Mobility Moves Forward - InformationWeek

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Hardware & Infrastructure

Mobility Moves Forward

Big announcement last week: Palm Inc. is selling its first Treo smart phone running the Windows Mobile operating system, the Treo 700w.

Big unannounced event last week: Palm is advertising a Treo smart phone with the Palm OS for just $199.

HP's latest nc6140 notebook will come with broadband wireless capability built-in

HP's latest nc6140 notebook will come with broadband wireless capability built-in.
These are the sort of concrete signposts of tech evolution that the Consumer Electronics Show occasionally provides. It's one thing to say that smart phones will go mainstream. It's another to say here's the $199 proof. No doubt, there's plenty of hype at a show like CES, along with products that won't make a big difference in the market. But there also are new products that illustrate in plastic and silicon how mobile computing is overcoming its weaknesses.

Toshiba disclosed that it's shipping a 4-Gbyte version of its 0.85-inch hard drive for storing media on mobile devices such as smart phones and MP3 players. It also revealed plans to offer the tiny hard drives at 10-Gbyte capacity, plus a 2.5-inch, 40-Gbyte hard drive that can handle temperatures of 20 below zero, for use in cars. Even as flash-memory capacities increase, hard-drive capacities and capabilities are advancing, too.

Broadcom Corp. said it has created the first chipset for mobile phones with both mobile video and Wi-Fi support. One of its competitors, SyChip Inc., introduced what it describes as the thinnest Wi-Fi module for cell phones.

Wi-Fi has taken off in part because the ability to use it has been built into laptops. That's happening now with 3G cellular access, as Hewlett-Packard unveiled its nc6140 laptop with built-in 3G EV-DO capabilities. Dell and others also have said they'll ship 3G lap- tops. Today, at about $60 a month, EV-DO is a premium market that not many people are willing to pay for. But that price is likely to fall as more people have the ability to access it.

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