJones (55544) on Monday January 20, 2003 @12:20PM (#5118897) Homepage
    Its a common thing with the slashdot crowd, something comes along with GPS and they moan about bluetooth (there could be issues with the GPS getting interference from bluetooth). If it had bluetooth it would be 802.11b, if it had that it would be the screen size, if it had that it would be too big.

    HEY FOLKS A QUICK REALITY CHECK.

    Having EVERYTHING costs money, these devices are aimed at sectors that want "just enough" at a reasonable price rather than "every damn thing under the sun" just so you can impress your mates.

    If it had everything and was $1000 you'd bitch about the price.

    In summary: The Slashdot crowd wants

    A Tablet PC with a flexible paper thin screen that can be folded from the size of a credit card to A0, which has GPS, Bluetooth, Firewire 400 & 800, USB 1 and 2, every wireless connection method under the Sun, IRDA, Biometric authentication, works via a keyboard or a "keyboard glove", has a 15Ghz Transmeta processor, 1TB of RAM, 1PB of Storage, runs off a single AA battery for 3 year, runs Linux and responds to scribbles or the spoken word.

    And costs under $100. Only then will people on Slashdot not moan about the features... except to complain how X they bought a year ago is now out of date and uncool.

    • by swordboy (472941) on Monday January 20, 2003 @12:24PM (#5118919) Journal
      In summary: The Slashdot crowd wants

      A Tablet PC with a flexible paper thin screen that can be folded from the size of a credit card to A0, which has GPS, Bluetooth, Firewire 400 & 800, USB 1 and 2, every wireless connection method under the Sun, IRDA, Biometric authentication, works via a keyboard or a "keyboard glove", has a 15Ghz Transmeta processor, 1TB of RAM, 1PB of Storage, runs off a single AA battery for 3 year, runs Linux and responds to scribbles or the spoken word.


      You forgot waterproof.
      • Waterproof: No joke. I have always sworn that my Garmin GPS12xl (gps) is the best piece of consumer electronics I have ever owned. I take the thing white water rafting on a thin lanyard attached to my chest. It rocks! Practically indestructable. I 've killed like 10 palms, and a couple laptops. Garmin rocks.

        M@
    • by gohai (554042) on Monday January 20, 2003 @12:29PM (#5118966)
      it has to play OGG Vorbis!
    • Don't forget, the AA battery should be a li-ion rechargeable, it should run on Linux using open source software, it should use standard PC hardware, it should not implement drm, it should support ogg and it should fellate you.
    • I have to agree somewhat. There's been alot of talk about 802.11 in this thing but these people must think that there's free energy getting beamed to this thing. Since it's a GPS device, you're gonna be on the road/away and battery life is a big deal.

      They should have nix'ed the mp3 player and either added more ram or Bluetooth. IMO.

      LoB
    • Here I go responding to a tagline again. Someday I'll learn...

      The easiest way to get shot is to carry a gun -- Atticus Finch

      Not true at all, just go to San Diego and rush a cop with a gardening stake or a trowel in hand. In both such cases, the individual was shot and killed. The guy with the trowel was naked and in the middle of a major freeway (with a bunch of civilan onlookers). Someone simply carrying a gun would just be quietly arrested (unless of course a permit was involved).

      If you want a gun-related sig, why not try:

      "Abe Lincoln may have freed all men, but Sam Colt made them equal." ;-)

  • They are always good in one area, but in another area I need it is skimped upon or left out. This is a pest because it would be incredibly handy to have one for my work but I cann't bring myself to waste money on something inadiquite.
    Perhaps my problem is I just don't have enough money to spend on a whizz-bang one. Ah. Thats it.
  • IMHO (Score:5, Interesting)

    by prichardson (603676) on Monday January 20, 2003 @12:21PM (#5118902) Journal
    I like my electronics to be seperate and small. I don't want a phone/MP3/PDA/GPS/condom dispenser. A device like that would be too big. I want a small phone, a small GPS, a small MP3 player, and a small PDA. In total they would be bigger than the all-in-one, but you could store them in different locations as well. Also, if your single unit breaks, your screwed. And there's always the fact that I don't want a PDA or GPS device. I only want a phone and an MP3 player. The only logical combination I can come up with is the phone/GPS device.
    • by Locutus (9039)
      That's what I've been telling the mobile phone makers at Comdex and CES for 2 years now. These companies remind me of Handspring. They've lost the ability to innovate in their sector/productline so they have to try merging with another sector in hopes of growth.

      Integration at the expense of usability won't work and when they've got to throw the whole thing out when a feature breaks or becomes useless( new service ), users will get pissed.

      Bluetooth is low power and allows a many 2 many use model. That's the sales model they should be going for. Sell products that'll work in the car and easily work in the home or where ever.

      LoB
    • by Kneht (218314)
      phones are getting bigger, better screens ...

      PDAs are getting bigger, better screens ...

      GPSs are getting bigger, better screens ... (for mapping)

      These devices can no longer always be small. Having a single screen for several devices helps offset this fact.

    • Re:IMHO (Score:3, Funny)

      by ActiveSX (301342)
      I don't want a phone/MP3/PDA/GPS/condom dispenser.

      You read Slashdot. You don't need a condom dispenser.
    • As a treo-owner I couldn't disagree more. I don't want to carry around a phone and a PDA (have no need for GPS, MP3 may be nice but isn't essential either).

      Also, it makes much sense:

      Before I had the treo, I had an ordinary cell-phone and a PSION. Well, most telephone numbers were on my phone, some adresses were on the PSION (but usually I didn't bother to carry it around) and some was on the PC. The treo is perfect for that kind of stuff, it increases usability quite a lot because I no longer have to transfer (often manually - yuck!) numbers between phone and PDA.

  • considering the major features its lacking, I would never pay a whooping 589 bucks for this thing.
    • Sorry, this isn't clear. Exactly what major features is it lacking apart from integrated wireless? It's basically a state of the art PalmOS device with a GPS built into it!

      Myself, given a choice between the OS5 Sony and this, I'd go for this even though I don't really need a GPS device; GPS sounds just as useful as a digital camera, and the Garmin doesn't have a Memory Stick slot!
  • Guys... (Score:4, Funny)

    by mschoolbus (627182) <travisriley@NoSpAM.gmail.com> on Monday January 20, 2003 @12:22PM (#5118909)
    Just wait for this story the 2nd time around, I am sure it will be up as soon as taco hears about it in a few days...
  • by ncc74656 (45571) <scott@alfter.us> on Monday January 20, 2003 @12:25PM (#5118924) Homepage Journal
    I picked up a Tungsten T a while back, thinking it'd make a decent MP3 player with the addition of some memory. AeroPlayer [aerodromesoftware.com] works fairly well, but a bug in the firmware makes it sound like ass...it sounds like you're listening through a cheap transistor radio. (There's a low-pass filter that's set too low.) Messages in this forum [yahoo.com] indicate that that the problem goes away with patched firmware, but no patch is available. The latest word is that an update should be available around the time that RealPlayer becomes available; that was supposed to happen last month.

    The specs of this new gadget don't sound too different from the Tungsten T...they exchanged Bluetooth and the 5-way navigation pad for GPS and twice as much memory. It's likely to have the same audio problem, unless Palm is supplying Garmin with a fixed version of Palm OS.

    • The Garmin device uses a different ARM chip (the Motorola Dragonball MXL) from the Tungsten T (which uses a TI OMAP 1510). This means different sound playback hardware, and its almost certain, much clearer sound playback. The OMAP's DSP handles sound processing, and Palm installed a low-pass filter in the DSP to improve sound quality for voice recording. However, they didn't make this switchable, causing grief for music playback software. This will likely be fixed when Palm does an OS update for the device.
  • Great! (Score:2, Funny)

    by Omkar (618823)
    Now if only I could find a compelling reason to own a PDA. I've been trying to think of an excuse, but the thing is, Post-it notes work fine for me. I gues I just have no life.
  • "I don't need/want one so therefore it's useless"

    I mean, get over yourselves. Obviously Palm is selling enough of these to people who do need or want them, and their customers obviously don't particularly care about bluetooth yet.

  • because (Score:1, Interesting)

    by briancnorton (586947)
    How about because bluetooth is a completely useless waste of money that serves no point and has yet to find a solid implementation? Oops, did I think that out loud?
  • ...and I chose to go the route of a stand alone GPS unit (Magellan Sportrak GPS [magellangps.com]) that did not have the mapping capabilities but could track routes and dl back to my PC. I then use Delorme [delorme.com] XMap and Topo to read in the routes to make trail maps, etc. Delorme's software does not load onto a GPS unit but it does on Palm and CE, connects to the GPS from the Palm providing all of the functionality and it is far more detailed than Magellan's Mapsend.

    It also has routing capabilities (ie; MapQuest directions) and will route on both the PC and the PDA. Also, with this configuration I am not limited by the PDA's low battery capacity and only go to it when I need to look at the map (ie; I set up waypoints in advance in the GPS). I do a lot of outdoor activities mtn bike/camp etc; and this scenario, although not as elegant as an all-in-one, works for what I need it for.

  • This device is of no use to me. I don't speak a word of Garmin.
  • by Malc (1751) on Monday January 20, 2003 @12:33PM (#5118991)
    Is it me, or are the newest Palm (Palm OS 5???) devices over-priced. They're getting in to the same price range as Pocket PCs, yet they don't have as much functionality or versatility. I recently opted to get a Palm M515 for CAD$360 (USD$230) and it fullfills my needs well. It seems to me that the increase in functionality going to a new Palm is less than the increase in functionality going to a PPC, yet the price increases are almost the same.
    • Well, recently I spent a week using a Pocket PC instead of my trusty Palm. A 206MHz Strongarm, rather than the newer XScale, but at the moment thereis little difference between the two.

      And I hated it. The user interface, the quality of the built-in software, the fact that I could get an hourglass up just by doing normal things.

      What did I like about it? Well, the hi-res screen was lovely, and playing media back was kinda neat (although I much prefer my iPod for that).

      So my experience with the PocketPC taught me that my ideal PDA would run PalmOS, have faster SD card access, a hi-res screen and decent audio out. Which pretty much describes a Tungsten, although the audio quality is not quite there nbext (software patch in the works to fix that though).
    • by Raptor CK (10482) on Monday January 20, 2003 @01:25PM (#5119423) Journal
      I think it's just you.

      OS 5 handhelds are about half the speed (at worst) of the latest PPCs using the same CPU, and have half the RAM.

      However, with Execute In Place, and the generally more efficient Palm software, those 32 MB of RAM and 150-200 MHz of CPU power are actually getting you a lot more than the PPCs can provide.

      Let's just pick one example, the Clie NX60 (no camera, so we're back at a reasonable price)

      - 200 MHz ARM chip (XScale, I think)
      - 32 MB of RAM
      - CF slot (currently only supports an 802.11b card, third party support may come later for other devices)
      - Memory stick slot
      - Keyboard
      - 320x480 resolution
      - Audio recording and playback

      Say what you want about Memory Sticks, the point is that it can hold extra storage space and still have room for wireless.

      With the exception of the Dell Axim, which is horrendously inexpensive, I'd say the new OS5 handhelds are very reasonably priced, given their capabilities.
      • However, with Execute In Place, and the generally more efficient Palm software, those 32 MB of RAM and 150-200 MHz of CPU power are actually getting you a lot more than the PPCs can provide.

        Except that your 5 Mb spreadsheet uses up twice as much space on your Palm than it does on your PPC. Yes, applications are smaller - but data files generally won't be - and that is what makes a difference.

        Let's just pick one example, the Clie NX60 (no camera, so we're back at a reasonable price)

        The point of his comment was that Palms are over-priced and then you pick a Clié to disprove this.

        I think you'd have a hard time finding someone who doesn't think the Tungstun T is overpriced for its specification.

        • Actually, his point was that they seemed overpriced for their capabilities as compared to a Pocket PC.

          He's comparing the OS 5 handhelds based on some kind of functionality/price ratio, and I'm simply arguing that he's pretty much missing what the OS 5 handhelds are capable of, as opposed to an m515.

          Anyway, the original poster referred to "Palm devices." Last time I checked (about 5 minutes ago,) the Clie *is* a Palm device. So is the Tungsten T. And they're both around the same price. The difference is that I've actually tooled around enough with an NX-series Clie to go on about its specifications, while all I know about the Tungsten is what I see on websites.

          Now, for that 5Mb Spreadsheet, I'm sure that it's a major issue for some people, but when you need to allocate another 5 Mb to load the damned thing, plus the overhead for Pocket Excel, where is your advantage? You just wasted a chunk of RAM to copy your program out, which is already at least double the size of its PalmOS counterpart.

          More efficient use of RAM means that the difference you've cited essentially becomes worthless. Besides, anyone crazy enough to want to carry around multiple 5MB spreadsheets is going to need a memory card, no matter which platform they're on.

          On the basis of raw capabilities, the OS 5 devices are simply priced very fairly compared to most Pocket PCs, regardless of the hardware inside.
  • by tamarik (1163) on Monday January 20, 2003 @12:34PM (#5118999) Homepage
    Garmin comes from the GPS side of this. They're not known for PDAs. I can't see where all 3 would be useful in situations where the GPS is used a lot. And the description doesn't mention water resistance. Makes any GPS useless for real world usage, IMHO.

    As for no networking, my Garmin 76S has a 4 wire conn to my laptop. Serial, true, but plenty fast enough to load maps and routes into it's 24meg. I've never looked into it to see how that part works.I can load maps into it at the nav station and then take it up to the wheel. In the car, it's even easier. Laptop sits on an unoccupied seat and the GPS is against the windshield.

    As for the 32meg, I get 4 books, nav s/w, games, etc on my 8meg Visor Edge. Plenty and it's at least somewhat water resistent. (Haven't dropped in the drink, but rain hasn't drowned it... yet) Colour screen would be nice. Reading a book on the GPS would be easier to read than the Edge, me thinks...

    As for the MP3 player, I've got a stereo on the boat and in the car. When I'm walking/hiking, I like the sounds around me better. Then again, I'm not a big music-on-the-go buff.

    Nice toy for somebody else, I guess. But with $589 I could get a good set of ......
    • I don't see why everyone keeps using the MSRP to bitch about something being to expensive. When was the last time you paid the MSRP for anything?

      http://www.tvnav.com/ will have the iQue for $455. You can pre-order now. They are very reputable.
  • by mccalli (323026) on Monday January 20, 2003 @12:35PM (#5119009) Homepage
    I'm curious as to why no-one has brought out a hard drive-based PDA as yet.

    I'm an iPod owner, and when it came out I thought that very soon there'd be a ton of PDAs ditching their 32Mb RAM and moving over to fitting the same sort of mini hard drive that the iPod has. However, none have arrived that I'm aware of. Strange, I honestly believed that would be the next step. The iPod has shown that music listening is popular, so I would have thought that there's room for a PDA which does more than just the classic contacts/calendar/task list.

    Does anyone know of a PDA which is hard drive-based?

    Cheers,
    Ian

    • by stratjakt (596332) on Monday January 20, 2003 @12:41PM (#5119044) Journal
      HDDs are prone to failure, ideally a PDA would outlast any piece of hardware. I don't think I'd put too much trust in a PDA that wasn't completely solid state.

      That's why you only want the calendar/contacts type of tasks on it. GPS sounds like a more logical inclusion than MP3, frankly. Unless it could record MP3 (ie; take 'memo to selfs' on the go)

      Do you want to lose your list of business contacts and scheduled appointments because the HDD full of 20 giggzorz of Britney Spears tunes crashed?

      When devices start being designed to do 'everything', I find they do nothing well. You're probably better off to keep the iPod for it's task and the PDA for another.
    • Probably because they'd be huge and heavy. The only thing worthwhile using would be maybe the microdrives from IBM (I think it was IBM, someone can correct me on this if I'm wrong). They're tiny, large capacity, and extraordinarily expensive. Hence, nobody would buy the handhelds. That sucks because I'm with you, a HD based handheld would make a lot of sense.
  • For those of you going on about how theres ONLY 32 megs of memory on this thing for your MP3s, if you actually read the specs on it there's an SD expansion slot on the unit. For those who don't know what THAT means: as much memory as you want to buy.
  • by TellarHK (159748) <{tellarhk} {at} {hotmail.com}> on Monday January 20, 2003 @12:41PM (#5119043) Homepage Journal
    The other night I was walking through a rat shack and noticed a GPS unit for handhelds on the wall for $99. I did a little research into it when I got home and found out that it's actually made by DeLorme, comes with XMap/Street Atlas 2003 and supports the NMEA output standards. Output from the GPS unit itself is an RJ11 jack, and it includes three cables (Palm mSeries, iPaq 31xx/36xx, iPaq 38xx/39xx) with others supposedly available online for laptops. After a little tinkering and figuring, I got it working just fine with my monochrome iPaq 3150.

    I went to a different rat shack last night to pick up the unit, and found even more surprises. It's on sale right now (if you can catch the promotion before they pretend it doesn't exist - one place said it never existed, the other said it -shouldn't- exist even though they had the red and white tag on the wall) for $69. It runs on batteries or 6 volts of DC for maximum flexibility. With my particular iPaq of the non-sync-charging variety, there's no reason I can't charge the iPaq and the GPS at the same time with a decent dual outlet inverter.

    For a total cost of $300 (Including the $150 iPaq) I have a perfect wardriving kit in need of software. Yes, I'm rambling. Time for Concerta.
    • Yeah, but it's a piece of crap. A friend has one of these, and it will lose signal in places where other GPSs, including my eTrex, will still be working fine. Also it's not waterproof, even if it says it is.
      Also it will run on batteries, but it uses AAA's and the battery life is HORRIBLY short.
      You can buy an eTrex for $99 and have a pretty nice standalone, and get the serial cable if you want to use it in conjunction with a computer/pda as well. With the data cable it does push the price up a bit but personally I just need standalone GPS most of the time, so I get to carry something that's smaller than my PDA, instead of having to carry my PDA *and* another piece *and* the wiring between the two when walking in the woods, etc.
  • by Chocolate Teapot (639869) on Monday January 20, 2003 @12:43PM (#5119051) Journal
    You know, I used to look at devices like this and think 'Wow! That's pretty cool!' But then I stopped to think what possible use I might have for one of these things. Let's examine the functionality.

    Mapping Software. You have to travel pretty extensively to require a pocket atlas. Most 'normal' people can take a quick look at a map before they leave and maybe scribble a couple of notes on a PostIt. If I have an appointment, it is not unusual for someone to email me a local map in advance.

    GPS. GPS! For God's sake! When was the last time you got so lost that you needed friggin' GPS to pinpoint your location to the nearest ten feet. If you are that bad at navigating, you should not be let out alone. Does it come with distress flares and a survival kit?

    Voice recorder for making memos, quick notes, and messages on the fly. Just in case the GPS let's you down, you can leave a message for your loved ones - assuming anybody finds your cold, lifeless body.

    Rechargeable internal Lithium-ion battery. If you are so goddam far from civilisation that you need GPS to safe your sorry hide, where are you gonna plug it in?

    Built-in 32 MB of memory for downloading map data and other Palm OS-compatible software. At this point I would prefer a means of lighting a fire and perhaps obtaining fresh food and water. A raft would be useful. I suppose you would die secure in the knowledge that your Palm Pilot was fully up-to-date.

    New ARM processor enhances battery life, screen redraw, graphics, and audio. Can it skin a rabbit or fend off hungry crocodiles?.

    For the sake of argument, let's assume that you are the kind of person who needs 80% of the above features in order to manage your hectic schedule. You must be a pretty busy guy huh? Probably one of the high-flying, go-get-em entrepreneurs who can never afford to miss an appointment or be in the wrong place at the wrong time. In which case, where the fuck do you find the time to play games and listen to MP3s?

    This is a toy for pencil dicks who can't afford a Ferrari.

    • Or it's a toy for outdoor types that like climbing around barely charted woods and mountains, and knowing that no matter what they can find their way home with minimal fuss, or communicate a precise location to help in an emergency. Or it's something for delivery drivers that need to go from point A to point B without ever having been there before, like the poor schmucks from Dell support that drove 2 hours out of Boston to deliver us a hard drive replacement on a server but got lost twice on unfamiliar New Hampshire roads.

      Sure, 99% of people have no need for this. If I didn't have an interest in wardriving as a hobby, and wasn't going to be taking trips to Boston or NYC on a semi-regular basis, I wouldn't either. But as mentioned in my above post, for $300 it became worth it to me.
      • Or it's a toy for outdoor types that like climbing around barely charted woods and mountains, and knowing that no matter what they can find their way home with minimal fuss, or communicate a precise location to help in an emergency.
        So they are going to trust their lives to a device whose batteries have an even shorter life-expectancy than they do? Give me a map and compass any day. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the point of 'getting away from it all' to, well, get away from it all? Leave the gadgets in the office where they belong.
    • I spend a lot of time outdoors, hiking and such, and I've wanted one of these for years. So let's take your points one at a time, and compare them to a real-world example:
      • Mapping Software
        While I'd still want to carry a paper map as a backup, it's useful to know how much farther it is to your planned lunch-stop or night camp.
      • GPS
        A lot of time, I find something interesting (swimming hole, scenic lookout, etc) thats not on the map and that I'd like to find again someday. This lets you note a location so that you can find it again.
      • Voice recorder for making memos, quick notes, and messages on the fly.
        If I'm walking along a trail, it's easier to record a note than to stop and look at the screen so I can write something. I can transcribe later, after the sun goes down.
      • Rechargeable internal Lithium-ion battery.
        While IC manufacturing isn't very "green", I still see no reason to use and throw away a set of batteries every two or three weeks.
      • Built-in 32 MB of memory for downloading map data and other Palm OS-compatible software.
        Always a good thing. My current Palm OS device only came with 8 MB, and it's about three-quarter's full right now, so I'd probably use the extra room for maps and such.
      • New ARM processor enhances battery life, screen redraw, graphics, and audio.
        Enhanced battery life is good, since I might have to go several days between recharges.
      Until now, I'd have to carry a GPS, a PDA, and a voice recorder to duplicate this device's fucntions. When you're on a walkabout, every ounce counts, so I tend to only carry the PDA. This means that I can only record notes when I've stopped, and exact locations have to be figured out from a map and my notes after the trip.

      All in all, I'd want to buy one, although the price is a bit steep; it's more than a good pair of hiking boots. If my job took be outdoors a lot (park ranger, for instance), I can see the current price being very easy to justify.

    • by bbc22405 (576022) on Monday January 20, 2003 @01:36PM (#5119517)
      GPS! For God's sake! When was the last time you got so lost that you needed friggin' GPS to pinpoint your location to the nearest ten feet.

      Day before yesterday. And it wasn't because I got "so lost". I was dividing up some property. I drew the new lines and corners on a scale topo map for the surveyor. And then he handed me a roll of orange tape, and said "okay, go mark your new corner with this, and could you also hang some where that new line crosses the creek?" Yeah, that caught me by surprise!

      So, yeah, before too much longer I was 1/4 km into the woods, in a place I'd never been before, two hours before sunset, in near-freezing weather. I got to within 10 feet of the point I'd marked on the aerial photo, and then starting looking around for the "best spot" for a property corner. The Magellan handheld worked great, even after I dropped it face down onto concrete and ice while crossing an icy ford.

      As for getting lost, after I'd marked the new corner, I knew how to get back, but because I had the GPS, I next decided to just march out into many acres/hectares of forest that I'd never walked before, confident that I would be able to make a nice loop, and wouldn't have to waste viewing time backtracking to get home. Without the GPS, I wouldn't have tried that stunt, and would have missed a wonderful walk in the woods.

      As for a voice recorder, that would have been useful, but most GPS handhelds don't have that. W/o a recorder, what you do instead is create a "waypoint" (ie. a landmark) in the GPS, and key in a very short description. This takes forever, and you have to take off your gloves, and fumble through the crude text entry with numb fingers. Would have been much nicer to just hold down a waypoint button and say what you want about the current location.

      If you are so goddam far from civilisation that you need GPS to safe your sorry hide, where are you gonna plug it in?

      I took extra batteries. Turned out to be wise. GPS handhelds are watt-pigs.

      As for the Garmin Palm w/ GPS specifically, yes, it looks overpriced. Yes, it is a dumb design.

      I think the GPS+bluetooth cookie would be a good idea. I think a GPS+firewire dongle would be fine (firewire rather than USB to get power supplied to the GPS dongle.) My claim is that whenever you buy a GPS receiver, if you are buying any sort of all-in-one solution as I did, you are making many compromises, and creating proprietary entanglements. For example, if I want to download a map into my Magellan handheld, I need to use the Magellan software, and that software only runs on Windows. Grrrr.

    • You've got it back-asswards. It's not a PDA with a GPS built in, it's a GPS with a PDA built in. Makes more sense that way.
    • I bought a GPS for a road trip I did last year, crossing across North America and back. It was great being able to
      1. Locate where I was on the map in seconds
      2. Mark the hotel we'd just checked into, so we could easily find it again
      3. Do a search on the GPS to find the nearest parking
      4. Check our speedo was accurate, to ensure no nasty fines
      5. Record how far we drove each day
  • My ultimate portable device would have the following features:

    - GSM
    - GPS
    - MP3 player
    - Upgradable OS and software
    - Bluetooth
    - J2ME
    - Small and light
    - Big color display
    - Upgradable storage, ie MMC

    The Neonode N1 [neonode.com] comes pretty close.
  • by EnglishTim (9662) on Monday January 20, 2003 @01:12PM (#5119312)
    Excellent! With current PDA calendar applications, you can tell it to remind you to do something at a particular time, whereas it'd be much more useful if it could remind you to do something in a particular place, or a combination of the two.

    I'd like to be able to get it to remind me to do something 30 minutes after I've got home - it'd give me time to take my shoes off, sit down, and relax with a nice cup of tea before it starts to beep at me. It'd also be useful to be able to tell it to remind me to buy some milk when I walk past Tescos on my way home...
    • That's a great idea. What I want, and couldn't find on the web-site, is a shortcut to record a location. Palm OS already provides a set of shortcuts to record date, time and date-time stamps in any text field. I'd like to record a location as well. This would be useful not only in the Address Book, but also in things like Kodak's PalmPix, so you could note exactly where a picture was taken.
    • Too bad GPS receivers don't work indoors... ;(

      I think this would make the reminders somewhat less than reliable.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The GPS PDA is one of the first devices to contain the new DragonBall MXL [motorola.com] (MC9328MXL), according to this [palminfocenter.com].

    Its ARM9-based, is 150mhz and does 150mips. Doesn't sound like much, but its only US$10.30 in "low volumes". It has an MMU so it would run linux. I'd like a cheap, small, LART [tudelft.nl] style computer with some useful IO (ethernet, serial ports etc) I can run linux on and generally hack about with. This seems like an ideal CPU (shame it doesn't have integrated ethernet though).
  • by hacksoncode (239847) on Monday January 20, 2003 @01:32PM (#5119500)
    If it weren't for the lack of WAAS support and the lousy patch antenna, I'd love one of these things for caching [geocaching.com]. Currently, I use both my Palm (for cache pages, bigger map display, etc.) and my GPSr very actively while caching. It makes the experience so much less aggravating.

    The price isn't all that bad, considering that you're getting most of the features of a PocketPC, and a GPS, in addition to Palm stability.

    Only thing is, I wonder what the battery life is like with the color screen. I understand people liking color for the "cool" factor. But greyscale is almost as functional and has much better batter life.

  • I work in mineral exploration, and we have had Trimble GPS/GIS systems [trimble.com] as well as offerings from Compaq (which the Trimble works perfectly with) and others. The Trimble GPS receiver is just 5 ounces. The real-time data are displayed on the Compaq hand-held.

    Pigs might fly, but don't make breast landing [xnewswire.com] Weird News

  • Did you know that there is only one product by one manufacturer if you're looking for an aftermarket car stereo that has NAV/DVD/Radio?

    Check out this installation [gpsinformation.net] of the Pioneer NAV-SYS900DVD

    I plan to put one into my Envoy.
  • With all the discussion about having more memory, it would be interesting if Garmin utilized their own proprietary memory stick and made it portable between this and their other GPS units. For instance, it would be a godsend if I could load up the Washington DC maps into my 128MB memory stick, use stick in my Streetpilot III for talking directions to a central parking area, then move the stick to a handheld, and have the handheld play audio clips narrating the history behind the monument I'm looking at (since it knows where I'm standing).

    I've been waiting for something like that for a LONG time.

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