Converged devices have cell phone feel

Cool tools: Converged devices have cell phone feel

Shaw, Keith

Quick takes on high-tech toys

Handspring and Nokia last week announced two new converged devices (cell phone plus PDA) to help make business users more productive when mobile. Both devices are voicecentric, which means they look, feel and act more like a cell phone than a traditional PDA.

Handspring launched the next generation of its Treo communicator converged device, the Treo 600. It’s smaller and looks more like a mobile phone than the previous Treo models. The Treo 600 still has an integrated qwerty keyboard, and Handspring made it smaller yet more tactile by changing the shape of the keypads. Handspring says the dome-shaped keys have a larger surface area, which will make it easier for users to type out messages than with previous models.

The Treo 600 is Handspring’s first device to use Palm OS 5, and features an ARM-based processor. Handspring moved the navigation buttons from the bottom to just above the keyboard. This makes it much easier to operate the Treo 600 with one hand, as the thumb goes more to the center of the device. The Treo 600 also includes an “error avoidance” software feature that determines which key is intended when two keys are pushed at the same time.

Two versions of the Treo 600 will be available, a Code Division Multiple Access 1x (CDMA1x) version and a GSM/General Packet Radio Service version. Sprint announced that it would carry the Treo 600 on its CDMA 1x network, and Orange (based in the U.K.) is one of the GSM carriers. A GSM/GPRS carrier in the U.S. has not yet been announced.

In addition to the cell phone and PDA functionality, the Treo 600 includes an embedded VGA digital camera and a proxyless version of the Blazer Web browser, which will enable full Web browsing and the ability to secure access to corporate networks, Handspring says. The device will include a 160-by-160-pixel color screen and will have 32M bytes of memory. In addition, a secure Digital I/O slot will be included for expansion capabilities, the company says.

Pricing has not yet been determined and likely will be set by carriers. The Treo 600 is expected to be available by fall.

Nokia’s new converged device, the Nokia 6600, is expected to be available in Europe, Africa and Asia-Pacific markets by the fourth quarter. The new phone includes personal information mananger functionality and an integrated VGA camera with a 2X digital zoom lens. Nokia says the 6600 will be able to “capture, send and receive video clips with audio,” and will be able to receive streaming video content in RealVideo and 3GPP streaming formats. In addition, the 6600 includes Secure Sockets Layer support and a VPN client, to let companies provide secure access to their internal networks via the device.

Applications developed on the Symbian 7.0 operating system or Java can be downloaded to the device, Nokia says, and the device will contain 6M bytes of storage space. A 32M-byte MultiMedia Card will be included for additional storage.

Other features include Bluetooth and infrared connectivity and integrated TCP/IP technology to help speed over-the-air file downloads. For end users still concerned about the talk time on the device, Nokia says the 6600 will have talk time up to four hours and standby time up to 10 days.

Copyright Network World Inc. Jun 23, 2003

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