March 2006

DualCor launches corporate early adopter program
DualCor, Inc. announced a Leadership Early Adopter Program (LEAP) where companies can review and test the DualCor cPC as well as influence DualCor product development activities. The DualCor cPC is the first ultra portable PC to simultaneously run full-function Windows XP Tablet PC Edition 2005 and Windows Mobile 5.0, combining the power of a desktop PC, the instant-on of a PDA and the always-connected functionality of a cell phone. Its patented, dual-processor architecture and hard drive allow users to run real-time, non-diluted versions of enterprise applications in the field as easily as they are used in the office. The 6.5 x 3.3 x 1.2 inch DualCor has a 5" 800x480 passive touch screen, a 1.5GHz C7-M Via chip for Windows and a 400MHz processor for WinMo, a 40GB hard disk where files can be moved between the two operating systems, 1GB of DDR2 RAM, 1GB of Flash, Bluetooth and WiFi, 3 USB 2.0 ports, a mini-VGA port, audio in/out, a CF Card slot. Not much info on the phone capoabilities yet. Price is expected to be in the US$1,500 range. Our take: Surprisingly little is known yet about the DualCor. And the recent "Origami" release has put extra pressure on the more expensive DualCor. The DualCor is smaller, about the size of a Sony PSP, but the real-world benefit of the dual OS approach will need to be demonstrated first, especially for the strategic enterprise mobility solutions DualCor targets.

-- Posted Friday, March 31, 2006 by chb

Industrial touch panel PC with Windows Mobile 5.0
Embedded and single board computer specialist Ampro Computers, Inc. announced the ReadyPanel Industrial Panel PC for industrial automation, HMI and operator control panels. The ReadyPanel Panel PC includes a standard EPIC form-factor Pentium compatible single boad computer, a 6.5" color flat panel display and 4-wire resistive touch screen integrated into a compact enclosure. The ReadyPanel 6.5 runs Windows Mobile 5.0 on Intel processors from 400 MHz Celerons to Core Duos. Memory size is up to 1GB DRAM and Compact Flash up to 2GB. A 400MHz, 128MB RAM, 64MB Flash WinMo 5.0 ReadyPanel 6.5 with a 400MHz Celeron is available now for under $1200 in moderate volume. [see release] -- Posted Thursday, March 30, 2006 by chb

Western Digital fires latest USB drive salvo
USB keys and like devices keep getting smaller, cheaper and higher-capacity. Western Digital introduced the 6GB USB 2.0 Passport Pocket Drive that's about the size of a matchbox (0.37 x 2.41 x 1.80 inches). Six gig can hold as many as five two-hour feature-length movies, 1,700 digital photos, 1,500 songs or thousands of documents. WD Passport Pocket Drives are powered by the computer so a separate power supply is not needed. Estimated pricing for the 6GB Passport Pocket Drive is US$129. [see 6GB WD Passport specs] -- Posted Wednesday, March 29, 2006 by chb

Industry picks next gen Bluetooth for home multimedia
According to two industry associations, the world's largest electronics firms will use next gen Bluetooth to send high quality video between home devices. The decision determines how hundreds of millions of TVs, video recorders and PCs will wirelessly connect by the turn of the decade. The two associations will cooperate to have Ultra Wideband (UWB) radio Bluetooth-enabled devices by 2008 that can send and receive multimedia at 100 megabits per second, compared with below 1 mb/s for most phones available now. UWB uses an unlicensed radio band above 6GHz, which limits the possible distance to 35-50 feet (like current Bluetooth). The UWB Bluetooth will have the same low power consumption and security features and will be backward-compatible with the current 500 million Bluetooth devices (projected to pass a billion units by the end of 2006).

-- Posted Wednesday, March 29, 2006 by chb

TabletKiosk first to market with their eo UMPC
TabletKiosk seems to be the first company to actually offer an "Origami" Ultra-Mobile PC. The TabletKiosk eo UMPC v7110 can be viewed, configured, and ordered in four different versions. The base eo v7110 256/30 (yes, that refers to RAM and hard disk size) can be had in black or white starting at US$899 whereas the eo v7110 512/40 is available starting at US$999, also in either black or white. All eo UMPCs are powered by a 1GHz VIA C7 NaNo processor, run the Windows XP Tablet PC Edition with Touch Pak, have a 7-inch 800 x 400 pixel Wide-Angle View TFT display, 802.11b/g WiFi and Bluetooth, measure 9.0" x 5.75 " x 1.0" and weigh just under two pounds. -- Posted Monday, March 27, 2006 by chb

The Palm Pilot's 10th Anniversary
Monday, March 27, 2006 marks the 10th anniversary of the introduction of the original Palm Pilot. The little 5-ounce PDA, brainchild of Jeff Hawkins, was created on the conviction that the future of personal computing was mobile computing. A lot happened in the past ten years, and it wasn't always smooth sailing, but Palm built incrementally on that vision and this eventually led to the Treo, another Hawkins brainchild, and probably the most highly acclaimed smartphones in the industry. As the industry changes, Palm is now morphing from being the PDA leader to more timely and more capable products, currently culminating in the Treo smartphones. Palm still draws new customers and a new demographic with its PDAs that range from $99 entry-level organizers to multimedia-rich PDAs with integrated Bluetooth and WiFi, such as the T5 and the LifeDrive (which still hold four of the five retail top spots) -- all part of mobile computing. [see detailed Palm timeline PDF] -- Posted Monday, March 27, 2006 by chb

Rugged Imation USB keys that don't get lost
Imation's new USB 2.0 Clip Flash Drives feature a rugged clip design that provides easy file access for on-the-go professionals. Safely encased in a durable rubberized shell, this extremely compact flash drive can be quickly removed from its case and fit into the tightest USB slots. Password protection helps keep valuable files - from business documents to photos to MP3s. Capacities for the Imation Clip Flash Drives range from 256MB to 2GB for manufacturer's suggested retail prices of $29.99 to $119.99. -- Posted Monday, March 27, 2006 by chb

New Afaria rev beefs up BlackBerry, WinMo 5 support
iAnywhere, a subsidiary of Sybase, announced the availability of Afaria 5.4. The latest version of the company's frontline management and security solution includes greatly expanded capabilities for managing RIM BlackBerry devices. Afaria is the only leading mobile device management and security solution that enables a company to manage BlackBerry devices from the same administrative console as its other mobile devices. In addition, Afaria 5.4 includes full management and security capabilities for Windows Mobile 5.0 devices, including new device monitoring capabilities. -- Posted Monday, March 27, 2006 by chb

Palm reports higher revenue and market share
Palm reported revenue of $388.5 million in its third quarter of fiscal year 2006, ended March 3, up 36 percent from the year-ago period. During the third quarter of fiscal year 2006, Palm shipped a total of 564,000 Treo smartphones. Treo sell-through was up 102 percent from the year-ago period, reflecting strong demand for the Treo 650 and Treo 700w. Palm's share of the U.S. converged smartphone/PDA market was 30 percent, up from 22 percent a year ago, and Palm's unit shipments grew by 111 percent compared to the overall market growth of 56 percent, according to Canalys. -- Posted Friday, March 24, 2006 by chb

Sun launches Mobile Java site
Sun Microsystems, creator and leading advocate of Java technology, today announced the launch of offers mobile Java technology-based applications for purchase and download, along with information for consumers about Java technology and the Java brand. Subscribers on more than 250 wireless carriers worldwide can access the new site via a web browser on any Java Powered mobile device (cell phone, PDA, etc.). -- Posted Friday, March 24, 2006 by chb

Syware adds HP PPC camera support to Visual CE
SYWARE, Inc., announced that its Visual CE rapid application development software for database and forms development on Windows Mobile Pocket PCs, has added direct support for HP Pocket PCs’ built-in cameras. When applications built with Visual CE are run on HP Pocket PCs with built-in cameras, users can take pictures and either save them directly into a database running on their device or save them as external files linked to the database record. For example, a home inspection company can create a database application that allows inspectors to add images of the specific problems they detect to their inspection reports. When an inspector returns to the office or synchronizes wirelessly, the image is uploaded to the server for inclusion in the final report. The application can use SYWARE’s Report CE to produce and print, onsite, an inspection report that includes the printed images. -- Posted Tuesday, March 21, 2006 by chb

Brown to open center on pen-centric computing
Brown University and Microsoft unveiled plans for the Microsoft Center for Research on Pen-Centric Computing, which will promote and fund research aimed at improving pen-based operation of Tablet PCs, Pocket PCs, PDAs, electronic whiteboards and conventional desktop computers. The PRNewswire press release calls the center "the first academic research program in the nation dedicated to pen-centric computing innovation" though, given pen computing's history, we doubt that. Through the three-year US1.2 million joint research and education alliance, Microsoft and Brown intend to explore and develop new ways to use pens to operate computing devices, recognise and interpret handwritten input, and also recognize notations in mathematics, chemistry, art and design, and other fields that have well-developed notational styles. Andries van Dam, Brown's VP for research and an early pioneer in pen-based computing, will serve as director of the new center. "In some cases, the pen is mightier than the keyboard," van Dam said. "Chemists and composers, archaeologists and artists all need pen and paper to create and communicate. We want to help them do their work digitally -- in a way that is as easy and natural as drawing on paper."
-- Posted Monday, March 20, 2006 by chb

Gunze's new anti-reflective touch panels
Resistive touch panel manufacturing specialist Gunze USA announced their next-generation Highly Transmissive Circular Polarizer touch panels that achieve high levels of visibility through the sputtering of an Indium Tin Oxide (ITO) low-reflective layer. The process isolates incoming light rays and converts them into circular polarized light, which is then transformed into vertically linear polarized light that cannot pass through the panel. The highly transmissive circular polarizer touch panels facilitate enhanced readability and transmissivity in direct sunlight and high-reflection environments, with as much as 76% transmissivity, an increase over standard circular polarized touch screens which have 67% transmissivity rates. The panels are coated with anti-reflection materials and have been designed for both pen and finger input. Gunze’s circular polarizer touch panels are used for devices such as rugged notebook computers and handheld devices, as well as any type of film-glass or film-film LCD. They can be ordered in a range of standard or custom sizes and come with a one year/one million input guarantee. [see conceptual diagram of Gunze touch panel] -- Posted Thursday, March 16, 2006 by chb

Fujitsu considers UMPC
According to Digitimes, Fujitsu Siemens is currently in talks with Microsoft for a possible launch of Ultra-Mobile PCs (UMPCs), according to Raymond Foo, Product Marketing and Communications for Fujitsu PC Asia Pacific. Unlike flat-panel computers and notebooks in general, a UMPC is considered more like a high-end PDA and their sales will hardly threaten Fujitsu Siemens’ current eight-inch notebook offerings, said Foo. Our take: It would make great sense for Fujitsu to offer a UMPC, especially one in the "durable" or "semi-rugged" class. Such a device could replace the old Windows CE-based PenCentra line, offering the same small form factor or smaller, while providing significantly more punch. -- Posted Thursday, March 16, 2006 by chb

RFID virus and worm threat?
European researchers are investigating the possibilities of virus attacks on RFID-based systems. A paper is being presented today at the annual IEEE Conference on Pervasive Computing and Communications in Pisa, Italy. It raises some interesting, and scary, possibilities. A single infected RFID tag, for example, could disrupt an entire system, with possibly disastrous consequences. The academic paper on RFID threats can be download as a pdf.. [Learn more about the potential of RFID viruses and worms] -- Posted Wednesday, March 15, 2006 by chb

RIM thanks BlackBerry supporters
BlackBerry maker RIM took out full-page ads in eight US newspapers on March 14, thanking those who supported the company in its fight with NTP and also urging a reform of patent laws. In a message to all BlackBerry supporters, the company said, "As to the lingering question of why the patent system should allow such a bizarre set of circumstances to threaten millions of American customers in the first place, we share your concern. The good news is that this topic is currently receiving much more attention from policymakers and the Supreme Court and we hope the patent system will evolve to close the loopholes and become more balanced." [read RIM's full statement] -- Posted Wednesday, March 15, 2006 by chb

Sony gently mocks Microsoft's manufacturing woes
Not that it matters much to many readers of Pen Computing, but gaming consoles are becoming huge business. Console games are already a bigger market in the US than Hollywood, and that grabs anyone's attention. The next generation of "gaming" consoles are incredibly powerful and sophisticated, and far more than just for playing games. They are close to controlling home/online entertainment in general. Microsoft got a headstart with its new xBox 360, "available" since last November. Sadly, despite all of Microsoft's might, they have been utterly unable to meet demand, with early shipments in the hundreds of thousands instead of millions. It's mid-March, and I've yet to see an xBox for sale in any store. Sony, whose own next-gen machine is scheduled to lauch in November, gently mocks Microsoft: "With a monthly production capacity of one million units, SCEI will push forward a powerful product launch to spread the platform rapidly throughout the world, together with a strong and attractive lineup of PS3 game titles." -- Posted Wednesday, March 15, 2006 by chb

Ricoh digicam can do GPS, barcode, FTP
Ricoh is one of those names that has sort of dropped off the radar with consumer digital cameras. However, the company continues to make them, and also some really interesting specialty cameras, such as the Ricoh Pro G3 "GPSD-Ready" digital camera. The specs are particularly up-to-date (we're talking 3.2MP); what makes this camera special is that it has a CD Card slot especially for either a GPS receiver, Bluetooth, WiFi, or even barcode reading! That means professionals (or geocachers!) can take pictures with GPS coordinates. Users can even add other GPS information via a special menu system. That way, pictures can be searched from within a ESRI GIS system. In vertical/industrial markets, a barcode reader-equipped Ricoh G3 can embed scanned barcode information into images. Use a WiFi card and you can even ftp images to a server, and the G3 becomes a fully IP-addressable network device. [see Ricoh G3 Geo-Imaging site] -- Posted Tuesday, March 14, 2006 by chb

Amazing miniaturization
It never ceases to amaze us how the electronics industry continues to make things smaller and better all the time. Remember those big old boat anchor 10megabyte hard disks? Or those 5MHz CPUs? Or all those big old wireless cards that sucked the batteries dry in notime? Well, now much smaller disks have 10,000 times the capacity, and chips run a thousand times faster. And we have stunning little marvels like Sharp's latest 802.11b/g WiFi package with minuscule power consumption. -- Posted Tuesday, March 14, 2006 by chb

Early software offerings for the Palm Treo 700w
We've lived with the Windows Mobile-based Treo 700w for a couple of months now, and it's a terrific device! We also tested some of the first software formatted for the Treo 700w and bring you our impressions on ALK's CoPilot Live v.6, Developer One's Code Wallet Pro 2005, NewsBreal v.1 by Ilium Software, and Handmark's Pocket Express. [see our reviews] -- Posted Monday, March 13, 2006 by chb

Microsoft reveals "Origami" Ultra-Mobile PC
At the 2006 CeBIT show in Hanover, Germany, Microsoft revealed its new Ultra-Mobile PC that had been code-named "Origami." The platform refers to small tablets weighing less than two pounds, with displays measuring less than seven inches diagonally. UMPCs run the Windows XP Tablet PC Edition with special software add-ons to better adapt Windows to the small screen. UMPCs are smaller than conventional Tablet PCs but larger than Pocket PCs and other PDAs. Read our full introduction to the Origami Ultra-Mobile PC. -- Posted Thursday, March 9, 2006 by chb

AppForge Crossfire 6 supports BlackBerry, WinMo and Palm Treos
AppForge announced the latest version of mobile application platform, Crossfire 6.0. With the new rev, Visual Studio developers can easily create comprehensive on-device mobile applications for millions of BlackBerry and Palm Treo mobile devices in the market today. There is support for the entire Palm Treo smartphone product family, including the Windows Mobile Palm Treo 700w and Palm-powered Treo 600 and 650 devices. Promotional pricing through the end of March is US$495. {See Appforge release] -- Posted Wednesday, March 8, 2006 by chb

Nokia study suggests mobile TV likely popular
Nokia released results from mobile TV pilot studies in several European countries with almost 2000 users. The pilots involved broadcast of live digital content over DVB-H networks to Nokia 7710 devices. 55-76% of test users said they would pay between $10 and $15 for the service. Viewing patterns showed regional European differences, with British watching during lunch while others watched throughout the day or mostly at home. Average viewing time was about 20 minutes a day. Testers expressed interest in having a good variety of channels, interactivity, and content designed for the small screen. Nokia has high hopes for the DVB-H technology that allows up to 50 TV channels to be distributed to mobile devices. Research firm Informa expects 50 million DVB-H devices sold by 2010. [full Nokia release] -- Posted Wednesday, March 8, 2006 by chb

HP unveils rw6800 for Asian markets
On March 1, HP showed the HP iPAQ rw6800 Multimedia Messenger Series in Hong Kong. Available in white and silver, the 6800 was presented as designed for young Asian consumers as a full-featured device with tri-band 850/900/1800 GSM voice, GPRS/EDGE data, WiFi and Bluetooth. Based on Windows Mobile 5.0, the device uses Pushmail and Pocket MSN for interactive communication. There's also 3D sound effects from stereo speakersm a 2-mp camera, FM radio and an MP3 player. On the hardware side, the rw6800 uses a 416MHz version of the Intel PXA272, a QVGA screen, 128MB of Flash and 64MB of SDRAM, a mini-SD slot for storage, and a 1,530mAH Li-Polymer battery. It measures 4 x 2.3 x 0.75 inches and weighs 5 ounces. According to CNET, HP's Asian market representatives painted a somewhat grim picture for the "classic PDA product" market that is supposedly shrinking at 30% a year. As a result, HP will concentrate on the "converged space" and rapidly expanding smart phone sector. -- Posted Tuesday, March 7, 2006 by chb

Mobile security for Treos
Trust Digital, a provider of enterprise mobile security software solutions for the Federal market, will provide a demonstration of its policy-based endpoint security and compliance solution for PDAs and smartphones at FOSE 2006. Presenting in tandem with Palm, the Company will showcase its on-device security support for the Treo 650 and the Treo 700, the new Windows Mobile 5-based device by Palm. -- Posted Tuesday, March 7, 2006 by chb

Cool gadget: AddLogix wireless video adapter
EchoView is a compact wireless 802.11 b/g device that connects to a projector or video display’s VGA or DVI port and enables a computer to send video to a projector or video display wirelessly without any cable. The adapter allows the user to place the computer and video projector anywhere in the room without being constrained by the cable length from the computer to the projector. -- Posted Tuesday, March 7, 2006 by chb

Palm statement on the RIM settlement
Palm's statement on the RIM settlement: "We have long believed that a settlement between these parties would be the eventual outcome. We have remained focused on competing in the market by delivering choice to our customers based upon open, standards-based products that win in the marketplace. Palm's partnerships with Good Technology and Microsoft are attracting a growing number of customers. In the United States, we are gaining share of the smartphone market faster than any other supplier, including RIM. We think our momentum will continue as more and more companies understand and deploy our solutions." -- Posted Monday, March 6, 2006 by chb

Transverse Networks CallConnect now compatible with RIM, Treo
Traverse Networks, an innovator of mobility solutions for enterprise voice systems, announced that its CallConnect with Visual Voicemail software is now compatible with the RIM BlackBerry and Palm-based Treo handheld mobile devices. BlackBerry compatibility includes the 7100g, 7290, 8700c, 7520, 7100i, 7105t, 7100t, 7130e, 7750 from four wireless carriers, Cingular, Sprint/Nextel, T-Mobile and Verizon. Treo compatibility includes models 600 and 650 from three wireless carriers, Cingular, Sprint/Nextel and Verizon. -- Posted Monday, March 6, 2006 by chb

CREDANT mobile data protection "follows the data"
CREDANT Technologies, a provider of mobile data protection solutions, announced version 5.1 of its flagship product, CREDANT Mobile Guardian Enterprise Edition that extends policy-driven security management and controls across the entire mobile data lifecycle and introduces support for Collaborative Mobile Data Security -- an enterprise-hosted model that allows organizations to control security policies for data on mobile devices owned by business affiliates. -- Posted Monday, March 6, 2006 by chb

Greed wins. NTP gets $612 million.
BlackBerry maker Research in Motion has agreed to pay $612.5 million to patent holding company NTP to settle a long-running dispute that had threatened to shut down the BlackBerry wireless email service for millions of users. The agreement came as the patent office had just issued its second final rejection on NTP's patents, leaving one to wonder why RIM caved in and thus undoubtedly encouraged other "patent holding companies" to try to cash in big and hindering progress without doing any actual work. -- Posted Friday, March 3, 2006 by chb

Psion Teklogix launches multimodal communication for its devices
Mobile computing, imaging and RFID specialists Psion Teklogix launched PTX Connect that brings Push To Talk (PTT), VoIP, instant messaging, text messaging and voice mail to its WORKABOUT PRO family of mobile computers. This will enable mobile workers to communicate in real-time, sharing information cost effectively, while improving workflow across the enterprise. Additionally, PTX Connect coupled with a 2-D imager in a mobile device allows workers to take pictures, add comments to them on screen, and transmit the final images including notations over a wireless network.
-- Posted Thursday, March 2, 2006 by chb