With the release of the Palm Tungsten T and Sony’s NX70V and NX60, handhelds running Palm OS 5 are now in user’s hands. But a handheld without software is like a car without wheels; no matter how much power it has, it doesn’t accomplish anything.
Of course, OS 5 can run all well behaved apps written for earlier versions of the operating system but not all applications are well behaved. Therefore, software companies have been busy recently releasing updated versions of their apps that will definitely have no problems. In addition, some of them are adding features that take advantage of the faster processors available on the new handhelds.
This is not an attempt to list every application that is compatible with OS 5; instead, it gives the status on a number of important applications and highlights apps that make use of OS 5’s new capabilities.
One of the complaints about the Tungsten T is that it doesn’t come with multimedia software. To help remedy this, Kinoma has released Kinoma Player 1.5 and Kinoma Producer 1.5. Through an ARMlet, optimized ARM-native code, Kinoma Player delivers smooth video playback at up to 30 frames a second, even when played back from removable Storage cards. The player is free but it doesn’t play MPEGs or AVIs. It has its own format and files need to be converted with Kinoma Producer, which is $30.
Kinoma made a big stir among Sony users when it was first released as it can play 320 by 480 pixel video even on a 66 MHz processor but this is less important to people getting the Sony NX70V or NX60 as they come with an MPEG player and software to convert AVIs to MPEG format.
Teal software has released TealMovie 3.00, which supports smooth playback up to 60 frames per second with high resolution support. An included Windows converter program creates TealMovie-format files from standard AVI, Quicktime, and WAV files. Movies can be played from removable memory cards.
Supposedly Real is working on a version of the Real Player for the Tungsten to allow it to play MP3 files but there is, as yet, no word on when it will be available. Real didn’t respond to questions in time for this report. The NX series comes with an MP3 player.
Audible Inc. announced earlier this week that it will release software before the end of this year that will allow the Tungsten T to play any of its thousands of audio books. However, this will only work on Palm’s OS 5 handhelds, not the NX series.
SplashData has released SplashPhoto 3.5.1, which uses an ARMlet to speed up displaying images. It can open a 320 by 320 JPEG image in 1 second. It costs $20 but upgrades are free for registered users.
DataViz’s Documents To Go Professional Edition 5 comes on the Tungsten T and Documents To Go Standard Edition comes with the NX series. These allow users to access Microsoft Word and Excel documents on their handhelds. Plus, the Pro Edition includes a PowerPoint viewer. All Docs to Go version 5 editions are OS 5 compatible.
Blue Nomad has released WordSmith 2.2, a update to its word processing app that makes it ready for Palm OS 5 devices. The upgrade is free to all registered users or WordSmith can be purchased for $30.
iambic has released Agendus 5.34 to add support for the hi-res screen on the Tungsten T. It also supports hi-res+ on the NX series.
Supposedly, Cutting Edge is close to announcing an OS 5 enhanced version of its Quickoffice suite but the company declined to say anything about this.
Astraware has launched of a new version of Bejeweled that has been optimized to take advantage of the higher-resolution screen, improved audio, and faster processing speed of Palm OS 5 devices. The new version of Bejeweled redraws the screen much faster than before, enabling the animations to run much smoother. In addition, the company has used ARMlets for such functions as unpacking and drawing graphics.
AvantGo will not run reliably on either the Tungsten T or on Sony’s NX series.
OS 5 is different enough that hacks written for previous versions of the operating system will no longer function. TealPoint Software’s TealMaster 2.0 can run some, but not all, Hackmaster hacks under OS 5.
Palm has an extensive list of applications that are compatible with the Tungsten T.
MARGI Systems Presenter-to-Go, which plugs into the SD slot on Palm OS handhelds, definitely supports the Tungsten T as it was demonstrated at release earlier this week. MARGI will be releasing a Memory Stick version in the next week or so but it hasn’t been able to test it yet with the NX series.
Also, EMTAC Technology, Transplant Computing, and Mapopolis have have released the EMTAC Wireless GPS Bundle, which combines a Bluetooth-enabled GPS unit with Mapopolis Platinum Edition navigation software. It costs $330.
Think Outside has announced a replacement for the Stowaway folding keyboard. The version, called the Stowaway XT is lighter and thinner than the original and works with the Tungsten T as well as any handheld with Palm’s Universal Connector. It will sell for $99 when it becomes available in limited quantities in late November. Think Outside is planning to release versions of this keyboard for other handheld models. The current version of the Stowaway will not work with the Tungsten T until the company releases a new driver, expected out next week.