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Toshiba Releases SD Bluetooth Card in Japan

The first SD input/output card has been released by Toshiba. It is the Bluetooth card that Palm Inc. has been demoing for several months. However, Toshiba, who actually developed it, has so far only released it in Japan and only with drivers for its own Genio handheld, which runs the Pocket PC OS.

Palm said last summer that this card would be out in the U.S. before the end of the year. However, the SD Association didn't finalize the SD I/O standard until early November, too late for Toshiba to get the device ready in time to make that deadline.

It's only reasonable that Toshiba should release the Bluetooth card first in its home country and with drivers for its own handheld. Unless any further delays come up, it does seem likely that Toshiba and Palm will release a U.S. version, possible as soon as the Consumer Electronics Show the second week of January.

In Japan, Toshiba began selling the card on December 20 for 19,800 Yen, which is roughly $150 US. When Palm announced the card last summer, it said it would sell for $150 when available here.

It supports Bluetooth ver 1.1 and can be used with a Bluetooth-enabled mobile phone.

Palm recently finished its Bluetooth SDK to allow developers to incorporate this short-range wireless standard into their products. This includes add-on software for OS 4 to allow handhelds running it to use Bluetooth peripherals. It is theoretically possible for someone to get the Bluetooth card now and use it with the add-on software, though it is currently only available to developers.

Palm has promised to release handlelds next year with Bluetooth built into them.

About Bluetooth
Bluetooth is a low-powered, short-range wireless network technology best suited for mobile devices, as they may not have enough power to support 802.11b signals. It creates a Personal Area Network (PAN) by directly connecting two devices together within a range of approximately 10 to 100 meters depending on power levels. It is also being used as a networking option for mobile devices.

Thanks to Eugene for the tip and translating the info from Japanese. -Ed

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dont' want to start a war/bashing here...

I.M. Anonymous @ 12/27/2001 10:11:55 AM #
But... to those people who still say Clie's MS is useless, well the ms camera is out in usa, and so far SD has nothing yet in usa.

Now, SD has bluetooth in japan.
But sony has had MS Camera and MS GPS in Japan also...

RE: dont' want to start a war/bashing here...
donpdonp @ 12/27/2001 10:18:59 AM #
My own objection to the memoystick standard is that it is a closed solution. It is not possible for someone to start building memorystick devices without paying Sony a lot of money. the SD standard is open for people to build devices royalty-free. This allows for competition which leads to innovation and lower prices - a win for consumers.

RE: dont' want to start a war/bashing here...
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/27/2001 10:19:36 AM #
and have you seen the specs on the MS cam? it's pretty worthless.

honestly, I don't care for the flame wars between MS/SD or Sony/Palm. It uses the same damn OS, and the models are built for different needs for different people. Anyone who things thinks one model fits all should put down the crack pipe and drive a Model T.

RE: dont' want to start a war/bashing here...
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/27/2001 10:28:39 AM #
However, how great would it be to see Sony buy Palm(hardware only)!!! Sony has the expertise in product development and product launches. I think this would be a big win for the consumer.

But, you are right on regarding the difference between Clie and Palms! I could care less about the MP3 ability and the jog dialer. Sony would just produce two different product lines, business and pleasure.

RE: dont' want to start a war/bashing here...
Scott @ 12/27/2001 10:52:23 AM #
The fact that SD is an open standard and Memorystick requires a license fee to Sony is a definite advantage for SD to be sure.

However, contrary to the comment previously posted, this does not prevent competition. I can come out with a memorystick device for $x and someone else can come out with a similar memorystick device. They can charge more and offer more, charge less and offer the same, etc. Also, just how much is the licensing fee? You state that they have to pay Sony "a lot" of money. I tend to doubt this, but I'm curious to know just how much money Sony does charge.

Keep in mind also that Handspring, Sony, etc. all pay Palm, Inc. a licensing fee for using the Palm OS. Has this stifled competition? Hardly.

Scott

RE: dont' want to start a war/bashing here...
ssummer @ 12/27/2001 11:10:10 AM #
Dude, you say you "dont' want to start a war/bashing here..." and follow-up with such a stupid comment? What the hell did you expect? First off, the news item has NOTHING to do with MS or Sony, why did you even bring them up? It's like someone insulted your mother or something. Second, add-on cameras and GPS units have nothing to do with Bluetooth. That's just a lame comparison. "I really have a need for bluetooth in the US but this stupid MS camera will just have to do instead! Yay!". Personally, if I really wanted bluetooth on my Clie, I don't give a damn if Sony had a million other MS peripherals, it's just plain irrelevant.

It's idiots like you that make me ashamed to tell people I have a Clie. Damn PDA cheerleaders make me sick.

RE: dont' want to start a war/bashing here...
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/27/2001 12:02:57 PM #
Dude,

So Toshiba has released a bluetooth card in Japan, woohooo!!! I guess this is quite a coup for Palm Inc. I guess this will finally turn the tide in favor of the Sony vs. Palm PDA flame-war.

Oh wait a minute...TOSHIBA released the bluetooth NOT Palm.

Palm has not done jack crap. Except loose money, got kicked off the NASDAQ-100, lost the graffi case to Xerox, oh did I mention loosing money?

While Sony is kicking out new models left and right, with real INNOVATION (check out the T-615), Palm still has the m505, oooo the dim screen, the low 160x160 resolution. Yeah, Palm is really moving ahead...

Again, Palm has not done jack crap!!

RE: dont' want to start a war/bashing here...
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/27/2001 12:13:55 PM #
He didn't start a flamewar. Not yet any way. The comments posted so far have been calm and rational discussing the differences between the two. Looks to me like his is the worst of the bunch. Let's try to keep it that way.

RE: dont' want to start a war/bashing here...
mikecane @ 12/27/2001 3:06:34 PM #
RE: dont' want to start a war/bashing here...
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/27/2001 3:43:47 PM #
Look out Clie owners. Sony is following the old Windows CE approach on hardware, save the MS. They are releasing new PDA's and then replacing them with updated PDA's within 90 day windows. In other words, some of you are beta owners. And your glee is beyond your rational at this point.

Let's face it. The MP3 players in PDA's drain batteries - useless. The camera's have minipixels - virtually useless. Brilliant backlighting drains the batteries - frustrating. The jog dial doesn't sprint any faster than my finger or stylus, especially if you are left-handed. SO, WHAT'S YOUR POINT, VIRTUOSO?

For crying out loud, Sony is not the messiah of Palm OS based PDA's. 16 million Palm based PDA's sold before them. They are simply another successful tech company who just got in the PDA market. Do you expect them to bow down and worship Sony because they look cool? Show me function over fluff.

PS. We have a nice broken 710C in the office. It has a missing screw, dust under the screen, a cover that falls off, and some other goodies.

RE: dont' want to start a war/bashing here...
He||Raiser @ 12/28/2001 12:32:36 AM #
I'd like to make the point that if the screen is off, the MP3 player can supply audio for up to 10 hours. And this isn't some figure arbitrarily being regurgitated from the Sony website, I read a couple months ago that a site did a battery test and ran the MP3 player for like some 9 hours and 40 minutes. So claiming that the MP3 player eats up batteries isn't really justified. And if you use the handheld during the time that you're listening to music, that's fine, just take the thing home after a day of listening to music and playing games and charge the Clie while you're asleep. Or plug the travel charger (don't need to move the cradle) into the wall next to the bed and listen to music while you're sleeping.

As for the Jog Dial, I'm a IIIc user so I don't have one. But my dad got himself a N610 and I've been able to use the Jog Dial just fine as a left handed user. I may not be able to use it as adeptly as a right hander, but how many companies out there release products out there for both right handed and left handers aside from can openers? I plan to get a Sony model sometime in the future when the Bluetooth module comes out or when OS5 comes out and I'd like the Jog Dial on the device on there, even if I can't use it as easily. If I'm reading a book I'd like to be able scroll one handed and it doesn't matter if I'm able to scroll as fast as someone using their thumb because I'll be reading. If I'm trying to use my cell phone, I'd be grateful for a one handed option on my PDA when trying to pull up a number in the address book.

Granted, I am a Sony fan and I am nitpicking your arguement, but I don't want these features that Sony has implemented to be scarred by stereotypical and erroneous data. Even though the MP3 players on a PocketPC suck up their already strained batteries and the Jog Dial may not be as ergonomic for left handers doesn't mean that these features are terrible and should never be seen on another PalmOS device ever again. Hey, I realize the camera that Sony has come out with for Clie's is a piece of crap, but what other company hasn't stumbled? If Apple hadn't stumbled, we all would be using Newtons today.

Just some food for thought...

RE: dont' want to start a war/bashing here...
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/28/2001 12:40:13 AM #
Just thought I'd mention that Bluetooth is already available for the Handspring Visor in the USA with the Red-M Blade springboard. So are several cameras and GPS modules, but the article wasn't about that, was it.

RE: dont' want to start a war/bashing here...
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/28/2001 8:39:13 AM #
This new SD card looks great.

Any one heard anything recently about the proposed SD modem?

RE: dont' want to start a war/bashing here...
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/28/2001 9:25:00 AM #
Sony has a bluetooth adapter in Japan since Jun this year. I use it a lot and I prefer the adapter at the bottom than occupying my MS slot; that way I can surf the web and listen to MP3 at the same time. Most IO devices have not include storage functionality yet.

RE: dont' want to start a war/bashing here...
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/28/2001 9:33:31 AM #
That is especially cool if I can chat (ICQ, IRC or yahoo messenger) and listen to music.

How big?

Scott @ 12/27/2001 10:55:56 AM #
Back when Sony and Palm were showing off their vaporware Memorystick and SD devices, I remember the pictures all depicting them as tiny as possible. I knew at that time not to trust the mock-ups. I believe the Bluetooth SD card was completely concealed within the device. The picture here of the SD Bluetooth card seems long. Does this stick out of the device? If so, this creates big problems. It will likely get snagged, make it difficult to use in the case you currently own, and will probably be uncomfortable to use on an M125 (since it'll stick out on the side).

Scott

RE: How big?
kevdo @ 12/27/2001 11:05:42 AM #
>I believe the Bluetooth SD card was completely concealed within the device.
>The picture here of the SD Bluetooth card seems long. Does this stick out of the device?

Yes, it does. All of the Palm mocks I've seen, including the one at SynchFest, have indicated it would stick out.

>If so, this creates big problems. It will likely get snagged,
>make it difficult to use in the case you currently own, and
>will probably be uncomfortable to use on an M125
>(since it'll stick out on the side).

True, true, and true. OTOH the m125 probably is targeted at a market of users who probably don't care much for Bluetooth at this time (unlike the business-oriented m500 series).

The best part would be Bluetooth built into the device. Releasing a card, despite the drawbacks you mentioned, is still a good thing on Palm/Toshiba's part. Somebody has to get the SD IO ball rolling!

Expect the price to go down a lot as the year progresses.

-Kevin Crossman


RE: How big?
Pepper @ 12/27/2001 11:31:10 AM #
I've used the Palm bluetooth card and it really does stick out. Its not much, and when you're using it on an m50x the size wont be of any concern. On the other hand, in your pocket there could be the possability of hurting the card

I havent seen it on an m125 yet

-Pepper

I love my Palm . . . do you?

RE: How big?
donpdonp @ 12/27/2001 12:12:40 PM #
i have a bluetooth SD card and an M125. It does stick out. With the SD slot being on the side instead of on the top like on the M500/505, it gets in the way a little. The card is 2.0" in length and inside the device the head sticks out 5/8".

Dont forget that the bluetooth card is a radio and an antenna. Having it stick out of the device lets the antenna function much better than if it were hid behind plastic.

$150? You're kidding right?

Scott @ 12/27/2001 10:58:43 AM #
In addition to the size problems I just mentioned, I really can't see someone spending $150 for a device which eliminates the need for a cable while also eliminating your memory expansion in the process. Since PDA-to-Phone cables sell for about $35 max, the right price for this, IMO, is about $60.

Scott

RE: $150? You're kidding right?
Midknyte @ 12/27/2001 11:14:55 AM #
Get an IR equip'd phone and skip the cable too...

RE: $150? You're kidding right?
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/27/2001 11:22:38 AM #
This is more potential than actual. The potential to replace the hotsync cradle, (not the charger) the pda-phone cable, the pda-printer cable (if your printer doesn't have IRDA) the pda-network port, etc, etc..

$150 is the price you pay to be on the bleeding edge. If you don't like it, don't buy it.

With Palm's so-called innovations...

I.M. Anonymous @ 12/27/2001 1:59:57 PM #
HAHAHA It won't see the light of day for at least 6 months here in the US! Palm's a stinker, they adopted a barely used expansion port and what have they released for it? A game pack some memory and a backup card? Too bad for them. Handspring's had MP3 players for years which are coming down in price, and voice recorders and modems (sorry but all M500 pos owners have to make their precious form factor fat to use a modem!) and much much more!!



RE: With Palm's so-called innovations...
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/27/2001 2:10:42 PM #
oh but wait.. Handspring's new models (Treo) won't even have springboard... and if they do any ARM based units, it won't have them either, since it's tied to the current generation's cpu. Palm, Handera, and Sony are bright enough to use an expansion bus that is CPU agnostic.

Seriously, I think we should ban anonymous postings. This is going nowhere.

Flamewar
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/27/2001 2:38:35 PM #
Now THIS guy, he's just trying to start a flamewar.

RE: With Palm's so-called innovations...
mikecane @ 12/27/2001 3:07:53 PM #
Palm has also released three ebook SD Cards -- Mystery, Finance, and SF.

RE: With Palm's so-called innovations...
donpdonp @ 12/27/2001 3:21:35 PM #
ebooks on SD cards might not be too bad. Id like to see the harry potter books and the lord of the rings books. Or you could just get them off the internet and put them on a memory SD card.

TONZ OF CARDS
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/27/2001 4:46:53 PM #
there are alot of cards available just check it:

-bluetooth
-games
-expanion memory
-backup
-scrabble
-ebook (finance, mystery, scifi)
-dictionary / thess
-Rand McNally Road Atlas
-Travel Cards (US, Euro, Asia)
-Language Translator

just check it : http://www.palm.com/products/accessories/expansioncards/expansioncard_catalog.html

RE: Tonz of Cardz
Token @ 12/27/2001 5:06:04 PM #
I think the point is that they are all "applications/ebooks" deployed on the SD and not really a hardware addon. Since the SDIO standard has only just been ratified by their standards committee, this is hardly surprising. Standards by committee will always take longer while people debate the merits of X over Y. This is one area that Sony's MS technology has it over the SD consortium - the MS licensees get the standard dictated to them by a company with a vesed interest in the success of the products.

I just ordered the 3Com Bluetooth USB dongle online, so that I can sync my phone (Ericsson T68) to my PC without a cable. Eagerly awaiting the day Palm/Sony/Handspring/whoever *integrate* bluetooth into their PDA.

RE: With Palm's so-called innovations...
Michael @ 12/27/2001 5:46:50 PM #
I have a feeling you will be pleasantly surprised in the coming weeks. Palm has five very exciting Bluetooth products that will be released in conjunction with our new wireless PDA. As someone who is now using these products, I am confident that you will be amazed by what you will be able to do with your Bluetooth-enabled Palm in the near future.

- Michael

RE: With Palm's so-called innovations...
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/27/2001 6:28:38 PM #
hey mike, where did you hear that? I never heard of that, and i post news as a hobby!
PDANature - http://pdan.has.it - Great hourly refreshed pda news, discussions, chat, reviews, commentarys, software, software update notices, features, and what not! Simply the best. http://pdan.has.it


RE: With Palm's so-called innovations...
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/28/2001 5:01:41 AM #
Asliving in Sweden, the Ericsson-land, there is much talk about Bluetoth. Even Volvo will have Bluetoth in their new cars. I have a T39 and a Bluetoth Card (Xircom) in my PC. I'm also using GPRS in it's working great. With the new SD-Bluetoth-card everything will be in place. Did someone said it would be released in january.

RE: Tonz of Cardz
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/28/2001 5:45:43 AM #
Where on the Palm-site did you see any Bluetoth SD-card?

RE: With Palm's so-called innovations...
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/28/2001 2:22:21 PM #
Sorry to the original poster, but he is wrong, wrong, wrong. SD may be late to the game, but is now on numerous PDAs (both Palm and Pocket PC, plus other new ones), numerous new digital cameras, MP3 players, and other devices. MemoryStick is Sony only and Springboard is Handspring only. Both are quickly falling behind. Within a few months there will be a wide variety of SD I/O devices available. Handspring owners will be rushing to get SD Springboard adaptors, and Sony will have left their customers to fend for themselves as usual. If Handspring owners are lucky, maybe someone will come out with a dual slot SD adaptor.

What took them so long?

I.M. Anonymous @ 12/27/2001 6:25:44 PM #
Man, I'm happy not that they finally have SOME support for the m50x, but the SD standard in general. It took such a long time. Now i hope more support will come (sd-addons) I did not buy my sd equiped palm m500 for nothing you know :D.
PDANature - http://pdan.has.it - Great hourly refreshed pda news, discussions, chat, reviews, commentarys, software, software update notices, features, and what not! Simply the best. http://pdan.has.it

RE: What took them so long?
Coyote67 @ 12/27/2001 7:48:29 PM #
Not even owning a SD equiped handheld, I am happy to see SDIO modules coming out. Palm has been promising SD modules for a while, nice to see non memory modules coming out. Wonder if its possible for a memplug+visor to use SD modules. Probably not.

---------------------------------------
When you have a Clie shoved up your mouth, you can only talk in vowels.
RE: What took them so long?
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/28/2001 12:48:53 AM #
There were rumors that a memplug that supported SD cards would be comming out soon. If you check the article about the memplug for Memory Sticks, it think one of the comments talked about the idea. Now I don't think that the memplugs support anything other than memory. I have the Compact Flash memplug, and I would be wary of putting in an 802.11b CF card. I've never heard of anyone trying that, but I don't want to risk my Visor/Springboard on a test like that!

RE: What took them so long?
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/28/2001 2:18:15 PM #
Non-memory Compact Flash cards draw more power than the Springboard slot is designed to provide. I'm not sure how the power requirements for SD or MemoryStick match up with what the Springboard slot can provide. I would guess it may be much more feasable to support those I/O devices. Forget 802.11b without external power, the Springboard slot will never support it.

RE: What took them so long?
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/28/2001 2:51:56 PM #
Acutally, there already is an 802.11b springboard out by Xircom. From what I hear it works fine. Just like all new wireless toys though, it costs quite a bit.

The question I was asking was if the memplug compact flash springboard might be able to support the 802.llb CF card. Perhaps that implementation of 802.11b does draw too much power. There are however, other solutions for the springboard slot that don't.

RE: What took them so long?
Ed @ 12/28/2001 3:41:47 PM #
> The question I was asking was if the memplug compact flash springboard might be able to support the 802.llb CF card.

AFAIK, the Compact Flash MemPlug can only handle memory cards, not the CF modems, etc. You might want to check, though:
http://www.memplug.com/

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