Last week, Sony announced its first models running Palm OS 5, the NX70V and NX60. Sony has the NX70V on display at the Sony Plaza in Tokyo. In addition, Yahoo BB, an ISP/ASP Broadband provider in Japan, and Sony have placed trial units at selected Yahoo BB hotspots, like McDonald’s and Starbucks, to give people the Wi-Fi experience.
The NX70V does not feel that different from a NR70V. Only the top one third, where the new card slot is, is larger and the rest is same size as the NR. You have to hold it to get a real feel for it. The dimensions scare people but it is really comfortable to hold.
In addition, Sony changed the finish of the NX series. It is rougher compared to the NR series. This gives it a very good grip and it feels really secure in your hand.
It comes with the Macromedia Flash Player 5. The Clie Demo in on this new model uses it.
I didn’t have a chance to try the camera or MPEG player yet but AcidImage runs faster when decoding JPEGs compared to my NR70V.
HotSyncing via Wi-Fi is another thing I am interested in but did not get to try.
An important selling point for Sony is the integration of the various multimedia applications. ClieView lets you activate the relevant applications depending on the media type (camera, movie recorder, voice recorder). Within each of those you can activate ClieMail to send your pictures/movie/voice memo or activate the Web browser to put your media files on the ImageStation server.
ClieMail lets you download an email attachment and save it into a directory on the Memory Stick (you can specify the directory).
The NX70V has a slot to plug in an 802.11 wireless networking card and comes with a Web browser preinstalled.
Surfing on a 320 by 480 screen is a pleasure. Speed is quite good; all of CNN.com loaded in about 30 seconds. Page rendering is reasonably good without requiring too much horizontal scrolling. It supports stylesheets so the layout is generally good.
However, the browser isn’t perfect. Some pages get a warning that the page is too large and won’t be displayed properly. The browser truncates these. I could not find any technical information that says how big a page can accommodate but CNN.com (the normal website, not the mobile page) was loaded without any complaints.
PalmSource kept the connection set-up simple, the same as the current OS 4.1. You can save multiple profiles for different wireless networks. Connection time was about 5 to 6 seconds. I tried connecting and disconnecting quite a few times without a problem. You can also connect from within an application such as ClieMail or the Web browser.
Going to SSL 128-bit secure sites was seamless and fast compared to my NR70V. I believe this is because the 200 Mhz processor can perform the encode/decode much faster. It is comparable to my LOOX.
The demo unit I tried was using the Sony Wireless card. I tried my own Wi-Fi card but it didn’t work. I also tried two Compact Flash cards from Japanese mobile phone companies (the Air H card from DDI Pocket and P-In Master from Docomo) and an analog CF modem and they all worked fine. I am sure if someone writes drivers, more cards can be used.
Eugene Thoo is a handheld enthusiast who lives in Tokyo.