To get CompactFlash cards to work in a Visor was a collaborative effort. For the hardware side, the first company to provide a solution was MatchBook products with their
MatchBookDrive. The InnoPocket is very similar to the MatchBook drive, and also uses a clear case. It looks very nice in an Ice-colored Visor.
The InnoPocket isn't a true "SpringBoard" as it contains no software, and doesn't install anything when inserted. It's merely an adapter, providing a hardware translation layer between the pins on a CF Card and the pins in the SpringBoard slot of a Visor. More on the software you'll need later.
The InnoPocket doesn't appear to use the standard casing that is available from Handspring. I seems that they've machined their own, and to very strict tolerances. It fits snuggly in the Visor, but not to the point where I'm worried about breaking anything. The plastic the InnoPocket uses is much thicker and stronger than the typical plastic in most modules. I have over a dozen modules, and
when the CF card is inserted, this is the sturdiest of the bunch.
The InnoPocket includes a larger green circuit board inside that supports the small white "tracks" that guide the CF Card into the adapter. Sometimes modules feel like you can warp and twist them like removing ice from an ice tray. This module is quite stable. I've used it in a Prism and in an Ice Visor Deluxe, and it doesn't add to the thickness of the Visor, and adds slightly to the weight.
CF Cards have small recessed grooves running along their sides. The InnoPocket has two long white posts with notches that slide directly into these grooves. The trick is making sure they mesh perfectly, which guides the CF Card on to the pins. This is very easy on the InnoPocket. When I first saw the module, I noticed that the InnoPocket purple sticker covered the whole front of it. I was immediately worried that it would be difficult to get the CF card onto the guides without being able to see it! But, the tolerances of the InnoPocket are so tight, you can't screw up. The CF Card fits tightly and directly into the grooves and directly onto the pins. This is an improvement over the
When inserted, the top of a CF Card is smooth and flush with the top of the module. It doesn't stick out at all, and it isn't reccessed at all. It's quick slick.
Theorectically you can use any CF card up to 192 megs. I've used a 48meg and 16meg card of varying brands without a problem. You can't use the new IBM 340meg and 1gig MicroDrive CF-style harddrives with the InnoPocket. MicroDrive specs call for 500mA peak current and the Springboard slot is designed to provide 100mA peak. This is a limitation of the HandSpring Springboard slot and not of the InnoPocket or the FAFileMover Software.
It's nice to see support for such a popular format as CompactFlash on the Visor. For those that use other kinds of memory, there has been talk of a Sony Memory Stick adapter and a SmartMedia adaptor called the MemPlug.