Socket Communications Inc. (OTC BB:SCKT, SCKTW)(PSE:SOK) today became the first company to publicly demonstrate a Bluetooth-compatible plug-in card for Pocket PCs and Handheld PCs powered by the Microsoft Windows CE operating system.
At the CTIA Wireless 2000 trade show in New Orleans and the CeBIT trade show in Hannover, Germany, Socket conducted technology demonstrations of the Personal Network Card(TM), a fully integrated CompactFlash CF+ card that supports the Bluetooth short-range wireless interconnect standard for personal area networking.
In the demonstration, two Handheld PCs from Hewlett-Packard Company's Jornada product family used Personal Network Cards to exchange files and conduct chat sessions wirelessly. Production versions of Socket's Personal Network Card, expected to be available in the second half of 2000, will enable users to connect mobile computers cordlessly to a variety of Bluetooth-enabled devices including printers, display monitors, and mobile phones for wireless web browsing, e-mail, or remote access to corporate networks. Socket's demonstration units incorporated Cambridge Silicon Radio's BlueCore(TM), the world's first chip to combine all the elements of the Bluetooth standard on a single chip.
Bluetooth is a worldwide technology specification that uses short-range radio signals to connect multiple intelligent devices that can be up to 10 meters (30 feet) apart, enabling ad hoc cordless connectivity scenarios such as using a Pocket PC or Handheld PC to browse the web via a mobile phone stored in a coat pocket or briefcase. Socket is a member of the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG), which currently has more than 1500 member companies. For more information on Bluetooth, visit the Bluetooth SIG's web site at www.bluetooth.com.
"A great attraction of using Bluetooth to connect Pocket PCs to mobile phones will be that the phone's large battery and powerful transmitter can do useful work without adding to the bulk or power consumption of the mobile computer," said Mike Gifford, founder and executive vice president of business development for Socket Communications. "We call this the virtual single-body solution for wireless web access because the phone handset can be stashed away in a coat pocket or purse while the user focuses exclusively on the mobile computer. Our demonstration of the Personal Network Card reaffirms Socket's commitment to bring users of Windows-powered mobile devices the best solutions available for wireless web access."
"HP and Socket are working together to combine our market-leading HP Jornada range of handheld PCs and Pocket PCs with the power of ubiquitous wireless connectivity to mobile phones and other peripherals," said Helen Chan, marketing manager of Hewlett-Packard's Asia Pacific PC Division. "The strong partnership between the two companies will allow us to lead the market in offering a broad range of exciting applications for our products."
"We are excited that Socket's Personal Network Card is bringing Bluetooth wireless technology to Windows-powered Pocket PCs," said Rogers Weed, director of marketing for Mobile Devices Division at Microsoft Corp. "Socket's card is a great example of how industry standard technology supported by the Windows CE platform can quickly provide our customers with the newest technology to access their information any time, anywhere and from any device."
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