Comdex 2002 goes mobile

Tablet PCs, PDAs are hot ticket items

If the new products showcased at this year's Comdex trade show are any indication, today's workforce is more mobile than ever. Some of the hottest products included a new generation of tablet PCs and a host of personal digital assistants, several from vendors introducing their first models.

In the tablet arena, Toshiba America Information Systems Inc., Casio Inc. and NEC Solutions America Inc.'s Mobile Solutions Division introduced their first tablet PCs. Fujitsu PC Corp. showed off its latest offering and Motion Computing Inc. introduced a tablet with a large 12.1-inch display.

Toshiba Portege 3500

Toshiba's tablet PC, the Portege 3500 series, features a built-in keyboard that makes the unit look just like an ultra-light notebook when opened. When you don't need the keyboard, the screen flips around and closes for a true tablet look and feel. The keyboard is not detachable, however.

The Portege 3500's 12.1-inch display is the largest available in the tablet PC market today. (Motion's tablet PC also features a display of this size.)

The system comes with a 1.33 GHz Intel Corp. Pentium III processor, 256M of RAM expandable to 1024M and a 40G hard drive. A 60G hard drive is also available. Communications include optional integrated 802.11a/b, 10/100 Ethernet local-area network (LAN), an integrated V.92 56K modem and fast infrared.

Slots include one Type II PC Card, one Secure Digital Card, and one CompactFlash. Ports include two USB 2.0 and video out.

The direct purchase price is $2,299. For more information, visit www.csd.toshiba. com.

Casio MPC-701

Casio's MPC-701 series comes in two versions, one best suited for outdoor use and the other suited for indoor use. The outdoor model, the MPC-701M30E, comes with a transflective thin-film transistor (TFT) LCD and a built-in backlight that uses a photo sensor to detect the ambient light level. If lighting conditions are low, the backlight will automatically activate.

Also helpful for outdoor use is the tablet's splash resistance.

The other model, the MPC-701M50E, features a transmissive TFT LCD that offers optimal visibility indoors.

Besides the display, the models have the same specifications. They measure 8.4 inches with 800 x 600 resolution and feature a dual battery pack that can last up to 10 hours, according to Casio. The batteries are hot swappable.

The tablets don't come with Microsoft Corp.'s new tablet-optimized operating system, Windows XP Tablet PC Edition. Instead of a digitizer in the screen and a digital pen, they run Windows 2000 Professional and feature an analog touch panel and stylus.

The MPC-701 series comes with an 800 MHz Transmeta Corp. Crusoe processor TM5800, 128M of memory expandable to 384M, a 20G shock-mounted hard drive, one Type II PC Card slot, one Type II CF Card slot and an internal V.90 56K modem. Ports include one 2.0 USB, one USB 1.1, LAN, headphone, microphone, analog RGB video and infrared.

The suggested price is $3,600. Government customers can call Casio at (973) 361-5400 for General Services Administration pricing. For more information, visit www.casio.com.

Fujitsu Stylistic ST4110

Fujitsu was one of the few vendors with a tablet PC last year, and their latest model, the ST4110, comes with all the latest updates.

First, it runs the new Windows XP Tablet PC Edition OS and comes with a digital pen.

The tablet has an 800 MHz Ultra Low Voltage Mobile Intel Pentium III Processor, a 20G or 40G shock-mounted hard drive and 256M of memory expandable to 768M. The integrated Intel Accelerated Graphics Port graphics controller can take up to 48M of dynamic video memory.

Ports include two USB 1.1, infrared, VGA, 56K V.90 modem, Ethernet LAN and FireWire. It comes with one Type I or Type II PC Card slot.

For wireless communications, customers can order the tablet with optional integrated 802.11b capability.

Base configurations featuring the 20G hard drive start at $2,199 for the tablet with a one-year warranty and $2,399 with a three-year warranty. For more information, visit www.fujitsu pc.com.

Motion M1200

Motion's new tablet PC is one of the few, including Toshiba's, that comes with a 12.1-inch display.

For durability, the chassis is made of magnesium alloy. Inside the unit is an 866 MHz Ultra Low Voltage Mobile Intel Pentium III processor along with your choice of 128M, 256M or 512M of base memory expandable to 1G. Hard drives are available in 20G, 40G and 60G sizes.

The standard set of ports includes two USB 1.1, VGA, FireWire, Ethernet LAN, V.92 56.6K modem, microphone and headphone.

Wireless 802.11b capability is optional via a Mini PCI interface with integrated antennas.

Pricing starts at $2,099. For more information, visit www.motioncomputing.com.

NEC Versa LitePad

Although product details have not yet been disclosed, NEC is announcing a forthcoming tablet PC with a target release date of February 2003.

The Versa LitePad will feature an Intel processor and run Windows XP Tablet PC Edition.

For more information about NEC's mobile solutions, visit www.necsolutions-am.com or call (888) 632-8701.

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