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Handhelds Wireless Networking Hardware

Palm Finally Announces SD WiFi Card 256

Estranged42 writes "After years of waiting, Palm announced today that it will release an SD 802.11b card for its Tungsten T3 and Zire 72 handhelds. This comes after years of anticipation and speculation about this card ever happening. It should be arriving sometime in September for $129. I think I'm still looking forward to getting one. The Register and others are carrying the story."
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Palm Finally Announces SD WiFi Card

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  • still using palms (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Sv-Manowar ( 772313 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @02:16PM (#10004109) Homepage Journal
    I can't see the advantage of using a palm over using a small notebook (12" ibook or powerbook for example) - espiecally for browsing using Wifi cards as shown here. A compacted and hard to read screen compared to a full internet browser. Surely the space it takes up is made up for in usability nowdays.
    • by Klar ( 522420 ) * <curchin@gmail. c o m> on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @02:20PM (#10004172) Homepage Journal
      I think in most cases a 12" notebook would work better. But, palm's are useful if you need something really small that could fit in your pocket and not have to carry a 4lbs small notebook. Palm's are great for keeping track of names, apointments, general information and taking notes while on the run.
      • AvantGo + the Globe and Mail is a good combo too on the Palm - I use it when I'm away from home and don't have access to my daily delivery.
    • by Kenja ( 541830 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @02:21PM (#10004186)
      "I can't see the advantage of using a palm over using a small notebook (12" ibook or powerbook for example)"

      You must have REALY big pants if you can fit an iBook in your pocket.

    • by Planesdragon ( 210349 ) <slashdot.castlesteelstone@us> on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @02:23PM (#10004210) Homepage Journal
      * cost of the model
      * power consumption
      * familiarity
      * ease of use

      For $1,000 (the cost of a 12" iBook) I can purchase new palms with Wifi cards for myself, my wife, and an extra just for the fun of it.

      Even if the iBook had equal power consumption on all components (which is unilkely, given screen size alone), a single palm still uses far less kw/H than the iBook for any given task. Solid-state memory and an always-on OS eliminate both boot-up time and HD seek.

      A lot of people can use their palms as easily as a computer. For some folks, it's even easier.

      And, of course, if I want to have a palm in the TV room just for random web lookups, I don't need to configure an ibook or leave it out. When i want to pull up the data from a website, I can simply turn on the palm, click on the web-browser program (which can even be bound to a buttom) and go right to the site.

      • huh? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by SuperBanana ( 662181 )
        Solid-state memory and an always-on OS eliminate both boot-up time and HD seek.

        Um...I last rebooted my powerbook for the 10.3.5 system update. Prior to that, I had a 38 day uptime. Furthermore- I've rarely actually run out of battery time. I laugh when people talk about boot up times- they've clearly never used a powerbook if they make such an inane comment. You open the lid. 2 seconds later you've got your network connections and you can start work, unless you turned on password locking. Hell, half

        • Re:huh? (Score:3, Insightful)

          Um...I last rebooted my powerbook for the 10.3.5 system update. Prior to that, I had a 38 day uptime.

          The last time my palm "crashed" was when I was mucking about with a new program. Prior to that, I had an "uptime" approaching 6 months. And when it did crashe, it came back up in a matter of moments.

          I'll note that you totally ignored the HDD seek, power consumption, and cost arguments. How nice of you.

          or write with anything approaching speed or easy of use(I guarantee I can type at least ten times fa
        • Re:huh? (Score:3, Interesting)

          Um, are you seriously suggesting people can just "pick up" grafiti?
          My nine-year old son was writing his name in about three minutes. It took me about two hours to get a handle on the alphabet. That got me started and I looked up puncutation and numbers as I needed them. When I was too lazy to do that, I just used the on-screen keyboard. And that's with the old single-stroke Grafitti. The new version is even easier.
          My Visor has been sitting in the closet gathering dust for 3 years
          Fine. Send it to me. How
    • 12in Apple small? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by asv108 ( 141455 ) <asv@ i v o s s . com> on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @02:27PM (#10004255) Homepage Journal
      While a 12 ibook was considered small 3 years ago, there are a lot better options when considering a portable laptop. The IBM x40 [], Fujitsu P series [], or the Sony Picturebook [] are just a few examples.
    • My Palm is a $150 alarm clock. About the only thing I use it for are the audible reminers that I can set up timers for. Oh yeah, I also play Sokoban a lot on it. This would not be feasible with a laptop.
    • Re:still using palms (Score:5, Interesting)

      by timeOday ( 582209 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @02:51PM (#10004517)
      I guess I'll chime in, since I have a WiFi-enabled palm device (Sony TH55) and a 12" laptop and I don't think you do.

      A laptop is not a PDA. I take my PDA everywhere and reference it many times per day. In fact I rarely leave home without it, since I always end up regretting it when I do. I'm not taking a laptop to the hardware store just in case I have to jot something down.

      As to your second point, I have to agree that the WiFi, camera, sound recorder, and mp3 playback are only of secondary interest compared to the to-do list, calendaring, and memo apps.

      That said, half-VGA (320x480) is somewhat usable for web browsing. In fact when I browse slashdot on it, I don't use the special palm-formatted version [] because it's too sparse. This may be the ultimate toilet-entertainment device, not that I would ever do such a thing.

      But besides that, WiFi is good for quickly, wirelessly transferring documents and software to the Palm, and the battery-life hit is surprisingly not that bad. I can open palmgear [] download a zip file, and install apps without using a PC at all. Bluetooth is comparable, except it doesn't work from anywhere in my home.

      I'm torn on having WiFi in the SD slot rather than built-in, as it is on the Sony. On the one hand, I only use the WiFi now and then, so why carry it all the time? On the other hand, it doesn't seem to add much bulk, and I'm already using the SD slot for memory expansion, so having to take that out would render the Palm only partually functional.

    • Re:still using palms (Score:4, Interesting)

      by jcostantino ( 585892 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @02:53PM (#10004549) Homepage
      The biggest draw to handheld PDAs over laptops is that they weigh next to nothing and you can use them one-handed. I can use my Inspiron laptop on my hand but it weighs a ton compared to a PDA. I love the 1024x768 screen but the trade-off is portability for size. For example, you can buy a portable barcode reader and use a handheld as a data collection device without lugging around a ton of stuff and input directly into a local database or wirelessly to a remote one via Coldfusion over the web. The total weight of the equipment would be under a couple pounds and in some cases, you can get a barcode reader for a CF or SD card slot and not even have a tethered reader.
    • People who use wifi on their hand helds use it mostly for email, data access and for the occasional google. No one sits down at their desk and surfs the net on their hand held.
    • "I can't see the advantage of using a palm over using a small notebook (12" ibook or powerbook for example) - espiecally for browsing using Wifi cards as shown here. A compacted and hard to read screen compared to a full internet browser. Surely the space it takes up is made up for in usability nowdays."

      Nobody said it was for everybody. Frankly, though, you'd have a lot easier time seeing it if you were trying to find it. Laptops just can't go everywhere. They don't 'instant on'. Their battery life is
  • $129? (Score:3, Informative)

    by benzapp ( 464105 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @02:16PM (#10004113)
    I bought a Linksys one for my WinCE PDA over two years ago for half that.

    What a rip off.
    • Re:$129? (Score:4, Funny)

      by Roadmaster ( 96317 ) <roadmr AT tomechangosubanana DOT com> on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @02:34PM (#10004351) Homepage Journal
      I guess they gave you a discount for having to put up with such a hideous operating system, huh?
  • 11b or not 11b (Score:5, Interesting)

    by grunt107 ( 739510 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @02:17PM (#10004114)
    Or, put another way: Why not the faster 11g?

    Using the faster protocol would appeal the power users, and the early adopters that go for the hi-speed buzzwords.

    • by sczimme ( 603413 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @02:27PM (#10004256)

      Or, put another way: Why not the faster 11g?

      Using the faster protocol would appeal the power users, and the early adopters that go for the hi-speed buzzwords.

      I'm glad you didn't say anything about the real-world benefits of 11g (vice 11b) for a PDA; as far as I can tell there wouldn't be any. (Not flaming - just an observation.) PDAs typically aren't used to download large files, and may not be able to keep up with a saturated higher-speed connection. (Think (firehose + teacup).)
    • I guess it might appeal to people more, but honestly how much of a difference is b vs g going to make on a palm, are you gunna be downloading large files onto your 128mb memory card? IMO b should be fast enough for anyone using a palm.
    • Re:11b or not 11b (Score:3, Informative)

      Probably because the Palm's SD slot doesn't support I/O transfer rates anywhere near that speed. IIRC, it cannot even use 802.11b to it's full potential.
    • What would you possibly be doing with your Handheld that would require that much bandwidth?
    • Re:11b or not 11b (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Most "SDIO" interfaces are actually SPI and I believe this is the case for the palm devices. There is no speed up from B to G on SPI. In my company we have done experiments and it is VERY difficult, if not impossible, to even get to the 11mbit/sec that B provides.

      Even with true SDIO, you would need to be using the 4bit mode at the maximum clock speed to achieve G data rates and I don't believe any of the handhelds are capable of this. Currently G modems on handhelds are just a marketing ploy.
    • > Or, put another way: Why not the faster 11g?

      Well, I seriously doubt that the processor of the device (or the SD-bus for that matter) could push enough bits to make a
      difference. However, even at 11mb rate, there's another good reason to do the 11g protocol: access points running in pure
      G mode. If you have a G router and you enable the backwards-compatibility for 11b, you cut your throughput almost in half.
    • I imagine part of it is that 11g hits some diminishing returns on a handheld - you increase the cost for a device that really doesn't need a whole lot of speed. You aren't going to fit a very large file on your handheld, and the types of websites that benefit from a very fast connection aren't going to display well on a Palm sized screen. Add to that that I'm not even sure that a PalmOS web browser could render fast enough to handle the speed of 11g. I'm sure there are some users out there using VNC on t
  • by Darth_Vito ( 693141 ) * <> on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @02:17PM (#10004116)
    I can't wait to find out if this will work with my Treo 600 mobile phone. It runs Palm OS 5.2.1 and it has an SD Card slot so I am optimistic. Although the Treo 600 already gets Internet access using the cellular phone system 802.11b would allow MUCH faster connection speed when a wireless network is available.
  • Cool! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AKAImBatman ( 238306 ) <akaimbatman&gmail,com> on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @02:17PM (#10004118) Homepage Journal
    This is really, really cool! Now I can... erm... well... Hotsync without a cradle! Yeah, that's it!

    Joking aside, anyone have any practical uses for such a gadget? In my experience, networking Palm Pilots hasn't helped them do much more. Sure, you can do WAP type stuff, but so can your cell phone.
    • the palms this wifi card support have fully functional web browsers, and IM client, and even ssh. I use all those almost daily on my T3, bluetooth connected to my cellphone.
    • Re:Cool! (Score:2, Informative)

      by kenf ( 75431 )
      Well, hotsyncincing without having to boot a computer when you are trying to get out the door in the morning is a plus.

      Also you can use free wireless hotspots to update things like Avantgo when you are traveling.

      I bought a Sony Clie for just this reason.
      • by Malc ( 1751 )
        If your computer isn't booted, what are you hotsyncing with?

        A modified AvantGo would update its content. But what about contacts, calendar, email, etc, which typically reside on your computer?
    • Well, yeah. I concur. Which is why I think a device like the HP iPaq 6300 series [] is a lot more useful: you have seamless Internet connectivity. WiFi is primary, GPRS is your backup, and Bluetooth is your PC connection. Why spend $129 to have a Palm that can only do two of the three?

      (Yeah, it runs WinCE. Yeah, I hate that too []. But I really want one nonetheless, because this can replace two devices with one, reduce my pocket clutter, and give me more functionality than the two devices it replaces had.)

    • I'm interested in using something like this to be a universal remote that controls IR devices and devices accessible via VNC. I want a real universal remote... one that can control my AVR, DVD, TV as well as display a VNC session to my MP3 player PC.

      BTW, anyone have any tips on doing this in a reasonably cost-effective manner?
      • I've been using my Tungsten C (built in wifi). VNC is the route to go. I use PalmVNC to control my media PC within the network. I do admit that I turned WEP down to 40bit to make the VNC run smoother, but other than that, I'm pretty durn happy. Wireless sync works so well, that now I ahve problems every 2 weeks or so because I never put the Palm in the cradle any more, so it never get's a chance to recharge
    • This is really, really cool! Now I can... erm... well... Hotsync without a cradle! Yeah, that's it!

      Even better, you can HotSync to your home PC from a WiFi-enabled coffee shop or bookstore.

      Personally, even though I have a 12" PowerBook, having WiFi capabilities in my Palm is really attractive. Unfortunately for me, it is uncertain as to wether or not this newly annouced device would work with my slightly older m505 :P.




      I use them both all the time and they rock. To be honest, those two apps make my Tungsten C worth it.
    • The main thing you gain by being 'net connected 24x7 is the same as any other portable with a 'net -- the ability to use the web and other services without a cable.

      so what services are there in particular?

      AvantGo, as a web browser, becomes more useful because it includes the capability to sync up independent of the rest of the PDA's sync. Because the list of pages I want to sync with is stored at avantgo's server, it can do that without having to access my local machine.

      second, and naturally enough, you
    • I have a Sony Clie TH55 which has built in WiFi, and I regularly use it to surf the web (Netfront), read my email (Clie Mail or VersaMail), use AvantGo in "online mode" (i.e. downloads stuff in real time), ssh to my work linux machine (TuSSH). Its incredibly useful.

      Frankly your comment reminds me of people who couldn't figure out what the internet was for 10 years ago.
    • by LS ( 57954 )
      I use it as a "walkman" of sorts. I stream internet radio and plug in some headphones and walk around the house. Or I plug it into the stereo in the living room. It's great!

    • Joking aside, anyone have any practical uses for such a gadget?

      I'd love it. I'm a teacher, and I keep my grades in an online system that allows students and parents to check them at their leisure. At the moment, I either have to keep the initial grades on paper and then enter them later, or carry my crappy school-provided laptop around my classroom when I check work.

      In this situation, the difference in size between a Palm and a laptop is significant. Cost, too - if I lost a Palm due to theft/stupidity,

  • New Treo 600 (Score:2, Interesting)

    by omnipotus ( 214689 )
    I wonder if this new SD card will work in the Treo 600. It runs Palm 5 and has an SDIO slot; sure would be sweet to have a Palm/WiFi/Bluetooth/CDMA phone.
  • for Palm's sake (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jford235 ( 677581 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @02:18PM (#10004132)
    it'd better work well 1st time around, cause otherwise they're gonna have a mob on their hands, considering how long this has taken, espically since its only for two palms.
  • by Kenja ( 541830 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @02:18PM (#10004135)
    So its just like the ones from say Sandisk, but twice as expensive? With inovation like this its no wonder Palm is at the top of the PDA market.
    • Read yesterday's Dilbert.... It's all about design, not function.
    • -1, Ignorant.

      The Sandisk Wi-Fi SD card has a retail price of $109.99 and only works with the Zire 71. The Zire 71 was discontinued before the Wi-Fi card was released.

      The announced product has a list price just $20 more and is supposed to work with the Zire 72 and Tungsten T3. The 72 and T3 are both current models you can actually buy.

      I bought my T3 because of the screen, which can extend from 320x320 to 320x480 as well as rotate from portrait to standard; the bluetooth which lets me hotsync wirelessly wi
  • Finally... (Score:2, Informative)

    This is fortunate since there has been a SanDisk SD WiFi card for a while, but only Zire71 compatible. []
  • by william_lorenz ( 703263 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @02:22PM (#10004197) Homepage
    Now I can use PalmVNC [] for cross-platform VNC sessions to my UNIX and Win32 boxen and PSSH [] to enable SSH2 connections! I wonder if this will work easily in public Wi-Fi hotspots [], thinking with regards to quick 802.11b configuration and real-world interoperability?
  •'s a pity that Palm couldn't find a work around to enable the SD card to be used in their other Tungsten handhelds, like my Tungsten E.


      I think I would go this route since I would most likely only need wi-fi on the road to check e-mail or web info more conveniently than pulling out the laptop.

      Other than that, all I really need is a calculator/organizer most of the time.

  • by _aa_ ( 63092 )
    Well.. my SprintPCS PalmOne Treo600 already has an internet connection through sprint, but a "broader-bander" connection would be nice. Last i heard there was not enough power in the SD slot of the treo to operate a wifi card. They don't explicitly mention support for the treo600, but I'm curious if it would work, or if there is a wifi card in the books for the treo. Or bluetooth for that matter.
  • by b-lou ( 175661 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @02:29PM (#10004280)

    Although I've not used it yet, I'm more inclined to try Enfora's [] product first. It's a nice case + a battery of its own so you won't kill the Palm's battery by running WiFi. Also, it works with any of the recent palms that have the universal connector, it's not limited to the T3 and the Zire seventy-whatever. Home page: [].

  • by Aceto3for5 ( 806224 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @02:31PM (#10004304)
    This is excellent. Now maybe after i lose THIS tiny expensive peice of hardware it can be friends with my 512mb thumbdrive and my USB bluetooth adapter, wherever they may be. Its nice to know they wont be lonley. Maybe they can use the 802.11 to signal thier location, like Gilligans Island.
  • ...PocketPC devices are looking to add combo wifi/memory sdio cards for about the same price:

    From SanDisk []:

    SanDisk's 256MB + Wi-Fi SD card combines flash memory and wireless communications into a single card giving SDIO-enabled PDA the freedom to quickly transmit and receive data, images and music from thousands of 802.11b hotspots worldwide.

    From Brighthand (older link):

    Unfortunately, SanDisk doesn't expect the necessary driver to allow Palm OS models

  • SD is little. Really REALLY little. How is it possible to get a decent 802.11 card with antenna and such into such a small and flat card? I'm just curious as to how this works.
  • Too little, too late (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ( 697100 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @02:36PM (#10004366)
    Palm had a good thing going, but they have fallen behind in the past few years. I love my Palm, but I think it's too little, too late. My next PDA won't be a Palm. They're losing their competitive pricing. Other companies have had wireless for a long time that is much less expensive.
  • by digitalgimpus ( 468277 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @02:36PM (#10004376) Homepage
    For ages it was rumored that there would be a MS WiFi adapter. Then one was done, but only for certain OS 5 PDA's.

    I emailed SanDisk, and here's what they said: .shtml

    Sucks don't it?
    • I love my NX-70 Clie. Great big screen, decent camera, pretty fast processing, and the WiFi card option. I do have a few beefs with the WiFi, though. Number one, no signal browsing or automatic connections. I have to have it sniff around for an unsecured AP or specify which one to use. That's sort of inconvenient. Sony doesn't disclose much information to developers, so there isn't squat for 3rd-party utilities for it. The card also sucks power like nobody's business. I've seen it down the normally 4-hour b

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @02:40PM (#10004412)
    PalmInfocenter has a good Review [] posted
  • About damn time (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Roadmaster ( 96317 ) <roadmr AT tomechangosubanana DOT com> on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @02:40PM (#10004415) Homepage Journal
    Once you use the T3 for any amount of time you realize it's too powerful a machine to stay unconnected; and bluetooth/IR through the cellphone is way too expensive. WiFi enables connection in any of the plenty of hotspots in town, and the T3 already comes with software to check e-mail and do browsing (full-fledged browser, although sometimes the screen size is a bit limiting). I also have a ssh app which will be far more useful if I can actually connect; not to mention VNC which will be great for remote diagnostics. I can actually see myself using one of these...
  • by joncarwash ( 600744 ) <jonathanwhodges&gmail,com> on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @02:41PM (#10004422) Homepage

    Here is a nice full review [] from PalmInfocenter []. It goes into full details and testing of the new SDIO Wireless card from PalmOne.

    Some have asked how is this different than the SanDisk SDIO Wireless card for Palm that was released a short time ago. This description from SanDisk [] explains that its card is only for the Palm Zire 71 and products using recent versions of MS PocketPC. The new PalmOne card supports the Zire 72 and Tungsten T3, which the SanDisk card does not (apparently due to driver compatibility issues).

    I own a PalmOne Tungsten E [], which is the business value model, and there is not wireless support via SDIO cards, and doesn't look to be one available due to the power constraints of the Tungsten E model. Apparently, there have been some tests run with the SanDisk card on the Tungsten E, and it will work, but long-term effects on the SDIO slot have not been studied, and there could be damaging effects on the unit. Tungsten E users that want some sort of wireless connection should check out the Enfora Wireless Portfolio Case [] which seems to be the only wireless connection available for the Tungsten E.

    Personally, I don't need wireless via my PDA since I already have a laptop and wireless card, but I know it is a nice feature, and on a future PDA I would want wireless to be available.

  • I like palm, but... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tkrotchko ( 124118 ) * on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @02:46PM (#10004455) Homepage
    A Dell X30 with WiFi and Bluetooth can be purchased for $170 on sale, or about $250, full list.

    So if this thing costs $130, and the T3 costs $300, that leave us with a price tag of $430.


  • by 955301 ( 209856 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @02:47PM (#10004473) Journal
    Duke Nukem forever, here we come!
    Won't be long now...
  • by brownpau ( 639342 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @02:49PM (#10004492) Homepage
    You'll definitely need this to HotSync your Zire 71 when the stupid internal sync/charge cable problem [] starts kicking in as it has on mine.
  • Since it only supports the newest two models, why wouldn't I just get a new one from Sony or elsewhere with it built in?

    Besides, wi-fi spots are few and far between (there's like two or three in the central SC area), while my bluetooth capable phone works all over the place.

    Of I could just be a little pissy about the fact that other companies would have one out already if Palm would license the needed OS code.
  • Security Concerns (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Phoinix ( 666047 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @02:54PM (#10004554)
    A palm has address book, calendar and secure applications for passwords, etc...

    I would think ten times before having my palm accessing or "accessible" via WiFi.

    Yes, I am at the paranoid side, but in this age, you have to be so.

    Wifi is not an option for me unless there is solid security such as runing two different systems on a Palm similar to a PC. Until that is an option, my Palm is offline.
  • I love their devices. The T3 is a great size for a PDA and the Zodiac is awesome for a gamer's PDA however neither had crap for WiFi (although both had bluetooth). They had nice screens and PalmOS is ok but the rest of the device seemed dated. Single expansion slot, moderate memory, etc. Adding $130 on the cost of the thing also puts the T3 firmly on the high end.

    I went with an e805 that has a 640x480 screen as well as built in WiFi and a ton of memory. So until Palm can come out with a decent PDA t
  • There has been at least 2 Wifi SD cards for a year or so now, why couldn't drivers just have been written instead of waiting on an entire new card?

    (they were expensive, but they DID exist.. )
  • for T2 owners: (Score:4, Informative)

    by Lawmeister ( 201552 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @03:18PM (#10004892) Homepage
    from the palminfocentre's article:

    So why is the card only available for the T3 and Zire 72, and not other models with SD slots? The official answer from palmOne is: Following market and development-cost analysis, palmOne wanted to develop a Wi-Fi card that will be applicable to its Zire 72 and Tungsten T3 handhelds. These solutions require very tight integration between hardware, firmware and custom software, as well as access to propriety technologies for the level of tight integration necessary to give the customer an excellent experience. In other words it sounds like the differences between other models SD slots and other factors such as power draw and battery capacity, made is cost prohibitive to develop it for other handhelds.

    hmmm, I'm thinking they are just pushing their newer products.

Make it myself? But I'm a physical organic chemist!