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Monday
Jun022003

iPAQ h5450: Wi-Fi Use Causes 'Regular' Resets?

HP iPAQ h5450I saw this review of the new iPAQ h5450 by Hahn Choi on TechTV's site (via Gizmodo) on Friday, and being interested in Wi-Fi technology and handhelds, I had a look. The HP iPAQ 5450 is a groundbreaking Pocket PC device (or Palm OS device for that matter) in that it's the the first with both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth both built-in.

While reading along, I came across a quote that nearly caused me to snort the coffee I was enjoying, out of my nose:

Having both wireless technologies, while fun, also presents some issues. With Wi-Fi, an insufficient driver memory error occurred on a regular basis. I was regularly performing soft resets in order to access the Wi-Fi capabilities. The h5450 clearly comes with memory management issues even with the latest ROM update.

Yikes! "I was regularly performing soft resets" doesn't sound like loads of fun to me! And the reviewer doesn't mention how often these resets occurred. Were they every 5 minutes? 15 minutes? 30 minutes? It seems odd that their regularity in terms of minutes or hours is not mentioned, which could either mean crashes maybe weren't that regular (every hour or two) or worse yet, it was really regular to the point of uselessness.

But think about this further -- the iPAQ doesn't have the longest battery life of the PDAs currently on the market, so I'd suspect a Wi-Fi session was maybe 2-4 hours, right? In that context, regularly in a 2-4 span to me means resets may have occurred every 15-30 minutes. Of course this is speculation, but it does make me wonder. What does regular really mean in this context?

Here are a few relevant definitions of regular from Dictionary.com:

Customary, usual, or normal: the train's regular schedule.

Occurring at fixed intervals; periodic: regular payments.

Occurring with normal or healthy frequency.

Not varying; constant.

How often resets occurred aside, the fact that regular resets are common makes the iPAQ h5450 pretty unattractive as a Wi-Fi device, especially if that's supposed to be one of the two or three biggest selling points of this $700 PDA. If I were considering this device for my own Wi-Fi use, I'd be packing it up for a return pretty quickly if I had to deal with regular resets.

Okay, so Palm made two big boo-boos with the mono headset jack and lack of Bluetooth support on the Tungsten C, but at least the device works without 'regular' crashes and lasts up to 8 hours on a single charge. That's my idea of a useable handheld with Wi-Fi built in. :-)

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