A lot of people were amazed that PalmOne could introduce the Treo 650 without any sort of WiFi ability at all. Since most of the companies building Windows-based competitors are including WiFi now, it seemed only reasonable that Palm would follow their lead. Instead, they introduced the Treo 650 with only a vague promise that they might support SDIO WiFi cards eventually. Since they made the same basic promise with the original Treo 600, and nothing ever came of it, a lot of people assumed that the 650 would be a WiFi-free zone.
That doesn’t actually appear to be the case, however. First, someone hacked Palm’s own SD WiFi card drivers to work (sort of) on the Treo 650. There were two major problems with that, however. First, it screwed up the phone’s ability to do IP via the cellular network. Second, even once that gets fixed, it leaves you without a flash card in your Treo. Since the Treo needs all the storage it can get, this doesn’t strike me as a workable long-term solution.
At CES, Enfora introduced a second solution, in the form of a WiFi “sled” for the Treo 600 and 650. Similar in concept to their earlier models for Palm devices, it’s basically a clip-on brick that provides extra battery power and WiFi via the docking connector at the bottom of the phone. At $150, the price isn’t too bad, but it’s probably too bulky for everyday use.
For truly compromiseless WiFi, Treo users will probably have to wait for next year’s model. I’d love to have a handheld with WiFi so I could get fast, free connectivity at home and at work, but Palm doesn’t seem particularly eager to address that need.