Teeny Thincom modem puts Visor PDA online for $119

Teeny Thincom modem puts Visor PDA online for $119

By Mark A. Kellner

Special to GCN

A new 33.6-Kbps modem presents no speed threat to 56-Kbps or broadband devices, but it's only the size of a postage stamp.


The springboard expansion slot of a Handspring Visor PDA has a DSP module called Thincom.


The Thincom modem from Card Access Inc. of American Fork, Utah, fits into the Springboard expansion slot of a Handspring Visor personal digital assistant from Handspring Inc. of Mountain View, Calif., and works with the Palm OS operating system from Palm Inc., also of Mountain View.

While connected, the Thincom draws tiny amounts of current'about 50 milliamperes'from the Visor's internal batteries.

The $119 modem has a digital signal processing (DSP) chip set and works over standard telephone lines. It is available from the maker's Web site, www.cardaccess-inc.com, and from online retailer Palm Gear H.Q. of Arlington, Texas, at hs.palmgear.com.

Ray Lewis, vice president of sales at Card Access, said the design format can be adapted to other handheld purposes.

'The thing that makes this interesting is the programmable DSP,' Lewis said. 'A lot of audio devices depend on DSPs or codecs. There are several things we can do, but our product road map is still under development.'

The new modem, though upgradeable through its flash memory, does not support cellular phones, Lewis said. It will be convertible to the V.90 modem communications standard in the future, he said.

The modem incorporates the MultiMail Pro e-mail client from Actual Software Corp. of Andover, Mass., and the Browse-it Web application from Pumatech Inc. of San Jose, Calif., which lets provides Palm OS compatibles access Web content online.

'The Thincom personal modem is an example of what we envisioned in creating the Springboard expansion platform,' said Ed Colligan, senior vice president of marketing and sales for Handspring. 'The small size and on-board software applications make it an especially useful remote access product.'

Technology to hold

Handspring recently licensed the Springboard expansion technology to Symbol Technologies Inc. of Holtsville, N.Y., which will use it for handheld computing products.

Symbol Technologies builds bar code scanners using Palm OS technology and will integrate the Springboard expansion slot into its rugged handhelds for scanning and wireless LAN communications.

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