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Report from Internet World

Thursday October 7, 1999 - 6:54 PM EST - By Marcus Adolfsson& Mike Cane

More Springboards

Mike: The moduleís back is flush with the back of the Visor. A tombstone-like antenna rises from the top, adding perhaps a half inch to the height of the Visor. I am not a cellphone user; hated using even a beeper. I still do not understand why I would want or need Bluetooth. I was told about wireless HotSyncing and communicating with other Bluetoothed Visors. This paragraph is here mainly for people who are interested in Bluetooth. It exists for the Visor. Go to for info about this Springboard module.

Marcus: Bluetooth is an exciting technology that one day will replace todayís infrared beam. Bluetooth enabled devices uses radio waves to communicate with each other - up to 30 ft apart according to Justin Nguyen, VP at Widcomm Inc ( I have not been able to confirm Mikeís 150 ft distance). For longer distances a repeater or base network of Bluetooth hubs are required.

Bluetooth is quite fast - up to 1MBs. At Internet World Widcomm demonstrated a chat program, very much like AOL instant messenger, where two separate Visor users could chat with each other wirelessly. The Bluetooth software can "hijack" the Visorís communication system - rerouting all data headed for the serial/USB/IR port to the Bluetooth module. This feature guarantees that all current Palm software will work with Bluetooth.

Marcus: Six months in development, the HandyGPS is almost ready to be released. It will be introduced during November, carrying a price tag of $139.99. Quo Vadis mapping system is stored in Flash ROM on the Springboard, enabling street-level mapping with GPS precision. The map data itself, small files stored in the Visorís internal memory, are available for all of US territory and will be downloadable over the web. International versions are in the works.

The software does not yet offer a "routing" function - that is, point to point driving instructions. "We donít want to compete with car navigation systems, said Marco Frigino, President of MarcoSoft.

Mike: Innogear displayed a prototype Springboard module that floored me. It is tentatively called the "Six Pack." It contains, 1) Flashing Alarm Light, 2) Vibrating Alarm,3) Cell Phone Modem, 4) Landline Modem (33-point-whatever is the target), 5)Voice Recorder, 6) EIGHT MEGS OF FLASH RAM! All of this in a module that is flush with the Visor back and which rises about an eighth of an inch from the top (if that; what rises is the light for the alarm!). The RJ-11 jack is on the back of the module and pops open on a slant. This will be a Must Get item, I believe.

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