Desktop in My Pocket
Mobile Phone and PDA Rolled
Into One? (Part 1/2)
By Daniel Cheung
Mobile phones with
powerful computing functions - soon the streets will be populated with
mobile phones that act more like computers than simply communication
devices. Here, we tell you the latest development in the convergence of
cell phone with PDA technology.
Although the technology is definitely there, the
promise of a merge between cell phones and PDAs is being stifled by
competition. The industry leaders planning to merge the two technologies are
the PDA manufacturers - they understand that this is the way forward in the
foreseeable future. The trouble is that none of them want to be left
behind, and are creating a confusing myriad of hardware and software
Latest Developments and Products
We feel that the best way to show you the trends
of cell phone / PDA convergence is to show the latest news in the topic.
So here they are:
Palm V Snap-On Attachment for Mobile Phone
V Snap-On Attachment
In September, Palm also announced that one of its hardware developers,
RealVision, a Hong Kong company, has created a snap-on attachment -
complete with an earphone jack - that allows users to make phone calls,
as well as access the wireless Web. The GSM attachment works primarily
with the Palm V series of devices. The product will be available in Asia
and Europe in early 2001 for less than $299, but isn't expected to be
immediately released in the United States.
Palm and Motorola Co-developing Smart
Palm Inc. and Motorola Inc.have
agreed to co-develop and co-brand a new line of smart mobile phones.
The two companies
plan to develop a phone by early 2002 that combines Palm's
operating system (Palm OS) with Motorola's
wireless technology. The new device will feature a color-display screen
that is larger than most cell-phone displays, and include Palm's address
book and calendar features, as well as the ability to surf the Web. It
will also be able to connect wirelessly or through a cradle to a
computer to synchronize information, the companies said.
Launched in September, the Handspring VisorPhone is an external module that meshes cellular
phone features into Visor, the company's personal digital assistant. However,
it is still doubtful whether the VisorPhone will be a true step forward or
merely a clumsy tumble on the way to true convergence.
At the very least, the VisorPhone will ease the pain of having to enter
phone numbers into more than one device. Besides integrating the Visor's address book directly with a cell phone,
the VisorPhone boasts conference-calling capabilities, caller ID, speed dial
and missed-call identification. It will come with a rechargeable lithium ion
battery, travel charger and a hands-free headset jack.
However, these modules will also lengthen
the Visor by a half-inch and increase its weight three ounces, or 50%. It will
be heavier than either a cell phone or a personal digital assistant (PDA).
Handspring VisorPhone is a PDA with mobile phone capabilities.
The VisorPhone will cost $299, and it may not reach the market until year's
end, and then only through Handspring's web site. It will
work on GSM (the main platform for Australia's mobile phone networks), not on
any other system such as TDMA, CDMA or PCS.
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