Beta available + summary

News via PalmPowerups:

BETA, The release version is coming later, and will cost $20 USD.

As you may be aware, most Palm devices that do not carry a "Treo" or "Centro" brand cannot read or write to the new SDHC cards. This leaves everyone owning such devices behind in terms of storage and costs. SD cards top out at 2GB, while SDHC cards are available at 32GB sizes already, and 16GB cards can be obtained for less than $80 USD.

Palm Inc has repeatedly refused to write an SDHC driver for their handhelds. This has long been regarded as a lost cause by most Palm owners. Luckily Palm Inc are not the only ones in power to help. PalmPowerups to the rescue! We've been hard at work creating an SDHC driver for your devices. It is very difficult and has been one of the most complex projects we've ever undertaken here. It is made harder yet since each individual device needs to be uniquely supported and programmed for.

Today we're glad to announce that for for a small set of devices the driver has entered beta testing. Due to huge demand to make the beta available to everyone, it has been decided that the beta will be available for purchase as well. It is more expensive than the final version will be, for reasons that are beyond the scope of this document. Internally we've been using it on our devices, and it works well, so we're reasonably confident that it will work for you too.

There are many benefits from this driver even if you do not have an SDHC card yet. For example with this driver the card access speed will grow very noticeably, and the card access will not shut off at low battery levels. And of course, now you have support for SDHC cards.

There are caveats of course. First, to use cards whose size is 4GB or over, your device needs to support the FAT32 filesystem. Only Palm LifeDrive and Palm TX ship with it included. All other devices will need to install a FAT32 driver. There is only one option for where to get one - Palm Inc. We here at PalmPowerups are currently investigating writing our own due to reasons mentioned later in this document. For now you may download our wrapper and installer for Palm's FAT32 driver here: [LINK]. All you need to do is install it to RAM and reset. Your device will now support FAT32. Please note that Palm's FAT32 driver is VERY inefficient and slow when mounting cards. Thus on slower devices it can take up to 30 seconds to recognize an inserted 32GB card. This delay goes down for smaller cards, and when we release out own FAT32 driver, it will go away. Also this delay is not present on LifeDrive and TX devices. Another caveat, which is well known to our customers who purchase PowerDrive, is that PalmOS cannot display card sizes over 4GB or free space over 4GB. This does not mean it cannot use them, just that the display of card size and free space will be wrong. This is usually just a cosmetic error, and will usually not cause errors or problems. We are investigating a possibility of releasing a patch to alleviate this problem, but there is no certainty on this yet.

Current beta supports the following devices:

  • Palm TX
  • LifeDrive
  • Tungsten T5
  • Tungsten E2
  • Zire 72
  • Zire 31
The following devices are next on the roadmap and should be supported soon:
  • Tungsten E
  • Tungsten C
  • Tapwave Zodiac
  • Tungsten T3

The process to get a trial version is simple. First you need to register a username on www.PalmPowerups.com. Then you need to download the trial version PRC file. To do this, click the "download" link under the PalmSDHC icon on the front page. Now run it. It will give you your device ID, which will be something like 2134CD6E. Write this down. Your device will now reset; this is normal. Now click on the <GET A TRIAL KEY> link on the top of this article, and fill in the required data. Please be very careful to fill it in correctly. when you do this, you will be given a link to download a keyfile. Download it and save it to a safe location, you will not be able to re-download it. You now need ot install it to RAM of your device. Do so, and run PalmSDHC again. It will blink and return to the launcher screen. The SDHC driver is now active. Your device will get your attention and tell you about the trial expiration and limitations. You will have unrestricted access for 3-4 days, after which the driver will become read-only and speed-limited to a very low speed of 50 KB/s. At this point you may delete it and soft reset to remove it, or purchase it to get a new key file, that will not expire. To do so, click 'buy" under the PalmSDHC icon on the front page and follow the usual PalmPowerups purchasing process.

This is a beta version, so please report any bugs and problems you may have with it. Of course when the release version comes out, you will be entitled to the upgrade for free. The release version is coming later, and will cost $20 USD. Also note that for the beta, the driver must stay in ram, and you must run it after a soft reset to regain SDHC functionality. This is a precaution against driver conflicts.

As always we're not responsible for any data loss or any damage that may occur as result of using our software and all efforts are made to ensure it does not happen. Please read this document carefully before proceeding.

1 comment:

Tony Vincent said...

I am so disappointed in Palm and the way their lack of support for their non-smartphone handhelds and complete abandonment of the education market.

At least the Palm OS is an open platform so that other companies can step in like this.