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SyChip gains Palm OK for Wi-Fi modules

More WLAN-enabled Palm OS PDAs on the way?

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Wi-Fi module developer SyChip has joined PalmSource's Palm OS Ready programme in a bid to get its WLAN products built into more Palm-based handhelds.

The Palm OS Ready scheme lists suppliers whose products can be quickly incorporated into Palm OS-based devices. Essentially, the OS has the drivers it needs to access the features incorporated into the programme member's hardware.

PalmSource has already certified Intel, Texas Instruments and Motorola as Palm OS Ready CPU providers, and ATI and Nvidia as suppliers of graphics chips. Samsung and M-Systems' products have also be certified.

Wi-Fi is increasingly being viewed as a key component of mobile data devices, but so far PalmOne's Tungsten C is the only Palm OS-based device to support the technology. Sony did, but it's dropping its Clié range of Palm PDAs in Europe and the US.

SyChip's announcement will bring little hope to owners of most existing PalmOne handhelds, however. So far, the only SD Card-based Wi-Fi add-in card with Palm OS support comes from SanDisk - ironically, it is based on SyChip's own Wi-Fi SD Card - and it supports just one model, the now superseded Zire 71. PalmOne is rumoured to be developing a Wi-Fi card for the Zire 72 and Tungsten T3, which may also be a rebadged SyChip card.

SanDisk finally shipped its Palm OS Wi-Fi card last month after almost a year of delays, which first saw Palm OS 4 support dropped and finally saw the add-in made available for a single PDA. SanDisk blames a bug in PalmOne's SDIO implementation for its inability to support other PalmOne devices. It claims the PDA maker has a fix but will not provide it - at least not until its own Wi-Fi card becomes available. ®

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