m100 line gets more speed and expansion
by Shawn Barnett
September 20, 2001
Palm's m100 and m105 products have been very popular, according to the company. Citing their statistic that 97% of m100 purchasers are first-time buyers of handheld computers, they believe they've created a product that has opened an untapped market.
They're looking to expand that market by offering the m125 with two expansion options plus a load of software that new users can grow into as their experience increases.
The same basic form factor now includes an SD slot, which will take SD and MMC cards, and the new Universal connector, both first seen on the Palm m500 series introduced earlier this year. In fact, the cradle is identical to the m500 cradle, though the m125's curves do not exactly mate with the curves on the cradle. Still, that lowers cost for Palm and troubles for customers (not to mention technology writers) who are tired of having to purchase different peripherals every time they upgrade their Palm device. Most Palm m500 peripherals will work with the m125. Unfortunately, those who've invested in m100 peripherals are out of luck if they want to upgrade to the m125. It's their future that will be better in the long run.
What is compatible is the interchangeable faceplate. The included face plate is two-toned, with a more classy look. The four application buttons are concave rather than convex as they were on the other m100 series devices. The toggle buttons also have dimples; in both cases this is to allow easier activation with a stylus, a feature I'm fond of.
The flip lid of the new m125 is rubberized instead of hinged plastic, a welcome change from the plastic flip lids that tended to wear out and come apart in a backpack.
What they've done to the stylus is just silly. The last one was already difficult to remove from its silo, now it's just plain annoying. It has a single flare that comes to a point at the very top. It must have been necessary to make the back of the unit compatible with existing sleds, but there must have been another solution. (The m500 stylus is drawn from the side, so most sleds don't accomodate drawing a stylus from the back of the unit.)
As with other m100 products, the m125 OS cannot be upgraded, but it does come loaded with OS 4.0, the same OS that the m500 has. It also uses the 33MHz Dragonball VZ processor and includes 8MB RAM.
The screen is considerably better than other m100 series screens. Blacker pixels float above a nice, silvery background. They're blacker than even the m500s I've seen.
Because it uses USB instead of Serial, most Mac users can finally HotSync their m125 right out of the box, without having to wait for an adapter from Palm. Both Mac and PC software is included on the same disk.
Also on that disk are a few programs users can grow into, like AvantGo, the popular offline web channel browser; MyPalm, the online web portal; MultiMail SE, a simple version of the comprehensive email program; Vindigo, the portable shopping and restaurant guide; MGI PhotoSuite Mobile Edition, the excellent photo viewing software; Palm Reader, the famous former Peanut Reader for reading all manner of ebooks; and DataViz Documents to Go, allowing HotSync of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents directly onto the Palm itself.
You can also use Palm's Mobile Connectivity Software to get Internet access via cellphones with a cable or IrDA. That's quite a lot for US$249.
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