March 2007

Socket Communications SoMo 650 Mobile Computer
As announced in January of 2007, Socket Communications is now shipping its first handheld computer. The SoMo 650 Mobile Computer is a handy Windows Mobile 5.0-based device that's more rugged than standard consumer PDAs, yet less costly and more compact than dedicated rugged handhelds. The SoMo 650 impresses with a 624MHz version of the PXA270 chip, 128MB of RAM and 256MB of flash, both SDIO and CF Card, and both Bluetooth 2.0 and 802.11b/g. It measures just 5 x 2.95 x 0.81 inches and weighs just over six ounces. Socket, having its roots in handheld peripherals, offers a large variety of add-on cards for scanning, baa code reading, RFID and other. [read description and specs of the Socket SoMo 650] -- Posted Friday, March 30, 2007 by chb

CTIA reports huge wireless data growth
CTIA - The Wireless Association announced that wireless data service revenues for 2006 rose to $15.2 billion. This represents a 77% increase over 2005, when data revenue was $8.6 billion. Data revenue represents money that wireless carriers earn on services other than voice. Wireless data revenues now total roughly 13% of all wireless service revenues. The survey also found that text messaging is enormously popular, with more than 158 billion messages sent in 2006. This represents a 95% increase over 2005. Wireless subscribers are also sending pictures and other multi-media messages in droves, with more than 2.7 billion MMS messages sent in 2006, up from 1.1 billion in 2005. Our take: That's all good news, but the increasing dependence of personal handhelds and smartphones on phone companies is disconcerting, as are the obscene markup and the ridiculous limitations (160 characters, usually 100 message storage limit) on text messaging.
-- Posted Wednesday, March 28, 2007 by chb

Mark/Space ships Mac OS X Missing Sync for Blackberry
Mark/Space, Inc. today announced that The Missing Sync for BlackBerry, the company's synchronization software for Mac OS X computers and BlackBerry handhelds is now shipping. The Missing Sync for BlackBerry provides reliable synchronization of contacts, calendar events, tasks, memos, and for multimedia-capable BlackBerry devices, photos, podcasts and music. [see Missing Sync for BlackBerry page] -- Posted Wednesday, March 28, 2007 by chb

Symbol/Motorola releases handy MC35 EDA
Symbol, now Motorola's "enterprise mobility business," introduced the MC35 Enterprise Digital Assistant (EDA), an all-in-one voice/data communication device in the form of a durable, compact handheld. The MC35, powered by a Marvell (remember, Intel sold the XScale) 416MHz XScale PXA270 processor and WinMobile 5.0, joins the MC50 and rugged MC70 as the third device in Symbol/Motorola's family of EDAs and combines cellular technology (quad-band GSM with EDGE), including GPS, 802.11b/g Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, with office functionality, 2-megapixel camera, and a bar code reader. You can do Voice-over-IP calls, but have to get third party software for that. The MC35 lists from $640 to $750, depending on configuration. Unlike most ruggedized handhelds, the MC35 is tiny at 5.0 x 2.6 x 0.80 inches, weighs little, and has a thumb-type keyboard. -- Posted Tuesday, March 27, 2007 by chb

Motion introduces LE1700 Tablet PC
Motion Computing introduced the LE1700, its new flagship slate. The new model comes in a standard and a "WriteTouch" version which offers an innovative digitizer that easily switches between writing and touch. The LE1700 has a 11.65 x 9.65 footprint, is just 0.74 inches thick, and weighs only 3.3 pounds. It is powered by a 1.5GHz Intel Core 2 Duo and can accommodate up to 4GB of RAM. The fingerprint reader now doubles as a navigation device and a second snap-on battery can provide full-shift operation. The 12.1-inch display has very high 1400 x 1050 pixel resolution and the polycarbonate/magnesium machine can be ordered with a variety of wireless radio options, and even has a SIM slot. [Read our full preview of the Motion LE1700] -- Posted Monday, March 26, 2007 by chb

Intermec CEO Larry Brady to retire
According to Intermec, its longtime CEO Larry D. Brady will retire from the position he has held since 2000. Brady may remain as chairman of Intermec, though that has not been decided yet. I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Brady at Intermec's 2003 iComm conference where he presented a keynote and welcome address. My impression at the time was, All in all this was one of the best presentations on economic theory and its practical applications I have ever seen. Brady is a dynamic presenter with an unbelievable command of financial terminology and a man who clearly came across as a true captain of industry. -- Posted Thursday, March 22, 2007 by chb

Samsung reveals second-gen UMPC
According to a Reuters report, Samsung showed a second generation of its Ultra Mobile PC, the Q1 Ultra, at CeBIT. Samsung had expected to sell about 100,000 units of the first-gen Q1, but did not reach that goal. The Q1 Ultra has an improved keyboard, longer battery life, better wireless, is more handy, has a better display, navigation and mobile TV, and two cameras. Samsung expects to sell 200-300k units in the coming year, at a price of almost US$1,600. Our take: It's a reach. No matter how many features a UMPC has, it's a tough sell when you can buy a full function notebook for a few hundred bucks. Maybe the UMPC should concentrate on a) ultra-low cost, and b) rugged/vertical models. -- Posted Friday, March 16, 2007 by chb

Syware mobile tools now fully Vista-compatible
Syware announced that their mobile development tools are now fully compatible with the Microsoft Windows Vista operating system. Syware's powerful mobility development tools make it easy to build applications for all types of Windows Mobile devices: Pocket PC, Pocket PC Phone Edition and Smartphone. SYWARE, Inc.'s products continue to support all previous 32-bit Windows operating systems and are fully backward compatible. -- Posted Thursday, March 15, 2007 by chb

Psion introduces 8515 touchscreen vehicle-mount
Psion Teklogix introduced a compact, lightweight vehicle-mount computer in the XScale-powered 8515. It's a modern, full-function tablet with integrated QWERTY keyboard and ten function keys for easy operation. The 6.4-inch VGA touchscreen has special anti-reflective and anti-glare treatment. The 8515 offers excellent connectivity both wireless (802.11b/g and Bluetooth) and wired (3 USB and UART DE9). It's also a tough unit with a high-impact polycarbonate shell, IP65 sealing and all the requisite environmental testing. [read our description and specs] -- Posted Thursday, March 15, 2007 by chb

F-Origin announces HaptiTouch 2.0 for next-gen touch navigation
F-Origin, providers of touchscreen, motion control and UI technologies announced HaptiTouch 2.0. This new product release enables OEMs and ODMs to quickly and efficiently integrate intelligent and easy-to-use touchscreens into mobile phones, portable computing devices, interactive kiosks and terminal devices. HaptiTouch now supports devices of all types along with displays ranging from small mobile phones to screens as large as 15 inches. HaptiTouch's highly customizable API can be implemented with multiple operating systems. -- Posted Tuesday, March 13, 2007 by chb

Intermec's 2007 Webinars: Insight into latest supply chain trends and technologies
Intermec has released the schedule for its 2007 Webinar Series, with information designed to improve efficiency and establish best practices with the latest technologies. The 60-minute live webcasts cover a range of topics, including RFID compliance and asset tracking, the proposed Electronic On Board Recorder (EOBR) rule, working in hazardous environments and the surge in 2D bar code use. [see Intermec 2007 webinar schedule] -- Posted Tuesday, March 13, 2007 by chb

"New" AT&T issues red Treos and Blackberrys
Reminiscent of the days when Apple offered all those different-colored first gen iMacs, AT&T announced an eye-catching, dark ruby-colored version of the BlackBerry Pearl, a 4.2 x 1.97 x .57 device that weighs just 3.1 ounces, and a striking crimson version of the Treo 680. The red BlackBerry Pearl is the first wireless handset to be branded for the new AT&T. At Pen Computing, we like to have all those color choices, but better digital voice quality and not so many dropped calls would be even nicer...
-- Posted Monday, March 12, 2007 by chb

FlipStart near release, blogger has demo on YouTube
The Vulcan FlipStart, a tiny PC has been in the making for quite some time, but now it seems like it's finally going to be released. Preview units run on a 1.1GHz Pentium M , have 512MB of RAM, a 30GB drive, Windows XP (Vista possible), integrated EV-DO, 1024 x 600 Wide SVGA 5.6" display, 802.11b/g, and a webcam. James Kendrick presents a nice hands-on review of the Flipstart including a YouTube video. -- Posted Wednesday, March 7, 2007 by chb

Samsung ships hybrid hard drives
Samsung announced availability of its hybrid hard drive in 80GB, 120GB and 160GB capacities. Optimized to work with Vista notebooks, the Samsung MH80 is a 2.5-inch hybrid hard drive with 128 or 256 MB of flash. It combines a hard disk drive with a OneNAND Flash cache and Microsoft’s ReadyDrive software, offering faster boot and resume times (up to 50%), increased battery life and greater reliability because the hard disk doesn't have to constantly spin when the computer is on battery power. As a result, the drive is less susceptible to shock damage, data loss and repairs. The drive can also operate at a lower temperature than a regular hard drive. -- Posted Wednesday, March 7, 2007 by chb

PDAMill merges into Nav N Go, discontinues Palm development
PDAMill has merged with Nav N Go and changed its name to Nav N Go Game Studios. The company also announced that they are discontinuing all of products for the Palm OS platform. They did this because some of their Palm OS products worked on a device by device basis and because of recent developments with the Palm OS platform itself. Nav N Go was originally known for GPS solutions, including the much praised iGO My Way GPS navigation product, but quickly expanded beyond expectations and continues to grow. Emphasis will now be on Windows Mobile, BREW, J2ME (mobile Java), and Symbian devices. -- Posted Monday, March 5, 2007 by chb

Useful free white papers
Tech Republic, a free service that makes available white papers on a variety of technical subjects, has added a paper on HP Compaq Thin Clients. While there, poke around for other white papers of interests. -- Posted Monday, March 5, 2007 by chb

IP68-rated imaging device
It's not a mobile computer, but every time we come across a device that is the equivalent of IP68 rated, can handle temperatures down to 14 degrees and still work, and surives 5-foot drops, we listen. What we're talking about is the Stylus 770 SW digital camera from Olympus. They call it waterproof, shockproof, temperatureproof and crushproof. And it is. We took pictures with it at a depth of 67 feet and had it underwater for hours at a time. [Read review of the waterproof Olympus 770] -- Posted Friday, March 2, 2007 by chb