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SyChip to add Wi-Fi to Windows smart phones

Drivers to be ready next month - but will the handsets be?

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Windows Mobile 2003 smart phones that support IO-capable SD card slots are set to get Wi-Fi add-in support early next year, WLAN device maker SyChip has revealed.

The company is currently working on drivers for a new Wi-Fi card developed especially for these handsets. SyChip expects to have them done and dusted by the end of January, InfoSyncWorld reports.

The drivers may have limited take-up, however. According to SyChip, the card will only work with SIM-free phones since only these handsets are able to take additional drivers - network-locked devices tend not to support third-party driver installation.

Then there's a phone firmware issue, though this can be fixed with an update - provided, of course, handset manufacturers choose to offer it.

SyChip currently produces Wi-Fi cards which are rebadged by SanDisk and Socket. At this stage it hasn't been confirmed that either will take SyChip Windows Mobile smart phone-oriented product. SanDisk, for one, today offers Wi-Fi SD cards for PocketPC devices and PalmOne's Zire 71. PalmOne, meanwhile, offers a similar product for the Zire 72, the Tungsten T3 and now the Tungsten T5.

Indeed, getting Wi-Fi cards into Palm OS-based devices has proved almost as tricky as getting them into Windows Mobile smart phones, thanks to the way many older devices provide SD IO support, SanDisk said a year ago, after delaying its own Palm-oriented release. Ditto their slow CPU speeds. Since then SyChip has joined PalmSource's PalmOS Ready programme in a bid to improve the situation going forward. ®

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