The Internet Service Provider for Palm VII and Palm VIIx PDAs.

Palm.net uses the BellSouth wireless network, channeling all communications through a proxy server that filters and compresses HTML before sending it over the air. Secure documents are encoded using the Certicom elliptic-curve cryptography system. A location facility is designed into the system, allowing a Web site to identify the current ZIP code where the Palm is located, to provide locally-relevant content. (The query application for The Weather Channel uses this to provide you with the current forecast for your location.)

Web sites are accessed through Palm Query Applications, similar in concept to a WAP "deck" but more flexible, as standard HTML and GIF graphics (in 4-level grayscale) can be used. At any given time, the Palm's browser can display an HTML page from either the PQA or a Web site, and downloaded Web pages can include GIF images from within the PQA, to save wireless bandwidth.

And saving bandwidth is important, because the user pays for that bandwidth; most pricing plans for Palm.net service involve one rate for transferring a certain number of kilobytes over the air per month, with a per-K rate if you exceed the allocation. (For instance, the lowest-end plan is $9.99/month for 50K, and 20 cents a kilobyte after that.) They have recently introduced an all-you-can-eat plan, but it's more expensive. PQAs are required to display visual cues on buttons or links that indicate an over-the-air transaction will be made, to alert the user that this may incur extra expense.

Overall, Palm.net is very convenient, but many people who want real wireless Internet access from a PDA may prefer the Palm V or Palm Vx and an OmniSky modem.

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