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Current Topics In Mobile Computing

Comdex Fall in Las Vegas - November 2000 

‘Mobile Productivity’ has become the mantra of the wireless industry and nowhere was it more evident than at the 21st annual Las Vegas technology show. With 500 companies showcasing their wireless technology, from an in-flight Internet access solution for the business traveler to a digital tablet for storing and sorting handwritten notes to all-in-one devices for performing virtually any business task, while on the go. Now that all the hype has settled, it is time to take stock of what was said, what was promised, and what we should expect to see in the coming year.

Notable Remarks from Keynotes

Kurt Hellstrom, CEO, Ericsson "The mobile phone has started to bridge the gap between the world of telecom and the world of the Internet. The mobile Internet will develop even faster than the ‘fixed’ Internet, and this development will happen with tremendous speed."

"Mobile phones have become the world’s best-selling consumer electronics device and are shipping much larger volumes than PCs."

Bill Gates, Chief Software Architect, Microsoft "I also think we'll look back on this past year as a big year for wireless. Wireless not only in the wide area, but also office wireless with things like 802.11, and the rise of standards that will make wireless inexpensive enough that distributing information in your home, including video, music, information."

"This is what we have code-named our Stinger phone. You'll start to see this from phone manufacturers in the next year or so. And what it is, it's the full power of the Pocket PC capability, but now it's integrated in. So things like recording your calls, or using GSM to exchange information, that's all built in here."

For a complete transcript: http://www.microsoft.com/billgates/speeches/2000/11-12fallcomdex.htm

Carly Fiorina, Chief Executive, Hewlett Packard "Nobody was more eloquent and nobody had a broader vision of the impact of mobile commerce and wireless on business and society at large than HP's new CEO Carly Fiorina. We applaud Carly for a thought-provoking speech.  We expect HP to play a greater role in mobile computing and m-commerce in future."  - Chander Dhawan - MobileInfo's Publisher and Managing Editor

"The physical and digital worlds are being intertwined and Bluetooth will let each computing device take full advantage of the resources around it. "- Carla Fiorina

"So far, more than 200 partners have worked with us to bring mobile e-services to market. Our goal is to bring the inventions and lessons learned to our mobile e-services bazaars to our work with customers here in the U.S. and beyond." - Carla Fiorina

For a complete transcript: http://www.hp.com/hpinfo/ceo/speeches/ceo_comdex_00.htm

Announcements and Demonstrations

  • Boeing showcased its plans to bring high-speed, in-flight Internet access aboard its commercial jets, some time next year. Boeing’s Connexion initiative intends to enable the business traveler, equipped with their laptop, to receive data at 20Mbps and then to send it back at 1.5Mbps. For more, click here.
  • National Semiconductors and Metricom displayed its WebPad Metro, a prototype Web-surfing tablet, to access the Internet without wires in Metricom’s coverage area.
  • Compaq Computer announced a deal with GoAmerica to offer wireless Internet service with its iPaq handheld.
  • Handspring displayed the newly expanded Visor   family with a variety of Springboard expansion modules. For more click here.
  • Compaq Computer unveiled its end-to-end Business Solutions for wireless e-mail, Internet access, content, and Web-based services. The company also introduced its notebooks with a Multiport, allowing for wireless modems, notably Bluetooth and 802.11b, and other devices to snap onto the back of the screen. For more, click here.
  • Microsoft demonstrated its Tablet PC, a fully functional computer with the convenience of paper and pen. The company announced the availability of Visual Studio.NET and the .NET Framework beta 1 release, which will be distributed to millions of developers, enabling them to develop .NET Web Services. In addition, Microsoft announced the availability of the Microsoft Windows Media™ Player for PocketPC Technology Preview Edition. For more, go to Tablet PC: For more, click here.
  • HP announced alliances with Nokia, Ericsson and Palm to extend Web-based print capabilities to mobile phones and handheld devices. HP also unveiled its OmniBook 500 without wireless networking capability; however, the company does expect to ship the notebook with a wireless antenna some time during the first quarter of 2001. HP's iAppliance division also announced Novatel wireless modem for Jornada for $349 purchase price and unlimited usage monthly subscription service at $39.95 per month.  For more, click here.
  • Ericsson launched its R380 WORLD smartphone, integrating PDA and GSM roaming capabilities, for the U.S. market. The company also showcased the device, known as Chatpen, which looks like a slightly chubby fountain pen. It writes using an ordinary ballpoint, but also contains a camera processor and a Bluetooth transceiver that can wirelessly communicate with a mobile phone equipped with Bluetooth and GPRS. The pen can be used to write messages on a special notepad called Chatnote, which is reminiscent of a Post-it notepad. For more, click here.
  • Palm announced that it is starting to ship its Mobile Internet Kit, enabling Palm handhelds to connect to the Internet using a cell phone as a wireless modem. In addition, the company showed off its revised Palm.net portal now named MyPalm. This will allow mobile professionals to synchronize their date-book and calendar information from the Net wirelessly. For more click here.
  • A number of wireless modems and service offerings were announced.
  • HP’s Jornada with a Novatel Minstrel 540 wireless modem, bundled with either the OmniSky or GoAmerica service
  • Casio’s PocketPC handheld is available with a Pocket Spider modem (from Next cell) over the GoAmerica service
  • Motorola unveiled its first Java-enabled cell phone, which doubles as a pager and two-way walkie-talkie.
  • SAGEM launched the first dual-band GSM / GPRS phone-enabled PocketPC, SAGEM WA3050. For more, click here.
  • GoAmerica, Microsoft and CreSenda announced the availability of an end-to-end wireless solution for the real estate market. For more, click here.
  • Toshiba introduced the Magnia SG10 , which will come with Bluetooth and other wireless networking technologies. 

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