Comments on: iBiz Announces SDIO FM Radio and Card Readers

iBIZ Technology Corp. has announced the PDA industry's first Secure Digital Expansion Card (SD), FM radio for PDAs. The Pocket Radio enables a standard PDA with an SD expansion slot to tune into FM radio stations. iBiz has also debuted new memory cards readers for handhelds and a new SD VGA camera.
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palmhiker @ 1/24/2003 1:25:26 PM #
Any idea on the cost of this radio?

Also, the link for the web site should be:

That page only shows compatibility with PPC devices, although, interestingly enough, it mentions it is not compatible with the new Dell PPC's.

cbowers @ 1/24/2003 1:52:36 PM #
"multi-tasking" Oh please. Notice the headset plugs into the card. What this looks like is an FM radio that gets it's power from the SD slot, and is tuned by the serial interface on the SD bus. It's not sending digital audio to the device and making it avaiable to the speaker and internal headset jack of the PDA.

It's much like the MP3 springboard (which works as well in, or out of the Visor), only much less remarkable. Why tie up an SD slot with that? A large interface I suppose is good to have, but it's not like you could set an alarm to record an FM program at a certain time or anything like that, like you could if it was a true SDIO audio device.

DAK @ 1/24/2003 1:55:29 PM #
Looks like $49.99

frauen1 @ 1/24/2003 2:04:46 PM #
The link you pointed at references a CF pocket radio, not the SD one (probably still not Dell-compatible, though...)

cbowers @ 1/24/2003 2:10:42 PM #
Actually I'm sure the CF card would be compatible. The Dell Axim is a dual slot device (CF and SD). The SD version won't be compatible however because the SD slot in the Dell is not SDIO enabled. Meaning it can only take memory cards in that slot.

For that matter, if anyone wanted to write the app, the CF version would run on a TrgPro or HandEra 330. Heck I bet you could get it running in the NX70 CF slot (a serial connection would be vastly easier to do than flash memory drivers).

Fernando @ 1/24/2003 2:50:51 PM #
i don't see the sd version of this in the link put here... the one posted in the article seems to be broken too.... i wonder how good the recption is on this device, it might be just wut i want, considering the fact that i have a palm m505 that doesn't play mp3's... or any sounds beside the alarms for that matter....

IanJD @ 1/24/2003 3:08:00 PM #
It's hard to believe this is going to be cheaper or offer more functionality than those cheap credit card size radios.

twizza @ 1/24/2003 3:30:23 PM #
It's much like the MP3 springboard (which works as well in, or out of the Visor), only much less remarkable. Why tie up an SD slot with that? A large interface I suppose is good to have, but it's not like you could set an alarm to record an FM program at a certain time or anything like that, like you could if it was a true SDIO audio device.[/quote]

I agree that this is much cooler that MP3 springboard. But this is a nice setup for a [hint, hint] SD mP3/WMA player. I would think that this would be a good deal and the form factor of this FM player is jsut right for an SD player. Maybe with FM tuner & 64mb built in for the intro model and then models after that have an extra slot for a high capicity SD card.

Fammy @ 1/24/2003 3:30:37 PM #
I would think that $50 would buy a higher quality radio of equal or smaller size.

Just because you can doesn't mean you should.


cbowers @ 1/24/2003 3:31:50 PM #
the reception will be like any other FM radio. The headphone cable is the antenna. If you want a big colorful user interface for your radio, then this is for you. Otherwise, any tiny radio will give the same experience (and you can keep your SD slot free for more imporant things).

On an MP3 player, I see the value of a PDA for an interface.

On a digital FM radio (and all the textual data that can be provider over those links like, song and station info, traffic, etc) a PDA interface may well make sense.

Otherwise not so much for a plain analog FM radio. Still, I'm sure there's a market... But it's probably more the Clie/MemoryStick market. =8-o whoops, did I say that out loud?

bsquare @ 1/24/2003 3:49:12 PM #

What? No AM?? Listening to traffic report on my TT was the only thing missing from my life, guess I'll just have to keep waiting.

Seriously though, the only thing that would even remotely justify this thing is if it could record to MP3 or something. Asside from that, pick up a free FM radio at one of the many trade show boothes giving them away.

hkklife @ 1/24/2003 3:57:47 PM #
Considering that the number of stations transmitting RDS data here in the US (especially compared to Europe) is next to nil, I don't see anything being trasmitted over the radio waves anytime soon--though it'd be nice. AM Stereo flopped even harder than RDS did in this country, so I think Americans in general are loathe to upgrade to anything more than the "basics". Remember, guys, it's all about whatever radio is the cheapest available at Wal-Mart to joe 6-pack (and whatever is installed as his car's OEM setup).

There are actually some nice pocket-size portable radios on the market that are more than just FM tuners--many offer AM,FM,TV sound, and weatherbands, among other things. Sony's Sports line has a few nice models, and Aiwa and Sangean are also fairly reknown for their nice pocket units--powered by a single AA or AAA battery. I got an Aiwa a few years back that goes with me on every trip-has a worldband digital tuner on it.

The other gadgets mentioned in the article, such as the multi format card readers, do look interesting.

But Ryan, is that a typo I see? Shouldn't it read "xD" format for the 7-in-1 reader instead of MD(Minidisc)? I am pretty sure you meant to say the new, smaller than SD format released by Fuji and Olympus (like we needed another flash memory format!) to reaplace Smartmedia.

On a final note, I'd have been all over the 2-in-1 reader two years or so ago, when I still had a Vx. I'm actually surprised no one tried to develop a product like this earlier when the installed base of Palm Vs was at its highest. Aside from that little...what was it called--"Flashplug"? backup thingie for III/V/m100 series, I've never seen anything of the sort. Interesting.

Admin @ 1/24/2003 4:16:50 PM #
hmm.. I'm not sure what they ment by MD (and that's all the info they gave in the PR)... I'll see what I can find out.
JKingGrim @ 1/24/2003 4:42:05 PM #
>>"multi-tasking" Oh please.

What's so hard to believe about that? Palm OS 5 allows 16 channels of streaming sound to play in the background. When an application exits the OS allows the sound to continue.

If it doesn't allow sound export to a device speaker, than this is a poor buy to me. A good buy would perhaps allow a real speaker for applications that have real sound, such as Bejeweled.

Clemau @ 1/24/2003 4:50:15 PM #
Think they mean the Micro-Drives by IBM.


cbowers @ 1/24/2003 5:04:03 PM #
"I am pretty sure you meant to say the new, smaller than SD format released by Fuji and Olympus (like we needed another flash memory format!) to reaplace Smartmedia. "

Indeed. Another, "If you can't join them, beat them (or not)".

If one want's something smaller than MMC/SD I guess you could go with RS-MMC and at least stay compatible (yes RS-MMC is usable in any SD slotted device).

cbowers @ 1/24/2003 5:23:30 PM #
"What's so hard to believe about that? Palm OS 5 allows 16 channels of streaming sound to play in the background."

Preaching to the converted (you'll find my posts along the same lines in other threads here). I have no issue with sound or multi-tasking abilities on PalmOS devices. They say that the *card* is multi-tasking. "SD Pocket Radio is multitasking so users can perform other PDA functions while the music plays on."

Again, I point to the fact that the headphone is plugging into the *Card* not the PDA. So Multi-tasking is marketing mumbo-jumbo. The *card* is single tasking. It plays FM or it doesn't. What PDA's it's put in, and the multi-tasking abilities of that PDA are irrelavant. It's NOT sending digital audio to the PDA, it's NOT using the ARM or Dragonball CPU in the PDA at all to reproduce the sound. And it's NOT using the OS5 sound manager, or any of it's 16 channels of sound. It's *exactly* like the small near interfaceless radios you can buy for next to nothing, except that it has a serial connector in SDIO packaging that let's you control the radio functions via PDA software (like PalmAmp lets you control your PC MP3 player via your serial connected Palm). That may or may not be of value to some.

"If it doesn't allow sound export to a device speaker, than this is a poor buy to me."

That's what I'm saying. I'm simply distilling the apparent facts to suggest.

ganoe @ 1/24/2003 5:28:37 PM #
>>"multi-tasking" Oh please.
>What's so hard to believe about that? Palm OS 5 allows >16 channels of streaming sound to play in the background.

The point is that there is no multitasking involved. It uses none of the OS's audio support. You set the channel and that's it. The analog FM radio does the rest on it's own drawing power from the slot. Perhaps they should call it multiprocessing? :)

palmhiker @ 1/24/2003 5:29:36 PM #
Agreed, the practicality of this is suspect.

I have a Sangean radio (mentioned above) that is about half the size of a PDA and receives AM/FM/TV/Weather. Costs around $65.00, runs about 20 hours on 2 AAA's.

Basically this is just

graph @ 1/24/2003 4:01:10 PM #
basically this is just a tiny radio that clips on your palm and the way it clips is using the SD slot. period

RE: Basically this is just
graph @ 1/24/2003 4:06:09 PM #
I wish theyll make TV tuners.... i saw a similar radio in size at toys r us when i was shopping for xmas and it was only $9.

RE: Basically this is just
JKingGrim @ 1/24/2003 4:51:31 PM #
>>I wish theyll make TV tuners.... i saw a similar
>>radio in size at toys r us when i was shopping for
>>xmas and it was only $9.

SONY made TV tuners. Check out this article:

Im not sure if they are in cards though. Can they fit? what are the dimensions of an SD card? If they do fit I hope there is space for a bettery, because they seem like battery guzzlers.

RE: Basically this is just
ganoe @ 1/24/2003 5:11:40 PM #
> basically this is just a tiny radio that clips on your
> palm and the way it clips is using the SD slot. period

No, it draws power from the SD slot, and you use your PDA to tell it which station to tune to. period

RE: Basically this is just
graph @ 1/24/2003 5:42:56 PM #
k...oh well as long as they keep on making accessories its not doing palm users any harm. keep it up.

RE: Basically this is just
Altema @ 1/25/2003 12:06:07 PM #
"k...oh well as long as they keep on making accessories its not doing palm users any harm. keep it up."

Agreed. Seems odd that some months ago we were complaining 'where are all the SD accessories?', now that they are rolling we slam the ones that don't fit our preference. Yeah, you could replace this radio with a thousand others, but the UI is much better than some microscopic knobs. A lot of people will ignore this SD radio, but I'm betting that there will be a market for someone like my wife. She does not want to bother carrying a radio or changing batteries, but this is small enough where she could tuck it in her purse or gymn bag. Wonder if you can turn off the Palm and let it play...

Did you see?

Impartial @ 1/24/2003 5:17:10 PM #
Why are all the comments here on the radio card? The other device seems to be much more remarkable. A card reader that plugs INTO THE PALM! Since it goes through the UC, you can't use a keyboard at the same time, but still... CF CARDS! 2 SD CARDS! Extra memory, peripherals, and it even comes with a sync cable... Sounds like a must-have.
RE: Did you see?
Impartial @ 1/24/2003 5:23:59 PM #
Sorry, we can't use CF cards, but still... 2 SD cards means memory and internet, or camera and memory, or blutooth and wifi. Or any other combination, of course.
RE: Did you see?
cbowers @ 1/24/2003 5:42:11 PM #
Wait wait wait.

1. Card readers normally only work for memory cards.
2. Even if you could use devices (say in the CF slot), you'd still need drivers for them.
3. The thing is huge.
4. All the cards will be limited to the throughput of the UC, the novelty will wear off real fast.

Again I make the case for more PalmOS devices to use a CF slot (preferrably in addition to a second slot of another type).

Besides all the reasons I've ranted on before, if people are excited about this device because of the ability to use multiple card types, then consider:

With a TrgPro or HandEra 330 you can use: CF, SD, MMC, RS-MMC, MemoryStick, and SmartMedia. How? Because their are CF adaptors for all of them.

Pretecs SmartMedia -> CF adaptor:

Pretecs SD/MMC/MemoryStick -> CF adaptor:

The latter is also of use to those who use SD or MemoryStick in their PDA but CF in their Digital camera. It lets you put your PDA's media in the CF slot of your digital camera.

The above two options are not only smaller and less clunky, but would seem to have to be cheaper. I can't imagine either the 7in1 or the 4in1 readers above would come in under $46us.

It makes no sense to me that some people will argue for smaller PDA's to the point where the only slot you can cram in is a single SD/MMC slot, and then get excided when you can plug in a bulky adaptor like this to get a second card slot for a larger format after all.

*Somebody* pick up where HandEra left off, and get some dual slot (CF and SD/SDIO) PalmOS devices out there to compete with the PocketPC's. Our hardware is catching up now with the ARM devices, now lets catch-up on price and peripherals.

RE: Did you see?
hkklife @ 1/24/2003 8:08:05 PM #
Cbowers, have you seen the new line of Konica digicams? They have (IIRC) two versions, one w/ 4 mp and and a new one that's 5 mp. Theu have slots for both SD and MS, as well as a few megs of internal ram. So that means you can basically start off shooting to Sd, fall back to the lesser-capacity when that fills up and then still be able to cram a few pics into internal memory if things really get wild. It makes good sense for someone like me who upgraded from an old Sony digicam to a Minolta f100 that uses SD, but still has a few small MSticks sitting around that I haven't bothered to sell/get rid of yet. Of course, the camera itself is not the greatest looking on the market and it doesn't use AA batteries, but it's a step in the right direction. Definitelyh the smallest pocket-size digicam I've seen yet with 2 card slots.

I am honestly rather surprised Sony mever did an NR/NX series unit with 2 MS slots on it--the best around the "old" MS limit of 128 would be to double up the cards in the unit!

RE: Did you see?
Impartial @ 1/25/2003 11:37:24 AM #
You say everything's "limited to the throughput of the UC". Duh. But the UC supports quite high data transfer rates. I'm not sure, but judging by the speed of file installation through a cradle, the UC has higher bandwidth than the SD slot does, so how is that inferior? Also, if you can get the hardware to work, the software will follow. And who doesn't want a 1-3 GB microdrive for their Palm?
RE: Did you see?
Lidocaineus @ 1/25/2003 12:38:50 PM #
I for one am glad that CF slots are not common in the Palm world - they are *huge* battery drainers compared to SD. Even power hog sony MS's draw less power.

RE: Did you see?
cbowers @ 1/25/2003 2:50:22 PM #
It be good of you to back that up with specs. Leaving Memory cards aside for the moment, the CF WiFi card in my 330, idles with Network connection active at around 12mA. Compare that to the stated Palm/Toshiba Bluetooth SD card specs at 100mA (150mA max).

From SanDisk flash memory specs:
Voltage: 3.3V
Read: <33mA
Write: <35mA
Standby: 100microamps

Voltage: 3.3V
Read: 21mA
Write: 21mA
Standby: 200microamps

Sounds like you have yet to make your case.

RE: Did you see?
Impartial @ 1/25/2003 5:35:38 PM #
Now wait a second! According to that, the CF uses marginally lower amounts of power when reading or writing, but uses DOUBLE the amperage on standby! That seems to be a pretty large difference, and is incongruous with your earlier statistics.

It's an issue of whatever you care to make it.
RE: Did you see?
cbowers @ 1/25/2003 7:41:56 PM #

?? Notice that was *micro* amps for standby, not milliamps as in the read/write values. The standby voltage on both SD and CF is pretty much inconsequential. In the context of battery life for a PDA it's virtually nothing. It's like saying one fly weighs more than the next because he's got one extra leg. Fly legs don't make up much of his total body weight. So essentially they weigh the same. Similarly 100 micro amps on the standby life isn't going to make a wit of difference to battery life. If it did, we'd all be pulling our cards out when we turned our PDAs off. Back/sidelights, CPU, RAM refresh, and accessories are where the battery consumption comes from. Percentage-wise it's normally the back-light or sidelight that uses the greatest portion of battery life, often more than all the rest of the components put together. The exception can be a few power hungry components, like some of the less expensive wired or wireless Ethernet cards, and the like. But it's a bit disingenuous to say that CF is a power hog because of those, since there *aren't* yet any SD or MemoryStick versions of all those CF accessories (except for a couple exceptions like, bluetooth, camers, and Margi's PTG). If you did have all those options in SD, they'd be just as power consuming for the most part. Reference again the Palm/SD Bluetooth SD card.

It still comes down to the fact that we don't have more affordable expansion options on the PalmOS platform because, save for one licensee, we've ignored CF slots, unlike most other major PDA platforms. I can only assume it's for two reasons. The typical PalmOS consumer has failed to recognize the value and thus failed to demand it (or buy PDA's from the brands that did have it). Those that did recognize the value when with HandEra, or with PocketPC, Symbian, Zaurus, or elsewhere. And second, that manufacturers are more than happy to keep selling you expensive less capable versions of these accessories in the form of sleds and clip-ons with the various proprietary connectors and cables. Forcing you to buy them again for your next PalmOS model. Isn't it time people got fed up with the option of a CF version of whatever you want for the PocketPC platform, or a sled version at a higher cost from a single brand name (aka TDK, or Xircom) for one or two handheld lines (typically PalmV or M5xx).

Anyone who compared the accessory displays in the PocketPC areas and the PalmOS areas at Comdex would have to agree. You should be able to buy a device once, and be able to use it on much of the devices on your platform, as well as your desktop/laptop, and much of the devices in the competitions line. Thus far CF is pretty much the only accessory form factor that you can accomplish that with. I have to grudgingly give the nod to Sony and MemoryStick for a very distant second. But the fact that MS line has devolved into the mess of MS, MS pro, and the in-between version, the fact that there still aren't many non-memory memory sticks, and the fact that MS is still pretty much only useful to you on Sony devices adds one or two more "very's" to "very distant".

Their CF card and even this SD card look much like another

ganoe @ 1/24/2003 5:23:13 PM #
one from Prolink that has been out for at least a half a year.

SD/MMC for the PalmV!! :)

GregGaub @ 1/24/2003 5:57:15 PM #
I'm REALLY looking forward to that one. Hopfully they'll make a special case for it like they did the 4-in-1 for the other devices, though it sounds like it might be more like a dongle accessory. Talk about breathing new life into an old device! The 2-in-1 reader will make my Palm Vx actually useful again! :)

-- SeaPUG: --
RE: SD/MMC for the PalmV!! :)
TDS Computer @ 1/24/2003 10:39:22 PM #
You are correct. I am sure there are still tons of Palm V's in circulation. Just the fact that you can back up your device in it's own leather case is kind of neat! I know it will be slow to execute programs from the interface because it would have to be serial, but for backups it is great.

Visit us at
RE: SD/MMC for the PalmV!! :)
Altema @ 1/25/2003 12:00:04 PM #
"The 2-in-1 reader will make my Palm Vx actually useful again! :)"

I never had the pleasure of owning a V, but if something like this had been available a year ago I would not have moved from the IIIc to the 505 so quickly.

PS: Greetings fellow Snapperhead!

Be nice if there was a radio for Memory Stick

Roy @ 1/24/2003 7:33:11 PM #
I like the idea but I have a Clie. Wonder if they will make one for the memory stick.

"MD Card"

ac @ 1/24/2003 9:16:41 PM #
What the hell is an "MD Card"? I demand!
TDS Computer @ 1/24/2003 10:41:09 PM #
I can only think of a dirty joke based on "Memory Stick", so I will be a gentleman and not say anything at all.

Visit us at
hkklife @ 1/25/2003 10:09:05 AM #
ac, if you had read a little more carefully above, we deduced that the "MD" in question is either a typo involving "xD" (new flash format by Fuji and Olympus) or IBM's MicroDrive.

It's obviously not MiniDisc, as the drive opening is not nearly large enough to accomodate a MiniDisc, and Sony's "MD Data" format discs died on the vine about 8 years ago.

helf @ 1/26/2003 9:24:15 AM #
lol.. MD...memory d...

better link please

tritan @ 1/24/2003 11:16:53 PM #
I stll dont see the right link?? Only see the cf model a little help please?

May the Palm os be with you
RE: better link please
Admin @ 1/25/2003 1:01:51 PM #
I don't think the SD radio or the other products are even on thier website yet... thus no link.

What about connecting to the Treo?

gfunkmagic @ 1/25/2003 1:30:57 AM #
I wonder if the iBiz 2-in-1 Go Card reader can somehow be connected to work on the Treo 270/300? Is there soem UC to usb connector that could make this work? Any thoughts?

RE: What about connecting to the Treo?
ozz @ 1/25/2003 7:04:30 PM #
I can't find anything about the 2-in-1 Card Reader on the Ibiz web site. They must not have it available for purchase yet. I wonder when it will be available and what price? I'm very interested in this since I still use my ole' trusty Vx.



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