Symbol Introduces AirBEAM Software to Wirelessly Distribute Applications and OS Upgrades to Mobile Computers

January 15, 2002

Sears Deploys AirBEAM(TM) Smart for Upgrading Mobile Device Firmware and Applications

How does an IT manager, who has deployed in separate locations thousands of mobile computing devices running WinCE 2.11 or Palm OS, centrally upgrade those devices without interrupting ongoing business operations?

Symbol Technologies, Inc. (NYSE-SBL) today introduced software designed to upgrade operating systems on, and distribute application software to, key-based and pen-based mobile computing devices over any wireless local area network; proprietary and Wi-Fi alike. The patented Symbol AirBEAM Smart client software entirely eliminates the need for wired serial or Ethernet network connections via docking stations and greatly reduces the time and cost associated with upgrading software and distributing new mobile computing applications.

Symbol will be demonstrating AirBEAM Smart in Booth #1103 at the National Retail Federation (NRF) tradeshow in New York, January 14-16, 2002.

Sears, Roebuck and Co, has deployed AirBEAM Smart on 15,000 Spectum24 High Rate wireless embedded Palm computers in its stores across the country. "We are using Symbol's mobile computing devices for applications critical to our enterprise efficiency and the AirBEAM product is saving us time, money and human resources all of which are tied to our IT budget," said Doug Klein, Senior Director, Retail Systems, Sears. "I now have the flexibility to easily vary my applications based on specific needs and can widely manage the slightest firmware modification or `bug' fix."

AirBEAM Smart is software designed to streamline the entire process of managing software and applications on wireless mobile computing devices. The product can automatically detect when firmware upgrades are needed in the devices and can refresh embedded Wi-Fi wireless adapters, for example, with new firmware for additional mobility features. The automatic update capability guarantees that users have the most up-to-date applications and system software needed to perform their respective mobile computing applications. AirBEAM uses a client-server based deployment model to centrally control software and configuration information within mobile computers.

"This product really creates a whole new paradigm for designing, deploying, and managing wireless network designs for advanced mobile computing," said Richard Bravman, General Manager and Senior Vice President, Symbol Technologies, Inc. "AirBEAM is part of our ongoing wireless network management product development platform to give IT managers a complete system to control the entire wireless client network with the highest degree of visibility and flexibility possible. This product has great promise for Symbol and our customers."

With AirBEAM, users can receive specific applications at log-in and new applications and firmware upgrades can be initialized at boot-up or on demand. AirBEAM is client-driven, requires no customer server components and supports industry standard transport protocols, including TCP/IP, BOOTP/DHCP, and FTP. This software supports DOS, WindowsCE, Pocket PC, Pocket PC 2002, and Palm OS environments. Symbol is planning to release AirBEAM on a number of its mobile computer configurations, including, Symbol Series WS 1000, 3000, 6000 DOS terminals, PTC 960 terminals (DOS), SPT 174X and 184X Palm OS, PDT 274X and 284X Pocket PCs, PDT 724X and VRC 794X series (WinCE), PDT 754X Series (DOS and WinCE), and PDT 81XX Pocket PCs.

AirBEAM Smart can execute in mobile devices over any wireless LAN, regardless of transmission technology, including proprietary 900Mhz, proprietary Frequency Hopping (FH) and Direct Sequence (DS), standards based 802.11 FH and DS, 802.11b DS, Home RF, and 802.11a. The OS-independent software runs from a standard TFTP/FTP server within a wired network configuration. AirBEAM also supports Wi-Fi installations where Symbol handheld devices are working with wireless LAN access points from other vendors, such as Agere and Cisco Systems. Subsequent versions of AirBEAM will support the Symbol NetVision family of wireless IP telephony devices and the new Spectrum24 High Rate OEM PC card for portable printers.

The Symbol AirBEAM Smart client software is available through a per device software license or included as a standard integrated component of the Symbol wireless network management system (WNMS 2.2), now branded AirBEAM Manager. To facilitate the development of AirBEAM Smart packets by third party software vendors for licensed AirBEAM clients, the AirBEAM Package Builder is available for free download from the Symbol Software Technology Center online at: For more information on AirBEAM, go to

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