by MidWest PCB Designs, Inc.
PalmInfoCenter.com Bottom Line:
Cheap and quick solution
Not quite steady on a keyboard
Fit is too tight on my sample
*Maximum Rating is FIVE (5) InfoPalms
PalmV Bridge Review
By Robert Zach
Palm has Plans for new products every 6 months according to their S-1 filing. So looks like I have six months to save my pennies! But, replacing all those peripherals, that's a different story. Well for $15 I can now use my Palm III accessories with my PalmVx.
MidWest PCB designs has conceived a very simplistic approach to doing this. Use this little brick of plastic.
When attached to the bottom of my PalmVx the whole set-up appears non-intrusive.
The Bridge functions quiet well during HotSync operations and I was able to verify the functionality of a number of third part hardware devices. The product simply works! Just as described.
What I found a little disconcerting is what happens to the sleek profile of the PalmVx once the Palm V Bridge is attached.
Due to the Palm Inc.'s design of the port , and the straight line PCB style construction by MidWest, the device actually protrudes significantly from the unit. This makes keeping the Bridge attached during transportation clumsy. Also, the flat PCB designed contacts could short if left attached to the device in your pocket.
As the MidWest web site says, the fit with third party add-ons is tight. Very Tight! In struggling to remove the device I actually stuck myself on the solder pins sticking through the PCB.
Also, due entirely to Palm's design of the PalmVs serial port, although Palm III devices fit snug onto the Brige, sticking that mass onto the Palm V doesn't make a snug fit. So with devices like keyboards (with the Palm now having a higher center of balance) the PalmV/Bridge combo tends to wiggle a little making the unit a little unstable on say the GoType Keyboard.
Well all of this must be already known because MidWest PCB Designs let me know that they have a clip-on type system under development. These types of devices appear more stable as a "portable" solution. And, they tend to put more of the "attaching mechanism" in contact with the add-on peripheral. I also hope the clip-on relieves the tightness a little, snug should be good enough for attaching devices.
So where do I think the BEST use of the Palm V Bridge is then? If not attached to the Palm V, the best place the Bridge can be for me is to have one permanently attached to my home Palm III HotSync, and a second one attached to my HotSync travel cable.
This is where the diminutive size and simplicity of a non-clip-on device excels. I plan on keeping the bridge permanently attached to the HotSync cable and stashed safely away in my travel bag for quick on-the-road syncs and occasional OS upgrades! Absolutely perfect!
I gave the Palm V bridge it's rating based on the usefulness of the product and clever idea. The coolness factor rating is based on the fact that the bridge is an elegantly simple "little chunk of plastic". It really conjures up the notion "why didn't I think of that?"
I can't wait to see how tricky they can get in designing a clip-on. ;-)
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