January 2006

New technologies claim victims
The great advance we're witnessing in the technology field is nothing short of astounding. Yet, the price we pay for that is the loss of many very highly regarded companies who never saw the rapid changes coming, or failed to adapt quickly enough. On the photography side, Konica Minolta recently announced they'd call it quits, selling off their SLR lines to Sony and getting out of the compact camera market and the film market altogether. Very sad. No more "From the minds of Minolta." No more Konica. Now LG.Philips Displays filed for insolvency protection for its European Holding company. Why? Because they didn't ditch CRTs fast enough to fully jump on the flat-panel display bandwagon. -- Posted Monday, January 30, 2006 by chb

Not registered for FOSE yet?
FOSE 2006, the 30th Anniversary show, will be held March 7-9, 2006 at the Washington Convention Center • Washington, DC. FOSE provides a unique opportunity to reach those in government who have the authority, budgets and need to purchase products, services and solutions. No other technology event delivers more government attendees than FOSE and no other show has a bigger impact on purchasing decisions than FOSE. [FOSE website] -- Posted Saturday, January 28, 2006 by chb

VisionObjects releases MyScript Notes 2.0
VisionObjects released MyScript Notes 2.0, a ready-to-use handwriting recognition software that converts handwritten notes into digital information for further use in back-end applications such as Microsoft Word, Outlook or Lotus Notes. It can be used with all devices requiring handwritten input, such as digital pens, pen computers, TabletPCs and graphic tablets. A 30-day trial version is available for download. -- Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2006 by chb

FileMaker Mobile 8 released
FileMaker, Inc. announced the availability of FileMaker Mobile 8, a companion to FileMaker Pro 8 designed specifically for Palm OS and Pocket PC handheld devices. The new FileMaker Mobile 8 goes beyond synchronizing with local desktop databases only. For the first time, it allows users to synchronize handhelds with databases on FileMaker Server 8 and FileMaker Server 8 Advanced. FileMaker Mobile 8 runs on the Palm Treo 650 and many other Palm and Windows Mobile compatible handheld devices, allowing individuals and mobile workgroups to extend the productivity of FileMaker solutions from the office to their handheld device. FileMaker Mobile 8 supports a range of applications as simple as lists to more complex solutions such as inventory records, customer information, student records, work orders, research notes, or help-desk records. [FileMaker Mobile 8 specs] -- Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2006 by chb

Intellisync Mobile Suite for IBM Lotus Notes and Domino 7
Intellisync Corporation, a leader in platform-independent wireless messaging and mobile software, announced the release of Intellisync Mobile Suite for IBM Lotus Notes and Domino 7. The solution allows users to send and receive Lotus Domino email, files, and data from any mobile device over the air, extending Intellisync's extensive line of mobile software products that support Lotus Notes and Domino. -- Posted Monday, January 23, 2006 by chb

NTP: Maximum Greed Overdrive
Every time we read another piece of idiocy in the greed-driven lawsuit where "patent-holding company" NTP seeks to shut down RIM's BlackBerry service, we just want to puke. The latest is that those greedios at NTP gracefully proposed to allow RIM customers a 30-day "grace period" before their service will be terminated should NTP, the entity to whom a windfall payoff of US$450 million wasn't enough. [see news.com report] -- Posted Thursday, January 19, 2006 by chb

Cingular 2125 - First MS Mobile 5.0 Smartphone
Cingular is now selling the first phone based on the Microsoft Windows Mobile 5.0 Smartphone Edition. It's a fairly high end device with a comparatively large 2.2-inch display, a 1.3 megapixel digital camera that can do video as well, 850/900/1800/1900 quad band for international use, 64MB ROM, 64MB RAM, GPRS/EDGE data access, MediaPlayer 10 for music and video, mobile versions of the Office programs, and the usual elaborate email and messaging options. The 2125 is powered by a 200MHz TI OMAP chip, measures 4.6 x 1.8 x 0.7 inches and weighs 3.8 ounces. Talk time is 4 hours, standy up to six days. With a 2-year service plan, the 2125 runs just US$199 after a $100 rebate. [see the 2125 at Cingular] -- Posted Thursday, January 19, 2006 by chb

Xplore combines outdoor viewability with stylus/finger touch
Xplore Technologies, a leading provider of rugged Tablet PCs, introduced a durable mobile computer that offers users both active stylus and finger touch input, as well as the optically enhanced AllVue display, all in a single product offering. The Xplore iX104C2DV thus becomes a highly functional, wireless enabled rugged Tablet PC that has both unparalleled input flexibility and viewability in the field. Our take: We have found the implementation to Xplore's AllVue LCD technology to be a superior solution. We also tested Xplore's auto-sensing technology, which allows users to automatically switch between pen input and finger-based touch input, and found it extremely useful. The combination of those two technologies, combined with the iX104's inherent design makes for a very attractive new offering for various vertical markets that require both advanced technology as well as extreme ruggedness. -- Posted Wednesday, January 18, 2006 by chb

Gunze's new anti-reflective touch panels
Gunze USA, a leader in resistive touch panel manufacturing, today announced the availability of its latest line of 4 layer Anti-Reflective (AR) touch panels, which offer lower reflection without affecting the contrast of the screen. Gunze’s newest line 4AR touch panels offer an 88% transmissivity rate, and are specifically designed for outdoor applications, including any application in which the panel would be exposed to direct sunlight, such as car navigation systems/GPS, consumer electronics and industrial equipment utilized outdoors. Gunze’s anti-reflective technology makes it possible to manufacture touch panels with low reflection that are also highly durable and can utilize both pen and finger input. -- Posted Tuesday, January 17, 2006 by chb

Rolling cases for mobile gear
With some laptop and notebook equipment, and especially the rugged stuff, being on the large and heavy side, Pacific Design introduced rolling cases specifically designed for mobile electronics. Their new "Rolling Lite" features a 2-position single arm trolley handle, removable cable storage pouch and optional shoulder strap, yet it is compact enough to fit under most airline seats and weighs just six pounds. -- Posted Tuesday, January 17, 2006 by chb

Symbol releases MC70 enterprise digital assistant
Following up on the success of its highly regarded MC50 industrial PDA, Symbol Technologies released the MC70 "enterprise digital assistant," a ruggedized Pocket PC-style handheld using state-of-the-art technology, and combining PDA, data capture, communications and phone capabilities. Running Windows Mobile 5.0 Premium/Voice and powered by the speedy 624MHz version of Intel's PXA XScale chip, the MC70 sports IP54 sealing and can survice 4-5-foot drops. It can be ordered either with a numeric or QWERTY keypad. 802.11a/b/g, eGPRS/GSM, and BT provide almost universal wireless and phone access. A linear 1D scanner and a 2D imager provide data capture. [full description] -- Posted Thursday, January 12, 2006 by chb

Mobile printers with secure data transfer
Zebra Technologies, a leader in delivering on-demand specialty printing solutions for business and process improvement, today introduced the powerful QL Plus mobile printer, an enhanced version of Zebra's QL series. The new QL Plus printers are designed to handle increased levels of wireless security and process complex applications up to four times faster, making them ideal for the secure transfer of encrypted data, from price lists and shipping schedules to customer information and medical records. They come in three versions, with 2, 3, and 4-inch label/receipt formats. [see QL 220 Plus]

-- Posted Wednesday, January 11, 2006 by chb

Intel Mac speed: Another paradox
Nothing surprises anymore. Palms run Windows Mobile, and now Macs run on Intel processors that, of course, are closely associated with Microsoft. Fine, no problem. And history has shown that Apple adopting a supposedly "PC" standard never resulted in Macs becoming PC clones. Ditching SCSI in favor of the industry standard hard drive interface didn't do it. And adopting PCI a few years ago certainly didn't result in making every PCI card compatible with Macs. What we do think is funny is the marketing claims about speed. After years of being told how much faster Macs with PowerPC and G3/4/5 chips were than comparable Intel machines, now all of a sudden the new Intel Macs "perform two to three times faster performance than their G5 PowerPC predecessors in benchmark testing." Hey, whatever. We do hope Apple quickly sends us samples so we can independently verify those claims. -- Posted Wednesday, January 11, 2006 by chb

Mobile disease and treatment reference software
San Mateo, Calif.-based Epocrates Inc., a provider of mobile and desktop clinical applications, announced the launch of the Epocrates SxDx disease diagnosis and treatment reference and symptom assessment tool. The application, developed in collaboration with Massachusetts General Hospital's Laboratory of Computer Science, provides intelligent decision support to clinicians throughout the diagnosis process. Developed for Palm and Windows Mobile devices, the new product allows healthcare professionals to enter patient symptoms and findings to generate a clinically useful diagnosis index to the Epocrates disease reference. -- Posted Tuesday, January 10, 2006 by chb

The significance of the Palm Treo 700w
A couple of years ago, even the thought of a Palm running Windows CE (now Windows Mobile) would have been preposterous. A year ago, while Palm was already busily working with Microsoft and Verizon, each such rumor was still quickly squelched. Yet, it happened and now we have the first Palm product running Windows Mobile in the Treo 700w. What will it mean? Will Palm simply shrivel into insignificance now that it no longer controls its own operating system and may find it impossible to compete with inexpensive Taiwanese and Chinese hardware OEMs? Or will the company prosper because, for the first time, Microsoft has a hardware OEM that concentrates 100% on handhelds (as compared to the likes of HP, Dell, Casio, NEC, etc., to whom CE devices were always a tiny part of thi oeverall business). We've had a Treo 700w in our hands for a while now and will soon report, in detail, on its pros and cons. Based on our preliminary observations, the WinMo Treo may well greatly increase the overall Treo market. -- Posted Tuesday, January 10, 2006 by chb

Imagers Continue to Gain Share in North American Bar Code Scanning Market
Recent research from Venture Development Corporation (VDC) reveals a regional pattern in the uptake of imaging-based bar code scanning technology. In 2004, imaging technology in North America grew at more than double the rate of traditional laser-based scanning technology. In contrast, the Asia-Pacific region experienced strong growth in laser scanners in 2004. The growth of imagers in the North American market is a trend that appears to have continued in 2005 and is likely to spread across the regional and vertical markets in the coming years. [View entire press release]
-- Posted Thursday, January 5, 2006 by chb

Larger capacity ToughDisks
Formation, Inc. announced today a 50% increase in storage capacity for its ToughDisk TD7200 Rugged Hard Drive to keep up with industry demand for low-cost data storage in extreme environments. The units now offer 240GBs of storage capacity, up from 160GBs. Formation’s TD7200 is a low-cost alternative to solid state data storage built specifically for extreme environments. The system has been favored by many military and commercial organizations for its ability to perform reliably in temperature, shock, vibration, humidity and dust conditions that would destroy conventional hard disks. The hard drives are hot-swappable, self-contained rugged COTS mass memory units at less than 10% the cost of solid-state storage. Formation also makes the 73 and 100GB ToughDisk 3500 Ruggged Hard Disk series. -- Posted Thursday, January 5, 2006 by chb

Samsung SCH-i830 with keyboard and EV-DO data
Samsung introduced its SCH-i830 aimed at global business traveler via Verizon Wireless. It has a full QWERTY keyboard, quad-band radio that works internationally via dual mode CDMA/GSM functionality. Equipped with VZEmail including Wireless Sync as well as Windows Mobile and Pocket PC apps, the Bluetooth-enabled i830 can handle email and allow users to review and edit most document file types. The QWERTY keyboard is revealed by sliding the phone's screen, makes developing and maintaining critical documents a breeze. Picsel Browser allows viewing full versions of PDFs, images and PowerPoint files. The i830 has an SDIO slot and stereo speakers and will go for US$599 or less with service plans. -- Posted Wednesday, January 4, 2006 by chb

Yet more Mio GPS devices
Mio Technology Ltd., a supplier of personal navigation GPS systems, introduced two new stylish, portable, straightforward and easy-to-use GPS navigation systems with detailed maps, updated in 2005, of the Continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii and Canada in a sleek, palm-sized chassis. The new units, the Mio C710 and C310, come preloaded with the necessary software and maps. The C710 is designed to be mounted in a car and easily transported to another vehicle or wherever you need it. It has a 3.5" touch screen, can play MP3 files, has Bluetooth connectivity to allow traffic monitoring functionality via Bluetooth-enabled peripherals, computers or cell phones. It has 2 GB of flash ROM, an SD/MMC slot, and a 300 MHz CPU. The Mio C310 has a white chassis and nearly all the functionality of the Mio C710, except BlueTooth and embedded traffic monitoring. Both are 5 1/2" long, 3" wide and 1" thick. Retail cost is US$899 and $599.
-- Posted Wednesday, January 4, 2006 by chb

Garmin releases entry-level Palm GPS device
Garmin introduced the iQue 3000, a newly-styled, entry-level Palm Powered PDA that offers fully integrated GPS technology and expands Garmin's iQue Palm OS PDA product line, which currently includes the iQue 3200 and iQue 3600. The more compact 3000 measures 2.8 x 4.7 x 0.7 inches, weighs 5.2 ounces, has a 320 x 320 display, a 200MHz ARM9 CPU, a microSD slot qith a 128MB card included, and it costs US$399. Users can download detailed street information from the installation DVD that comes with the package and includes nearly six million points of interest, such as restaurants, hotels, transportation hubs, and banks. Map data is provided by NAVTEQ. -- Posted Tuesday, January 3, 2006 by chb