Palm has introduced a wireless Internet-access kit and service for its handheld devices.
The products, demonstrated for the first time publicly at the Comdex trade show in Los Angeles, deliver on a promise made by Palm CEO Carl Yankowski.
Yankowski said a year ago that the existing 9 million Palm handheld computers would be able to access the Internet over a wireless connection.
Palm M100, III and V owners need to buy the Palm Mobile Internet Kit (the Palm VII includes built-in wireless capabilities) to get online. The kit, which includes an upgrade to the Palm OS 3.5 will cost $39.95, and needs a mobile phone to work. It's available now. Palm devices without serial ports are incompatible with the kit, according to Yankowski.
Christmas beta A beta of the Internet service, called MyPalm.net, will launch on Christmas Day. It offers a number of new options for Palm users, including the ability to wirelessly download programs, update calendars, shop for products through the Palm Store and gain access to news, sports and financial information.
Cottle offered a glimpse of the service's future applications: wireless group-meeting scheduling, context-sensitive notifications, instant messaging and limited voice input of data.
Palm handhelds, even with this service, do not directly access the Internet. Rather than supporting a standard HTML (hypertext mark-up language)-based browser, such as Internet Explorer, Palms access a "clipping" service of specially-formatted content. Not all Web sites provide clippings, though Palm has secured content from such sites as ABCnews.com, ESPN.com and Travelocity.com. The Mobile Internet Kit also includes a WAP (wireless application protocol) Web browser for use with a mobile phone.