Although the original Palm VII debuted more than a year ago (Reviews, September 1999), the comparatively stocky device is still the only handheld on the market with built-in wireless Internet access. Sure, other units have become slimmer (Palm V) or more expandable (Handspring Visor), but no other offers a pleasant little chirp to indicate that you’re online when you lift a flexible antenna. With the recent release of the Palm VIIx, Palm fills out the ahead-of-its-time organizer with more memory, the latest version of the Palm OS, and better pricing plans for Internet access.
Room to Breathe
With 8MB of memory, the VIIx is in line with the rest of Palm’s top-tier handhelds-the Palm Vx and IIIc. This allows you to store more information and more Palm Query Applications (PQAs), with which you can access Internet data via the Palm.net wireless service. Unlike desktop computers with conventional Web browsers, the Palm VIIx employs these small applications to retrieve snippets of information, called Web clippings. A small collection of PQAs come preinstalled, including those for news and stock prices. You can download others for free from the Palm.net Web site (http://www.palm.net). E-mail access hasn’t changed: you can CC your regular e-mail to your Palm.net address, or you can send and receive mail directly from POP e-mail accounts by means of third-party software.
The monthly fee for Palm.net service has come down since the first Palm VII release. Prices range from $10, for 50K of data (additional kilobytes cost 20 cents each), to $45, for an unlimited-volume plan, a welcome change for frequent users. The service is provided in 260 U.S. metropolitan areas, so make sure you’re on the coverage map before you sign up.
Unfortunately, the Palm VIIx still doesn’t include Macintosh software or a Mac cable adapter in the box, so you’ll have to purchase Palm’s serial adapter ($15) or USB kit ($40). However, you can download the Macintosh Palm Desktop software for free.