Hagiwara Sys-Com has released in Japan its much-anticipated Wi-Fi card that uses the Memory Stick format.
The HNT-MSW1 will allow many of Sony's recent Clie models to wirelessly access the Internet while they are in range of a Wi-Fi access point. These are increasingly being installed in offices, book stores, coffee shops, and even fast food restaurants.
This WLAN card supports 128-bit WEP in addition to 64-bit, providing better data security. It is a IEEE 802.11b (2.4 Ghz, 1-11 channel) device that has been Wi-Fi Certified. It, of course, draws its power from the handheld.
It appears that the utility that comes with the HNT-MSW1 allows scanning/searching for access points. It supports both the infrastructure and ad-hoc modes of Wi-Fi.
A sizable piece extends beyond the confines of the Memory Stick slot. This wireless card is 1.4 inches wide, 3 inches tall, and 0.2 inches thick. It weighs less than half an ounce.
This device has been delayed while the company updated the driver to work with most handhelds that run Palm OS Garnett 5.2. Unfortunately, the HNT-MSW1 isn't compatible with any handheld running Palm OS 4.
According to Hagiwara Sys-Com Japan, this card will be compatible with the TJ25, TJ37, TG50, NX70V, NX60, NZ90. Sony did not release TJ27 in Japan and the Japanese version of the TJ37 does not have Wi-Fi. However, the NX80V and NX73V are notably missing from this list.
The price in Japan is 18,500 yen, which works out to be about $173.
According to a Hagiwara Sys-Com representative, the HNT-MSW1 will be available in mid-March.
MobilePlanet has been taking pre-orders for the HNT-MSW1 since last year and its page doesn't appear to have been updated with the latest information. According to it, this wireless card will be available in the U.S. on February 28. The price is $130, which makes it less expensive than Sony's PEGA-WL110 CompactFlash Wi-Fi card.
Those interested in pre-ordering this accessory should visit the MobilePlanet web site.
Eugene Thoo, Brighthand's Tokyo Corespondent, contributed to this article.
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