We've looked at the innovative Celio Redfly Mobile Companion before, and came away impressed. It's not a laptop or a netbook, but it does fill an interesting niche in the word of portable devices. Here's how it works: The Redfly is about the size of a netbook, but is a few pounds lighter. It isn't meant to serve as a small laptop computer; it actually is designed to augment the capability of your smartphone.

You can use the Redfly as a dumb terminal for your phone -- it has a 7" or 8" LCD screen and a keyboard -- or you connect a mouse, monitor, and full-size keyboard to the Redfly, then use those peripherals with your mobile device. It only works with phones based on Windows Mobile 5.0, 6.0, and 6.1, but here at CTIA I saw a T-Mobile G1 (aka the Google Phone) connected to one. Redfly says that support for the G1 and RIM BlackBerry phones is just around the corner. Celio recently expanded the number of phones that the Redfly supports; you can see the full list on the Celio website.

T-Mobile G1 connected to a Redfly Companion

Perhaps the most interesting news from Redfly at CTIA was the unveiling of the Redfly Viewer Software, which brings some of the basic functionality of the Redfly Companion to any Windows machine running XP or Vista. Using the viewer software you can use your own PC to type emails, send text messages, and perform other phone functions. The software will also use your phone's data connection for SMS and email, so you don't need to have Wi-Fi access on your desktop, laptop, or netbook. The software is available in beta form now, and can be downloaded here. Celio Corp VP of Marketing Brad Warnock told me that the final version should be available soon and cost about $40. (Scroll down for some blurry video of the player in action.)

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