Tag Archives: Tungsten

Internet Radio in the Bedroom

 

I’ve lately been looking for a way to listen to Internet radio away from my computer. This looks like a good, albeit somewhat expensive, answer: the WiFi Radio from Acoustic Energy (about S$600, that’s $415ish).

The WiFi Radio connects to your router and stores more than 5,000 radio stations by country, updated each time the machine is switched on, which you can scroll though via the somewhat pokey LCD display on the top. There’s a buffering delay but once the station kicks in the sound is great. You can also use it to stream music from your computer.

It’s a classy solution to the problem. But I think there might be a simpler one, if you’ve only got a handful of stations you want to listen to, and just want a small device you can carry around the house with you. Perhaps I could even use an old PDA with WiFi built in? Where’s that Tungsten T3 I saw lying around?

wifi radio – further information : acoustic energy

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Palm Cradle Or Orthotic Pregnancy Band?

Palm, or palmOne to be precise, have just come out with the new Mini Cradle, “perfect for holiday gift-giving”. So what’s different about the Mini Cradle and your normal cradle?

It has, according to the press release, “a unique, modern design complete with built-in lighting and a silver metallic base. The illumination provides users with positive confirmation that all cables are connected and the handheld is properly attached.” It sell for $50, and should be in shops in the next few days.

It recharges and synchronizes data through the USB port of a PC or Mac. It is compatible with any palmOne handheld with the Universal Connector, or specifically: the Tungsten C, Tungsten T series, Tungsten W, Zire 71, i705, m500 series and m130 handhelds. And no, it’s not to be confused with the Prenatal Mini Cradle, which is a single orthotic band for abdominal support and easing of back pain during pregnancy, and therefore completely different:

Update: The New Palms. They’re Out

 As threatened, Palm have released new models: the Tungsten T3 handheld, “for the most demanding professionals who need a best-in-class colour and wireless handheld”, the Palm Tungsten E handheld, for “cost-conscious professionals who need premium power and performance”.
 
 
 
The Tungsten T3 handheld is Palm?s first device that supports a ultra high-resolution colour screen in landscape, as well as the typical portrait mode. The screen display is 50 percent larger than on any previous Palm branded device, and the new soft input screen area provides a virtual Graffiti 2 writing area. Palm claim “faster Bluetooth setup embedded in the handheld, a wireless communications suite, fast 400MHz XScale processor, 64MB of RAM1 and superior office and multimedia capabilities”.
 
The Tungsten E handheld features 32MB of RAM2, a crisp high-resolution colour display, updated core applications, multimedia software and expandability through cards or add-on accessories. It retains the classic Tungsten appearance, with its compact, leek modern form and improved 5-way navigator for one-handed navigation.

Update: More Tungstens To Go

 Amazingly, Palm are releasing another batch of Tungstens. It seems only yesterday they were doing the same thing. (Actually it was two months ago.) Anyway, The Register got a scoop by scanning local stores’ websites, which mistakenly posted details of the products before their October 1 release date.
 
In short, we have two models, the Tungsten T3 and E: the E is a 32MB device containing a “fast” ARM processor. The accompanying photo reveals a Tungsten T-style metal case without that model’s familiar slide mechanism. The T3 contains a 400MHz Intel XScale CPU, 64MB of RAM, Palm OS 5.2.1, Bluetooth and the kind of software bundle you’d expect from such a PDA. It does have a slider mechanism, to cover the Graffiti area, but with this Tungsten T, the applications buttons are curved around the central, oval navigator button. Prices? About $550 for the T3 and the E for about $280, in the UK at least.

 
The site doesn’t mention the Zire 21, the third PDA Palm is expected to launch next week. It’s possible the company’s UK wing is not releasing the 21 just yet, preferring to focus instead on the enterprise/executive-oriented products. Certainly details of next week’s local product announcement suggest such a high-end focus.
 

I know this is awful of me, but I can’t get excited about all this new stuff. I’m happy with my Tungsten T, and I can’t understand the need to sell new models every couple of months. Or am I missing something? Certainly the Pocket PC seems to be overshadowed by all this publicity. Perhaps that’s the point. Push out new models all the time so anyone who is thinking of swapping out their PDA has a brand new, just off the designer’s couch unit to go for. Are we that fickle? Probably.

Update: Time For New Palms Again?

 From the rumour mill, here’s a report on the next line of Palms. These guys are on fire. The Tungsten E will have a sleek metal finish, and looks like a cross between the m515 and Zire 71. It will have separate power and mini USB cable connections for syncing, similar to the original Zire. It may retail for $199 USD. The Zire 21 is a possible replacement or update to the popular original Zire handheld. The Tungsten T3 will have a large 320×480 pixel high res+ screen. The screen has portrait/landsape rotation and a software provision for lefthanders when viewing landscape ie. rotate left or right from portrait.
 
The new handhelds are expected to be announced on October 1st. This would agree with previous information from a large electronic retailers inventory database.

News: The Palm (Family) Tree

 In case you’re interested, Palm, Inc. is now “palmOne, Inc.” This follows the company’s spin-off this fall of PalmSource, Inc., the software/Operating System part of the business. The name “palmOne, Inc.” will encompass the subbrands Zire(tm) and Tungsten(tm), as well as Treo, upon the completion of the planned acquisition of Handspring, Inc., also expected this fall.
 

The logo blurb: “Chosen after scores of interviews with Palm customers, partners, employees, naming consultants and industry influencers, the new name is characterised in two colours – deep red for the word “palm” and vibrant orange for “One,” reflecting the subbrand colours for the company’s Tungsten line of solutions for mobile professionals and businesses  and its Zire line of solutions for consumers and multimedia enthusiasts, respectively.  Products will begin to bear the new brand name in 2004.

I’m not crazy about the logo and colours, but I’m sure I’ll get used to it…

Hardware: Palm Unveils the Tungsten T2

Palm, Inc. today introduced the Palm Tungsten T2 handheld, with the emphasis on multimedia features:


— 32MB SDRAM (29.5MB user available) of memory for twice the storage capacity of the original Tungsten T handheld
— Palm’s sharpest color screen — a high-resolution 320 x 320 transflective TFT display — for better indoor and outdoor viewing
— Built-in wireless communication suite — Bluetooth, feature-rich email client, SMS, and web browser
— The latest Palm OS(R), v5.2.1, with updated software features, including Graffiti(R) 2 and on-screen writing for input in the Tungsten T2 handheld’s compact mode
— MP3, video playback, and photo software for listening to music files, playing movie trailers, and storing photos(1)

The Palm Tungsten T2 handheld debuts at $399 (all prices estimated U.S. street price). Also effective today, Palm announced the price reduction of two current handhelds. The Palm m130 handheld is reduced from $199 to $179, and the Palm m515 handheld is reduced from $299 to $249.

Update: Would You Fork Out $700 For It?

  Wired says Sony’s new handheld, the PEG-UX50 Clié due out in September, is a neat, neat thing. But are people going to shell out $700 for it?
 
 
it has built-in Wi-Fi connectivity for wireless Internet access and Bluetooth, which allows users to sync wirelessly with other Bluetooth-enabled devices. Sony has even developed its own Handheld Engine to ensure that the device does it all without taxing the battery life.
 
It comes with a host of Palm applications. It has an MP3 player and supports all of the Microsoft Office applications. A Memory Stick media expansion slot lets users play up to five hours of continuous video or 16 hours of continuous audio. The UX50 contains a 310,000-pixel camera, a lower resolution camera than its previous product, the NZ90, which comes with a 2-megapixel version. But will people splash out?

Column: the Zire 71

Loose Wire — Zire: It’ll Set You On Fire: Palm’s newest PDA, the Zire 71, is funky, affordable and aimed squarely at the hip young crowd; But with features like a hidden camera and an MP3 player, grown-ups will be tempted to play, too

By Jeremy Wagstaff
from the 15 May 2003 edition of the Far Eastern Economic Review, (c) 2003, Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
It’s been less than six months since I reviewed Palm’s Tungsten T — a sleek, metallic personal digital assistant that looked cool, felt cool, and had a pump-action mechanism that appealed to anyone who thought the movie Pulp Fiction was good, but didn’t have enough PDAs in it [Hand-held Power Pal, December 12, 2002]. But now Palm is back with something that makes even the Tungsten look a bit, well, dated. It’s called the Zire 71 and it should scatter any remaining fears you have about the fate of Palm.
 

Zire is Palm’s funky range for, in its words, “youthful professionals.” Its first offering was, well, the Zire, a simple noncolour unit that cost less than $100. Not a bad gadget, but strictly for the budget crowd. If you were a serious PDA person, you’d buy the Tungsten T, or even the phone-enabled W, both of which had important executive things like Bluetooth, recording capabilities, and, most importantly, couldn’t be confused for something your daughter or kid sister might carry around the schoolyard. [Palm seems to be sticking to this distinction by launching another Tungsten model at the same time as the Zire 71, the Tungsten C, which comes with Wi-Fi capability, allowing you to access the Internet and networks wirelessly]. The Zire 71 went on sale in Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan late last month. The Tungsten C will be available in Asia by mid-May.

What the Zire 71 and Tungsten C have in common are their screens: 16-bit, 320 x 320 pixel transflective thin film transistor, or TFT, displays supporting 65,000 colours. And if that means nothing to you [it doesn’t mean much to me either] let me put it more simply. These are the best screens I’ve seen on a PDA. The Tungsten T screen was excellent, a quantum leap from its predecessors, but even that looks dated alongside the Zire’s. It’s bright, the colours sing, it can be viewed from all angles [except the back] and in bright sunshine. For those of you with Sony Clies, it’s like their screens. Only, I suspect, a bit better. Palm screens have come a long way, very quickly.

The casing is a robust mix of metal and metallic plastic. The usual four buttons line the bottom of the device, the middle up/down button replaced by a small joystick. The chip running the whole show is fast, and the Zire comes with 16 megabytes of memory — a lot more than Palm’s basic predecessors, and enough to keep most of your data comfortably aboard.

What makes the Zire stand out — and, arguably, justifies its $300 price tag — is the camera that emerges if you slide the front of the hand-held upwards. Suddenly your normal Palm screen is replaced by a display of whatever the back of the Palm is pointing at, courtesy of the digital camera lodged in the back. Select your subject and press the joystick or small shutter button and you have a passable 640 x 480-pixel colour picture. It’s a neat trick by Palm, since if you weren’t told the camera was there, you’d probably never find it. Sure, it’s not must-have in a hand-held, but once you have it you’ll find lots of important uses for it. I just can’t think of any right now.

Predictably, given that it’s aimed at youthful professionals, the Zire 71 comes with a fully functional MP3 player [to play music files downloaded from your computer], as well as the ability to watch video. The screen’s good enough to support the latter, and with headphones the sound is fine. All these functions can be handled easily using the Palm Desktop software, though I must confess to being puzzled about how to get MP3 files aboard.

Downsides? Palm still hasn’t got its cases and power buttons quite right. The power button on the Zire 71 is too close to the stylus slot, meaning you’re likely to turn the unit off while hunting for the stylus. The joystick — which also turns on the unit when pressed — sticks out a bit, too, so the Zire will power on and off every time it touches anything in your bag.

Other grumbles: Don’t expect too much from the camera. The display is very slow to redraw, meaning you get a jerky picture when you try to frame a moving subject. The shutter takes a second to act, too, so don’t expect the picture to look much like what you thought it would, unless you’re snapping a corpse. And while I suppose it’s too much to ask in a gadget that’s only $300, I really miss the Tungsten T’s Bluetooth, a wireless standard that would let me tap out e-mails and text messages on my Palm keyboard and then transmit them wirelessly to my hand-phone.

But these quibbles are minor. The Tungsten T put Palm back into a game it looked to have lost, but the Zire 71 moves it nearer the head of the class. If Palm keeps coming up with hand-helds as good and as often as this, our only concern is going to be whether to buy one now — or wait for the next pleasant surprise.