Minstrel III Wireless Internet

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Date: Monday, February 1st, 1999, 00:00
Category: Archive


If you just purchased a Palm III-series PDA and find yourself coveting the wireless freedom afforded by the Palm VII, fear not young traveler, you have options. PalmLounger Allison Percy sends along some information on the Minstrel III wireless CDPD modem for the Palm III/IIIx/IIIe organizer.

I’ve had one for about four months and it has been great. The Minstrel III works at 19.2 kbps and provides a full internet connection, not a limited connection like the Palm VII. You get a static IP address and can do anything you would do using a modem and landline — real POP3 or IMAP e-mail, Web browsing (not just “Web clippings”), Telnet, etc.

Coverage for CDPD service is nearly as extensive as the Palm VII coverage (check out the CDPD coverage wizard). I have found coverage to be very good (but not perfect) in most of the major metropolitan areas and airports I’ve traveled to over the last few months. Novatel Wireless also offers a model for the older PalmPilots (the original Minstrel modem) and they are working on one for the Palm V.

The service provider I use is GoAmerica which offers the Minstrel III at US$199 if you purchase a year of service from them. Service plans are US$9.95 for the “lite” plan and US$59.95 for the unlimited plan (no roaming charges, no KB download limits). I called them to ask about their current offers and with a little friendly prodding I discovered that an even sweeter deal can be made. If you call and ask for Seth at extension 7303, he can offer a Minstrel III for just US$99 when purchased with a year of service. That’s US$100 off the price listed on the GoAmerica Web site. And if the person who calls mentions my name (Allison Percy), I get a discount off my bill, which costs the buyer nothing and would make me very happy.

GoAmerica provides a free e-mail program (Go.Mail) and Web browser (Go.Web) for the Palm with their service. Or you can use any other Palm e-mail program and Web browser. I use ProxiWeb, which is a great Palm web browser that even provides compressed grayscale versions of the graphics on a web page. This can be very handy for graphics-intensive web sites, although of course it’s no substitute for a real computer with a full-fledged browser. ProxiWeb will even allow you to use web sites that rely on cookies like Yahoo Mail.

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