Palm extends Wi-Fi range

PalmOne's new Wi-Fi card is an improvement but users of older models will still have to wait

The PalmOne Wi-Fi SD card has finally arrived, but only for users with the most up to date models.

The card is only compatible with two top of the range handhelds, the Zire 72 and Tungsten T3.

According to SanDisk, which manufactures the Wi-Fi card, the new card may work with some older models, but it can't guarantee compatibility with earlier Palm handhelds because of software conflicts and data transfer problems.

The new Wi-Fi SD card works with standard 802.11b data transfer speeds and includes VPN (virtual private network) software for secure connections to enterprise LANs.

"With the expansion of hot spots and Wi-Fi networks worldwide, we felt it was important to offer users another compelling Wi-Fi solution," said Jim Schwabe, general manager of PalmOne accessories.

PalmOne's Wi-Fi SD card allows users to add Wi-Fi services to their handhelds. However, Tungsten C users already have Wi-Fi built in directly to their devices.

PalmOne is playing catch-up to Microsoft, as it has been slow to build in Wi-Fi support into its products.

Microsoft, designer of the PocketPC OS, this year rolled out several handhelds with built in Wi-Fi support. PalmOne only has one device with built in Wi-Fi support, the Tungsten C.

Palm's new Wi-Fi card may only support two models, but it's a distinct improvement on its first Wi-Fi SD card, also manufactured by SanDisk, which was only compatible with a single handheld.

The new Wi-Fi card will be released in the US on 3 September, costing $129, with worldwide release later in the month.

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