For a number of reasons (difficulties in securing rights from PalmSource and OS limitations), manufacturers have not been able to create a Wi-Fi SD card for Palm OS handhelds--until now. After a long delay, SanDisk finally released its Connect Wi-Fi card for Palm, but there's a catch. It works with only the PalmOne Zire 71
, whereas the Tungsten T3
and the Zire 72
will require a system patch from PalmSource before they can use this card. The good news is that installation and setup are a breeze, as a wizard guides you through all the necessary steps. The card fits in the Zire's expansion slot and sticks out about an inch from the top, but this is necessary for it to acquire access points. A small green light will also illuminate when there is a Wi-Fi connection. The included Wi-Fi utility, which installs on your Home menu after you perform a HotSync operation, lets you scan for networks and check signal strength, as well as other advanced features. Also, since the Zire 71 doesn't come with a Web browser, SanDisk has provided a free 20-day trail of nWeb from Novarra; afterward, you'll have to pay $34.95. As with any other PDA, the Web experience is different on a handheld than on a PC, with more scrolling and slower upload time. One other cautionary note: Wi-Fi takes up a lot of battery power, and during our tests, it drained our cell noticeably, so you'll want to be conscious of that as you connect to the Web on your Zire 71. SanDisk's SD Wi-Fi card costs $99 and is available now.