Targeting enterprise-class users, Palm Canada unveiled the Tungsten C on Wednesday, a handheld device with built in Wi-Fi high-speed connectivity.
Michael Moskowitz, president of Palm Canada, said the Tungsten C is a "powerful enterprise work force."
The Tungsten C specifically targets home networking users, hot spot users and users within corporate offices, Moskowitz said. Hot spots are public places that give people wireless access.
As wireless connectivity in places such as airports, hotels and offices becomes commonplace, hot spot access has exploded, he said. So, the new Wi-Fi feature on the PDA, helps to extend wireless connectivity for those corporate employees who travel, and frequently use hot spots.
Travelling corporate users often find themselves going from meeting-to-meeting and office-to-office, and with the Tungsten C, they can stay connected all the time. "It’s convenient and it’s inconspicuous whereby you can check your messages from meeting-to-meeting," Moskowitz said.
The Tungsten C, which is listed at C$749 (US$516), falls in place with Palm’s business product line and is the company’s first device to offer integrated Wi-Fi, or 802.11b for wireless connectivity. It includes the 5.2 Palm operating system, 64MB of memory and uses a 400MHz Intel XScale handheld processor.
From an enterprise perspective, Moskowitz says the device has the most memory of any Palm OS handheld on the market, and there is also an expansion slot to add more.
Battery power is an internal rechargeable 1500mAh battery, which provides a full workday, or 10 hours, of Wi-Fi connectivity, Palm said.
Security is something Palm considered with the Tungsten C, Moskowitz said, and the handheld offers strong protection right out of the box. It has a timeout feature, built-in point-to-point tunnelling protocol, 128-bit encryption technology and password-character blocking
Boston-based Ken Hyers, senior analyst in the mobile data service at In-Stat\MDR says there is a lot of interest in integrating Wi-Fi in handheld devices right now, but at the same time many enterprises in Canada and the U.S. are taking a slow approach to how they deploy it.
"They are interested, but they haven’t made up their minds if this is technology they are going to deploy on a widespread basis," he said, adding that there is a question of need and security surrounding the PDAs.
While security issues have been addressed for the most part, Hyers says there must be a demonstrable need for the technology. "There are certain cases where employees need to be mobile…but this isn’t a technology that every employee needs to have a PDA."
By incorporating the Wi-Fi technology in the PDA Hyers says that the Tungsten C provides more flexibility to the Palm line.
In Canada, the handheld market has a lot of growth opportunities. However, Hyers says the market is being divided into high-end, for enterprise and has experienced a lot of growth recently with low-end products such as the Palm Zire, which also received some attention Wednesday.
In conjunction with the Tungsten C launch, Palm unveiled the Zire 71, with a built-in digital camera. The company said the PDAs are available in stores now with an estimated street price of C$449. The device targets young professionals and can play digital audio files. It also includes 320 pixels by 320 pixels display and 16MB of memory.
In other wireless news, Hewlett Packard is expected to unveil its new iPaq h2200 PDA on May 30.