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« Favorable First Impressions for Palm Tungsten C | Main | BusinessWeek's Wi-Fi Special Edition »

Palm Tungsten C: Perfect Timing for a Wi-Fi Handheld

Tungsten CToday Palm, Inc. has announced the new Tungsten C and Zire 71. While I think the $300 Zire 71 is a solid handheld with many features that will give the Sony Clie SJ33 a run for its money, I'm even more excited about the $500 Tungsten C because it further emphasizes Wi-Fi networks.

Just imagine a small, handheld device with built-in Wi-Fi -- the Tungsten C has the potential to work as the perfect device for anyone working in a Wi-Fi environment at their business, school or at home. The Tungsten C comes with a proxy-less web browser (for direct web browsing) and the VersaMail email client (though I think SnapperMail is a better choice for email), VPN (Virtual Private Network) capabilities for secure, private connections over the net and even Colligo Meeting for scheduling group meetings over Wi-Fi.

What really amazes me is the battery life of the Tungsten C, considering it's running a 400MHz ARM chip. Palm claims "An internal rechargeable 1500mAh battery provides a full work day of consistent Wi-Fi connectivity, or a full work week of normal handheld use." -- not bad at all! Of course, as real-world users test the C, we'll see if that's an optimistic or realistic estimate.

The one drawback with the Tungsten C is the lack of Bluetooth, which makes the device much less useful for mobile wireless access via a Bluetooth phone when not around a Wi-Fi network (maybe there was no room inside the case). A Bluetooth SD card can be used, but built-in is better -- especially if you need the SD slot for storing data. Hopefully built-in Bluetooth can be added to the next version of the Tungsten C.

I see the Tungsten C as the perfect Wi-Fi device when a laptop is too much to haul around, yet you want to check email, surf the web or performing network operations wirelessly. Hopefully it'll do well and further strengthen Wi-Fi as a mainstream thing.

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