Welcome, and News from the Consumer Electronics Show

This new publication's first issue asks for reader input and reports the news from the Consumer Electronics Conference.

Thanks for subscribing to Windows 2000 Magazine's brand-new Wireless & Mobile UPDATE. Every two weeks, we'll provide news and information about this exciting (and sometimes confusing) segment of the information industry.

I'm John D. Ruley, formerly Windows 2000 Magazine's Win2K Professional columnist. I'm moving over to cover the Wireless & Mobile beat both here and in a new monthly column that will debut in the April 2001 issue of Windows 2000 Magazine.

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas dominates the news, but before we get to that, I have a plea: I NEED TO HEAR FROM YOU! I've been using mobile devices, including Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs), cell phones, and pagers for years, and I look at Win2K and Windows NT from an administrator's perspective. I'll use that viewpoint and my experience as I examine PDAs and other mobile devices and technologies in this newsletter. And I want to know what information you need. How does your company use wireless and mobile devices? What issues do you see relative to their use? Please write to me at jruley@win2000mag.com, and if you have questions, ask. I don't guarantee I'll have an answer, but I'll try to find one. If we're giving you useful information, let me know; if you think we're wandering too far afield, let me know that, too!

Now for news from CES:

  • Cirque's Pocket Keyboard measures just 3.5" x 2.625", but it lets Palm and Handspring Visor users enter data without a stylus. Compatible with Palm OS versions 1.0 through 3.5.2, the tiny keyboard ships in second quarter 2001 for $39.

  • Garmin Corp announced that it licensed the Palm OS to develop a new generation of "location-enabled" handheld devices that will combine a Global Positioning System (GPS) moving map with a PDA. I look forward to specific product details and release dates.

  • Crowds flocked to see Motorola's Accompli 009 device. The small, clamshell-cased unit opens to reveal a tiny keyboard and color display; the device functions as both a PDA and a cell phone (using either a headset or an add-on speakerphone attachment). Accompli 009 features 8MB of flash RAM and three-band Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM) protocol support for both cellular telephone and wireless modem functionality. The company expects to ship the Accompli 009 in mid-2001 for about $500.

  • National Datacomputer introduced a new handheld device based on Windows CE. It features a backlit supertwist LCD display, touch-activated screen, two PC card slots, two serial ports, and an internal modem.

  • Palm demonstrated electronic retail transactions using a Palm device linked by an internal router (IR) beam to a point-of-sale computer. The device's software duplicates the information usually stored on the magnetic stripe of a user's credit card. Palm claims that business users will benefit because the device automatically records transactions and simplifies expense reports. Both Visa and Verifone participated in developing the technology. Although deployment requires retailers to install IR add-ons to existing systems and banks to provide an electronic alternative to typical credit cards, Palm hopes to see the technology in widespread use by the end of this year.

  • Sierra Wireless, in cooperation with GoAmerica, expects to deliver a "wireless airboard" for Sony's CLIE handheld device in the second quarter of 2001. The adapters will support either Cellular Digital Packet Data (CDPD) networks or Ricochet's 128Kbps wireless network.