WiFi: PDAs Dirty Little Secret

Toms Hardware put four PDAs to test their WiFi capability in a recent article. They tested the capabilities of three Pocket PC handhelds and the Tungsten C.

The article tests the wireless throughput and performance of a number of popular PDAs to show and found a "surprisingly wide" performance range. The author looked at the iPaq H2210 with the SanDisk WiFi SD card, a Dell Axim X3, an ASUS A716 and the Tungsten C. He concluded, No matter what the construction details are, the Tungsten C clearly outperformed all other products in my test group.

Thanks to Jon Choo for the tip.

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abosco @ 5/27/2004 7:23:09 PM #
Now if only the damn thing could reach more than 50 feet from the AP, it would be worth it. Besides, a PDA with mono is about as bad as a girl with mono.

NX80v + Wifi + BT + T616
RE: Great
helf @ 5/30/2004 10:39:04 PM #
wtf is with everyones gripe about stereo? It adds LITTLE to music on the whole. GET over it all ready :)

RE: Great
Hal2000 @ 6/2/2004 9:56:43 PM #
you must love winding up your gramaphone.

1.128 gigs under the hood.

I guess

vesther @ 5/27/2004 9:11:31 PM #
...it was my mistake trading my TC for a TT3 after all!!!

A Palm-Powered Handheld is the bread and butter for many people. Without a Palm-Powered Handheld, your progress is all for naught.

I have a Tungsten C.

drw @ 5/27/2004 8:54:34 PM #
For me the choice was either the Tungsten C or the iPAQ h4355 because both have thumbpads. Finally the local CompUSA got their store wifi up so I could test both side by side. While I loved the 300kbps streaming movie trailers on the 4355's media player, I liked the fonts and the way the tungsten formatted web pages better. 320x320 is better than 240x320. Now, when 480x640 becomes the norm on PPC devices, that will be pretty tempting.

Unless I'm missing something, the microsoft steamroller is going to eventually flatten palmOS just like it flattened IBM OS/2 2.0. There are just too many PPC hardware makers while palm has just palmONE. Sony's devices have been too big and wierd for a long time, and Zodiac is a niche gamer segment.

BTW: I could care less about MONO, I wish my C had bluetooth.


RE: I have a Tungsten C.
RhinoSteve @ 5/27/2004 10:42:46 PM #
To quote many IBMers, "I disconcur."

I think "Microsoft will kill Palm in two years." has been going on for at least six years. From your post, I can tell you are new to PalmOS devices and have bought into that mindset of Microsoft is actually competent in the PDA space like they are with PCs. The sad fact is Microsoft's Mobile Systems division (or whatever it is called this year) is the red-headed stepchild of their corporate culture and thus the best people don't work there.

Spend some time on the Microsoft Redmond campus and you will actually see Microsoft employees using PalmOS devices they paid for over Pocket PCs they can get for almost nothing. Once you get over your "desktop mindset" you will see how much of a folly most of the Pocket PC is -- epically the big mistake of emulating a flat file system on internal PDA memory.

Donna Dubinsky said it best. "PC companies going into PDAs is like seeing a professional basketball team play golf." In summary, it is not their game. No matter how Gartner cooks their market "research", the PalmOS is going to stay on top for a long time.

It is an interesting mindset change but you will adjust well I'm sure.

RE: I have a Tungsten C.
drw @ 5/28/2004 12:59:27 AM #
I hope you are right, but we shall see if palmone can succeed where handspring could not. By succeed, I mean bring in more money than spent. Microsoft understands that. Does Donna? If you sell your lemonade for less than it costs to make, eventually you have no money to buy lemons.

"Microsoft understands that"?
Winter_ @ 5/28/2004 6:43:55 AM #
Drw, are you talking about the same Micro$oft that started giving away Internet Explorer to destroy Netscape's market?

If you sell your lemonade for less than it costs to make, eventually you have no money to buy lemons.

Unless you're sitting atop of a HEFTY heap of (blood-stained) cash. In that case, you just have to wait for the competitors to surrender. :P

And so, how bad they must be doing it to still be behind Palm*. Now, if only Billy got (finally!) ashamed to death... :>


epically the big mistake of emulating a flat file system on internal PDA memory.

RhinoSteve: would you explain that?
(why "epically"? how do you mean "emulate"? it ISN'T a FLAT file system, is it? ...and, do you have any reason to think it is a mistake???)

RE: I have a Tungsten C.
JonAcheson @ 5/28/2004 9:13:17 AM #
The problem with the "Microsoft can lose money forever" argument is that in point of fact, they can't. They have investors whose return depends on their profitability. If they deliberately ran in the red and their investors took a hit, the investors could sue Microsoft for negligence and win.

Which is why they're designing X-Box 2 to be profitable instead of to please the X-Box 1 fanboys.

They can lose money in some areas if it is covered by income from other areas, but not indefinitely.

Jon Acheson

"All opinions posted are my own, and not those of my employers, who are appalled."

RE: I have a Tungsten C.
Winter_ @ 5/28/2004 12:15:44 PM #
The problem with the "Microsoft can lose money forever" argument is that in point of fact, they can't.

Very clever. The problem is, who said "Microsoft can lose money forever"?

Did they "lose money forever" with the Netscape affair?

Furthermore, after the Netscape affair, do you think M$ investors will resent if Billy repeats the move? ('cause, you know, Netscape simply is no more... so looks like the technique worked)

And, anyway, I don't think they ever got into the red. :P

RE: I have a Tungsten C.
MTM @ 5/28/2004 3:57:33 PM #
"...Microsoft is actually competent in the PDA space like they are with PCs."

Err, did I miss something? Did they just finally figure it out? Did they plug all the security leaks? They got Bluetooth working? Word doesn't captialize things for me that I want in lower case anymore?

Where do I download?



"Never ascribe to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity". --Richard Feynman

RE: I have a Tungsten C.
twrock @ 5/29/2004 8:04:13 PM #
Whether M$ kills Palm or not has little to do with reality. It has everything to do with perception.

I stood in one of the large retail chains recently drooling over the T3, playing with a few other Palms. New buyer comes in, asks me a few questions. I give as honest answers as I know how to the PPC vs. Palm questoins. Salesperson butts in and does nothing but tell the buyer how much better the PPC is because it is Windows and all the programs will synchronize better. Says Palm doesn't handle M$ Office files as well, blah, blah, blah.

It was very clear from what he was saying that he had no idea what a Palm OS machine is capable of doing. But that matters little to the ignorant consumer, who will promptly make a purchase decision based on fallacy and then go out and propogate those fallacies to who knows how many of his friends.

Perception is everything. So if M$ is willing to lose millions of dollars to assure that people perceive their product to be superior, they do have a good shot at winning. I certainly hope they don't, but history shows they are quite good at playing this game.

RE: I have a Tungsten C.
jamesgood72 @ 5/30/2004 8:10:38 AM #
I have to stand up here, respond to the trolling, and question the comment on Sony's hardware... I've had the ability to purchase any PDA I wanted for the past 4 years, and that purchase has turned out to be Sony PDA's.

I wish the UX was a little thinner,had a slightly bigger screen and longer battery life - but it still seems to be the best out there for my needs.

Looking forwards to the next Sony's...


RE: I have a Tungsten C.
drw @ 5/31/2004 12:49:58 AM #
I am not a troll. My purchase history has been Palm IIIe, Kyocera 6035, Treo 300, Tungsten C. Have two requirements of a pda: it must be wearable and have a decent thumbpad. I try all the pda's at the counter just like everyone else, and view the big sony clamshells to be too big to comfortably wear for 8 hours. And the spacing on the thumbpad has to be right like the treo 180/270/300 and tungsten C/W had the spacing right. The treo 600 has the keys too close and the ux clie has them farther apart than they need to be. But these are just my opinions.

RE: I have a Tungsten C.
mikecane @ 6/2/2004 10:05:55 AM #
>>>epically the big mistake of emulating a flat file system on internal PDA memory.

Sez you, horned nose. Maybe YOU don't have much in -- or much to put in -- your PDA. But I do.


Michbern @ 5/28/2004 2:54:41 AM #
Got a Tungsten C, the only thing with this is that Palm bluetooth Card won't support Palm Os 5. So no bluetooth for me :( But for those with bluetooth like Tungsten T3 and T they can have a WIFI SD card... hmmm so unfair

RE: Inquiry
timepilot84 @ 5/28/2004 5:12:01 AM #
I don't think the Wi-Fi card is out yet (with Palm OS drivers, that is)

I had a SOny Clie TH-55 that I used for about 3 months, and have recently given up for a TT3. I have no firm data, but I suspect that I was getting around 350kbps with it, which IMO is plenty fast enough for a PDA. I found that having Wi-Fi was a bit overrated. I find having Bluetooth with a GPRS phone to be much more useful.

RE: Inquiry
Gar @ 5/28/2004 9:23:23 AM #
The Bluetooth and WiFi argument has to be different for everyone. It really comes down to what is available as a connection to the world you wish your handheld to connect to. For me, I have 802.11 available connections to networks and the internet for free at work, at home, and all around town so that makes most sense for my world. The expense of connecting to the internet via bluetooth to my Sony/Ericsson ATT phone costs way too much per meg of data transfered. But to someone else who doesn't have 802.11 everywhere and less expensive cell/data connection they can argue that is the only way to go.

My wife has to sell a lot of candles (www.ccandles.com) to buy her new Palm.
RE: Inquiry
timepilot84 @ 5/28/2004 9:27:26 AM #
I actually don't use GPRS. I just have a 56k dial-up account that I pay $7 a month for and just use my normal minutes. I found that even with Wi-Fi, I was mostly just checking my e-mail. Well, there was a mitigating factor, in that the TH-55 can't do landscape mode, and surfing the web in portrait mode sucked, so I avoided it for the most part.

I do live in a city with a lot of Wi-Fi accessibility (Portland, OR, home of personaltelco.org) but it was still a hassle to go out of my way to check my e-mail.

It's nice that you can use Wi-Fi at work. A lot of the businesses that I work with don't allow Wi-Fi on their networks.

RE: Inquiry
redregane @ 5/28/2004 11:18:59 AM #
Too bad Rogers in Canada doesn't allow you to use your own ISP to dial in with a bluetooth connection .... when using GPRS you have to use rogers.com as your ISP .... this sucks but then again so does Rogers

I'd like to see a wider comparison in the future.

Strider_mt2k @ 5/31/2004 8:08:30 AM #
I'd like to see a shoot-out between ALL handhelds with 802.11 capability, since the subject has been brought up!

Maybe even throw the newer wifi SD cards into the mix too?

I have to admit, after reading this I'm curious about my TH55's numbers, although I have no gripes about it's performance at all.

RE: I'd like to see a wider comparison in the future.
NewtonDKC @ 6/1/2004 8:43:35 AM #
Well, I guess we can Sony out of the wireless comparison...at least int he US. Pretty shocking news!

I love my Tungsten C!

panasher @ 6/1/2004 2:21:46 PM #
The Tungsten C is my third Palm PDA. I think it's the greatest! I don't use it for music. I'm too much of an audiofile to want music from a PDA. The Wi Fi is great! My mail arrives in my pocket even though my PDA is in a metal case. (I use SnapperMail, VersaMail won't access Wi Fi when the PDA is off.) The screen is the best I've had so far, but I use Resco Photo Viewer for my photos. The photo app that came with the Tungsten C was terrible. I sit on my back terrace and surf the Net with broadband speed. And, Palm's proxy server formats all Web pages to fit the screen nicely. I don't know why Palm doesn't promote this fantastic PDA more. Who uses Bluetooth to access the Web? I guess many do, but Wi Fi is becomming ubiquitous. Can't wait for the rumored Cobalt upgrade for the Tungsten C.

I also transferred half my CD collection to my desktop computer as FLAC (lossless) files, because I can play them through my stereo and control everything from my living room using my Palm and EmpireSource's RP3 over Wi Fi to control Winamp on my computer. Now I can adjust the volume from where I listen, which is not where my music system is.

I couldn't be happier with my Tungsten C.

Be here now.



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