visorcentral.com >> Products & Reviews >> Modules
|Sun Jul 9, 2000 - 8:11 PM EDT - By James Hromadka|
Although the Thincom can work with any online application like AvantGo, it comes with three applications stored on the module: Browse-it, MultiMail, and Online. Browse-it, by Puma Technology, is a web browser that uses a proxy server to help format websites appropriately for the Visor's 160x160 screen. Browse-it is very similar to ProxiWeb, and it should be, as Puma purchased that company. In fact, I had ProxiWeb installed on my Visor, and Browse-it listed my ProxiWeb bookmarks along with its built-in bookmarks.
The other two applications, MultMail and Online, are shareware and must be purchased separately. On one hand it seems strange to include applications that you must purchase, but it also keeps the price of the Thincom down. Multimail by Actual Software is only a 10-day demo of a full-featured email application for the Palm OS. Online by Mark/Space Softworks is a terminal emulator that has a splash screen letting you know it's a demo; this is much better, because it allows you to test the software longer. All three applications are supported by the authors, not Card Access, and are removed when the Thincom module is removed from the Visor, although the application data remains.
So how well does the modem part of the Thincom work? Very well. The battery doesn't seem to drain too much, but make sure you don't look at the meter while using the Thincom. As with other modem modules, the Visor's battery meter drops while connected, but on the Thincom, this drop is more dramatic. My Visor went from 54% to 19% after about 5 minutes of use -- however, once I disconnected, the meter gradually went back up to 52%. Browse-it worked great, allowing me to pull up VisorCentral in less than 10 seconds. I wish the Thincom's Status Screen would have had a Disconnect button, but most online applications have Disconnect as a menu option, so this isn't too great of a concern. As I said earlier, the fact that there is a Status Screen in the first place is a great addition.
The size of the Thincom is its greatest
asset. With the Handspring
Modem, I had to remove the Visor from its case to connect; with the
Thincom, because many cases have "flip-back" covers, I can plug in the
dongle without taking the Visor out of the case. You will, however,
have to remove the Visor from the Handspring cases to use the Thincom.
I also like the fact that the dongle cable is 6' in length -- not too long,
and not too short. A big bonus of the Thincom is that a software
update will be released later this year that will upgrade the Thincom to
a 56k modem, making it more valuable as your bandwidth needs change.
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