Tech products free workers from office constraints, tangled connections

By Ara C. Trembly

Agencies searching for better internal efficiency and/or the ability to do business anywhere increasingly are finding solutions in the growing variety of wireless products being marketed by technology vendors.

Wireless devices and accessories offer benefits that can translate into time savings and can make wire-clogged desktops a thing of the past. With the increased speed and efficiency offered by such products, agents may find themselves with fewer administrative tasks to perform and more time for critical activitieslike selling.

all-in-one wireless

One product that offers just about everything wireless can give is the HP iPAQ h6315 Pocket PC from Hewlett-Packard (HP) and Bellevue, Wash.-based T-Mobile USA, Inc. Weighing in at just 6 ounces, the unit features voice dialing, Wi-Fi hotspot connectivity, wireless e-mail, Internet access, instant messaging, picture taking, keypad typing and 64MB (megabyte) data storage, says Palo Alto, Calif.-based HP.

“The iPAQ h6315 is the first all-in-one wireless device to include built-in GSM global phone capabilities with integrated GPRS wireless data, Wi-Fi (802.11b) wireless broadband, and Bluetooth functionality,” the company says.

GSM is a cellular phone technology used primarily in Europe but also being introduced in the U.S. GPRS is an addition to GSM that helps support data transmission. Wi-Fi and 802.11b are wireless communication standards. Bluetooth is the specification for low-cost, short-range radio links between mobile PCs, mobile phones and other portable devices.

According to Rick Roesler, vice president of Handhelds at HP, the h6315 “goes beyond todays basic text-based e-mail messaging and gives customers greater access to their inbox, calendar and contacts.”

The unit is scheduled to be available by summers end at T-Mobile-owned stores and other authorized outlets at an estimated price of $499.99 with T-Mobile activation, says HP.

takes a licking

For those whose wireless devices could take a beating, Panasonic Computer Solutions Company has introduced the Toughbook CF-Y2, a slim, light notebook computer that offers “Intels latest state-of-the-art mobile technology,” the Secaucus, N.J.-based company says.

Rance Poehler, president of PCSC, calls the unit “a lightweight, compact, go-anywhere, do-anything notebook that wont fade to black the first time it is shaken or stirred.” He adds that the machines “five-hour run time means you can continue working while waiting for a connecting flight without having to squat on the airport floor next to an AC outlet.”

Panasonic says its CF-Y2 maximizes Intels latest Centrino system architecture. Centrino technology includes a new processor that delivers higher performance and lower power consumption, which results in longer battery life, says Santa Clara, Calif.-based Intel. Centrino also provides wireless network communications and other features designed to increase battery life and provide thinner and lighter notebook computer designs.

According to Panasonic, this unit is one of the first portable computers to utilize Intels PRO/Wireless 2200BG network technology to support both 802.11b (11 megabits per second transfer rate) and 802.11g (54Mb/s transfer rate) protocols. The result, the company says, is faster connections.

The CF-Y2 features a 1.3GB (gigabyte) CPU and 256MB of RAM (expandable to 512MB), the company says. The unit weighs 3.3 lbs. and offers a 14.1-in. display and integrated DVD/CD-RW drive. Estimated street price is $2,700.

printing without wires

Agencies and other offices that want to print wirelessly using Bluetooth technology now can do so without springing for a brand-new Bluetooth-enabled printer. The Bluetooth Wireless USB Printer Adapter from Belkin allows users to connect to their USB (universal serial bus, a standard computer interface) printers wirelessly from a PDA (personal digital assistant) or notebook computer, says Compton, Calif.-based Belkin.

The adapter adds Bluetooth technology to existing USB printers, enabling them to connect to any device enabled with Bluetooth technology, the company says. The adapter installs easily and allows users to work at distances of up to 100 meters from the printer. A printing utility for Pocket PC and Palm OS users is included.

Estimated street price for the Belkin Bluetooth Wireless USB Printer Adapter is $99.99.

going my way?

If driving directions are a key need, Garmin International Inc. of Olathe, Kan., offers what it says is the first PDA with integrated Global Positioning System (GPS) technology.

The iQue 3600 GPS-enabled organizer “creates a new utility in the PDA market by integrating organization and navigation into a single device,” says Gary Kelley, director of marketing for Garmin.

The unit features a built-in GPS antenna and integrated “turn-by-turn” navigation software, the company says. Combining an address book and date book with the GPS capability, “users can look up an address or appointment on their iQue 3600 and navigate to it using the mapping function, followingvoice-guided directions to their destination,” says Garmin. Their progress is presented digitally on the devices color display.

Suggested retail price for the iQue 3600 is $589.


Reproduced from National Underwriter Edition, September 23, 2004. Copyright 2004 by The National Underwriter Company in the serial publication. All rights reserved.Copyright in this article as an independent work may be held by the author.