Mankind’s quest to connect to the Internet without wires would be comical if it weren’t such a tragic expenditure of effort and money. People buy $5,000 laptops equipped with $400 wireless modems attached by $129 cable adapters that dial into $50 per month wireless services—just so they can check their email without a wire to the wall. Even everyday PalmPilots can be connected to wireless modems, such as the Novatel Minstel described in Appendix B; but even that arrangement entails enough additional bulk and complexity to threaten the PalmPilot’s famous pocketability.
That’s why the Palm VII is such a revelation. For the first time, everything is self-contained—the computer and the wireless modem—in a gadget that’s only a half-inch taller than the traditional PalmPilot. Everything about this machine has been given the trademark Palm streamlining: signing up for the service takes less than a minute, activation of your account is instantaneous, and the email and Web experiences are smaller, simpler, “lite” versions of the real thing.
In most respects, the Palm VII (see Figure 1.8) is identical to the PalmPilot models discussed in the other 17 chapters of this book. It runs the same programs, HotSyncs the same way, uses the same Graffiti alphabet, and runs on the same AAA batteries.
But the Palm VII’s wireless circuitry makes this palmtop dramatically more complex than its predecessors, featuring hundreds more ...