Pilot 1000, 5000, PalmPilot Personal, PalmPilot Professional,
Palm III, Palm IIIx
60 K free RAM
DynaFirm has released a digital voice recorder
solution for Palm OS devices called the JetTalker. The JetTalker is a clip on module that
fits all current Palm OS devices except for the Palm V. The module uses the same grey
plastic housing as the Pilot Modem. The unit is powered by 2 AAA batteries which are not
Let’s look at the hardware. On the front of the module is a button which is used to
reset the device. On the bottom is a combo ear bud speaker / microphone jack (sold
separately). This isn’t a standard sized earphone jack so you can’t just plug a regular
set of earphones into it. Next to that jack is the on/off power switch. This is a small
unlabeled slider switch that is recessed so that you have to actually use your fingernail
to switch it back and forth. The switch was crooked on the unit I had. They really should
label this switch. It is too hard to remember if the unit is turned on or off. Beside the
power switch is the built-in microphone. The microphone has a rubber boot around it that I
suppose is designed to protect it. I found that when I installed batteries that this boot
got in the way. It made it hard to remove and replace the battery cover. On the back of
the JetTalker is the built-in speaker. This speaker seems to be made out of very thin
metal that can easily be flexed (or crunched ) by pressing it with your finger or other
object. There is a plastic ring around the speaker that is supposed to protect it, but it
still seems to fragile to me.
The JetTalker clips securely to the Palm device. I tested this unit with my Palm III
and it clipped on fine.
To actually use the module, you have to first install a 60K .PRC file that is included
on a floppy disk. Then you clip on the JetTalker and turn it on. In order to make a
recording, you have to turn on the PalmPilot and run the JetTalker application. You then
can tap the little record button and start talking. When you are finished recording, you
press the Done button. The JetTalker is supposed to provides up to
34 minutes of recording time but my Palm III only says 32 mins available. The
recordings are stored on the JetTalker and not the Pilot. Once you make a recording, it
will show up in the list on the screen. To play it, you just tap the little speaker icon
to the right of the list.
The JetTalker application will allow you to categorize the recordings by category and
sub-category. You can setup 15 custom categories and 15
sub-categories. This application is really set up very similar to the ToDo built-in
application. You can mark items as completed and you can also assign an alarm to an item.
When you assign an alarm to recording, the actual recording will play (after the regular
alarm tone) when the alarm is sounded. Of course, this will only work if the JetTalker is
attached to your PalmPilot and is powered on. If the JetTalker isn’t attached, just the
regular alarm tone is played.
The application has a few things about it that I don’t like. One is that the onscreen
buttons to record and play are too small. Also, one of the options didn’t work and popped
up a “Not enabled in this version” message. I don’t think that is acceptable for
a product of this price range.
What about the sound quality? According to the manual, you have to hold the
microphone about 2inches from your mouth in order to get the best recording (DynaFirm
didn’t send me the earphone/mic combo which they say is supposed to achieve the best sound
quality. With the built-in microphone, the recordings seemed a bit muffled and have some
white noise in the background. DynaFirm states that this device isn’t meant for high
fidelity sound recordings. When I tested the JetTalker in my noisy office environment, I
wasn’t impressed with the volume level (even at the highest setting). In a quite house,
the recordings sounded much better. I was able to record my voice, set it up as an alarm,
go in another room and hear/understand the alarm when it went off. Below you will
find two sound samples. I recorded these using my the microphone on my PC while holding
the JetTalker up to the mic.
58k Recorded with mouth 2in
from the JetTalker built-in mic. and volume set to highest setting.
60k Recorded with mouth 6in from the JetTalker
built-in mic. and volume set to highest setting.
Overall, I don’t think that the JetTalker is a very good voice recording solution. For
one thing, it is just too expensive. And for another it just takes too much effort to make
a recording. It should be as easy as pressing a button like on the WindowsCE Palm-size
PCs. The JetTalker has a button on the front that is used to reset the device. Why you
would need to reset it is unknown… I think it would be much better if pressing this
button could power on the PalmPilot, launch the application and begin recording. Letting
go of the button would stop the recording and save it. As it stands, it takes the
following steps to make a recording:
1. Turn on the JetTalker module.
2. Turn on the PalmPilot.
3. Launch the JetTalker application.
4. Tap the small Record button at the bottom of the screen.
6. Press the Done button at the bottom of the screen.
7. Turn off the JetTalker module.
You won’t be able to do all these steps if you are wanting to make a quick voice note
while driving for example.
As for the actual quality of the hardware, In my opinion it really seems more like a
do-it-yourself project than a commercial product. Bottom line, save your money.
Price: $149, $24.95 for Ear bud speaker/Lapel Microphone
Stores recordings in its own memory. Hard reset of the Pilot won’t effect
The only voice recorder option available.
Too many steps involved with making a recording.
Sound quality is a bit muffled.
Speaker seems flimsy.