Sunday, May 01, 2005

Power and data cords, why proprietary?

I'm sure everyone is aware that PDA companies seem to love to release devices with different types of cords, for both power and data. It can become very annoying to the consumer, but in some cases, it is necessary.

I never like to see a new cord, but I really dont have to. Though Palm doesnt hold this ideal, most Sony devices use the same cord that was seen on devices as early as the T415. Every Sony PDA in my house (I have a TG-50, a TH-55, and a T415) will use the same cable for charging and syncing.

Over on the Palm side, the newest pdas, the T5, the E2, and the Treo 650, all use the new Athena connector, which is capable of media output. This is the reason why the Palm line has changed cables, but why? Do they actually use the media output? I cant be sure, but I dont think there are any peripherals out right now that use this. I would havev waited for later more multimedia friendly models before implementation. Waiting until Cobalts first handheld may have been a good idea.

When you look at the problem from a historic side, you can further see the madness behind this. The Palm V, III and m10x series all had the same connector system-Palm only fit it into a different housing. Thus, a user needed to purchase a load of new accessories when upgrading, unless he used one of the adapters available like Midwest PCB's "Bridge" accessory.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank God all plugs and cables from companies that really care for their customer and products are unique. Suckers like you tend to confuse plugs from power tools chargers with PalmOne devices and fry them.

You stop thinking.
You make many people happy.

12:24 AM  
Blogger Ben Combee said...

The audio input and output are used on the Treo 650 car kits. There also is a cradle for the E2 and T5 that has an audio out connector for hooking up to headphones or speakers.

There are no video output pins on the Athena connector, contrary to popular belief.

7:29 AM  
Anonymous Steven Fisher said...

The new connection seems to be good for something else, too. Don't do this without checking the instructions first, but if I remember correctly (I didn't bring the T5 with me) you can plug the power adapter directly into the Palm now without using the Hotsync part of the cable, similiar to the Samsung phone connector.

3:49 PM  
Blogger Brad Green said...

Thats correct Steven. The new connector has the two parts separated so you dont have to connect the whole thing. The Sony pdas can do this, but they need the included adapter. The adapter essentially does what the T5 Athena connector has built in. It separates the power and data, so that you can either connect the power cord to it, or connect a mini usb cord, or both if you want. They were really ahead of their time, they just didnt have it integrated into the connector. If I remember correctly, the T5 does need an adapter to connect to a usb cable though.

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