PDA News – Tungsten W update, Tapwave video, iPaq 5400/5500 WLAN update

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ROM update for Palm Tungsten W

A new ROM image for the Palm Tungsten W offers new features and other improvements. This is a complete ROM update, rather than a simple patch, so it may take a little longer to download and set up. The most notable changes in the new ROM image are that the TW now runs on Palm OS 4.1.2, rather than the 4.1 that it shipped with, and it supports Always-On connections, even when it’s off.

Always-On Connection Capability — The updated software provides an Always-On Connection capability, even when the device turns off. Complete with configurable settings of “Never” and “Power Off,” the Always-On Connection capability enables the GPRS PDP context to stay active after the device goes to sleep.

VersaMail 2.5.2 — This updated version contains Auto Get Mail, which automatically downloads new mail to the Tungsten W handheld and notifies the user; added sync support for local Lotus Notes mail; and up to 11 user- defined Microsoft Exchange, IMAP or Lotus Domino folders. Messages can now also be viewed on an updated display with new fonts, sizes and color options that allow the user to take advantage of the handheld’s high-resolution color screen. VersaMail 2.5.2 now uses strong, 128-bit AES encryption to safeguard email account passwords and contains improved attachment support, even playing back Voice Memo files. VersaMail now also has a message send retry and can pull mail from SSL mail providers, such as AT&T-Comcast Broadband.

Web Browser — The Tungsten W Software Update includes Palm Web Pro 2.1, powered by Novarra, which can be used to replace Web Pro 1.1. Version 2.1 is a proxyless web browser. With the Palm Web Pro 2.1 proxyless browser, enterprise users now have the ability to access corporate Intranet information securely, when coupled with a VPN client provided by such companies as Mergic or Certicom.

Keylock Functionality — The user can enable the keylock functionality by checking a box in the Keyboard Preferences Panel or by activating it manually using the Function-Power key combination. If keylock is enabled, all keys except for the Power key are automatically disabled when the device turns off. Pressing the Power-Function key combination unlocks the keys.

LED Configuration — There are two new features in the Sounds & Alerts Preferences panel: “Charging LED” and “Coverage LED.” The former has an “On” and “Off” feature, while the latter has “All Coverage,” “Out of Coverage,” and “None” features. The Antenna LED indicator acts as a charging indicator, lighting up red or green if the device is charging or charged, respectively.

TTY Support — Carrier dependent TTY Support is also included in the software update. It provides text support for customers that are hearing-impaired.



Video of Tapwave Zodiac

CNET has some hands-on video of Tapwave’s Zodiac Palm-powered gaming device.



WLAN driver update for WinMobile ’03 iPaqs

HP is offering two new sets of wireless LAN drivers for the iPaq 5400 and 5500 series PocketPCs. One driver package supports 802.11B Wireless LAN communication (WiFi) and the 802.11x standard for security features. The other supports 802.11B and Cisco-proprietary LEAP security. You can’t have both–not yet at least, HP says they’re working on it–so you will need to install one or the other. If you don’t know what 802.11x or LEAP are, then it doesn’t really matter which package you use.

The new drivers are supposed to improve connectivity, ease of connectivity, and roaming ability. No specifics on what that means, but users are reporting less time taken to connect, resolved connection issues, and better signal strength. It appears that ‘connectivity’ is shorthand for an entire laundry list of bugs squashed and general performance improvements. 

This update is only for iPaq 5400 and 5500 PocketPCs running Windows Mobile 2003. It will not function on iPaq 5400s that have not been upgraded to the new operating system.



Expansion pack for Crazy Kart from Int13

Int13 has released a free add-on pack for their PocketPC racing game Crazy Kart. The new pack offers four new tracks in four new environments. Seeing as how the full game was only released a week ago, this says very good things about the company’s intent to support the game. Int13 also says they’re working on a track editor which will let anyone create their own tracks, and multiplayer capability. Both will be free upgrades. Crazy Kart is $15.



SDIO WiFi: It really is here

After just over a year of waiting, the faithful can rejoyce–multiple reports from users, inventory systems, and enthusiast sites say that the first SDIO WiFi cards really are shipping. These cards were first annouced almost a year and a half ago and have been on ‘release imminent’ status for 12 months.

It’s obvious that the lack of a WiFi card has been an enormous black eye for SDIO. A peripheral interface has no credibility if it has only one peripheral. Hopefully, WiFi is the exception rather than the rule.

Of course, it’s hard to say that SDIO WiFi is really here yet, since at the moment only PocketPCs are supported. Palm users will have to wait for drivers expected later this Fall.



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