Two SD Cameras Waiting in the Wings

A Taiwanese company named Spectec has developed two digital cameras for the Palm m505 and m515 that use the SD slot. One model sits entirely on top of the handheld, while the other has more of a sled shape. Either can take 640 by 480 JPEGs in 24-bit color. Spectec is a manufacturer but not a distributor. It is not clear whether these are available for sale yet, who will sell them, or at what cost.

The company did not respond to questions in time for this article so information is somewhat limited.

The larger camera is 5.5 by 2.75 by 1.1 inches and weighs 2.3 ounces. Spectec hasn't released the size or weight of the other.

Thanks to the fast transfer speed of the SD port, they can preview images on the handheld's screen at 160 by 120 pixels, in 16-bit color, refreshing at 8 to 12 frames per second. They offer automatic exposure and automatic white balance. They can focus on objects from 2 feet to infinity.

Both of these have internal, rechargeable, lithium-ion batteries.

They come with PhotoSuite Mobile and an app called Image Address Book.

Thanks to Francisco Afonso Correa for the tip. -Ed

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just dont see the point....

I.M. Anonymous @ 3/28/2002 12:42:14 PM #
whats the point of buying a poor resolution camera for your pda??? im sure these puppies arent gonna be cheap too...

RE: just dont see the point....
mantislee @ 3/28/2002 12:59:20 PM #
Not to mention, you can only take a max of 16mb of photos b/c the camera is IN the SD slot. As opposed to the Kodak version which goes into the sync port and leaves the SD slot to hold upto 128mb of photos.

Neat little toy and idea, but unpractical.

RE: just dont see the point....
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/28/2002 2:32:42 PM #
but it would be cool for the HandEra 330 and other Pocket PC devices that have both SD and CF. The Palm OS 5 devices my have more memory too, which could make their timing on this good as well.


I.M. Anonymous @ 3/28/2002 12:58:36 PM #
"did not respond in time for this article?"

RE: eh?
mantislee @ 3/28/2002 1:01:59 PM #
They were too busy trying to get real picture produced.

RE: eh?
Ed @ 3/28/2002 1:59:05 PM #
I wrote them an email yesterday morning asking a bunch of questions. More than a day later, no response.

News Editor
RE: eh?
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/28/2002 2:11:31 PM #

Try not to expect too much! Besides, please note that they're in a different time zone. usually it need 2-3 days for reply. by the way, if i was the man who needs to answer your questions, i think i will use 1 or 2 days to get prepared, you know, your palm site may affects their sales....

RE: eh?
Ed @ 3/28/2002 3:15:12 PM #
Companies are aware that reporters work on deadlines and can't wait 2 or 3 days. None of my questions were anything that the PR person for a company shouldn't already know, like "Can you tell me when this will be available?" Even if they aren't ready to give that info out, they can send me something like "We are in negotiations with several companies about yadda yadda yadda". This happens all the time. If people need more time to answer questions, they can write back and tell me so but if they haven't written me back in a day, they almost never write me back at all.

News Editor
Nice drawings, no real hardware!
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/28/2002 4:57:14 PM #
Hmmm... I always think vaporware when I see only drawings and no pictures of any type of hardware.

RE: eh?
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/28/2002 6:20:57 PM #
There is real hardware. I saw it at PalmSource in Taiwan in January. Don't ask me why they aren't showing real photo's though...

What a bad idea

I.M. Anonymous @ 3/28/2002 12:57:46 PM #
Let's see what an unwitting customer does:

1. s/he buys the add on.
2. Removes the SD card, plugs camera in.
3. Takes one photo.
4. Plam screen says: "Out of memory"

Quick write to tech help:
Customer: Where are we meant to store the images?
Tech: On your SD card
Customer: You mean the one I took out so I could plug the camera in?
Tech: Yes...
Customer: How?
Tech: Erase your essential programs on the Palm RAM and transfer to the card.
Customer: Thank you. PS I am changing my name to idiot.


RE: What a bad idea
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/28/2002 1:34:54 PM #
The memorystick camera add-on for clie functions the same way. There were some talks why Sony didn't use their memorystick duo technology (memorystick slot within a memortystick device).

In the new NR70V however, since the camera is already built in, they say you can already store pics directly to the memory stick.


RE: What a bad idea
fleegle @ 3/28/2002 1:37:06 PM #
Using that philosophy, you can say "bad idea" for any SD/MS/MMC device which comes out in the future.

The "bad idea" is PDAs with only one expansion memory slot.

RE: What a bad idea
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/28/2002 2:35:49 PM #
If you actually used your SD card for the purpose it was intended, your RAM wouldn't be full. Only your most essential data would be there. Everything else would be on a memory card, leaving you plenty of room to temporarily store pictures.

Storing everything in RAM is the bad idea.

RE: What a bad idea
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/28/2002 4:15:09 PM #
with your idea, it'll be like:

1. take 5-10 pictures
2. remove camera
3. insert SD
4. move pictures to SD
5. remove SD
6. insert camera
7. go to step 1

whew! i'm already tired with just writing the steps!

RE: What a bad idea
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/28/2002 6:50:04 PM #
> If you actually used your SD card for the purpose it was intended, your RAM wouldn't be full.

If you weren't such a clown, you would make sense.

Don't make grandiose statements like this because you sound stupid.

RE: What a bad idea
Altema @ 3/29/2002 12:05:52 AM #
What is interesting, is that the one camera looks like it connects to the universal connector. The other one looks like it would snap off with the SD slot being the only means of support.

RE: What a bad idea
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/16/2002 2:01:03 AM #
> 1. take 5-10 pictures

really? then you are not puting files on the SD card. for 640x480 photos, each would take like 70k max, that means you can put 30 pictures into 2 mb.
do the math kid


I.M. Anonymous @ 3/28/2002 2:26:25 PM #
...dontcha think?

sandbuck @ 3/28/2002 4:26:32 PM #
Will the "on top" version have a titanium-sleeved SD connector to keep it from snapping off?

I.M. Anonymous @ 3/28/2002 7:05:20 PM #
Definitely..... the question is which breaks first: the SD part of the camera module or the sd mechanism of the handheld.

Note to accessory designers: If the size of your product is more than 50% of the size of the palm that it connects to, don't bother. PDA's are small for a reason!


I.M. Anonymous @ 3/28/2002 2:31:26 PM #
But I'm going to stick with my Canon digital Elph.

RE: Sorry...
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/28/2002 3:29:10 PM #
If only there's a SD version of digital Elph...

RE: Sorry...
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/28/2002 6:28:49 PM #
speaking of elph, a new one is coming out ,,the S200..looks pretty cool but im getting the S330 for my S110 upgrade =)

ok back to palm SD camera now.

RE: Sorry...
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/28/2002 6:51:05 PM #
> pretty cool but im getting the S330 for my S110 upgrade =)

Hmm... I need to upgrade too. I have the original S100. It was great when it came out but the picture quality isn't so good to the newer cameras.

Well, it's simple. I'll put my money towards a new digicam and not some half-baked, low rez SD camera.

RE: Sorry...
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/28/2002 9:35:08 PM #
i agree... the snap on camera concept is way too much of a 'gimmick'. its too bulky and too low of a resolution for too high of a cost.. at alot of stores you can find clearance digital cameras in the 1 megapixel range for less than the cost of one of the expansion cams. sony's memorystick cam is still sortof a gimick but atleast it's a nice compact size that might find a niche among a few people who arent big photo buffs but might want the ability to snap a pic of friends occasionally.. in my opinion, 'expansion' items are only worth something if they're really an 'expansion'... like a gps... you save money and possibly gain performance by plugging a gps into your palm.. because you allready own the screen and platform for calculating directions, etc...where if you buy a 'standalone' gps unit you pay probably close to what you paid for the palm. also, take mp3 players for an example.. sony has a good thing also w/ the mp3 allready built in to the clie's... it probably doesnt add much to the overall cost, and all you have to do is plug in headphones and a memory card w/ mp3's, but if you compare it to a visor... the springboard mp3 module is almost the size of some standalone mp3 players and it costs more than some of the cheaper ones w/ more features.

anyhow... everyone needs to move away from the current camera form...... my advice to manufacturers is make them small, or cheap, or high res.

RE: Sorry...
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/29/2002 11:16:28 AM #

I didn't hear about that... there are two upgrades to the S110 and S300 cameras coming out this summer at least in Japan. You can look at for the announcement and the pics.

RE: Sorry...
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/29/2002 11:21:17 AM #
Whoops, my mistake.

S200 is the update to S110
S330 is the update to S300

No resolution changes apparently... just treaking. I'll wait until more info comes out though.

Too Limited

I.M. Anonymous @ 3/28/2002 2:40:05 PM #
Not only do these have a poor design, but are limited to the m500 series. Meaning, the m130, i705, Handera 330, and any future PDA with an SD slot wouldn't be able to use them...not that it'd be feasible to use it in a side-mounted SD slot anyway...

ah, c'mon...
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/28/2002 3:37:10 PM #
Come on- you have to give these guys a hand for innovating and bringing a product to market! If you haven't worked in product development, it's hard to appreciate the hoops most folks have to go through trying to fund, prototype and develop a product. It's a lot of work!

Besides, as reps of the Palm community, shouldn't we be supportive of folks trying to develop and bring forward new ideas? I for one am psyched to see three new product announcements in two days. The last year has been so dead compared with the two years prior to the market crash, I'm pleased to see things starting to move again!

RE: Too Limited
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/28/2002 8:46:43 PM #
I see nothing on this company's website that says that the non-sled version of this camera is limited to the m5xx series. Maybe it wouldn't look quite right if the slot wasn't in the same place as the m5xx devices, but I'm not convinced that it isn't usable. Since I don't think it is released yet, maybe you should e-mail them about your concerns.

camera for the m series : what a joke!

I.M. Anonymous @ 3/28/2002 5:10:18 PM #
First of all, at 160 x 160 whats the point in buying a "hi-res" color camera? with only 8 megs and besides it looks hughe!!

RE: camera for the m series : what a joke!
Altema @ 3/29/2002 12:12:42 AM #
The only color M5xx series Palm makes has 16 Meg.

RE: camera for the m series : what a joke!
cyruski @ 3/29/2002 2:13:59 PM #
> First of all, at 160 x 160 whats the
> point in buying a "hi-res" color camera

Because you'll use them on your PC, genius..


Why not just use the USB port...

I.M. Anonymous @ 3/28/2002 5:19:26 PM #
Since these devices are external anyway, just use the USB port and free the SD slot up for storing pics.

RE: Why not just use the USB port...
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/28/2002 5:24:05 PM #
More like use the serial portion of the Universal Connector. USB only acts in a master/slave mode, no real peer to peer. And it's pretty much shown that the Palms with UC are the slave devices. That leaves it up to the slower serial connection.

RE: Why not just use the USB port...
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/28/2002 5:47:15 PM #
Err, why not make the Camera USB master? You can get very small USB chipsets these days to cater for that. Not a problem at all - then you can do high-speed transfer from camera to Palm.

I agree using the SD slot is a waste of time unless

a) The camera had a large amount of it's own memory that would be accessible by a conduit during a HotSync, or
b) The camera had an SD slot - ala the Porteson MP3 player for the m10x series.

I actually saw this camera in Taiwan during Palm's PalmSummit event there in January - it certainly worked, but the limitations need to be worked on before anyone would buy one of these. Persoanlly I'm happy with the PalmPix for my m515 I picked up late last year. Takes good (not great) hi-res (800x600) images.

Good to see things are happening

TDS @ 3/28/2002 10:51:15 PM #
It is nice to see companies taking the initiative with the new SDIO standard. The Springboard took a while for developers to start bringing out products, but now the market has a lot of great devices.
I hope that SDIO can support a multitude of products in the future. I am sure that there will be a few lemons as the first generation of hardware rolls out, but I would wager that subsequent products will improve.
i bet that they won't be able to use the "coolpix" name. Isn't that used by Nikon or Kodak or something?

SD Slot at the camera itself??

I.M. Anonymous @ 3/29/2002 8:46:47 AM #
If you take a look at the larger model, it appears to have an SD card slot at the bottom (at the back of the handheld). If it is really the case, it will be a useful device if only the vendor can improve the resolution beyond 640x480.

RE: SD Slot at the camera itself??
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/29/2002 8:54:05 AM #
yup it even has a builtin Harddrive ...
Stop Day Dreaming !!!
it's just a battery pack.

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