New Tungsten T5 Runs with Flash Drive

Flash data storage is innovative, but will lack of Wi-Fi hold this new PDA back?

PalmOne stretches out its product line Monday with the new Tungsten T5 handheld, which packs in a fast processor, a big clear screen and a whopping 215MB of available memory for $399 direct.

The T5 is a slim and shiny business device that looks like a stretched-out T3 (3.1" x 4.8" x 0.6" HWD, 5.1 oz), minus the slider design. (The slider element was eliminated to save money.) The full 320-by-480 screen runs in both landscape and portrait modes.

The T5s oddest and most intriguing new feature is its support of the USB mass-storage drivers in every Microsoft Windows 2000 or XP PC and every OS 9 or OS X Mac. Just plug the T5 into any USB port with a short cable, and it pops up in My Computer, looking and acting just like a USB flash drive. SD cards in the T5 appear as additional flash drives. This is a lot easier than the hot-sync method of transferring files, and, along with the huge memory capacity, it finally makes the T5 a useful MP3 player.

That 215MB of memory is nonvolatile flash, so your data wont vanish if the battery runs down. Thats a huge plus over most other handhelds, which blank out your personal information if you dont feed them enough juice.

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The T5 will run on a 416MHz Intel XScale processor, the fastest currently available in a Palm OS device, with the Palm OS 5.4—not the new Palm Cobalt OS recently announced by PalmSource. (PalmOne said Cobalt wasnt ready early enough for them to develop the T5 with the new OS.)

There are a bunch of other little tweaks we like, too. Our favorite is the new stylus.

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