Palm Unveils Bluetooth SD Card

Bringing the Bluetooth short-range wireless communication standard one step closer to reality, Palm, Inc. announced today the Palm Bluetooth Card at the Bluetooth Congress 2001 in Monoco. The card, somewhat larger than a postage stamp, will allow for short-range, wireless communication between Palm handhelds and other Bluetooth-enabled devices, such as mobile phones, laptops, printers, network hubs and other handhelds.

Designed using the open industry-standard Secure Digital Input/Output (SDIO) specification, the Palm Bluetooth Card can be slipped into Palm handhelds that have the SD/MMC slot, currently the m500 and m505. The card, jointly developed by Palm and Toshiba, is expected to be available before the end of the year for $150 or less

"The nice thing about it is that we don't have to wait for anyone else's gizmos," said Mr. Mace, asserting that Bluetooth is more suitable for handhelds and mobile phones than other wireless standards such as Wi-Fi. "We think Palm-to-Palm and Palm-to-phone are the two biggies."

Palm also said today it will offer Bluetooth support for Palm OS 4.x software by the end of the year. This will allow licensees to easily incorporate Bluetooth into products or release add-on Bluetooth solutions for current Palm Powered products. This also will let Bluetooth-based software applications to work seamlessly on all Palm Powered handhelds.

Palm and the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) believe that products like the Palm Bluetooth Card will play a key role in making Bluetooth a wireless industry standard for Personal Area Networking (PAN). Multiple Bluetooth-enabled devices in proximity to one another can -- at the user's initiation -- form a PAN in which up to eight devices communicate and share information.

Makers of handhelds, phones, laptops, printers and Bluetooth access points are working with Palm and other members of the Bluetooth SIG to lead development of the Bluetooth standard and create devices of all kinds that work instantly and seamlessly with each other. With the kind of third-party software applications that Palm and other Bluetooth SIG partners are encouraging developers to create, handheld users will have the power to communicate with almost any other user or device.

"Bluetooth has the ability to change the way we work, share information and interact with each other,'' said John Cook, senior director of product marketing for Palm, Inc. "As Bluetooth-enabled products become more pervasive, we believe they will inspire people to create a new class of products and services that we can only begin to imagine.''

About Bluetooth
Bluetooth is a specification for a small form-factor, low-cost, radio connection providing links between mobile computers, mobile phones and other portable and handheld devices, and connectivity to the Internet. The Bluetooth Special Interest Group, made up of leaders in the telecommunications, computing, and network industries, is driving development of the technology and bringing it to market. The Bluetooth SIG includes promoter companies 3Com, Ericsson, IBM, Intel, Lucent, Microsoft, Motorola, Nokia, Palm and Toshiba, and more than 1,800 adopter companies.

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I.M. Anonymous @ 6/7/2001 9:47:40 AM #
The M500 and 505 aren't the only Palm handhelds with an SD slot. The Handera 330 has one as well, although I don't think that it's implemented properly yet.

Ed @ 6/7/2001 10:06:04 AM #
According to Palm Inc., the HandEra 330 isn't a Palm handheld, its a Palm Powered Handheld. I'm not being nit-picky, I'm just explaining why they phrased it that way. Hopefully by the time this Bluetooth card is out there will be lots of other handhelds with SD slots, too.

News Editor
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I.M. Anonymous @ 6/7/2001 1:17:57 PM #

Do we know if this card will work with the Handera?

Ed @ 6/7/2001 3:41:38 PM #
There isn't enough information yet to guarantee that this will work with the H330 but I strongly suspect that it will. Palm promises that this will use the standard SDIO so it will be up to HandEra to add support for SDIO to its H330. They have promised to put out a version of OS 4.0 for the H330 and they will probably add Bluetooth and SDIO support to it at some point so it seems very, very likely.

News Editor
Palm Infocenter
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/7/2001 10:50:17 PM #
I have been told by HandEra folks on a couple of occasions that they will support Bluetooth. I don't know if they meant CF, SD or both though.

I.M. Anonymous @ 2/19/2002 6:34:33 PM #
copy of email conversation with Handera.....

Me: 'Please advise if there is a Palm OS Bluetooth SD card available for the Handera 330 PDA'.

support at Handera's reply: 'No, we are not currently developing it.'
Chuck McLaughlin
Technical Support
2859 104th Street
Des Moines, IA 50322

They did not say if they intend to support anybody else card. Cananybody else throw more light on this?


I.M. Anonymous @ 6/7/2001 10:00:36 AM #

Let's see your Clie do that!

RE: w00p!
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/7/2001 10:19:07 AM #
Read the link above before you shout. Sony announced in April. If you really like to compare, I would say Palm is a follower now rather the the trend setter. Look at Handspring, and now Sony clie.

RE: w00p!
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/7/2001 10:37:43 AM #
Also, the sony bluetooth memory stick is set for release this month in japan, and selling for only $125... w00p on that!

RE: w00p!
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/7/2001 11:33:48 AM #

$125? That's pretty pricey for a device that runs a chip that is supposed to cost $10-$12 when bought in quantity. I guess that's the price of being an early adopter.

RE: w00p!
mikecane @ 6/7/2001 12:06:46 PM #
Sony might have shown a proto of a Bluetooth MS, but the actual Bluetooth device for the CLIE is a snap-on module that fits on the combo serial/USB/power port on the *bottom* of the unit, *not* the MS slot. Palm has gotten the edge.

Palm has what edge?
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/7/2001 12:09:43 PM #
Lemme get this straight:

Palm has announced a sub-$150 Bluetooth expansion card device to be available this year.
Sony has announced a sub-$150 Bluetooth expansion card device to be available this year.

Sony has also shown a clip-on Bluetooth device.
Palm has shown no other Bluetooth device.

Yet "Palm has the edge"?

RE: w00p!
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/7/2001 12:19:50 PM #
hmmm, I am confused by YOU again. What do you mean

"but the actual Bluetooth device for the CLIE"

The infostick is one of the 2 ways Clie can make use of bluetooth. Sony 'listened' to consumer as some would prefer a clip-on at the bottom because they want to leave MS on the MS slot. Now Sony gives us more choices and you said "Palm has the edge".

RE: w00p!
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/7/2001 12:23:48 PM #
Palm has show a bluetooth device at the Cebit 2001 in germany

RE: w00p!
atrizzah @ 6/7/2001 4:01:55 PM #
Why don't you guys stop bickering about it. The m505 and Clie are two different devices for different preferences. The m505 is intended more for personal information manager purposes while the Clie is more for entertainment purposes. I'm sure everyone out there has a device they prefer. I personally like the m505, but that's my opinion. Stop trying to bash what other people prefer. Try as you may, you'll probably never change anyone elses opinion. m505 has Bluetooth, Clie has Bluetooth, too, so what's the big deal?

Peace Out
RE: w00p!
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/7/2001 4:37:05 PM #
Alan: The bickering is all in the little mind of that little troll (notice he posts anonymously). Some people cannot stand it when someone else has an opinion that differs from theirs (or has an opinion that shows theirs to be uninformed or just plain stupid).

RE: w00p!
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/7/2001 10:53:44 PM #
April 04, 2001: "[Sony] have already finished the hardware and are currently developing the software." That's nice, Palm has been working on the software since last year (as well as demonstrating it) and it's likely probably the base code for what Sony is trying to use. Anyone who didn't already know Palm was going to have a SD Bluetooth card is an idiot. BTW there also has already been a clip on Bluetooth device for the Palm V demonstrated at one or more previous trade shows.

I just don't get it

Binks @ 6/7/2001 10:09:51 AM #
I just don't understand what the advantage is nor why I need to pay for it. If its like a modem or access to the internet why not just use what you already have? Does this Bluetooth actually do anything if everyone needs to own a bluetooth active device? Is it like a fax machine during its early days where it cost thousands of dollars to use until everyone adopted it. I don't see the advantage over a modem which already has problems with PDA support.

Just a thought.

RE: I just don't get it
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/7/2001 10:27:45 AM #

The advantages are evident you can put your mobile phone in your pocket or case and connect to Internet without the incommode orientation of Infrared connection. Magic.
When printers work with bluetooth, the same (now I must place my Palm in front the printer).
I donít agree the fact of change again and again my memory card with the Bluetooth every time I need to connect, print or hotsync. Two slots are needed.
I hope the next generation install Bluetooth inside the main board.

David from BCN

RE: I just don't get it
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/7/2001 3:44:07 PM #
Try the following scenario on for size:

You're travelling with your bluetooth cellphone on your belt and a bluetooth PDA in your pocket. Wanting to check your email, you take your PDA out, launch a mail app and tap on "check mail". The PDA automatically connects to the cellphone via bluetooth, and the cellphone then connects to the 'net. The entire process (ideally) functions transparently to you, the user.

There are many benefits to this approach over current methods:

1) PDA and cellphone manufacturers are each free to do what they do best, making smaller and more focused products rather than large hybrids (e.g. the Kyocera SmartPhone)

2) No large PDA "backpack" device is required. For the last year I had an OmniSky wireless modem for my Palm Vx, and found the service to be spotty, and disliked the hassle of yet another separate monthly bill for net access. Also, with the modem attached, my Palm was no longer super-thin, which was my primary reason for selecting it.

3) The user gains the option of leaving either the cellphone or the PDA at home, depending on their needs and available space. This is not possible with integrated devices like the Kyocera, which demands that you always carry a large device, regardless of your planned needs.

4) Additional bluetooth devices could also access, and be accessed by, your bluetooth PDA and cellphone, leveraging functionality in much broader ways. For example, imagine accessing image data from a bluetooth digital camera on your PDA, and then sending it to the net via your bluetooth cellphone. Or perhaps you'd like to add more storage than your PDA supports. No problem. Just slip a bluetooth-enabled storage unit into your pocket (possibly based on compact flash hard drives like the 1 GB IBM microdrive) and get all the storage you want, wirelessly.

5) Wireless hotsyncing. When you return home, the bluetooth module on your desktop PC could automatically detect the presence of your PDA and initiate a hotsync. Never worry about forgetting to sync again.

6) NO cables or fussy IR! While some of the applications mentioned above can be done now using wired or infrared communications, the benefits and ease-of-use of having a wireless PAN (personal area network) are obvious. Ideally, the whole thing should be as transparent as possible to the user, with devices largely self-configuring themselves as they are brought into range of the user's PAN. Cool!

7) More user choice. Instead of waiting for that single portable device that integrates all the exact features that YOU want (16-bit hires color screen, SD slot, cellular, fuzzy dice and a portable quantum field generator) just pick and choose from multiple devices from multiple vendors to assemble your own bluetooth "meta-device".

Granted, all of this depends on the industry's ability to deliver compatible, affordable and secure bluetooth products - which probably won't be the case right out of the gate - but in a year or two there's no reason why the above scenarios couldn't be an everyday reality for many of us.

Support bluetooth and encourage your favorite hardware manufacturers to do so to!

- flux

RE: I just don't get it
atrizzah @ 6/7/2001 3:50:13 PM #
Yeah, Bluetooth is designed to make connecting various devices together easier. The idea is that the various manufacturers involved in the Bluetooth SIG will incorporate the chips into their products, so their various devices will be able to communicate wirelessly and automatically. Right now, the main things you will be able to do is communicate with cellphones, but soon you should be able to hotsync with a pc, print, and much more. The possibilities are endless as long as the developers keep developing new uses for it.

Peace Out
RE: I just don't get it
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/8/2001 11:24:48 AM #
Don't forget the discovery mechanisms in blue tooth: Going to the airport and seeing your real time departure and gate automatically on your PDA. Same with stores showing daily specials, coupons, real-time inventory and the like. And of course, corporate intranets, which it might actually be useful.

In many ways, Bluetooth is conceptually similar to 802.11 (aka Airport, wireless ethernet) which has started to become popular. Unlike 802.11, Bluetooth is a slower, has a slower adoption rate, and is not supported in the latest operating systems, such as Windows XP.

However, I think the last point is because Microsoft doesn't want to innovate on an undeveloped standard, not because 802.11 is better. 802.11 support was added because of the impressive showing of Apple's version of 802.11 (support built into every computer being manufactured for the last year) is causing companies to demand the same ease of use built into Windows. You can drive around to various parking lots in the Bay Area and log into corporate intranets pretty easily with an Airport equipped Powerbook.

On the other hand, its not a panacea. 802.11 would need to be upgraded to 802.12 in order to support switching in cell phones (and right now the movement isn't toward that integration, but into higher speeds such as 802.11a), It lacks discovery and the hardware cost is high (around $100 for a "ready" computer and $150 for one that isn't, and that's after being out for a couple of years).

So in many ways they're for different mobile markets and thus different uses. Much like the difference between building out from airport centers (wireless "ricochet" modem) vs. building along highways (cell phone). I'm curious what the "killer app" and "killer platform" of Bluetooth is going to be in a world that will be saturated with 802.11 by then.

RE: I just don't get it
Raishe_werk @ 6/8/2001 11:52:15 AM #
ok, back in the day i used to rant and rave about the intergration of a cell fone and a pda connected via bluetooth to a small headpiece ( ala nikita). since then i have lost faith in bluetooth, it has been slow coming, i read in tech news (cnet and zdnet) that 802.11 is the more widely accepted standard. i have been effiel 65 blue about the whole thing. this may be nice, but alot of the functionality, espcially about syncin/surfin via cell fone has been around for awhile. ericsson fones have allowed you to sync via IR for awhile, i can connect via IR to my nokia 8290. i guess eventually there will be only one wireless standard and we can all look back and say 'i supported that when it first came out'.
here is an FYI on the whole thing on the 802.11 standard ( ). once again big up to Ed for bringin us all this palm 411

"Monster Pig kills Jesus
More at 11"
RE: I just don't get it
atrizzah @ 6/8/2001 9:07:16 PM #
People don't seem to understand that Bluetooth and Wi-Fi (802.11b) aren't for the same purpose. Many people think that they are competing technologies, but they really have different intentions. Bluetooth is made for Personal Area Networking (PAN) and Wi-Fi is made for Local Area Networking. For instance, if you wanted to network multiples computers in your house or connect a device like a Palm as a part of an existing network, you would probably use Wi-Fi. In contrast, if you just want your Palm to communicate wirelessly with a computer or other device, say, for hotsyncing, you'd probably want to use Bluetooth. You probably don't need your Palm and your cellphone to turn themselves into a full network. Understandably, Wi-Fi is more expensive, larger, and consumes more power than Bluetooth because it has a different role.

Peace Out
RE: I just don't get it
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/11/2001 12:49:38 PM #
The original intention of Bluetooth is cable replacement. It's expanding to PAN and the SIG is working on roaming and other network features. 802.11 is a wireless Ethernet. The battery requirement for 802.11 is not very practical for battery powered devices like PDA or cellphone.

RE: battery use
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/18/2001 7:29:17 AM #
Apparently 802.11 hogs battery power owing to its markedly larger area coverage too (correct me if I'm wrong). Bluetooth is lightweight, very local, thus chewing less juice. So thus worth agreeing on the different usage and back away from the competition argument...

I can't wait to get my hands on the SD Bluetooth as I just got my hands on the Ericsson T39 with GPRS, but still finding myself fiddling around with getting two devices pointing at each other on a flat surface for IR...

I.M. Anonymous @ 6/7/2001 10:52:57 AM #
any pictures of this item yet?

RE: Picture
Ed @ 6/7/2001 11:57:57 AM #
Trust me, when I find a picture of this thing, I'll post it.

News Editor
Palm Infocenter
Bluetooth SD Card
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/7/2001 12:25:53 PM #
The picture is righ here:

sorry - the page is german only.
The bluetooth device is the lower left.

I.M. Anonymous @ 6/7/2001 12:41:39 PM #
Why Not Self-contained
dstrauss @ 6/7/2001 4:10:28 PM #
I'm going to flash my ignorance here, but why can't radio devices use internal antennaes instead of stubs or other protrusions from the card. Even the "secret" M70x models a few weeks ago on the net had a large wave (hump) on the top of the unit for communication.

RE: -flux's comment
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/7/2001 6:10:13 PM #
Right-on there flux. Hope that's what the manufacturers have in mind too... that's what i've always invisaged the main benefit of bluetooth!


RE: sorry
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/7/2001 6:35:39 PM #
the above reply should have been to the previous thread... sorry.

About the antenae... There are phones in the UK which have internal antenae... the nokia 3210,3310,3331,8210

I.M. Anonymous @ 6/7/2001 8:11:37 PM #
The links to images quoted above ARE NOT what the actual device looks like. They were artist concepts. The actual device is all black, and the top is squared off (ie the protruding bit is rectangular in share).

I.M. Anonymous @ 6/10/2001 3:57:46 PM #
Sorry to disappoint you, but the pictore of the device on the lower left in this site - is a GPS unit.

That is from the logo on the front and the size.

RE: Picture
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/13/2001 3:51:37 AM #
Look at this Picture:

(this link, from a french-palm-news-site might be usable only for some day's).

RE: Palm SD Bluetooth Card
Ed @ 6/13/2001 9:07:57 AM #
Thanks, I added the picture from to the article.

News Editor
Palm Infocenter

Big Deal

I.M. Anonymous @ 6/7/2001 11:30:48 AM #
RE: Big Deal
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/7/2001 11:35:41 AM #
Yeah, Widcomm/Acer's BlueConnect is available for several thousand $$$'s in a developer's kit - hardly the price point that the Bluetooth crowd have been crowing about. I'd love to have one of those beasties, but they just don't seem to be able to bring it out as a consumer item. Palm and Sony at least are companies that have shown they can execute an idea...


I.M. Anonymous @ 6/7/2001 2:26:45 PM #
it's amazing how much people who don't understand what they are talking about have to say. Palm is announcing a fully functional bluetooth 1.1 complient product, with software completely integrated into the OS, and with full support for mutlipoint piconets, internet access, and a complete developer API to create new bluetooth apps. Go read the widcomm solution. 1. its not a real consumer product 2. its a hack, not at all well integrated into the OS. When will you people realize that its not about who had it first but about who had it right first.

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