Wireless options for PalmOne

I bought a PalmOne Zire 72 and would like to add wireless networking capabilities to it.

Receiving e-mail and connecting to the web, according to the manufacturer, requires a compatible
Bluetooth-enabled mobile phone and an ISP.

Since I’m hard of hearing, a phone likely wouldn’t be of much use for me.

So I’m wondering, is it possible to use my own desktop computer as the modem source? What about wireless points on my school’s campus? What would that require?


I had a discussion about this just last week with xash, who also ended up buying a z72. From all I’ve read up about the z72, you can only connect to the net via another bluetooth device, i.e. not WiFi connectivity.

If you don’t want to buy a phone, you could buy a bluetooth port with a really long cord for your computer. You would of course then be restricted to the vicinity of that port, but at least you’re online.

Hi freakstasy, here are your options:

  1. Infrared

  2. Bluetooth

  3. WiFi

Let’s discuss them.

1. Infrared: This requires an Infrared enabled phone. Your Zire 72 can connect to the Internet through your cellular phone. The phone acts as a modem and connects to your ISP via a GPRS data connection or a Data Line dial-up. The Zire 72 connects to the phone via Infrared.

Since you prefer not to use a phone, this option might not be useful for you.

2. Bluetooth: You can connect to the Internet from your Zire 72 via Bluetooth in 3 ways.

a. Cellular Phone: In this case, your Zire 72 connects to a Bluetooth enabled cellular phone via a Bluetooth connection. The rest is the same as the Infrared option explained above.

b. Laptop / Desktop PC:

You ask:

Yes, this is very much possible.

In this case, your laptop or desktop PC requires to be connected to the Internet. Your Zire 72 can connect to the Internet through your desktop PC over a Bluetooth connection. For this to be possible, you will require a Bluetooth dongle for your desktop PC. This is available at reasonable prices in any computer store.

e.g. http://catalog.belkin.com/IWCatProductPage.process?Merchant_Id=&Section_Id=200583&pcount=&Product_Id=134431

Note that you would be limited to a range of about 10 metres when connected via Bluetooth.

c. Bluetooth LAN Access Point: This would be similar to the previous case, except that instead of connecting through your computer, the connection is via a Bluetooth LAN Access Point. This is a more expensive option, and not really required if you’re connecting through a single Bluetooth device.

e.g. http://www.axis.com/solutions/mobile_access/how.htm



3. WiFi: You ask:

This is where WiFi comes in. In all likelihood, if your campus is using wireless access points they are 802.11b wireless access points.

In order to connect via this wireless network, your Zire 72 requires an 802.11b enabled wireless SD card or add-on. At this time there is no known wireless SD card that works with the Zire 72.

There are 3 manufacturers who have announced plans for an SD WiFi card that works with the Zire 72. None of them have released a solution yet.

The manufacturers include SanDisk and Pretec. SanDisk has the hardware ready, but has been unable to develop drivers for Palm OS Garnet (5.2.8, which the Zire 72 uses)

If you need further information about any of these options, do let me know.

Here are some excellent articles that cover Bluetooth networking with your PDA:

Bluetooth Adapter Setup for the Palm Tungsten /T series

Palm Bluetooth Guide

HOWTO: Palm Bluetooth Net Access with Windows