The First Wireless Palm: Palm VII
At roughly the same time that the Palm V appeared--and before the first color Palm appeared--Palm also shipped the Palm VII, its first PDA with built-in wireless capability. Equipped with a flip-up antenna, the Palm VII
cost a small fortune ($599), but the astronomical price probably wasn't the only reason that the Palm VII ultimately flopped. Its Palm.net service relied on Bell South's Mobitext network, which at best could move data at a poky 8 kbps--slower than most conventional dial-up hookups. At that speed, browsing standard Web pages was out of the question, so Palm devised a scheme that involved accessing specially packaged Web content using so-called Web Clipping applications from high-profile partners such as Travelocity, USA Today, and Yahoo.
The pricing for the required Palm.net service began at $10 a month and rapidly escalated, depending on usage. But Palm's tech-savvy customer base--by now accustomed to easy all-you-can-eat desktop access to a World Wide Web that was growing by leaps and bounds--never took to the notion of limited, packaged content and metered pricing.
Photo: Courtesy of Palm