Handhelds add wireless, voice, other features

Handhelds add wireless, voice, other features

By Mark A. Kellner

Special to GCN

PALM DESERT, Calif.'Wireless computers with customized enterprise software will soon be able to synchronize with host networks, makers of such devices said at the recent Mobile Insights 2000 conference.

Voice-enabled handheld computers are on the way, too, said keynote speaker Alan Kessler, chief executive officer of Palm Computing Inc. of Santa Clara, Calif.

The Navy and the Postal Service have customized the Palm operating system for specialized uses such as bar code scanning, Kessler said.

Geoff Walker of Handspring Inc. of Mountain View, Calif., showed off a tiny scanner that plugs into the Handspring Visor handheld's Springboard slot to scan bar codes. He also demonstrated plug-in Visor software modules that come in several foreign languages.

Palm OS licensee TRG Products of Des Moines, Iowa, demonstrated flash ROM for loading a Palm organizer with up to 32 software images at a time via a PC serial port extension device.

Mobility Electronics Inc. of Scottsdale, Ariz., showed the EasiDock 3000, a PCI-bus docking station with two full-size drive bays, two small PCI slots and a cable/PC Card combination for portable devices using CardBus slots.

Wayport Inc. of Austin, Texas, loaned PC Card wireless antennas to handheld-carrying members of the audience, who set up LAN access points around the conference site via the IEEE 802.11 wireless LAN standard.

Wayport CEO Brett Stewart said mobile users soon will find their wireless links are as fast as office connections.

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