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RealTime IT News

New Look for an Old Palm

Palm Inc. has upgraded the software for its Tungsten W handheld, the first such update in the product's short history.

The improvement includes more than a dozen new features and improvements to the previous software and now enables the Tungsten to run on Version 4.1.2 of the Palm OS operating system.

The update completely changes a Tungsten user's ability to stay connected to the Internet. First, with a new "Always-On" connection capability, the device's Internet connection stays active after users put the device itself to sleep. Next, thanks to the Novarra-powered Palm Web Pro 2.1, enterprise users will now have the ability to access corporate Intranet information securely when they coordinate their Tungsten product with selected VPN clients.

"This update was made available because we wanted to continually improve the Tungsten experience based upon user feedback," says Stephane Maes, a senior product manager with Palm's wireless group who helped launch the Tungsten W in the U.S. in February of this year. "All of the changes you see as a result of this update were things that our user groups specifically requested they'd like to see in future versions of the software."

According to Maes, the update includes four other essential features:

  • VersaMail 2.5.2, an updated e-mail program that contains Auto Get Mail, which automatically downloads new mail to the Tungsten W handheld and notifies the user with each new message.
  • Keylock funcationality that enables users to disable all keys except for the Power key automatically when the device turns off.
  • New LED configuration that indicates when the device is charging and when it is the designated coverage range.
  • Carrier-dependent TTY support that provides text support for customers that are hearing-impaired.

The update also includes such features as a new Preferences panel, the ability for users to synchronize speed-dial lists, and an explicit call transfer function that enables callers to transfer to a third party. Many of these improvements might seem complicated but Michael Gartenberg, vice president and research director at Jupiter Research, said the changes are just part of the product's natural maturation process.

"The updates to the Tungsten W are more evolutionary than revolutionary," Gartenberg said. "They will enhance the devices functionality for the current audience and will help make it more attractive to potential buyers."

The Tungsten W Software Update 1.0 is available free via download from the Palm Support web site starting at 3 p.m. PDT today. A CD of the software also is available for purchase from The Palm Store (http://www.store.palm.com) for $29.95. The Palm Tungsten W handheld retails for about $419 without wireless service or activation rebate.

Jupiter Research is a subsidiary of Jupitermedia Corp., the parent of this Web site.