PDA News – GSM Treo coming soon, Axim security flaw, Tapwave’s future

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PalmOne website shows GSM Treo 650

Well, if there was any doubt that the GSM version of the Treo 650 was coming out soon, it’s now been demolished. The main page of the PalmOne website is periodically showing a small ad for the T650 GSM model, with the words coming soon. Captured from the PalmOne site:

UPDATE: PalmOne has pulled the GSM Treo ad from their site.


Security flaw on Axim X50 series

A flaw in the Funk Odyssey security client shipped with Dell Axim X50 and X50v models may pose a small risk to the security of certain wireless networks. The Odyssey client, which offers optional aid in connecting to networks with certain types of encryption, stores Wired Equivalent Privacy keys in the system’s registry in plain-text format. This means that anyone who had physical access to the Axim with the proper tools could extract the keys and use them to bypass the WEP encryption on the network in question.

This is not a major security issue, for several reasons. One, WEP isn’t ultra-secure in the first place, so most serious networks use a different or additional form of authentication. Two, it requires physical access to the device and a reasonable amount of knowledge. Three, the problem is limited in scope to one program on one series of handhelds. Still, anyone using the Odyssey client should be aware that their network keys are being stored in an insecure manner.


PC Mag talks to Tapwave founder

At this year’s CES, PC Magazine sat down with Byron Connell, founder and Senior VP of marketing at Tapwave, to talk about what’s next for the Zodiac. They got some interesting information about the company’s plans for the future, as well as raising some rather ominous questions about what wasn’t said.

According to the article, Tapwave has “de-emphasized” the gaming aspects of the Zodiac in favor of multimedia–trying to be an iPod and video player. Sorry, folks, but we could have told you a year ago that the gaming device schtick wasn’t going to fly. Oh, wait–we did. And trying to reinvent yourselves as the iPod-but-better smacks of desperation.

The second major note of the article talked about the successor to the Zodiac. Unfortunately, we may never see one. Tapwave says that any successor is more than a year away, possibly two. Given their current situation, I don’t see how Tapwave can last that long. Certainly not while maintaining any kind of research and development that would give them a fighting chance against the major players. Being a scrappy underdog is one thing, but when you are one you need to know how, where, and when to strike. I’ve yet seen no evidence that Tapwave can do this.



Verizon users sue over Bluetooth crippling

A number of users of the Motorola v710 Bluetooth phone are suing Verizon Wireless for disabling many of the Bluetooth capabilities of the phone. From the suit:

Verizon Wireless has enjoyed enormous financial gains by marketing and selling the popular Bluetooth v710 phone then disabling almost all of its Bluetooth capabilities, resulting in a degraded phone, which requires the customer to use other Verizon ‘paid’ services in place of the Bluetooth capabilities that were supposed to be part of the phone’s Bluetooth features….

I’ll say right off the bat that they’re probably going to get beaten in court simply because Verizon Wireless has enough lawyers to sue God, along with an unlimited pipeline of funds. However, it’s still interesting to see people suing over non-complience with advertised standards.

In the interest of disclosure, it’s no secret that I don’t like Verizon, and this sort of thing is one of the reasons. Verizon and many other service providers like them in many industries get away with murder because no one ever calls them on it. And, before anybody defends Verizon, I’d like to know if you had any objection to buying a TV only to find out that you had to pay a fee to Time Warner Cable every time you wanted to change channels. Crippling a product’s supposedly standardized abilities in order to make a larger profit is not acceptable business practice.




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