PDA News – Palm Name Change, TC WiFi Hunter, HandEra OS Upgrade

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Palm-Handspring to change name

Somewhat lost in the surprise announcement of Handspring’s acquisition by Palm Inc. was a single sentence of the press release. “Immediately following the completion of the spin-off, Handspring will be merged with Palm, and the merged company will be renamed later in the year.” ‘PalmSprings’ puns aside, this adds one more interesting facet to the new deal, sparking questions about what the company’s name will be, and what it implies about the company’s direction.

It is worth noting that the company will probably not change the names of their product lines, at least not immediately. Product name recognition holds a great deal of value, and the newly merged company won’t want to squander it. Look for the Palm and Treo lines to continue, at least for awhile.



WiFinder released for Tungsten C

WiFinder, a Wireless Network scanning program for Palm’s Tungsten C, is now in free public beta testing. WiFinder supports scanning for active wireless LANs with the TC’s internal hardware, GPS mapping of access point locations, and export of logged data to CSV format. This will be welcome news to TC owners, who will now find it that much easier to find and switch between networks. The combination of WiFi and GPS capabilities now opens up the Tungsten C as a viable platform for ‘wardriving’, a recreational activity that consists of driving around with a WiFi enabled laptop or PDA and marking the Global Positioning coordinates of open access points. WiFinder can determine the name of a network (SSID), current signal strength, Lat./Lon. of strongest signal, WEP status, access point channel, and other information, making it a potent tool for wardrivers, administrators, and general users alike.

WiFinder is available at http://www.bitsnbolts.com/


Palm OS 4.1 on the Handera 330?

Last night, a file began circulating in Palm hacker circles, reputed to be beta versions of Handera’s long-awaited but never released build of Palm OS 4.1 for the HE330. We’re still seeking a HandEra 330 for testing, but preliminary reports and analysis of the files’ contents seem to support it’s authenticity. Included along with the three ROM updates, dated to April and May of 2002, was the following message:

“Well, here it is.  I have attached a .zip file with three builds of Palm OS 4.1 for the Handera 330.

I had thought about posting these in some anonymous manner to avoid any mess associated with releasing them.  In the end, nothing is anonymous on the Internet, so what’s the point, right?

Anyway, of the three releases, my personal opinion is that the second one is the best (ENS41410.UPD).

As for how I got these…. well, I’ll say this…. I was not under any Non Disclosure Agreement and I never received these files from any oneassociated with the actual Beta team.  Details other than that are pretty much irrelevent and I won’t go into it.

I had said at the time I was given the files that I would not release these files.  Since Handera has decided to stop supporting the HE 330 (except those still covered under an existing warranty) I consider the point moot now.  Some will invariably disagree with my decision. That’s fine.  It’s all opinion.

In general, I think these Betas show just how good Handera was at providing an excellent product.  I think it also shows how right some people were when it was said that most of the improvement in OS 4.1 had been incorporated into OS 3.5.3 by Handera previously.  That being said, OS 4.1, even in Beta, is excellent on the HE 330.

So go crazy people.  Enjoy.  I sincerely hope I don’t regret this.”

Handera was widely expected to release a Palm OS 4.1 update to their famed 330 model, but the upgrade gradually became ‘vaporware’. One popular explanation of the absence was that Handera was unable to come to an agreement with Palm over the cost of licensing the newer operating system, a theory which this development, if found to be true, may serve to reinforce. We’ll keep you updated on whatever we find out.




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