October 2005

Garmin adds another GPS Pocket PC
The GPS/mapping specialists at Garmin were the first to offer Palm OS devices with built-in GPS receivers. Then they added a Pocket PC version with very similar looks. The iQUE M5 impressed us so much that it was given a 2005 Pen Computing Magazine Editor's Choice Award. Problem is, at $699 the price was a bit high and so Garmin released a stripped down iQUE M3 version with a slower processor, less ROM, no Bluetooth, and less mapping software for US$200 less. The just released iQUE M4 is essentially the M3 with a couple of improvemens and a full complement of Garmin's best mappoing software. The sole problem we see is the price of $642, just $58 below the list price of the more powerful M5. -- Posted Monday, October 31, 2005 by chb

FinePoint's new digitizer in three new Tablet PCs
One of the sore points in Tablet PCs is the active digitizer where Wacom holds a virtual monopoly. At some point Mutoh America was a player in active digitizers thanks to having taken over tablet maker Kurta (founded in 1979). Mutoh sold the Kurta line in 1996, but retained the engineering staff and the electromagnetic pen technology. In 2000, the digitizer business spun off Mutoh America and formed FinePoint Innovations. The FinePoint digitizer managed to get a few design wins in Tablet PCs, most notably the initial Compaq tc1000 Tablet PC, but lost ground to Wacom. One of the problems was that the FinePoint pen needed a battery and was thus thicker than Wacom's slender pens. Well, in September 2005, FinePoint was purchased by InPlay Technologies in a roughly $3 million stock transaction. InPlay is in the business of marketing and licensing emerging technologies. InPlay was interested because FinePoint had developed a new digitizer technology and had orders for over $1 million in the bag. FinePoint now announced that its new digitizer technology is used in "a major computer manufacturer's new product line of convertible notebooks" and that FinePoint now has a total of $3.1 million in orders. The company wasn't named, but FinePoint hinted it had an established 20-year history. FinePoint also states that its new digital technology means very low power consumption of the notebook battery and superior performance, accuracy, and a true pen-on-paper look and feel. -- Posted Friday, October 28, 2005 by chb

Sun Microsystems announces integrated RFID solution
RFID is hot and getting hotter all the time, which means we're seeing more big player get into the action. Sun Microsystems announced the availability of the Sun RFID Industry Solution for Physical Asset Tracking, a combination of products and services to help simplify and accelerate the process of designing and integrating an RFID solution for tracking physical assets. Sun's RFID solution is based on the Solaris 10 OS, Sun Java Enterprise System and Sun Java System RFID Software. The solution is packaged with third-party components and applications, such as the RFID-enabled mobile asset management system from Applied Logistics Solutions and is capable of working with many of the commonly available RFID readers, including the Intermec IF5 intelligent reader and Intelleflex ultra-long-range battery-assisted semi-passive RFID tags and readers. [Sun's RFID page] -- Posted Wednesday, October 26, 2005 by chb

Imation has a better idea: the Swivel USB key
USB keys are one of the really great inventions of recent times. I carry a gigabyte of storage on my keychain. When I need to move data from one system to another, it's often much easier to simply use a USB key than to rely on quirky networks. One big problem: I've eventually lost the cap of every USB key I've ever had. Apparently Imation noticed that weakness and introduced the Swivel Pro Flash Drive. Its swivel cap that easily swivels and snaps into place. It also sports a 50% increase in read speed and now can read files at 12MB per second, and an asymmetrical makes it easier to identify the top of the drive to put it into the USB the right way. There's also a quick-release lanyard. Capacities range from 128MB to 2GB suggested retail prices from $24.99 to $199.99. [see Swivel Flash drive page] -- Posted Wednesday, October 26, 2005 by chb

PHT Corp uses Palms to collect medical data
Palm, Inc. announced that PHT Corporation, one of its leading clinical trials customers, is using 1,500 Palm Treo 650 smartphones to collect and wirelessly transmit self-reported data from subjects using PHT's customized LogPad application in clinical trials across the globe. PHT plans to roll out the initial set of smartphones over a six-month period for use during a series of clinical trials. PHT has deployed more than 20,000 Palm handhelds in the past two years and is at the forefront of smartphone use in clinical research. More than 70 biopharmaceutical and medical device companies, including 13 of the top 15 drug-development firms in the world, use PHT's market-leading electronic patient reported outcome (ePRO) solutions in more than 180 clinical studies worldwide. -- Posted Tuesday, October 25, 2005 by chb

RouteView mapping saves on trucking fuel expenses
With fuel prices at record highs, companies providing delivery services can saving tens of thousands of dollars in delivery expenses -- as much as 30 percent of their costs in fuel, mileage and manpower -- by using a unique and powerful product called RouteView. RouteView from RouteView Technologies is a map-based software system that turns hours of route planning into minutes, ensures correct addresses and efficient routes, helps to balance workloads, calculates mileage and sets a productive pace to help drivers. RouteView slashes as much as 30% of fuel and other delivery costs of home furnishings, appliance and wholesale distribution companies--a great application of wireless mobile technology. [see GPS/wireless version info] -- Posted Monday, October 24, 2005 by chb

Symbol adds pistol grip, WinMo 5.0, WiFi to MC3000
Symbol Technologies expanded the breadth of the MC3000 family of mobile computers (winner of the 2005 Pen Computing Magazine Editor's Choice Award) by introducing a new pistol grip form factor. The new MC3090G model offers customers in the retail, transportation and logistics and government industries increased flexibility and versatility allowing them to choose the form factor most appropriate to their business. Symbol also announced today that it will refresh its MC3000 line of mobile computers to include Microsoft Windows CE 5.0 and additional features such as 802.11b/g/a WLAN connectivity. [see release]

-- Posted Monday, October 24, 2005 by chb

LISTEN to blogs and news with Odigo
For those who like to listen to news instead of reaing it, try Odiogo, an application that enables users to listen to the latest news content from hundreds of news sources and blogs via MP3 players, PDAs, phones, or laptop computers. Odiogo ("Audio News To Go") extracts blog posts or articles from news sites (such as The New York Times, CNN, and The Wall Street Journal) and converts them to light audio files in seconds. The files can then easily be uploaded to any MP3 device. Odiogo converts the content on any website containing RSS feeds into small audio files using text-to-speech technology. -- Posted Thursday, October 20, 2005 by chb

GE Healthcare offers mobile extension to PatientKeeper
GE Healthcare announced today the release of Centricity Physician Office Mobile. Powered by the PatientKeeper computing platform for physicians, the new offering extends the functionality of Centricity Physician Office to mobile devices such as PDAs and Smartphones. Physicians can access and manage their patient lists and schedules and capture charges quickly and accurately -- from any location. Physicians can wirelessly sync or cradle their devices to connect with Centricity Physician Office. Charges captured on the device are automatically submitted, reducing the lag time between service delivery and charge posting. [info on PatientKeeper] -- Posted Thursday, October 20, 2005 by chb

NAVTEQ releases new data set tailored for trucking industry
Digital map provider NAVTEQ released a new data set, specifically tailored for the trucking industry, that includes truck access restriction and recommended truck route information linked to the NAVTEQ map of North America. This data enables transportation and logistics solution providers that use NAVTEQ maps to enhance routing solutions, multi-vehicle optimization applications and truck navigation products. The new truck attribute data provides both restriction and recommended route information. The restriction attributes include legal, height, weight, length and width specific information for segments of roadway. The data set also offers Surface Transportation Assistant Act (STAA) routes: Federal Highway Administration designated highway networks that can best accommodate truck traffic. This information will allow solution providers to develop routes optimized for fleets. -- Posted Tuesday, October 18, 2005 by chb

Symbol announces two Partner programs
Symbol Technologies announced two programs to help customers reduce deployment time and implement an interoperable end-to-end enterprise mobility system: the Solutions Validation Program and the SymbolPLUS Partner Program. Both are designed to validate third-party vertical market solutions and technologies with Symbol hardware so customers can eliminate significant cost and hassle in evaluating these solutions. The Solutions Validation Program lets partners co-validate applications and solutions on Symbol hardware, including the MC50 enterprise data assistant (reviewed in the latest issue of Pen Computing Magazine) and the MC9000 mobile computer within the recently built Symbol Solution Center, a testing facility located at Symbol's Holtsville, N.Y. headquarters. The SymbolPLUS Partner Program validates third-party peripheral devices such as wireless printers and GPS receivers to help make sure these products operate "out of the box" with Symbol products and solutions. [Symbol Partner Program] -- Posted Tuesday, October 18, 2005 by chb

PalmSource among first to join Mobile Linux initiative
The Open Source Development Labs (OSDL), a global consortium dedicated to accelerating the adoption of Linux, announced the formation of a new working group, the Mobile Linux Initiative (MLI), focused on accelerating the adoption of Linux in the rapidly-growing mobile market. MLI participants will work on operating system technical challenges, foster development of applications for Linux-based mobile devices, deliver requirements definition documents and use cases, and host complementary open source projects that support the initiative. MontaVista Software, Motorola, PalmSource, Trolltech, and Wind River are among the first members to participate in MLI. [see Mobile Linux Initiative] -- Posted Monday, October 17, 2005 by chb

Motorola enters rugged handheld market
Motorola announced its entry into the commercial off-the-shelf rugged mobile computing market with the rugged HC700-L flashlight-style handheld. The first in a series, the HC700-L is designed to meet the rigorous demands of mobile workforces in a variety of industries including utility, transportation, logistics, public works, public services and manufacturing. The device is built around a 416MHz Intel PXA270 chip, has 64 to 128MB of SDRAM and 64-128MB of Flash. For expansion there is a MiniSD card. The HC700 supports an area imager, 1/2D decoding sgnature capture, has an LED aimer, and also supports GPS-location services. The device is sealed to IP64 standard, can handle 6-foot drops, and operate in -4 to 140 degree temperatures. A hot-swappable 1800mAH battery provides good battery life. On the OS side, you can get either WinCE .NET or Pocket PC. [pdf of Motorola HC700-L specsheet] -- Posted Monday, October 17, 2005 by chb

Nice Office now on WinMo, Pocket PC and Smartphone
eAgency, a Newport Beach, California-based On-Demand Collaboration software provider announced availability of the company's next-generation Nice Office Wireless solution for use on Windows Mobile, Pocket PC and Smartphone devices. Now compatible with the latest wireless devices using Microsoft's Windows Mobile, including HP iPaq, Audivox PPC, i-mate JAM, Dell Axim, and Samsung models, Nice Office Wireless, designed for the small-to-medium business market, offers complete wireless synchronization of sales and customer data, industry data, along with emails, calendar information, appointments, and contacts. [see eAgency Nice Office] -- Posted Friday, October 14, 2005 by chb

Palm launches US$99 Z22
In a well-timed and much appreciated one-two punch, Palm not only launched the intriguing new TX, but also the handsomely styled $99 Z22. That's just "Z22", not "Zire Z22." The new lossleader device, quite obviously aimed at first-time PDA users and others who like things simple and inexpensive, runs "Garnet" Palm OS 5.4 on a 200MHZ ARM-based Samsung processor, has 32MB of memory with 24MB available to users, a color 160x160 touchscreen, a has a Mini USB connector. It measures just 2.7 x 4.1 x 0.6 inches and weighs almost nothing: 3.4 ounces. Compared to the prior lossleader, the US$129 Zire 31, the new model has twice the memory, runs the newest version of the Palm OS, but doesn't play music (it can handle photos, though). Palm advertises it on its website as a "Small wonder. Your planner, journal, sticky notes, and calendar all in one little place." [see the Z22 Palm product page] -- Posted Wednesday, October 12, 2005 by chb

Palm releases new Palm TX
Palm announced the new Palm TX handheld (just Palm TX, no "Tungsten") that features integrated Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless technologies, a large, high-resolution 320x480 pixel color screen; and all the power needed to efficiently access and manage information conveniently on the road away from the desktop. The TX sports an all-black housing, runs Palm OS "Garnet" 5.4, has 128MB of memory with 100MB accessible to users, a 312MHz Intel PXA processor, a SDIO slot, a standard 3.5mm stsreo headphone jack, and a multiconnector. It measures 3.1 x 4.8 x 0.6 inches and weighs 5.25 ounces. The Palm TX will have an estimated street price of $299 and includes a very generous software bundle. Compared to the Tungsten T5 whose overall design it shares, the TX adds WiFi and costs $50 less, but has a somewhat slower processor and half the memory. [see Palm TX page] -- Posted Wednesday, October 12, 2005 by chb

State-of-the-art rugged Pocket PC with IP67 sealing
While we haven't seen a lot of new commercial Pocket PCs lately, industrial models keep on coming. Juniper Systems of Logan, Utah, is offering the Archer Field PC, an ultra-rugged Pocket PC with IP67 sealing, a 5-foot drop spec onto concrete and an operating temperature range between -22 to 122 degrees Fahrenheit. The Archer is technologically state-of-the-art with a 520MHz PXA270 processor, Windows Mobile 5.0, CF and SD card slots, 64MB RAM and 128MB Flash, a 3.5-inch transflective display, and optional end caps that can accommodate GPS, radios, barcode scanners or a camera. The Archer also has a 9-pin serial connector in addition to Mini USB A host and Mini USB B device jacks. The unit is a bit larger than it looks in the picture (6.5 x 3.5 x 1.7) and weighs just over a pound. Too bad we couldn' include it in Pen Computing's upcoming roundup of rugged Pocket PCs. -- Posted Tuesday, October 11, 2005 by chb

Wyse releases new Thin Client
There was a time where "webpads," "internet applicances" and similar smart terminal contraptions were seen as the Next Big Thing. Some of those concepts are still around and may yet make it big. One that never went away is the "thin client"--simple, inexpensive devices that provide quick access to information. Wyse Technology is a leader in that field. The company just released their fastest and sleekest Thin Client yet, the S10. Wyse says the S10 is very fast thanks to the new 5.0 version of Wyse Thin OS (formerly known as Wyse Blazer) that works in conjunction with the Citrix server. Interestingly, thin clients are not OS-dependent. Wyse suggests picking the OS best suited for an application (Wyse Blazer/Wyse Thin OS, Windows CE, Linux, Windows XPe) and then the hardware platform. A OS features chart helps deciding. There's also a hardware comparison chart in PDF form. -- Posted Monday, October 10, 2005 by chb

Gateway officially releases its new Tablet PC convertible
Known in insider circles for quite some time, Gateway now officially launched its new convertible notebook Tablet PC (see product page). Officially named the CX2600 Series Convertible Notebook, it is the first convertible notebook available at retail with a 14-inch widescreen display. It is also nicely priced at less than $1,400.00. -- Posted Thursday, October 6, 2005 by chb

BlueShark releases new Win CE 5.0 Thin Clients
BlueShark Technologies announced two new Apriza 5000 Series models. The Windows CE 5.0 based units include a local Internet Explorer 6.0 browser and designed specifically for use with web (IE) and server based (RDP and ICA) applications. The Apriza 5400 and 5410 are powered by a 400MHz, Via Eden embedded processor, have 2 USB ports, 2 serial ports, a parallel port, 2 PS/2 ports and VGA out. They come with 32MB of IDE Flash and 64MB RAM, and have a durable, yet attractive, enclosure that's ready for the most demanding environments. Prices are attractive, starting at under $300. [product overview] -- Posted Thursday, October 6, 2005 by chb

Linux software platform for consumer devices
Wind River Systems, Inc., a leader in Device Software Optimization, announced its Linux device software platform for consumer devices, delivering a commercial-grade quality Linux product line that scales to support a full range of device requirements from the smallest handhelds to the most robust network equipment. Device manufacturers have the flexibility to develop innovative, highly differentiated product offerings with complete assurance from a fully tested and validated Linux 2.6 implementation, a cutting-edge Eclipse-based development suite and global support and professional services from a technology expert with over 20 years of experience. [full release] -- Posted Wednesday, October 5, 2005 by chb

Trimble Introduces Subfoot GPS Handheld for High-Accuracy Mapping
Trimble today introduced the GeoXH handheld receiver—the first integrated GPS field computer to deliver subfoot accuracy for Geographic Information System (GIS) data collection and mapping. The GeoXH handheld is based on Trimble's H-Star technology, first introduced in the GPS Pathfinder® ProXH receiver earlier this year. H-Star handhelds and receivers greatly reduce the time it takes to collect high accuracy GPS data in the field. For even greater accuracy, a Zephyr™ antenna added to the GeoXH handheld yields 8 inch accuracy. The GeoXH uses a 416MHz Intel PXA processor running Windows Mobile Version 5.0 for Pocket PC. -- Posted Wednesday, October 5, 2005 by chb

Toshiba adds goodies to the Satellite R15 Tablet PC convertible
In a press release that could easily be misread as the announcement of a new Tablet PC platform, Toshiba alerted of the availability of new options for its Satellite R15 Tablet PC notebook convertible released in early 2005. The R15-S829 model offers features new to the line, including a DVD SuperMulti Double Layer drive that reads and writes in up to 10 formats and can nearly double a recordable DVD's storage capacity in DVD+R double layer format, and a 5400rpm 80GB hard drive for quicker access to files. The S829 comes with 512MB (expandable to 2GB), a more powerful Intel Pentium M735 processor(5), and, of course, Windows XP Tablet PC Edition 2005. -- Posted Tuesday, October 4, 2005 by chb

Paragon Software's PenReader
Paragon Software's Smart Heldheld Devices division began in 1995 to tackle some Newton projects. That led to specialization in a market niche: RAM-based localization of smart handheld devices. These days, its PenReader handwriting recognition sofwtare is available for Pocket PC, Tablet PC, earlier versions of Windows, and other platforms. The latest version, PenReader 2005, is available for download (trial). It supports 28 languages, so even if you like to scribble in Latvian or Icelandic, try PenReader. For the Tablet PC version, click here. -- Posted Monday, October 3, 2005 by chb

Parascript - still recognizing patterns after all those years
In the early 1990s, handwriting recognition was thought to release computer users worldwide from the shackles of the keyboard, and Paragraph/Parascript was perhaps the best of those recognition pioneers. Many are gone now, but Parascript is still here, with its Intelligent Recognition recognizing 250 million documents for the US Postal Service and other institutions every day. The company's flagship product AddressScript is now available for Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Canada as well. The universal OCR solution is based, in large part, on the use of independent "learning" modules, resulting in automated customization to country-specific writing styles and addressing standards. Benefits include: lower customization expenses, shorter implementation time, increased recognition performance and improved system reliability. AddressScript provides superb read rate and accuracy, reads both handwritten and machine-print text, and recognizes addresses across the entire mail stream, including letters, flats and parcels. -- Posted Monday, October 3, 2005 by chb