Continuing with some of the recent developments in electronics and digital gadgets:
- Handhelds and Cellphones are, in the words of Bill Gates, “becoming one market.” Consider the recent Handpsring Treo, which uses the GSM network to make voice calls from the PDA. In another interesting development, TeleSym has turned a Pocket PC handheld into a mobile phone using Voice over IP technology. In the words of Dan Gillmor of San Jose Mercury News, “This could be the killer app for Microsoft’s otherwise uninspiring handheld operating system The fact is that voice is heading toward free. What customers want is a pipe and bandwidth, and the right to use it as they see fit.”
- Intel is developing a cellular Internet chip, which will enable the use of cellular networks just like we use LANs. Wireless networking through 802.11 is creating freedom at home and in offices – take the notebook anywhere and Internet connectivity is there. Guerilla networks using Wi-Fi protocols threaten to undermine the 3G revolution in which telecoms worldwide have invested tens of billions of dollars.
- Anyone with a quarter will be able to try out what is being called the US’ first outdoor Internet pay phone, on the southwest corner of Fifth Avenue and West 46th Street [in Manhattan]. The new phone, which allows users to send e-mail, surf the Web and call anywhere in the world for 25 cents per minute. (New York Times)
- From a News.com article: Is that a router in your pocket? As funny as it may sound, the answer to that question could be “yes” if a start-up called IXI Mobile has its way. The company on Monday announced its vision for a personal network in which a small cell phone and inexpensive e-mail device connect to cellular phone networks via a miniature server and router that would reside in the owner’s pocket.
- The server, which would be about the same size as a tin of mints, would have a GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) modem to provide the connection for the cell phone and other devices. Amit Haller, CEO of IXI Mobile, said the advantage of such an approach is that it would allow all the complexity to be on the server, paving the way for accessories that could be cheap and sleek.
- By using a very thin hard disk and battery, Toshiba has managed to produce a full-width laptop (Portege 2000) only a bit over a half-inch thick, and weighing a mere 2.6 pounds. Yet it has a bright 12.1-inch high-resolution screen, and a keyboard that is surprisingly good, with full-width keys that have decent vertical travel, and are arranged very well. (Walter Mossberg writing in the Wall Street Journal)
- IBM has developed a prototype of a portable computer module that is the size of a small pad of paper and has the computing power of a typical notebook or desktop computer. The portable computing device includes 128 MB RAM, 10 Gb hard drive and a microprocessor that runs at 800 Mhz. “We’ve taken the PC down to where you can take it home and finish your work,” said Kenneth Ocheltree, manager for next generation mobile at IBM Research. Code-named “MetaPad”, the module is 5 inches long, 3 inches wide and about three-quarters of an inch thick. The module fits into a larger accessory piece that features a small, flat screen on front and is about 6 inches long, 4 inches wide and 1 inch thick. (Reuters)
These are, but, a few glimpses in the digital world of tomorrow. It is coming to us from various sides, but the message is the same: a mix of digitisation, connectivity, convergence and communications is dramatically changing our everyday life.