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Handhelds Hardware

Palm Tungsten Models Reviewed 211

Jason Weill writes "MSNBC has a slightly premature review of Palm's brand-new Tungsten models. These models, currently (as of 11:10 PM EST Sunday) unavailable on Palm's own web site, are the Tungsten T and Tungsten W. The Tungsten T includes a fold-out Graffiti area, new cross-key keypad, 144 MHz ARM processor, Palm OS 5, a 320x320 full-color screen, and 16 MB of on-board RAM. At $499, it's more expensive than most handhelds currently on the market. The Tungsten W replaces the Graffiti area with a thumb keyboard and includes GSM/GPRS phone capabilities. Unlike the Handspring Treo devices, the Tungsten W only works with a handset -- you can't put it up to your ear. The Tungsten W will cost $549, although most American service providers will subsidize at least part of the cost. These models will officially be unveiled Monday, October 28."
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Palm Tungsten Models Reviewed

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  • by istartedi ( 132515 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @01:29AM (#4545393) Journal

    Allen Wrench: "Help! They found me in a meteor! I need tungsten to live! TTUUUNNNGGGSSSTTEEENN!"

  • That's some power (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SexyKellyOsbourne ( 606860 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @01:30AM (#4545397) Journal
    144mhz ARM with 16MB of RAM, along with a nice screen that fits in your hand -- that destroys the Gameboy Advance's 17mhz CPU and measly 256k of RAm.

    If PC games took off with the gaming enthusiasts to replace consoles, handhelds should soon become a thriving gaming market to replace Gameboys.

    With that much power, a GBA emulator could even be ported to it!
  • by cdf12345 ( 412812 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @01:30AM (#4545398) Homepage Journal
    "When Palm talks, the industry listens. And users sometimes drool"

    The industry then laughs, as their marketshare increase due do stupid palm decisions.

    Users on the other hand are probably drooling because they are sleeping through palm's big announcement, having realized long ago, that palm has overpromised and underdelivered over and over.
  • by kryonD ( 163018 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @01:30AM (#4545401) Homepage Journal
    I only paid $190 for my cell phone and it does everything the palm does, plus surfs the internet and receives full blown email without having to add a modem attachment. It also has a .3 MegaPixel digital camera in it. Why would anyone pay 3x as much for a heavier, less useful toy?

    Just curious
    • by Moofie ( 22272 ) <`lee' `at' `'> on Monday October 28, 2002 @02:16AM (#4545554) Homepage
      Because they want a useful PDA, with usable text input and a large screen?

      Or maybe because they don't want to pay the cell phone company for downloading new applications to them.

      Oh, wait, your phone can't use new applications? I'm sure that somebody thinks that the phone's built in games and utilities are worth a damn, but I'm sure not one.

      A PDA is more than just an address book. The killer feature of my Palm is the desktop sync. That way, even if my PDA dies, ALL that important information is ready for me to download into a new device. No hassle, no just works.

      Phones are great, when you want to call people. For doing anything else, they're a user interface nightmare. .3 megapixel camera? Don't make me laugh. I do better with a box of Crayolas.
      • yap yap yap...

        actually you CAN download new applications onto your cellphone.

        here is a website with some info [] on Docomo, by NTT. (the only cellphone provider with english info, AFAIK

        The 504i series does what's called "iAppli" (nevermind the silly names for a sec) - but they do let you download software.

        And hopefully you can see that the input / email capabilities is no worse than any Zaurus / palm / Sony keypad (it's cool looking at young people franticly thumb in emails on the train).

        and the camera actually do better than you think. Imagine web-cam quality color pictures. be sarcastic all you want, but it's pretty neat feature (albeit one I will never use - my ugly mug will probabbly shock the phone system into some fratic emergency mode), and many people uses it.

        the only thing you are halfly on-the-mark is the cost... but then, when you think about it, a cell phone that costs 180 bux or so (cheaper yet if you buy older model / longer contract) - that weights like 3 oz. compared to your palm for about 500... and if you are conservative on yapping, the monthly fee is no worse than US plans i have seen. - and considering that you recieve calls for free, it might be cheaper.

        and the screen area is not even that much different : cellphones here have resolution as high as 176x216... it's tiny (like everything else) - but again, for the money and convenience and all that... not to quote anybody, but fsck palm... fsck palm in the ear.

    • Ahh, but does it have a cool name like Tungsten?
    • Several differences. For one, PDAs are just PCs in small form factor. You can add applications, and download programs into a PDA unlike a cell phone. It may not be needed for you, but someone else will.
      And cellphones have a limited screen size/ low resolution. And highend cellphones that have all these functionality anyway cost around 500-600$. As they say, the lines are pretty blurred between cellphones and PDAs.

    • so can you enter all your information into your computer and synch it all to your phone? how about backing up your phone to your pc so that when (not if...) your phone breaks you can restore the replacement phone to have the same phone#'s ans setup and other data?

      I have yet to see one that can... you can send your data to a web-page for editing, but it still costs money to transfer it, and you cant back-up phone settings...

      sorry, until the phone companies and phone services get their heads out of their asses and stop offering useless things like a fricking digital camera... they will never be as good as a PDA.
      • Actually, yes, I can enter information into my computer and sync it to my phone. Wirelessly.

        I have an Ericsson T68m and a Mac with a bluetooth adapter, and I use iSync to sync them. It also syncs my work and home Macs, and my old Palm V, and my iPod, so that a change made on one of them is updated on them all.

        The T68m can also beam appointments and business cards to Palms via infrared.

        Maybe this is what you're looking for? Wait, you're saying you don't use a Mac? Oh, well ...
      • I'll answer your questions as well as a few of the above posts.

        NTT does make an adapter that connects to a standard serial port with accompanying software to backup info on your PC. Additionally, the phone has a 8M memory stick that I can save anything I want on. I will admit that the ability to sync the phone to software such as outlook is missing, but then again, I've tried using that feature with my palm before and after the coolness factor wore off, I realized that I wasn't nearly busy enough to benefit from it. I am however, a mid-level executive with 40 people working for me and I travel about once every two or three months. I am also single and have a fairly active social calender. I would say a vast majority of people do not fall into a category of being more busy than I am and would come to the same conclusion. I also kind of enjoy the seperation. My cell phone is tied to my personal life. Sure, I keep my work calendar on it and receive work related phone calls, but the emails I get on it are entirely just from friends. I really wouldn't want to be reading work emails on my time off.

        The phone has a Java VM on it and there are tons of applications to download for entertainment, or PDA like functions. FAQs and HOWTOs are available on the net on how to write apps for the phone, so I can even do my own custom code if I wanted.

        As far as the camera being useless....It takes 640x480 256K .jpg's and the phones 4M can hold about 40 at any given time. The memory stick expands that to over 100 pics. I've taken the phone on weekend trips and never run out of space. I can snap pictures and email them to friends on the spot. Plus I didn't have to carry an additional camera around just to preserve the memories. Not to mention that it's a damned great conversation starter in a bar when you take a girl's picture and then play around with it using the phones photo editing software. All that for $190 is more than worth it. You couldn't even buy the 3 seperately in the states for that price!
        • excellent! now can someone please get the phone sales-people educated so they can tell me this stuff? I have asked for the past 6 months for these features and I keep getting told "It doesnt exist" from the verizon people.. and the AT&T woreless people just give you the "radio shack" start of ....duh.......what?

          please I would love to find a cellphone dealer that isn't either....

          A - staffed with idiots and morons that dont know their own products....

          B - a den of thieves and rip-off artists...

          Thanks! I'm going shopping tommorow!!
      • so can you enter all your information into your computer and synch it all to your phone?

        Yes, I can. I even do it on Linux. []

      • [...] how about backing up your phone to your pc so that when (not if...) your phone breaks you can restore the replacement phone to have the same phone#'s ans setup and other data?

        Assuming the original poster is talking about the new Sidekick [], 99% of all of the information is stored on the server, not your client device. Several people in a popular Sidekick forum [] have already mentioned that they put their SIM card into their replacment and all of the info is instantly there just as it was before.

        have yet to see one that can... you can send your data to a web-page for editing, but it still costs money to transfer it, and you cant back-up phone settings...
        The entire duration of the contract for the SideKick service (1 year) has unlimited data transfer.

        As to most of the other counterpoints in this thread, the SDK is coming soon...

  • Wow (Score:4, Insightful)

    by J1a2o ( 526745 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @01:30AM (#4545403) Homepage
    This thing's more powerful than my old Pentium that I'm using as a router and small webserver right now.. =/ My router is running linux on a 120 MHz box with 32 MB RAM...
    • Re:Wow (Score:2, Informative)

      by gnuadam ( 612852 )

      Don't buy into the megahertz myth. Just because the clock speed is greater means nothing. I'd still bank on the pentium.

      Until recently [], ARM chips designed for handhelds didn't do harware floating point math!

      • Until recently [], ARM chips designed for handhelds didn't do harware floating point math!

        They were smart: they waited untill the Pentium people worked out all the FDIV bugs.

    • no its not, you just think it is. the ARM processor may have a higher clockspeed, but the pentium is much more powerful.
  • Another Review Here (Score:5, Informative)

    by tlhIngan ( 30335 ) <slashdot@w o r f . n et> on Monday October 28, 2002 @01:31AM (#4545405)
    Here's another review from the folks at InfoSync: [].

    Looks nice, but I don't see myself replacing my PalmIIIc yet (c'mon... someone make a non-Sony Palm that's as compelling!)
    • Well, they are cool regardless but targeted at enterprise use:

      The CD also includes BlueChat and BlueBoard. BlueBoard is a Bluetooth-based whiteboard-type image editing program. Users create an on-the-fly conference and can then all edit the same same on-screen image simultaneously. BlueChat is a Bluetooth-based chat program that allows users to create ad-hoc local IRC-like chatrooms with any users in range. We foresee a lot of employees talking about a presenter behind their backs this way.

      I think the T sounds liek a great device. I like the features, the clever form factor (the telescoping stylus sounds great) and I love the idea of bluetooth support in a Palm and what can be done with it.

      I also really like the idea of the web portal Palm provides to let you really browse the web without consuming a lot of bandwith. That is a perfect feature for a handheld meant to be networked. The only missing ingredient (which I assume will be around soon if it's not already here) is a bluetooth hub to give local bluetooth devices network connectivity (just like 802.11 hubs, but instead could act as a repeater to give bluetooth devices more range in an office).

      Although an integrated phone/palm seems like a good idea, for my own needs I think I like better the idea of a really good PDA and a really good phone in two seperate devices.
  • you can't put it up to your ear

    I bet you can.
    • by Skirwan ( 244615 ) <> on Monday October 28, 2002 @01:57AM (#4545498) Homepage
      you can't put it up to your ear
      I bet you can
      Possible responses:
      • Actually, it uses an advanced system of gyroscopes (based on Segway technology) to prevent users from placing it near their ears.
      • Well, okay, you can put it up to your ear. But it'll give you cancer.
      • None of the cool kids put it up to their ears.
      • Putting it up to your ear would be circumventing the advanced voice security features and may violate the DMCA.
      • You can't put it up to your ear because you don't have one. You can, however, put it up to your GNU/ear.
      • Actually, you can put it up to both ears. Imagine putting it up to a Beowulf cluster of ears!
      And I'm spent.

      Damn the Emperor!
    • Check the EULA.
  • New Palm? (Score:3, Funny)

    by lewko ( 195646 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @01:33AM (#4545416) Homepage
    Must....Resist....New....Gadget....Must....Be Strong....
  • way cool.

    But seriously, when is enough, enough?.

    These are trying to fill a gap, somewhere between my mobile phone, and my laptop, but doesnt have enough functionality to do away with either.

    With this in mind, it seems counter productive to carry yet another device around with me...

    Just my 0.2c..
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 28, 2002 @01:36AM (#4545429)
    Palm has had five years to get their act together when it comes to PDA functionality. I hate to say it, but the PocketPC devices are far superior to anything that Palm has had to date. The ability to play full-length color feature movies, MP3s, true wireless internet with a real web browser, document creation, PDF reading, chat, console emulators, and actual MULTITASKING has been available for over a year and a half now.

    In short, there's no excuse for this device. Palm is dead in the water. For *LESS* than $499 I can get an 802.11b-equipped full color Toshiba E740 that will outrun, outgun, and outfeature any of Palm's new devices. Kiss your butts goodbye, Palm. This isn't 1997, this is almost 2003, and you just sat around on your market share. Watch Small-and-Flaccid(TM) eat the rest of your lunch now.
    • by Moofie ( 22272 ) <`lee' `at' `'> on Monday October 28, 2002 @03:45AM (#4545735) Homepage
      Outrun, outgun, and turn the batteries into little Smokie-Links in less than eight hours.

      If I can't use my PDA for at least a week without batteries, fuhgeddaboutit. I don't need to watch movies on the damn thing...I need it to WORK FOR A LONG TIME.

      If I can get long battery life and all that other crap, well and good. But I won't buy a device that needs to be in its cradle every night before I go to bed.
    • by biglig2 ( 89374 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @06:20AM (#4546049) Homepage Journal
      Well, of course Palms do have wireless internet, PDFs, document editing, chat and console emulators.

      I admit the Palms don't do multitasking but I must admit I'm stumped as to what you would need it for. Playing media while you work on a document I suppose.

      But more to the point of your post, I use my Palm to replace all the paper in my life. It doesn't play movies on a tiny screen? Sad, but not really that relevant, is it?

      I prefer my Palm as it is tiny, has a long battery life, and runs a nice clean and simple OS that does exactly what I want it to do.

      • I still have an IPAQ 3850; which I will sell soon for less than 50% of new price after only 4 months because I hate it.

        I hate having to sync with Outlook (I can't stand outlook). And I've never used multitasking.

        In fact, I think multitasking (in a non-MMU protected environment) is a very very bad idea, and is one of the main reasons for the frequent lock-ups and crashes of the operating system.

        In the years before with PalmOS devices I hardly had any crashes or problems, but the PocketPC crashes all the time.

    • by Registered Coward v2 ( 447531 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @08:18AM (#4546266)
      Palm has had five years to get their act together when it comes to PDA functionality. I hate to say it, but the PocketPC devices are far superior to anything that Palm has had to date.

      I've used Palms and WinCe devices (as well as various Newtons since teh MP100) since the original Palm Pilot and WinCE 1.0, and I've nevevr found WinCE (por PPC) devices to be far superior. Yes, they are more powerful than a Palm, but power never translated to usefulness.

      The ability to play full-length color feature movies,

      Excpet that it takes a large CF/SD card to store one, and don't count on the batteries lasting through an entire movie if you use the backlight. Battery life has been a really issue for me - I can't use my 565 a lot and get through a day.


      Yes, although the Clie has done this for a while as well. In fact, my main use for my 565 is to play MP3's.

      true wireless internet with a real web browser, document creation,PDF reading,

      The web browser is nice - I use it with my CF modem in a pinch.

      Document creation is one area where MS really dropped the ball - why go to yet another incompatable document format? I want to be able to edit a Word/Excel document on my PPC, pull the CF card, and plop it in my laptop - and be able to open the PPC file. Currently, that is a no go. Even worse, converetd files lose formating - a real pain for excel files. Not to mention the lack of a native ppt viewer. ,pdf - Palm had it before PPC.

      And, no one has really got a Datebook5 clone for teh PPC, not to mention decent expense apps. (I 've tried Fusion, Traveller, AgendaToday, etc. and none match DBK5- Gulliver - iambics Expense program (I forget the name) for managing a schedule and expenses.)

      chat, console emulators, and actual MULTITASKING has been available for over a year and a half now.

      MAME and NES are the other main reasons I still have a PPC. If someone ports them to the Palm, I could dummp my Jornada once again.

      the PPC has a lot of potential, but has too many near-misses to really be useful for me - someone who travela s alot and would really like a portable device to use when it's just too much troubel to pull out a laptop.

      It's really too bad Apple dumped the Newton - one product where they, not Palm, could have created a market. I really liked my MP2000.
  • by miradu2000 ( 196048 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @01:37AM (#4545434) Homepage
    Also announced today was the Stowaway XT - AKA Palm Ultra Thin. If you're familier with PDAs you probably know of the Stowaway- the cool foldable keybaord for PDAs. Well they made a new one, just half as small. Seriously. Same full size keyboard- a preview of it is available here []
    • Maybe you mean half as big. Your using a double negative. Im not being picky i just wanna clarify. The new keyboard weighs less, is smaller in all dimensions and still has the same keyboard layout. Kick ass engineering at its best.
  • Finally... (Score:4, Informative)

    by GarfBond ( 565331 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @01:38AM (#4545438)
    I'm glad to see the new Tungsten series and Palm OS 5 finally come out. Now, only time will tell whether or not this device becomes successful.

    I think Palm OS 5 will be a winner, as long as it does its mainstay well, while adding on some new features and doing those well too. In other words, it does all the organizing you need it to do and it puts that ARM to use.

    The only problem I see with the T is the sliding mechanism. Anytime there's physical movement involved with a product like this, you have to wonder how long it'll last. If it's nice and durable, there goes my one complaint about the T. If it's really fragile, users won't like that much at all.

    Myself, I hope to get one of these things after they come down in price.
  • by say ( 191220 ) < minus caffeine> on Monday October 28, 2002 @01:39AM (#4545442) Homepage
    ...considering the name being "Tungsten". It means "heavy stone" in Norwegian :)

    Not what I want in a handheld device, at least.

  • Tungsten W (Score:2, Informative)

    by Frac ( 27516 )
    For some reason the Tungsten W (Palm's answer to Handspring's Treo) is not featured on Palm's website, nor is it accessible from the products page.

    However, the URL for Tungsten W is pretty easy to guess - []
  • by steveha ( 103154 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @01:45AM (#4545468) Homepage
    If Palm really was losing sales to PocketPC, then this is exactly what they need. But it doesn't make me want to run out and buy one.

    What I have always liked best about Palm PDAs is that they run forever on their batteries. Palm is claiming the new device is good for a week of typical use, but how much is that? The InfoSync [] review notes that under a torture test, the battery life was a little under 3 hours.

    I was pleased to read that the emulation mode runs current PalmOS programs fast enough. Recompiled applications should be very fast.

    While in many ways it sounds tasty, I don't really want one right now. And the price is going to need to fall in half before I'll even consider it.

  • Sliding design (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Winterblink ( 575267 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @01:48AM (#4545472) Homepage
    The slide-open design is kind of nifty, but I have concerns about durability. Moving parts are typically the first things to go, but in the case of this, it's not like a flip-cover or something that can be easily replaced.
  • by sbwoodside ( 134679 ) <> on Monday October 28, 2002 @01:48AM (#4545475) Homepage
    First of all you need a *headset* not a handset. Who the heck is going to carry around a handset when they already have a cell phone inside the W? That doesn't make sense.

    Secondly, they're just showing that no one gets the form factor yet. I don't want to have a headset sticking in my ear all the time, but I don't want to hold a big-ass product like the Treo up to my head either (talk about dorky-looking). The new RIM blackberry has a better idea ... just hold the thing to your head without any flip up plastic crap.

    They still miss the mark though. I'm going to get my cheekmarks all over the screen and that's no good.

    I don't know what the right formfactor is, but I haven't seen it yet. Maybe some kind of clamshell design where the keyboard's on the bottom and the screen's on the top. IT'll open 75% in phone mode, like a startac or whatever, or it'll open 100% in palm mode.
    • Secondly, they're just showing that no one gets the form factor yet. I don't want to have a headset sticking in my ear all the time, but I don't want to hold a big-ass product like the Treo up to my head either (talk about dorky-looking). The new RIM blackberry has a better idea ... just hold the thing to your head without any flip up plastic crap.

      Handspring tried that approach with the VisorPhone. Believe me, if you think the Treo looks dorky held up to your ear, the Visorphone/RIM approach is ten times worse [].

      I honestly don't get the complaints about the Treo's size. At worst, it's a smidgen larger than a StarTAC (and is shaped about the same), and nobody ever complained about them being funny-looking.
    • If you ask me the Kyocera 7135 [] is the one with right form factor (though the Samsung i500 [] is similar). They understand that a SmartPhone needs to be a phone FIRST and a PDA second - without surrendering on the power.
    • Headsets are good, because if you're holding your PDA to your ear, how are you using it to take notes? With a headset, I can talk to someone and take notes on my PDA at the same time.
  • Ogg player! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by steveha ( 103154 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @01:52AM (#4545484) Homepage
    This is the first Palm PDA that will have an Ogg player. It has enough horsepower under the hood to run a software MP3 decoder, so an Ogg player will be possible. Which in turn means that someone will write one!

    I wonder how many hours of life you will get from one battery while playing Ogg or MP3 music, with the screen blanked.

    You could carry some sort of emergency charger that uses AA cells or something. But that sort of defeats the smallness and convenience; you might as well carry some small player like the Diva.

    • It has enough horsepower under the hood to run a software MP3 decoder, so an Ogg player will be possible. Which in turn means that someone will write one!

      Hate to break it to you but there are (hotly desired by someone) apps that could fit on older PalmOS models and yet they haven't been written yet. For example I have seen a number of people ask, over the past n years, "why hasn't anyone ported vi?" Heck, there might even be more people who think they want vi than people who think they want ogg.

      Still I do admire your "no matter what I want, someone will code it up for me, for free" optimism. :) There are too many things I've wanted, and had to write myself, for me to ever feel that way.
  • naive (Score:4, Informative)

    by TerraFrost ( 611855 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @01:54AM (#4545491)
    The new OS allows Palms to begin catching-up with some of the things rival Pocket PCs can do, such as watching short video clips, downloading digital audio or photo files and even playing graphics-intensive interactive games.

    My Palm m505 already has video clips on it, thanks to MGI's PhotoSuite, which came *included* with the Palm m505. As for it being able to do wave files... so what? PCM Wave files are big. One song takes around 40mb. With 16mb, we'll only be getting maybe audio clips of thirty seconds. So what's the point of having it? And one last gripe... graphics-intensive games are also usually space intensive - Diablo 2 didn't come on 3 CD's because of it's story line, I can tell you that much!

    • Re:naive (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Jage ( 164751 )
      Well, use GSM compression @ 16kbps. 14MB will give you then almost 120 minutes. The microphone can't be much better anyways, you're not really even losing quality. It also said it has SecureDigital reader... The biggest SD-cards are now 512MB, they're going to have even 4GB cards later on.

      Diablo 2 is mostly big because of the cutscenes and very stupidly compressed graphics. You can make graphics intensive games even in 8MB, check just about any older console that still used cartidges (or a bit older arcade machines). Or games like original Tomb Raider (8-9MB).
  • by vlad_petric ( 94134 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @01:54AM (#4545492) Homepage
    Really, at ~390$ (Amazon) you get a 320x240 screen, 200 MHz Intel StrongArm processor, 64 MB RAM, and more preinstalled applications (Jeode JVM & Hancom Office are the notable ones). Not to mention that it's powered by Linux/embedix (should it be called GNU/Linux embedix ?), and, as a consequence, there are quite a few opensource applications for it.

    The Raven

    • by kikta ( 200092 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @02:18AM (#4545561)
      It was $334 when I bought it at two months ago ($347.99 now) [] & I've fallen in love. Seriously, I thought they were kidding when I read the specs for the new Palms. Compare it to the Zaurus specs [] and decide for yourself...
      • by llin ( 54970 )
        Hmm on one spec where 'bigger' isn't better...

        Tungsten T: 101 x 77 x 15 mm
        Zaurus: 138 x 74 x 21 mm

        No built-in bluetooth either. Although wi-fi is easier to hook up with the CF slot.

        That being said, your PDA decision isn't all about hardware. The breadth and depth of Palm peripherals and software is pretty compelling.
        • I can still fit my Zaurus inside my front pocket on a normal pair of jeans. Also, the apps availible for the Zaurus are pretty extentsive, since it is linux-based and supports Java. It also supports the ipkg packaging system designed for those running Linux on their iPaq's. So there's some more apps for you. I have yet to find an app that the Palm has that I can't get an equivalent of. And show me a Palm that can run a bash shell. :-D As far as the Palm peripherals, the only one that I find myself longing for is the GPS add-on. And with Palm releasing a P.O.S. like the Tungsten, how long will that last?

          P.S. The Zaurus's input methods kick the shit out of the Palm's. On-screen stylus entry, where you can actually see the letter you're writing? Awesome. Built in QWERTY keyboard? Sweet.
  • Cellular carriers (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Graabein ( 96715 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @01:56AM (#4545497) Journal
    Palm will be announcing cellular carriers for the W in the near future.

    Begging your pardon? Isn't this a GSM phone? Do the US carriers lock users in even on GSM networks? What's the point of having GSM then if you can't use whatever phone you like on whatever network you want and roam freely?

    We may be behind the US on a lot of things here in Europe, but at least we got that right. My cellular carrier doesn't care, and it's none of their business, what kind of phone I use and where I bought it.

    Speaking of my phone, I own a Nokia 7650. Can't see replacing it for the new Palm anytime soon, the Nokia does the same job in a smaller package.

    • "but at least we got that right"

      No, you didn't. One standard is great, but in the long run competing standards are more benificial. Look at CDMA - there are several healthy CDMA carriers in the US (Sprint, Verizion, etc.), and there are several TDMA/GSM carriers (ATT, T-Mobile). No, you can't use any phone on any service. No, that doesn't matter - phones are pretty much free over here. Some carriers do lock SIM cards, but most carriers don't even use them. I don't know about prices in Europe but I do know that they are falling like plutonium bricks over here. You can choose how you want your cellular too, unlimited local usage for $32/month (Cricket), pre-pay (ATT, Virgin Mobile, Others), free nights/weekends (several carriers), lots of "anytime" minutes (several carriers), no roaming/long distance (Sprint, ATT, others), mobile internet (Verizion, Sprint, AT&T, others), SMS (almost all carriers), etc.

      OK, it's nice to have one standard for a whole continent. But, when comparing size and population, the US is pretty much the same as Western Europe. Everytime someone brags about having universal service throughout Europe, I respond with the fact that our service is pretty universal also. Coverage is pretty good, no matter what carrier you use. OK, so you can't use your AT&T phone if you want to switch to Verizion. Big deal, Verizion is perfectly happy to give you a free or nearly free phone.

      Cellular service is different here. We are not Europe, and we do not try to be Europe. For better or worse, the government pretty much keeps it's hands out of things (although that is slowly changing). Instead of forcing one communication standard, the government has let the market decide. Ultimately, CDMA will probably win. Europe is stuck with TDMA GSM service. Why is CDMA better? Mostly because it can handle two to three times more calls per channel. CDMA is a better technology; even the European carriers recognize this (and are rushing to change their networks). I am not sure about costs today, but in the long run mobile phone service in the US will be cheaper than it is in Europe. It happened here with long distance (remember 25 cents a minute?), and it will happen with cellular service. Switching to CDMA is not hard in the US because we never had a standard. Sprint was CDMA from the start. No standard = best technology wins. Unfortunately, no standard = chaos. Until a few years ago, US cellular service was a joke - mostly analog service, with terrible digital coverage. Europe laughed, with good reason - our system sucked. Then CDMA came out, and carriers began to use it. CDMA put the heat on, and carriers responded with digital TDMA that didn't stink. The cellular systems in this country became digital almost overnight.

      So, no, I can't take my SIM out and use my phone with a different carrier. But there are really only two GSM carriers, and GSM is not the wireless standard in the US. There really is no standard over here, which is a mixed blessing. Ultimately, however, the customer will win. TDMA is going to go away in the US; even AT&T will eventually migrate their network to CDMA.

      I wouldn't have it any other way.
  • by g4dget ( 579145 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @02:01AM (#4545512)
    The hardware looks pretty decent; I suppose you pay a premium for the compact size.

    However, the software isn't all that great. Basically, under PalmOS 5, your application code runs as interpreted 68k instructions. Only system calls and some specially written subroutines (which, presumably, cannot make system calls), run as native ARM code. Presumably, this will get fixed with PalmOS 6.

    What apparently won't get fixed is the basic PalmOS architecture. PalmOS was designed as a very lightweight OS for simple PDA applications: calendaring, TODO lists, etc., on very simple devices. It was fine for that: small and memory efficient.

    But $500 devices like the Tungsten are in a different class. With ARM processors, they are more powerful than many workstations of a few years ago. You don't need that kind of device for basic PDA functionality--just buy a $100 Zire instead.

    The reason why people pay $500 for a PDA is either because they want an executive toy, or it is for running "enterprise applications", multimedia apps, scientific apps, speech recognition, etc. And for that, PalmOS just sucks: the window system and toolkit are resolution dependent and simplistic, the file system is a hack, the system lacks installers or package managers, multitasking is poor, image support is poor, and on and on.

    So, what does it all mean? If you want a PDA, get a Sony SJ-30 or a Palm Zire, or a Palm m500--they are great PDAs with great built-in apps. If you want a handheld to develop custom apps for, to port software to, etc., get a Linux PDA (or a PocketPC if you must)--you'll pay less and get something that's a whole lot better for the purpose.

    • by Metrol ( 147060 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @04:11AM (#4545774) Homepage
      ...get a Linux PDA

      Would have loved to. Only thing is, none of the Linux based PDA's provide any software for actually syncing to a Linux desktop! ACK! Okay, so I actually run FreeBSD on my desktop, but the same applies.

      Bottom line, the only reasonable way to put a PDA to use today for a Unix user is to buy a Palm. Need Windows to actually use a Linux PDA... irony outta control or what?
      • by g4dget ( 579145 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @04:48AM (#4545836)
        Would have loved to. Only thing is, none of the Linux based PDA's provide any software for actually syncing to a Linux desktop! ACK!

        They actually do: because they just run Linux and store things in a Linux file system, you can use any of a large number of methods for synchronizing (rsync, unison, NFS, etc.) and remote access (ssh, X11, VNC, etc.).

        the only reasonable way to put a PDA to use today for a Unix user is to buy a Palm

        Well, as I was saying, for basic PDA functionality using the built-in Palm applications, I agree.

        My point is: for anything beyond basic PDA functionality, PalmOS is not a good platform, at least not in the near future. And for custom or third party apps apps, you don't get any support from Palm for hotsyncing on Linux anyway--you are definitely better off there with Linux and Linux tools.

  • I believe this is one of the first devices to use the OMAP platform from TI. They started this collaboration last year. Press release here. []

  • Why 16mb?? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jeffv323 ( 317436 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @02:35AM (#4545600)
    The Tungsten T includes a fold-out Graffiti area, new cross-key keypad, 144 MHz ARM processor, Palm OS 5, a 320x320 full-color screen, and 16 MB of on-board RAM.

    WHY do even the newest PDA's on the market still come with 16mb of memory?? I mean seriously, when I can get a 128mb CF card for ~$50, you'd think that a $500 palm with multimedia capabilities might have a little more room to work with than a fscking 386!
    • Well, Palm apps are very small. So 16Mb is a reasonable ammount for a Palm. They could of course up the RAM, but doing so will impact the battery life to a surprising ammount.

      The usual practice is to keep your applications and PDA data on the Palm, for which the 8Mb in my M505 is probably plenty, and then use a cheap MMC card (MMC is imperceptibly slower than SD cards but much cheaper) to store any sizable data, such as e-books, dictionaries, databases, PDFs, or with the new ones perhaps MP3 files (once someone writes an MP3 player for the Tungsten).
  • Was I the only one who saw the clockspeed and thought it would be a fun idea to take a directional and an amplifier and see what happens when one is inbetween you and the local repeater?

  • by Lally Singh ( 3427 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @02:48AM (#4545632) Journal
    The non-phone tungsten looks like a good candidate for the enterprise, which is where it's aimed. But, the phone-pda device I'm waiting for is the kyocera 7135 [], coming out in a month or two.
    • That kyocera is going to be CDMA. Now I'm not sure about you guys, but I will NEVER buy another non-GSM phone, for the obvious reasons. Locked into one phone, with one provider. I like the GSM, where if your phone breaks down you can buy another one, or use a cheap spare untill your phone gets fixed, and all by moving your SIM card. You can use another phone if your battery dies (ok, that does not work all the time in America, but we have unlocked phones too). In one year I put 340h (more than twice than any of my friends) on my Nokia 8260, and believe me, I needed those things. But my Nokia was TDMA, so no dice.

      The Palm W is GSM, so I will definitely consider it. Unless Kyocera comes out with a GSM version, I couldn't care less.

    • For that exact reason.

      The market has shown that any cell phone/PDA combo that is a PDA first and a cell phone second (Samsung I300, Audiovox Thera, Visorphone) has failed in the market.

      Treos have done OK since they have focused more on making a good cell phone.

      Kyoceras are VERY popular in the integrated phone/PDA market because of the following:
      a) Phone first, not PDA. The Kyo 6035 has a keypad on top of the flip so you don't need to dial on the screen. (ugh, what crackhead came up with using the I300's creen for dialing?) In fact, the keypad has VERY large buttons compared to most cell phones, making dialing a breeze.
      b) Battery life - The 6035 can go for a week or so between recharges in standby mode. 2-3 weeks or more if you turn the phone portion off. The Thera can go less than a day. The Tungsten W will probably be in the same boat.
      c) Looks - The 6035 looks in form factor like a large phone. Not something dorky like the Visorphone. The 7135 will simply look like a large StarTAC. It wasn't long ago that normal cell phones were the same size or larger than the 6035 is today.

      I have a 6035 and LOVE it. I can wait for the 7135, although if Verizon drops their data plan pricing to match Sprint's, that may change... (Sprint is not an option - They can't even cover 50% of the most densely populated state in the country and I regularly travel into Sprint non-coverage areas.)
  • no speaker? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jchristopher ( 198929 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @02:51AM (#4545641)
    What's with this wave of devices that have phone functionality but no speaker? So, now I get to carry it around, but I have to use a headset for all my calls? Basically, I still need a regular cellphone... so what's the point of putting the phone in the Palm? Now I've just got two phones!

    Handspring sure got it right when they decided to make the Treo a real phone. They make great phones without this headset nonsense.

    • I agree this is a stpid idea, all the more so because of course the Tungsten T has a speaker and microphone built in! The Treo has the best arrangement - headset, regular phone, and speakerphone.

      However, I believe Palm's take on this is that the W is a data access device, not a phone - the phone capability with the headset is an added bonus. They also mutter about using the headset allowing you to access data during a call, but this is a bit bogus, as of course you can do this with a speakerphone option or an optional headset.
  • The lack of graffiti will be a big disappointed for current palm users. I think they'll rather buy the Thungsten T as it has the graffiti, and i must say that was the number 1 reason why i choose palm instead of another made of handheld (psion et al)
  • "Tung sten" means literally "heavy rock" in Swedish. I wouldn't buy a hand computer called that.

  • Is 2MB shared for video or something like that? 2MB is a significant amount of space to be overlooking.

    Also, did anyone else notice that the "T" logo they use is remarkably similar to the Japanese symbol for Post Office? Maybe it will be a point of confusion or ridicule in Japan.
  • Size , etc m500 (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bored ( 40072 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @12:17PM (#4548090)
    Well, I just purchased my second palm device this weekend. I would have stuck with the old one had it not commited suicide from the top of my gym locker. I'm not a particularly large palm fan. After all for the most part the problem with palm is that you can buy a device from 1997 today for exactly the same price. Ok, the processors are slightly faster and the new devices have more RAM (unless your talking about the zire). Other than that they are pretty much the same.

    On the other hand I stuck with palm because its a useful device. I have a good graphing calculator for it, and I use it like a standard day planner with a book/news reader. My old palm IIIxe was great on batteries. They only required changing once ever few months. Combine that with the fact that the battery monitor accually seemed somewhat accurate meant that I had plenty of warning to change them. I don't want to have to carry a charging station for a week long trip. So, when I went looking for a new one I had a few things I wanted. Higher res, color screen, mp3 player, smaller, faster, more ram.

    Well it turned out I bought a m500 not something with a higher res screen, color, mp3 player, or a device with more ram. I purchased it simply because it was the smallest palm I could find. My second choice was one of the little cli devices because of the higer res screen. The only problem is that for most applications the high res screen seems to be run in low res, the color isn't particularly useful, its nice to have... and its probably about 50% thicker than the m500. The m515 might have been a good choice if it had been the same size as the m500 (its about 30% thicker).

    So in the end the deciding factor was size, my importance factors went something like.
    Size most important, Useful battery life, high res display, ram, color, mp3 playback. In the end I came away from the whole market pretty discusted. The m500 isn't as small as I want (pcmcia card size), it has the same amount of ram(8 megs worked on the old device should contine to work) and the display is the same crappy low res greyscale.

Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons.