Comments on: Minstrel m500 Makes its Appearance

Novatel has released information on its latest wireless modem, the Minstrel m500, designed to work with the m500 series. The Minstrel m500 uses CDPD networks and is capable of transmitting data at up to 19.2 kbps.

It is 5.0" by 3.2" by .4" and weighs 3.0 ounces. The antenna adds 1.2" when extended. Novatel Wireless hasn't divulged the release date yet but it will cost $370 if bought directly from them.

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Just what the Doctor ordered!

MadMax @ 5/22/2001 10:23:32 AM #
The battery on the Minstrel V is the pitts. If you don't have a car charger, there is no way it'll make it through the day, even under light usage.
Let's hope Omnisky steps to the plate, pronto!

The Road Warrior

RE: Just what the Doctor ordered!
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/23/2001 11:34:20 AM #
Bull Pucky!

Make these changes in your Mistrel applet.

Menu > Advanced > Config

Set Auto Power Off to Enabled
Set Sleep Mode to Enabled

I get a weeks worth or more of use with these settings. You give up the email notification feature in doing so - but it aint worth nuthin anyway without an audible alert (which it lacks) anyway...

Quit your pucking habit
MadMax @ 5/23/2001 4:25:43 PM #
If E-mail is all you want, get a Blackberry. I "USE" my Omnisky-Palm to the N'th degree, and the bettery life s u c k s. Signing on everytime I need to access a site wich can be several times an hour is rediculous. That said, I am very happy with it. Currently, I'm using my PalmVx/Omnisky for it's wireless capabilities, & the 505 for everything else.

I am waiting....

I.M. Anonymous @ 5/22/2001 10:28:55 AM #
I'm waiting for the modem to be released and if Omnisky isn't ready to play ball I will find another wireless provider that can.

another sled?

I.M. Anonymous @ 5/22/2001 10:37:05 AM #
why on earth is novatel continuing on with another sled? isn't it time to take advantage of the m500's small footprint?
i don't get it?

i want to get rid of my huge Vx/minstrel V setup.

anyone listening??????

I doubt they can make it much smaller
alee @ 5/22/2001 10:41:39 AM #
To bundle a battery, radio hardware, antenna, etc. you will need all the space provided in a sled.


RE: another sled?
Coyote67 @ 5/22/2001 10:43:06 AM #
They can't do it any other way. The SD slot is still a useless piece of garbage since the faction of SD companys can't decide what they will do with this "innovative" expansion slot. They still haven't come to terms with how to handle input/output.

OH my god...becky, look at her....Prism.
RE: another sled?
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/22/2001 1:00:01 PM #
Does anyone have any insight into how much a SD sized peripheral would cost (i.e. wireless modem)? Everyone already complains about the cost of the HandSpring modules so I would think the SDIO peripherals would have to come in cheaper. Is this possible?


RE: another sled?
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/22/2001 1:09:07 PM #
I doubt that price will become cheaper. Honestly... with handspring.. even ppl are complianing.. but they are still buying them.

RE: another sled?
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/22/2001 1:09:59 PM #
I'm pretty sure SD products will be the most expensive on the market. There aren't a lot of PDAs that can use them yet so the market is small. And speaking of small, making the things even smaller than Springboards will make them even more expensive.

I'm not sure there ever will be an SD wireless modem. Ever looked at the CF wireless modem? You can't because there's no such thing. No one has figured out how to cram that much electronics into that small a space. And the SD one will have to be even smaller.

RE: another sled?
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/22/2001 1:21:55 PM #
Dude, you are so wrong. Take a look at the PocketSpider :

RE: another sled?
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/22/2001 1:55:43 PM #
Yeah, but over half of the pocket spider would be sticking outside of the CF slot. I hardly think it proves the guy above wrong because it is sill way bigger than a CF card -- this is probably what we can expect from SDIO.

Don't get me wrong. I think its a cool device (especially for future HandEra owners) ;) I just like my device to be a little rugged. It seems like and SD peripheral (that protruded like the pocket spider) would be too fragile and kill the form factor.

Thanks for the link.


RE: another sled?
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/22/2001 2:36:49 PM #
SD peripherals will be lest costly because it is not a proprietary standard.

RE: another sled?
Coyote67 @ 5/22/2001 3:03:36 PM #
The whole idea of SD imho is stupid. Your gonna expand a handheld by keeping most of the expansion device outside of it? Uhh...right. That should really help for it's center of gravity.

Propietary or open standard, doesn't matter. They have very little to do with the price. They might affect the price by $10, if that. The reason Handspring springboard modules are so expensive is that there is little competition for most of them. Soundsgood had to lower prices of its mp3 module because people were buying innogear's. And innogear did the same. Competition brings prices down. It happened with the modem modules too. If you see yadayada (remember them?) start charging $10 for wireless web through a minstrel modem, and they get enough people, omnisky would have to compete. Don't expect many different brands of modules for SD.

Sometimes, proprietary can be good. Look at bluetooth, you got all these companys fighting together to make the damn thing work, and it won't, because they can't get themselves set on one thing. SD will probably share the fate of bluetooth. Came out in 1999, and maybe 5 people in the world use it.

OH my god...becky, look at her....Prism.


I.M. Anonymous @ 5/22/2001 1:20:11 PM #
Big deal. Methinks the m505 will be dead soon, anyway. Before everyone flames me, NO, I'm not one of the Sony-istas who think the new Clie is so good it'll cure cancer and end global warming. And NO, I don't have a major problem with the screen. I just think that at $450, with an expansion slot that doesn't have much going for it at the moment, the m505 will not get many more sales after the "early adopters" have theirs. Which means the new Minstrel will see its market dry up quickly, too. These companies better drop prices soon. Imagine spending $820 on this setup. I can get a VERY good desktop machine(and perhaps a decent notebook) for this price. Palm users have consistently bashed Pocket PC for exhorbitant prices, but look at what we're paying now. And look at all the PPC prices dropping around us. It might get a lot uglier for Palm before it gets prettier.

RE: *Yawn*
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/22/2001 1:34:37 PM #
I would like to see you with that $820 desktop in your pocket.

The M50x series will be jsut fine, troll.

Rethink that.
vgz @ 5/22/2001 1:36:32 PM #
>>an expansion slot that doesn't have much going for it at the moment

How many springboard modules were there when the visors first came to market? It new technology it took a while for the springboards to start shipping and the SD has a much larger industry support (even the gamecube from Nintendo can use them). You need to think ahead a bit more.

Also about the price, consider that the Vx was the most popular and best selling Palm product and it sold for $400 until the m50x series was released. The m50x series has many features that make it better than the Vx and it starts at the same price that the Vx was. The price may or may not drop, but the m50x series will not flop.


RE: *Yawn*
jayhawk88 @ 5/22/2001 1:48:50 PM #
The Palm 5x started out at around that price, and gee, it seemed to do pretty well for itself, huh?

While I'm sure the m50x series will see a dip in sales after all the geeks get them, it won't stay low forever. m50x's will sell just fine, especially when the accessories start coming out.

RE: *Yawn*
Coyote67 @ 5/22/2001 3:11:35 PM #
It did well because corporations got them. No corp is gonna dump a ton of Vxs for m50x. And forget about the minstrels, why lug around that big expensive garbage when you can just use a blackberry.

OH my god...becky, look at her....Prism.
RE: *Yawn*
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/22/2001 3:17:07 PM #
Just wait until the M7Ox series comes out. Your signature ("OH my god...becky, look at her....Prism.") is stupid. Get rid of it.

RE: *Yawn*
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/22/2001 3:25:09 PM #
I think it was corporate users who gravitated towards the V series, not corporations themselves. Not many companies will purchase PDAs for their employees, and the ones that do, usually only buy for a certain level and above. And then it's not usually the top of the line PDAs (such as the Palm V of yesterday). It will be those people who do the technology refresh, not the corporations.

RE: *Yawn*
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/22/2001 4:15:39 PM #
Wow. Two dead wrong reads on the market in a row. I couldn't pass it up...

1) Corporations DO purchase Palms. At the WAVE conference, Carl Y. said that something way over 50% of all Palms sold are reimbursed by work.

2) Corporations WILL deploy/replace the likes of Vs with M50x's because of the SD slot. The point being that large amounts of corporate data (corporate directory's, maps, etc.) can be put there. This was another point of Carl's at WAVE, and he mentioned one of the big 3 auto companies considering purchasing m50x's for employees just for this.

RE: *Yawn*
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/22/2001 4:58:04 PM #
yes,Becky, that stupid signature has GOT TO GO!

RE: *Yawn*
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/22/2001 6:13:01 PM #
Respectful rebuttal:

1) "50% of all Palms sold are reimbursed by work." Ok. Is that 50% of Palms or 50% of Palm Vs? For the companies that do reimburse for Palms, I'd bet they limit it to the lower and middle tier models. The Palm V offers no additional functionality over the III series (unless you want to count the rechargeable battery), just size and look. I have a hard time believing companies will pay for that luxury. If they are, they're making poor decisions.

2) You're referencing a CEO talking up his latest product and making predictions. I don't consider that to hold much water.

RE: *Yawn*
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/22/2001 10:24:30 PM #
I was the original author of the *Yawn* comment, and I'd like to address the first response:

"I would like to see you with that $820 desktop in your pocket."

Point taken. But my point is that I have better things to spend my $820 on. A new desktop computer is just an example.

"The M50x series will be jsut fine, troll."

I disagree for the reasons I stated, and for reasons stated by others with which I agree. I don't see people who've dropped $800 on a Palm V/Vx and Minstrel jumping at the chance to drop another $800 on the m505 and a new Minstrel, especially when coverage is still "incomplete." As for the "troll" comment: am I a troll simply because I'm not a slobbering on my shirt over the m505? Or because I dare to mention PocketPC? It's not like I'm talking about how much better the Ipaq may be than the m505. I'm not a PPC fan, and my comments didn't imply that I was. Just for the record, I still use my IIIxe and like it. I haven't seen anything new that will make me open my wallet again, including the m505. I don't think it's a big enough improvement for $450, and that's why I think it's in trouble. Offer it for a lower price, and the situation might change. Either way, if I'm a troll, you're either an idiot or an a**hole.

RE: *Yawn*
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/22/2001 11:06:48 PM #
gosh.. if you are disgree with he/she. Then just dont' bother reply. What is the point of your reply?

RE: *Yawn*
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/22/2001 11:12:10 PM #
Yea, THERE"S an intelligent statement. "If you don't agree, don't reply." This is a DISCUSSION board. People are entitled to their opinions, and if they're insulted(called a "troll"), they're entitled to a rebuttal/clarification of their opinion.

What a boring world you must live in, where people who disagree just keep their mouths shut. Cuba, perhaps?

RE: *Yawn*
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/23/2001 11:17:34 AM #
"How many springboard modules were there when the visors first came to market? It new technology it took a while for the springboards to start shipping and the SD has a much larger industry support (even the gamecube from Nintendo can use them). You need to think ahead a bit more."

Yes, but Springboards were already in development when the Visor was released. SD may have wider industry support, but there is NO I/O STANDARD yet. You can't really develop meaningful peripherals until the I/O issues are resolved. You're left simply with memory. So Palm is left with a souped-up Vx that has a slot that can expand memory, as well as accept a bunch of cool-looking useless pieces of plastic(they call them "mock-ups"). If you really DO "think ahead," as you say, it's conceivable that OS 5.0 running on ARM chips will be released about the same time SD hits its stride. (Checked the latest news?) Therefore, why would I dump $800 on this setup? I'd be better off using that money to be MANY shares of Palm stock and hope that they get the ARM-based units out soon enough to regain the momentum they had 1-2 years ago. If that happens, I can buy a bunch of the new units, or a truckload of what-will-eventually-be-discontinued m505s. I agree with some earlier posts and think that the 505 is more a "stop gap" measure than anything else. It's Tony Banks following Troy Aikman, Bubby Brister following John Elway, Jay Fiedler following Dan Marino. It's serviceable, but don't put all your hopes in it.


I.M. Anonymous @ 5/22/2001 4:18:51 PM #
well, my big concern is what will the m70x use only, or a choice between and other isp's?
i am an omnisky user waiting for the all in one m70x to hit the streets but i don't want to be forced to use

if palm is smart they'll let us have a choice.

RE: m70x
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/22/2001 4:27:21 PM #
It will be only. Palm makes its money off charging for service, not the handheld. That's why OmniSky gives you the modem for free. I think the m700 will sell for $500 with a $100 Palm.Net rebate after 3 months.

RE: m70x
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/22/2001 4:35:18 PM #
the new wireless will have a choice. you could use, or you could not

or you could not....
EGarrido @ 5/22/2001 5:55:11 PM #
use anything, i think is the saying.

I do agree with the previous poster that the real revenue from the VII (or any future wireless device that Palm sells) comes from the subscription to That's why the problem in the last week with not being able to activate was so severe for them. I wish I had hard numbers to show...

Eric Garrido

Why Need Minstrel? Why Need Omni?

I.M. Anonymous @ 5/22/2001 4:14:10 PM #
I used to have Palm VII (now I have m505), so I'm not sure how Palm V with Omni combo worked. However, why can't you just use your cell phone and your ISP (e.x. Earthlink) to access the Internet?

I was told by a Palm representative that all I need is a cable to connect my Startac to m505. The cable is $49.95 (available this summer, I beleive). I already pay for the cell phone service and for the desktop Internet access. Why would I pay extra for the expensive wireless modem and $40 monthly fee to Omni?

And I'm going to instrall Blazer ($19.95) to surf the Internet with my color, slim, m505.

Please someone explain to me why I need Minstrel and Omni account? I want to know.

RE: Why Need Minstrel? Why Need Omni?
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/22/2001 4:45:27 PM #
I also have a the same phone, but the reason I am looking at OmniSky is the flat rate for unlimited
service. If I use my cell phone it eats into my regular minutes, and that could be costly. Plus I would
have to carry an extra cable along with me. With the wireless modem it all right in your hand.

RE: Why Need Minstrel? Why Need Omni?
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/22/2001 5:07:54 PM #
You must use the wireless connection a lot to compensate for the $370 modem and $40 extra a month. You already carry a phone. In my opinion, carrying a small cable is better than making my slim m505 bulkier.

RE: Why Need Minstrel? Why Need Omni?
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/22/2001 5:12:02 PM #
i agreed. I used to have the Omni with my palmVx. paying an additional $40 a month was actually hurting my pocket monthly. especially when I spend 9 hours of my day at work (have internet access).. and the rest at home (have a DSL Line). the only time I am using it alot is when I am on my way to work (i'm live in New York City, so we use public transportion). It was great having internet access anywhere anytime and blah blah blah. It does add up..

in regards to the phone you mentioned about paying for mintues. I dont know what plans you have, but where we are, they give out UNLIMITED off peak minutes.

RE: Why Need Minstrel? Why Need Omni?
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/22/2001 5:14:07 PM #
For me it is about one unit convenience. I don't want to carry around two things, Palm and phone, all the time. Besides, I either have to carefully line up the Palm/phone combo to get connected or carry around a wire, too.

RE: Why Need Minstrel? Why Need Omni?
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/22/2001 7:06:39 PM #
Another positive is that with a cell phone, I have access to the Internet basically anywhere in the US. With Omnisky, you are limited to select cities.

RE: Why Need Minstrel? Why Need Omni?
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/22/2001 8:44:32 PM #
besides.. those built in modem in the phone can only get up to 9.2kbps , it's going to be super super slow downloading the graphics :(

RE: Why Need Minstrel? Why Need Omni?
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/23/2001 1:45:14 AM #
Sprint PCS is at 14.4

RE: Why Need Minstrel? Why Need Omni?
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/23/2001 10:28:09 AM #
I believe that in order for the cell phone-- cable combination to work the cell-phone must be web-enabled. In this regard I note that not all Motorola StarTAC cell phones are web-enabled. My digital StarTAC 7760 is an example of a StarTAC that is not web-enabled.

You'll need an ISP & they're not free
MadMax @ 5/23/2001 11:11:14 AM #
The phones web capabilities are independant of the Palm issuue. What the phone is doing is dialing an ISP. Therefore, in addition to the cell phone & cable, you must have an ISP. Typically, these run around the $20 range. I don't want to start the debate over ISP prices, or whether or not a dial up account is included with certain broadband providers. Just stating the fact that if you don't want to use the 'sled' you'll still need an ISP, and they're not free :)

RE: Why Need Minstrel? Why Need Omni?
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/23/2001 4:28:26 PM #
But don't we all pay for ISP anyway? I pay $20 each month to Earthlink for my home PC. It's sunk cost!

I.M. Anonymous @ 5/22/2001 7:49:21 PM #
should look sweet w/ a new black ibm workpad :-)

Why a sled ?

michael @ 5/22/2001 10:41:39 PM #
Seeing I need a phone anyway, I am very happy with my IIIC and a one ounce wire to my Motorola Timeport. No charging, lightweight, and it cost $40 for the Mobile Internet Kit.

Speed & Coverage

Gene @ 5/23/2001 10:12:19 PM #
>Seeing I need a phone anyway,
> I am very happy with my IIIC
>and a one ounce wire to my
>Motorola Timeport. No charging,
>lightweight, and it cost $40 for
>the Mobile Internet Kit.

I used to do that (Timeport w' Sprint) but discovered over time that it was cheaper to go with OmniSky, and switch to a cheaper plan with Sprint (and drop their Wireless Web). I am a heavy wireless user and others' needs will vary, just my own situation and economics.

OmniSky is faster than Sprint too.

Also, I've noticed better and faster coverage with OmniSky over Sprint. AT&T currently uses CPCD for its Wireless Internet, same as OmniSky. Don't know about Voicestream's data speed and expanding coverage.

I just hope Riccochet comes to Chicago and I can get a modem for my Visor.

You don't need an ISP

Russ F @ 5/24/2001 10:23:00 PM #
If you use a wed-enabled Sprint PCS phone, you can use the QNC service. That way all you pay is for the web minutes ( with the right plan they are relatively cheap.) To set up:
create a new "Conection", select "Serial to Modem" as the connection method, in details select 19,200 for speed, Automatic for Flow Control, and have "AT&FX4" as your init sting.
Then create a new network service use "web" for user name and for password, select the connection you just created, then type in "#2932" as the phone number. Tada! Have fun surfing.

What about modems? s wrong with mo

Anonymous @ 5/26/2001 10:24:59 AM #
All this wireless capability is nice but what's wrong with simply getting a $99 modem and using that? Is our need to communicate ASAP so very urgent? Modems are reliable, not as flaky as wireless and, let's face it...Cheaper.


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