An e-mail rocket in your pocket

An e-mail rocket in your pocket

Tariq K. Muhammad

Portable e-mail device keeps you in the loop

Laptops are great all-purpose machines for road warriors. They’re also heavy, especially if you only use it to keep up with e mail. Lightening that load was the impetus behind the latest e-mail-only devices to hit the market. JVC and Pocket Science have teamed up to debut the first portable e-mail device. The JVC HC-E100 has a clamshell design and is small enough for a pocketbook or briefcase.

The HC-E100 forgoes modems and jacks for an acoustic coupler mounted on the bottom of the device. To send and receive mail just dial PocketMail’s 800-number and align the telephone receiver with the coupler. A recorded message will prompt you to press the send/receive button to begin transmission. Since it uses a series of beeps similar to a fax machine to transmit data, the device can be used with over 90% of telephones, including digital PBX systems and cellular and home phones, according to JVC. However, JVC does not guarantee compatibility with PCS phones.

The HC-E100 can store 100 messages of up to 4,000 characters.

You can type on the device’s miniscule keyboard, but it’s not easy or quick. For short messages though, it’s a blast. You won’t be able to view file attachments with this device either, they’re best left for home or office retrieval. The data transfer rate is slow, so if you have a high volume of e-mail, expect to hold the phone to the device for a few minutes. The more messages, the longer you’ll wait. To use the HC-E100 you must sign up for the PocketMail mobile unlimited e-mail service, which costs $9.95 per month. Your account can be configured to use an existing e-mail address or users can opt for a “name@pocketmail” address. PocketScience is expected to sign agreements with other hardware manufacturers that will bring more choices to the PocketMail mix.

* Retail: JVC HC-E100 $129

* PocketMail service: $9.95 per month

* Contact: JVC at 973-315-5000 or www.jvc.com

COPYRIGHT 1999 Earl G. Graves Publishing Co., Inc.

COPYRIGHT 2000 Gale Group