June 2006

MobiTV available now on WinMo devices
MobiTV, Inc., the global leader in television and digital radio services for cellular, WiFi and broadband enabled devices, today announced the immediate availability of the MobiTV service for Windows Mobile powered phones and devices. Windows Mobile 5.0 Smartphones feature full-screen viewing, a home-like electronic programming guide and much more. Available on new and popular devices including the Sprint 6700, Cingular 2125, Motorola Q and Palm's Treo 700w, consumers of MobiTV on Windows Mobile powered devices can access a broad range of channels from top-tier content providers. For a complete list of content partners or to sign up for MobiTV for Windows Mobile devices, please visit www.mobitv.com. The MobiTV service for Windows Mobile is also available at www.handango.com. -- Posted Thursday, June 29, 2006 by chb

Digital handheld TV heating up
According to Digitimes, Taiwan's Asuka Semiconductor released the ARA K-60 which the company says is the world's smallest handheld digital TV, measuing just 4.6 x 3 x 0.8 inches and weighing about six ounces. The K-60 has a 3-inch TFT screen with 960x240 pixel resolution, and is compliant with the DVB-T standard (i.e., it can receive digital TV and radio broadcasts) and runs three hours on a lithium-polymer battery. -- Posted Thursday, June 29, 2006 by chb

Several UMPCs to use Synaptics TouchStyk
Synaptics, a developer of interface solutions for mobile computing, communications, and entertainment devices, announced the adoption of its capacitive TouchStyk solution in a number of recently announced Ultra-Mobile portable computer (UMPC) devices. Synaptics possesses more than 50 percent market share in notebook computers. The UMPC is a fully functional computer with complete PC and internet capabilities that offer location adaptability, allowing the UMPC to interact with other digital devices in the user's lifestyle in the home, at the office, or on the road. Synaptics' TouchStyk provides consumers with simple one-handed cursor navigation on the UMPC display. [see FAQ on how technology works] -- Posted Wednesday, June 28, 2006 by chb

Nokia outlines mobile TV pilot
Nokia will test the Nokia Mobile Broadcast System 3.0 and Nokia N92 mobile TV devices in a 400 consumer pilot test from October to December 2006 in Stockholm. The DVB-H-based project is a co-operation between ATG, Boxer, Nokia, Sveriges Radio, Sveriges Television/UR, Telenor and Teracom. Pilot participants can watch 14 TV channels and listen to four radio channels in the Stockholm city region. The objective is to evaluate what Swedish consumers think about commercial broadcast mobile TV. -- Posted Wednesday, June 28, 2006 by chb

Intel sells unit that makes XScale processors
Suddenly floundering Intel announced it will sells its communication and application processor unit to Marvell Technology Group. This is the unit that makes the XScale processors used in most handheld devices including virtually all Pocket PCs and also RIM Blackberrys. -- Posted Tuesday, June 27, 2006 by chb

Digital camera and PDA combine to create reader for the blind
The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) unveiled a groundbreaking device, the Kurzweil-National Federation of the Blind Reader. The portable Reader, developed by NFB and inventor Ray Kurzweil, enables users to take pictures of and read most printed materials at the click of a button. Users merely hold "the camera that talks" over print -- a letter, bills, a restaurant menu, an airline ticket, a business card, or an office memo -- and in seconds they hear the contents of the printed document played back in clear synthetic speech. Combining a state-of-the-art digital camera with a powerful PDA, the Reader puts the best available character-recognition software together with text-to-speech conversion technology -- all in a single handheld device. [see Blind Reader page] -- Posted Monday, June 26, 2006 by chb

Windows Vista enables universal pen input
Digitizer pen technology pioneer Wacom emphasizes Microsoft's upcoming Vista release introduces significant pen input features for a faster, easier and more efficient computing experience. Wacom pen tablet and pen display users will enjoy intuitive new Vista-enabled note taking resources, handwriting recognition and time-saving gesture control options. The combination of Vista's built-in support for pen input and Wacom's capabilities as a source of advanced input technology will also enable software developers and other hardware manufacturers to integrate compelling pen and touch input capabilities into future products. [ -- Posted Monday, June 26, 2006 by chb

HopStop.com site for PDAs and other mobile devices
HopStop.com, the most-used site for subway and bus directions in the United States, today announced the launch of HopStop PDA. Consumers can now access HopStop's services from their PDA and other web-enabled devices. Visitors who visit HopStop.com from their Blackberry, Treo or other similar devices and will automatically be taken to a version of HopStop made for small screens. -- Posted Monday, June 26, 2006 by chb

Next Nokia minitablet to stay away from cellular also
news.com reports that Nokia is pleased with the success of its little Nokia 770 Linux tablet and is looking at a mext generation of internet-only devices. Like the 770, the follow-up products will not have cellular connectivity. A Nokia VP said, "The biggest thing is that we don't want to be part of the cellular value chain,... We want to be a little bit out of that world. Once you put a SIM card in, it's automatically controlled by the operator." Our take: Truer words have never been spoken. PDAs were supposed to be totally personal devices. As soon as they become cellphones, they belong to the phone company and its plans. Bye bye personal.

-- Posted Friday, June 23, 2006 by chb

Fujitsu Lifebook B6210 blurs line between TPC and notebook
Fujitsu announced the ultra-portable LifeBook B6210 touch screen notebook, enhanced with longer battery life and the latest Intel Core Solo ULV Processor. The 3.2 pound B6210, geared towards healthcare, field-force automation and other forms-intensive workplaces, has a 12.1-inch XGA display with a touch screen and comes with either XP Tablet PC Edition 2005 or standard XP Pro. A large 6-cell battery delivers up to eight hours of battery life. The B6210 offers great security with embedded Trusted Platform Module, Smart Card, optional biometric fingerprint sensor, Fujitsu Security Application Panel with over 800,000 possible combinations, two-level hard drive password protection, and a security lock slot. The B6210 with the Tablet PC Edition 2005 starts at $1,649. -- Posted Thursday, June 22, 2006 by chb

Windows CE 6.0 in 2007
Digitimes.com reports: "Microsoft will officially launch Windows CE 6.0 OS for embedded and mobile devices in the first half of 2007 - a move which is likely to bring Windows CE 6.0-powered handheld devices to the market in the second half of next year, according to Eddie Wu, Microsoft's senior director of device solutions sales, Asia and worldwide ODM ecosystems. Wu made the remark yesterday in Taipei as the software giant launched a beta version of its Windows CE 6.0 in the Taiwan market. According to Wu, Microsoft's Windows CE embedded system currently accounted for 30% of the world's handheld device market, with the percentage points climbing to 50% in the PDA segment. Overall, about 10 million handheld devices (excluding GPS devices) used globally are powered by Windows Mobile 5.0, Wu added. -- Posted Wednesday, June 21, 2006 by chb

Gaggle of Hollywood celebs summoned to SideKick 3 launch
T-Mobile unveiled the T-Mobile Sidekick 3, the next generation of its iconic Sidekick device, at an exclusive, invite-only launch event at the Palladium in Hollywood. The Sidekick 3 has a new sleek design that is 20 percent smaller than its predecessor, and features a new trackball for easy one-handed navigation and integrated Bluetooth technology for wireless headset use. The device is also enhanced with a new MP3 player, built-in support for the three major IM clients and integrated support for EDGE, providing faster download speeds. There's also a built-in megapixel camera. All those major and minor celebs are cool, but we sure hope the thing works as advertised. -- Posted Wednesday, June 21, 2006 by chb

Guide to Wireless Handset Processors
In 2005, about 70 million application processors shipped into cell phones and PDAs, according to The Linley Group. About 43 million of these units went into smartphones and 15 million more into PDAs. The remaining 12 million application processors went into 3G phones and other high-end feature phones. TI's OMAP was the most popular application processor in 2005, followed by Intel's Bulverde (XScale). Products based on TI's OMAP2 processor are already shipping, while products based on Intel's next-generation Monahans chip should appear late in 2006. OMAP2 combines a 330MHz ARM11 CPU with integrated hardware engines for security, 3D graphics, audio, and video functions. Monahans, in contrast, can run its CPU at speeds of 1GHz, but it relies on software for most security and multimedia functions. TI's hardware-based approach reduces power during multimedia operations, but Intel's fast CPU offers headroom for general-purpose software. Complete coverage of these products and the market for application processors appears in The Linley Group's new report, "A Guide to Wireless Handset Processors." [Subscribe to The Linley Group's free newsletters] -- Posted Monday, June 19, 2006 by chb

Samsung adds distributors for its Q1 UMPC
Samsung announced that it has expanded retail distribution of its new Samsung Q1 Ultra Mobile PC due to strong initial sales and growing customer excitement for the device. Launched May 1 in the US, the Samsung Q1 is now sold in all 32 Fry's Electronics stores and soon will be available at various Best Buy stores in Texas. Initially, the Q1 was sold via Best Buy's e-tail outlet, www.bestbuy.com/ultramobilepc, and at www.CDW.com. "The Q1 was in high demand from the moment it debuted on the Best Buy and CDW websites," said David A. Nichols, Director, Display Marketing, Samsung Electronics America. "That demand is what's driven us to make the Q1 available at all Fry's Electronics stores plus the Texas-based Best Buy outlets. In addition, we'll soon be announcing yet another distributor for the Q1." -- Posted Monday, June 19, 2006 by chb

Prolifiq introduces OnPoint Mobile for Blackberry
Prolifiq Software Inc. announced OnPoint Mobile for BlackBerry. The application provides business users with from-anywhere access to mobile-ready messaging templates. With a few thumb wheel clicks, mobile sales teams can send critical sales and marketing information to their customers and prospects. OnPoint Mobile is accessed through an icon on the BlackBerry Home screen. -- Posted Monday, June 19, 2006 by chb

New full reviews posted
We posted full reviews of the durable Twinhead Durabook N14RA, as well as Motion Computing's diminutive LS800 Tablet PC slate and Toshiba's full-size Tecra M4 Tablet PC convertible. -- Posted Friday, June 16, 2006 by chb

Healthcare software developer launches website for mobile devices
Advanced medical information systems developer, Global Care Quest, Inc. today announced the launch of GCQMobile.com, a specialized version of the company's website designed for easy access via smartphones, PDAs and other handhelds. Site visitors can read industry news, access product info, request support and even download and install the company's mobile Integrated Clinical Information System (ICIS Mobile) product directly from any PocketPC or WindowsMobile-powered device. -- Posted Friday, June 16, 2006 by chb

HTC tries own brand approach
Taiwan's HTC (High Tech Computer) for many years has been by far the leading designer and maker of Windows CE/Windows Mobile-based Pocket PCs and, more recently, Phone Editions, and Smartphones. Without HTC, there might never have been an iPAQ as we know it, and without HTC, the whole Pocket PC market might have developed in a whole different way, or not at all. Until now, HTC-made products were exclusievly sold under other brandnames. But now HTC changed its mind and will start selling handhelds and smartphones under its own name. The first such product are the HTC TyTN, also known as codename Hermes, and the HTC MTeoR. The TyTN is a handsome Windows Mobile 5.0 device with tr-band UMTS 3G radio options for international roaming, in addition to the usual GSM/GPRS, EDGE, WiFi and Bluetooth. There's a micro SD card, a slide-out keyboard, and a 2 megapixel camera. The MTeoR is a small 3G WinMo 5.0 Smartphone with a 2.2" screen and a 1.3 megapixel camera. -- Posted Thursday, June 15, 2006 by chb

Towards a globally adopted open mobile Linux platform
Motorola, NEC, NTT DoCoMo, Panasonic Mobile Communications, Samsung Electronics, and Vodafone announced their intent to establish the world's first global, open Linux-based software platform for mobile devices. A world-class Linux-based platform aims to provide key benefits for the mobile industry including lower development costs, increased flexibility, and a richer mobile ecosystem -- all of which contribute to the group's ultimate objective of creating compelling, differentiated and enhanced consumer experiences. Our take: We believe it when we see it. There have been many efforts to bring Linux to handhelds, yet most remained quite proprietary or were little more than technology demonstrations. -- Posted Thursday, June 15, 2006 by chb

Cingular introduces direct push for the 8125 and 2125
Cingular Wireless will offer its business customers access to corporate email via Direct Push Technology, a feature of Windows Mobile 5.0 with the Messaging and Security Feature Pack upgrade, beginning on June 19, 2006. The solution initially will be available on the Cingular 8100 series Pocket PC and Cingular 2125 Smartphone. Direct Push Technology delivers an enhanced mobile experience to organizations that use Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 by pushing updates to email, calendar items, contacts and tasks as they arrive directly from the Exchange Server to the devices. Direct Push Technology data plans are $44.99 and 29.99 with a qualifying voice plan for unlimited Internet and email access for the Cingular 8100 and 2125, respectively. -- Posted Wednesday, June 14, 2006 by chb

Skyscape launches RxPlan for mobile devices
Skyscape, a service for medical information by specialty for mobile devices, introduced the latest in formulary technology with RxPlan, a comprehensive and accurate compendium of health plan formularies. RxPlan contains formularies for over 4700 health plans, including Medicare Part D and Medicaid. It continuously updates the status of over 12,000 drugs, and enables RxPlan prescribers the ability to offer choices based on patient health plan coverage. Designed for Palm, Pocket PC, Windows Mobile PDAs and Windows PCs/TabletPCs, RxPlan searches by drug name, drug class or clinical system and allows the prescriber to browse drug lists within each formulary, giving the status of the drug coverage and automatically selecting possible alternatives for the patient -- reducing hassles and improving efficiency so the prescriber can better focus on delivering the best care. Skyscape has a registered user base of over 550,000 medical practitioners. -- Posted Wednesday, June 14, 2006 by chb

Wyse beefs up WIn CE 5.0 for Thin Computing
Wyse Technology, the global leader in thin computing, announced exclusive enhancements to Windows CE 5.0 for its thin clients. Wyse Feature Release 2 will be offered in new devices and as an upgrade for current customers. Windows CE 5.0 WFR2 delivers the first industry-standard Atheros-based wireless 802.11a/b/g solution for Win CE; USB Wi-Fi LAN adapter support for thin computing environments; support for WPA-2 and PEAP-GTC authentication protocols for strong 802.11x wireless authentication; a performance-enhanced Citrix ICA 9.0 client for application virtualization and access infrastructure applications; integrated Ericom PowerTerm terminal emulators for legacy systems connectivity; new Terminal Services Advanced Client (TSAC) functionality that connects and launches RDP sessions from within Internet Explorer as ActiveX components; and improved RDP performance under low bandwidth conditions. -- Posted Tuesday, June 13, 2006 by chb

Epson shows 7.1-inch electronic paper
Digitimes reports on Epson showing a 7.1-inch diagonal display on a flexible plastic substrate at the Society for Information Display symposium in San Francisco. The screen has extremely high resolution (1,536 x 2,048 pixels), has a 10:1 contrast ratio, and does not need power to retain information. The display is just 1/50th of an inch thick and uses E-Ink technology. -- Posted Monday, June 12, 2006 by chb

Smartphone market continues to surge
According to IDC, the worldwide smartphone market continues to grow. 18.9 million shipped in the first quarter of 2006, up 67.8% from the same quarter last year. Nokia led, by far, with 43.2%, followed by Panasonic (10%), NEC (9.5%), RIM (7.7%), Sharp (5.7%). Our take: Almost 20 million shipped per quarter means around 80 million a year. That's about ten times more than the currently anemic traditional PDA market, but still only a small fraction of the overall cellphone market. Further, the terms "converged mobile device" and "smartphone" are vague and one would need to know exactly what is involved in order for the above figures to be truly meaningful. -- Posted Friday, June 9, 2006 by chb

The totally unique NeoNode smartphone
Based on Windows Mobile, the NeoNode smartphone has a unique touchscreen and user interface that may well revolutionize how phones are used. We did a detailed review of the NeoNode N1 as a coming attraction of what the long-expected NeoNode N2 will offer. [ see detailed NeoNode review] -- Posted Thursday, June 8, 2006 by chb

NTT DoCoMo to market Blackberries in Japan
NTT DoCoMo and RIM announced that DoCoMo will start marketing RIM's BlackBerry handheld devices to its corporate customers in autumn 2006. DoCoMo will provide the devices to further meet corporate users' needs for mobile business solutions. BlackBerry Enterprise Server software tightly integrates with Microsoft Exchange, IBM Lotus Domino and Novell GroupWise, and enables secure, push-based wireless access to email and other corporate data. The BlackBerries to be sold in Japan will operate on both W-CDMA (UMTS) and GSM/GPRS networks and will be useable around the world for voice and packet communications. -- Posted Thursday, June 8, 2006 by chb

Origami/UMPC woes - oh my...
Well folks, on the one side we have Microsoft and it's apparently immovable belief that Windows XP is a one-size-fits-all solution that must be on every device, from desktop with giant display down to Ultra-Mobile PCs and even smaller machines like the OQO, devices whose display is barely larger than that of a Pocket PC. One the other side we have hardware OEMs who must shoehorn all of XP into ever tinier packages, a quest akin to squeezing all of Oprah into Halle Berry's catsuit. Apart from the fact that the XP interface was never designed for a small screen and thus works poorly, the hardware requirements are enormous. So OEMs struggle. The general reaction to UMPCs has been that they are sluggish and have awful battery life. Now Samsung wants to switch from Intel to AMD, and others use ViA. Those are just bandaids. And if sluggish UMPCs with lousy battery life weren't bad enough, their high prices keep the rest of the potential buyer's away. Not a pretty situation. -- Posted Thursday, June 8, 2006 by chb

Fujitsu T4210 TPC convertible has bi-directional hinge
Ever since the first prototype of Acer's TPC convertible, tablet convertible enthusiasts have had not only to put up with the little-satisfying pivot hinge solution, but also the fact that the thing only turned clockwise. Heck, even big stickers didn't keep many from erroneously twisting the other way, at times with sad results. So Fujitsu took action when it released the LifeBook T4210, the fifth generation of its popular TPC convertible. You can now turn the screen pivot both clockwise and counterclockwise. A small thing and not a total solution to the pivot, but appreciated nonetheless. The T4210 uses, surprise, an Intel Core Duo, has a modular media bay that can accommodate a second battery, has a wide viewing angle 12.1-inch XGA screen, and offers excellent battery life (6.5 hours with one, 11 hours with two). There are dual digital microphones, a dedicated SmartCard slot, a fingerprint swipe sensor, and the usual complement of ports and interfaces. The T4210 weighs just 4.2 pounds and starts at US$1,729. [see full release] -- Posted Wednesday, June 7, 2006 by chb

Amtrak launches mobile website and reservations.
Amtrak customers may now check train status or make or change a reservation from anywhere using a PDA with web access. Powered by LIFT Mobile, a server-based technology developed by UsableNet, Amtrak Mobile allows mobile device users to easily view up-to-date train status information and obtain wireless access to key functions available on http://www.Amtrak.com using the system's mouse-less navigation feature. This interface for mobile devices is available to BlackBerry, Treo, and Pocket PC users as well as through most cell phones. [view Amtrak mobile site]
-- Posted Tuesday, June 6, 2006 by chb

Novel computing device put to the test
Seamless Internet Inc., announced that TranStar Communications Systems of LaVerne, CA has ordered one hundred Seamless Internet Next Generation Mobile Computing Devices. TranStar applies communications and display technology to in-flight aviation and will use a variation of the Next Gen Mobile Device specially modified for in-flight computing and entertainment use. "The Seamless Internet Device is the ideal form factor for future airline entertainment and communications systems," said Dick Bertagna, President of TranStar Communications Systems. Seamless has redesigned the Next Gen Device, which won a Consumer Electronics Show "Best of Innovations" award, as a robust portable business computer measuring 5" x 4" x 2" with a 4" screen, weighing less than 12 ounces and offering a computing platform with communications and entertainment functionality and a fold-out keyboard. -- Posted Tuesday, June 6, 2006 by chb

"Thin" computing making inroads?
Wyse Technology, a leader in thin computing, announced successful implementations of its recently announced OS and application streaming technology, Wyse Streaming Manager (WSM), as a full-featured infrastructure desktop software solution for school districts. WSM delivers to students and administrators a set of applications using thin computers. Security, manageability and lower total cost of ownership benefits are key factors for schools' IT budgets. WSM can be used in combination with Citrix Presentation Server, or Microsoft Terminal Services, to offer a complete PC experience, but on thin computers without hard disks or Flash memory, reducing risks around management, theft and security. WSM also enables the use of richer media (sound, video and animation) applications than historically possible. WSM makes these powerful solutions even more attractive and useful for the school IT administrator. -- Posted Tuesday, June 6, 2006 by chb

AvantGo for RSS
iAnywhere, a subsidiary of Sybase, announced the general availability of RSS (Really Simple Syndication) features for its popular AvantGo mobile Internet service. With AvantGo for RSS, users can easily view mobile RSS subscriptions for free. AvantGo users can add any RSS feed to their account, without installing additional software, and then synchronize using a wireless or desktop Internet connection to receive the feed items in a format optimized for their device. -- Posted Tuesday, June 6, 2006 by chb

Samsung shows interesting displays at SID 2006
The SID (Society for Information Display) takes place in San Francisco June 4-6. A variety of vendors are showing products that may well have a significant impact on displays and touchscreens used in future mobile products. Samsung showed a 3.5-inch LCD with an embedded touch screen they call a 640 x 480 pixel hTSP (Hybrid Touch Screen). This design does not require a separate printed circuit board because the circuitry is within the panel, making for a thinner, lighter display. In addition, Samsung showed a 7-inch plastic LCD. -- Posted Monday, June 5, 2006 by chb