---------- ---------- PC Pro Realworld Computing: Paul Lynch - PDAs


Palm have announced to developers a new release of PalmOS, known as 3.3; it isn't available yet, but PalmOS 3.3 will speed up sync operations, and officially support infra-red synchronisation for the first time. Other features include rolling in the already available patches to improve operation of the new screen in Palm IIIx and Palm V, and login script support for token based authentication. This will be the first distribution that will take advantage of installation into flash RAM on all current Palm models. Some third party applications have been available for almost two years that have had this capability.

Ever since I first wrote about the clear cases available for the Palm, and (along with all the other attendees) found one in my bag at the Palm Developers conference last year, a popular topic for readers emails has been where to buy one of these. For some unknown reason, it has been hard to find them. A new product announcement on http://www.palmcolors.com is a range of cases, priced from $20 to $40 (but watch out for a $25 international shipping charge), including clear cases for all models. Other colours include the iMac translucent five colour range (tangerine, strawberry, grape, lime and blue), and a range of eight solid colours (white, teal, orange, lime, lemon, navy, blue, purple). For the Palm III cases, a flip cover is $10 extra. These are announcements only, and it isn't clear exactly when they will ship.

The biggest practical criticism of the Palm V has been that it includes a non-replaceable rechargeable battery. Other criticisms we can forgive, but the battery problem means that the lifespan of a Palm V is likely to be one to two years for this reason alone. I still have an original Palm 1000 from three years ago that is going strong, although others have died for one reason or another. Non-replaceability is only one side of the problem: the other is that it can only be recharged from the cradle, with the supplied mains adaptor. This means that all trips away from home base must be accompanied by a packed set of cables, and rules out completely long trips away from a mains supply. These are less likely for Palm users, as circumstances that prevent recharging would also bar synchronisation with a base PC, but it is still a valid complaint. One enterprising user is selling for $30 a miniature charger that is driven by a 9V PP3 battery. But you can go further from base than that: several electronics supply companies sell for around $20 a solar cell powered charger for a rechargeable 9V battery; so a combination could charge a Palm V, in two steps, from sunlight.


Mains-free recharging for Palm V
Mains-free recharging for Palm V

Words and design by:
Paul Lynch
Last updated: August 18, 1999

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