Logitech are about to bring out their io2 pen for Bluetooth:
This summer, Logitech will launch a Bluetooth-enabled version of the io2 Digital Pen, designed to address the current data entry shortcomings of mobile data capture devices. Logitech’s Bluetooth digital pen, when used in combination with a Bluetooth wireless handheld device, will help an organization’s mobile workforce more efficiently gather, transmit and share important data.
A press release gives a bit more detail: Using the Logitech io2 Digital Pen with Bluetooth technology, a mobile worker will be able to capture information by using a customized version of a standard paper form, such as for an insurance appraisal or a work order. The pen automatically creates a digital record that is transmitted to a complementary Bluetooth wireless technology enabled handheld communication device, such as a smart mobile phone, PDA or Blackberry. That data can be stored and processed on the handheld device or immediately sent into an organization’s central database for processing. For the mobile worker, it’s an automated process that starts with filling out a familiar form and ends with a confirmation on his or her wireless handheld communication device that the information has been sent and received.
Sounds interesting, although I’m not quite clear about how this differs from the Nokia SU-1B pen, which originates from the same Anoto source. And why aim only at business users with this?
How big are Portable Media Centers going to be?
Not very, says The Diffusion Group, a Dallas-based research consultancy. In a report it says both Microsoft-based and non-MS-based media players with video, audio and photo capabilities will “face stiff competition from less-expensive application-specific alternatives such as MP3 players, portable DVD players, and new portable photo storage technologies”.
Partly it’s price: “while PMCs offer consumers an ‘all-in-one’ package, its $500 price tag will make single application devices much more attractive to consumers,” Diffusion says. The other limitation is: Do people really want all this stuff? Given the main attraction of a PMC is storing and playing back video, and given that most folk still don’t use handheld video recorders (I’m guessing PVR here means portable or personal video recorders) as much as expected, “demand for a portable PVR is likely to remain very low for the next several years.” Then, says Diffusion, there are alternatives: Portable TVs are cheap, and the more fancy high end stuff, like Sony’s new LF-X5 with its live digital TV viewing with integrated Wi-Fi connectivity and a 7-inch viewing screen, are going to get cheaper.
I respectfully disagree. I don’t think everyone who has an iPod is going to get a PMC. But you only need to sit on a Virgin Atlantic flight and watch people tap into their fully independent video-on-demand (select programs, stop and start, fast forward and rewind) screens to see the power of portable video. Just because people aren’t using their PVRs as much as we expected, doesn’t mean they don’t want to watch video everywhere they go. And while personal TVs may satisfy some of this market, what is that compared to being able to store a few episodes of Seinfeld to watch on the train to work? If we’ve learned nothing else from MP3 players, we’ve realised that people want to design and personalise their portable entertainment. If not, everyone would still be carrying around portable radios. As prices drop — even Diffusion anticipates that the price of portable media centers will decline by more than 50% to below $250 in a couple of years — I think there’ll be more and more people packing these things.
Palm, or palmOne to be precise, have just come out with the new Mini Cradle, “perfect for holiday gift-giving”. So what’s different about the Mini Cradle and your normal cradle?
It has, according to the press release, “a unique, modern design complete with built-in lighting and a silver metallic base. The illumination provides users with positive confirmation that all cables are connected and the handheld is properly attached.” It sell for $50, and should be in shops in the next few days.
It recharges and synchronizes data through the USB port of a PC or Mac. It is compatible with any palmOne handheld with the Universal Connector, or specifically: the Tungsten C, Tungsten T series, Tungsten W, Zire 71, i705, m500 series and m130 handhelds. And no, it’s not to be confused with the Prenatal Mini Cradle, which is a single orthotic band for abdominal support and easing of back pain during pregnancy, and therefore completely different:
As threatened, Palm have released new models
: the Tungsten T3 handheld, “for the most demanding professionals who need a best-in-class colour and wireless handheld”, the Palm Tungsten E handheld, for “cost-conscious professionals who need premium power and performance”.
The Tungsten T3 handheld is Palm?s first device that supports a ultra high-resolution colour screen in landscape, as well as the typical portrait mode. The screen display is 50 percent larger than on any previous Palm branded device, and the new soft input screen area provides a virtual Graffiti 2 writing area. Palm claim “faster Bluetooth setup embedded in the handheld, a wireless communications suite, fast 400MHz XScale processor, 64MB of RAM1 and superior office and multimedia capabilities”.
The Tungsten E handheld features 32MB of RAM2, a crisp high-resolution colour display, updated core applications, multimedia software and expandability through cards or add-on accessories. It retains the classic Tungsten appearance, with its compact, leek modern form and improved 5-way navigator for one-handed navigation.
The Zodiac, the blurb says, “addresses the on-the-go lifestyle needs of technology enthusiasts, providing both fun and function in a sleek, handheld product. Zodiac was designed from the ground up for a high-performance mobile entertainment experience centered on games, music, pictures and video. It also offers the added benefit of running a Tapwave enhanced version of the Palm Operating System (5.2T) and provides immediate access to the more than 19,000 existing applications.” Dude.
From the rumour mill, here’s a report
on the next line of Palms
. These guys are on fire. The Tungsten E will have a sleek metal finish, and looks like a cross between the m515 and Zire 71. It will have separate power and mini USB cable connections for syncing, similar to the original Zire. It may retail for $199 USD. The Zire 21 is a possible replacement or update to the popular original Zire handheld. The Tungsten T3 will have a large 320×480 pixel high res+ screen. The screen has portrait/landsape rotation and a software provision for lefthanders when viewing landscape ie. rotate left or right from portrait.
The new handhelds are expected to be announced on October 1st. This would agree with previous information from a large electronic retailers inventory database.
From the Classy Use of Technology Dept
comes news of a handheld gadget actually doing something useful at a classical concert. AP reports (and thanks to Gizmodo
for pointing it out) of the Concert Companion, designed by former Kansas City Symphony executive Roland Valliere, which displays “a sort of musical road map during a performance, cuing users’ ears for, say, the oboes, muted cellos, or double basses.”
A musician at the back of the hall, AP says, wirelessly turns the devices’ digital pages from a laptop. Users can turn off the backlit devices at any time. The gadget has been tested by small groups at four performances, using off-the-shelf Sony Clie handheld computers. Excellent.
Seems like handhelds, PDAs, Palms, whatever you call them, are in trouble. PMN, a UK-based newsletter, cited new IDC figures showing a 10.7 percent drop in handheld computer shipments worldwide during Q2 2003 compared to the same period last year. This contrasts starkly with the 1150 percent rise in smartphone shipments reported by Canalys, PMN says, highlighting the rate at which the wireless communications device market is outstripping growth in non-connected handheld computers.
I can well believe that folk would prefer to have a gadget that hooks up to the Net, or at least to the phone network. But I also think people need to differentiate between a phone and other stuff, if only because most of the time they just need the phone. See this posting for more.
Palm, Inc. today introduced the Palm Tungsten T2 handheld, with the emphasis on multimedia features:
— 32MB SDRAM (29.5MB user available) of memory for twice the storage capacity of the original Tungsten T handheld
— Palm’s sharpest color screen — a high-resolution 320 x 320 transflective TFT display — for better indoor and outdoor viewing
— Built-in wireless communication suite — Bluetooth, feature-rich email client, SMS, and web browser
— The latest Palm OS(R), v5.2.1, with updated software features, including Graffiti(R) 2 and on-screen writing for input in the Tungsten T2 handheld’s compact mode
— MP3, video playback, and photo software for listening to music files, playing movie trailers, and storing photos(1)
The Palm Tungsten T2 handheld debuts at $399 (all prices estimated U.S. street price). Also effective today, Palm announced the price reduction of two current handhelds. The Palm m130 handheld is reduced from $199 to $179, and the Palm m515 handheld is reduced from $299 to $249.