Tuesday, August 1, 2000

Kodak PalmPix turns your Palm device into a digital camera


By Claire Pieterek

The Kodak PalmPix is a handy way to extend the use of your Palm III, Palm V, or Palm VII series handheld if you need quick and easy digital pictures. If you need to take pictures in areas that are not well lit, or if high picture quality is important to you, a full-fledged digital camera with flash may be a better option.

The PalmPix is a small unit, about the size of a Palm Modem, and has the same dark grey color as a Palm IIIc. You attach the PalmPix to your Palm device by snapping it onto the HotSync port. Its physical dimensions measure about two inches wide, one inch long, and three inches high. It weighs 1.6 ounces, not including the two AA batteries it needs for power. It's pictured in Figure A.


The Kodak PalmPix turns your Palm device into a digital camera.

I didn't feel overly confident about the connection between the PalmPix and my Palm IIIx. Perhaps a design that wraps around the body of the Palm device, at least enough to cover the handheld's battery cover, would allay those concerns. The design of the optional DockV Adapter, available for $34.95, looks more like what I have in mind, although Palm V-series owners with steady hands might want to try the multipurpose "The Bridge "adapter from Midwest PCB Designs. I reviewed it in the September 1999 issue of PalmPower Magazine at http://www.palmpower.com/issues/issue199909/bridge001.html. A wrist strap would also be a nice addition.

Sorry Mac users--the PalmPix conduit and included software only works with Windows 95/98 and Windows NT. Kodak includes the Presto Mr. Photo software for image editing and Image Carousel for creating screen shots. I fired up Presto Mr. Photo a few times and found the interface confusing in its attempt to be simple. I prefer a more straightforward product, such as Microsoft Photo Editor. Finally, I think Kodak should have included more software for making use of the photos on Palm devices, especially in terms of beaming pictures to non-PalmPix users.

Getting started

To get started, load a small program, which takes up about 53K, onto your Palm device to enable the PalmPix. The installation process will also put the PalmPix conduit into the HotSync Manager. Each picture you take consumes about 91K of your Palm device's RAM.

After you install the PalmPix software onto your Palm device, you can snap the PalmPix on and then tap the PalmPix icon, pictured in Figure B, to start taking pictures.


Tap the PalmPix icon to start taking pictures.

Taking pictures

It's easy to take pictures with the PalmPix. After you tap the PalmPix icon, line up your shot and use the Date Book button to fire the shutter. You can "pan" around to get the best angle for your photo. The image on the display will change accordingly, although there is a bit of a lag. You can also use the scroll button to zoom in on your subject.