Mobile tech gains ground

Mobility is hot, and judging from many of the new products showcased at the Techxny trade show last month in New York City, it's getting hotter. Here are some highlights.

Finding Your Way

Thales Navigation Inc. has developed the Magellan Global Positioning System Companion for the Palm Inc. m500 series. The hardware, a lightweight unit that snaps onto the back of the Palm, comes bundled with Rand McNally's StreetFinder Deluxe navigation software and a NAV Companion CD-ROM. The NAV Companion allows users to mark key places to which they would like to return, among other things.

Users load the Rand McNally software onto a desktop PC, then when planning a trip, select specific maps of the country to load onto their Palm. The software covers the entire United States, except Alaska, and includes hotel, restaurant and business listings. Users can choose map views or text- based driving directions, and the system provides turn-by-turn guidance.

The GPS Companion runs on two AAA batteries, so it does not drain the Palm battery. The device can also run off an optional external power cable that plugs into a vehicle's cigarette lighter and simultaneously recharges the Palm battery.

The Magellan GPS Companion retails for $199. For more information, visit www.magellangps.com or call (909) 394-5000.

Wireless Monitor

ViewSonic Corp. debuted a product that supports the Microsoft Corp. .NET platform: a wireless monitor called the airpanel 100. With .NET, users will rent software as a hosted service on the Internet instead of buying it out of the box and loading it onto their devices. In other words, the Internet will essentially house all applications and data. This framework will enable users to gain access to their information from any device at any time, from anywhere.

The airpanel 100 sits on a base that plugs into an AC power outlet, and it exchanges information with a desktop PC or server via Citrix Systems Inc.'s Independent Computing Architecture or Microsoft's Remote Desktop Protocol software. Users can interact with applications via a pen stylus or an optional keyboard and mouse.

The airpanel 100 gives corporate users the freedom to dash to meetings carrying only a 2.5-pound device while retaining full access to their desktop PCs. Unlike notebooks, the airpanel 100 does not need to be shut down or undocked before it is taken to another location — users can just grab it and go.

Changes made on the airpanel 100 are instantly made on the desktop PC or server. The device also allows access to e-mail and the Internet. In addition, it supports real-time voice-over-IP and instant messaging communications.

The device supports connections to local-area networks, wide-area networks and personal-area networks with Microsoft's "instant on" CE .NET operating system, designed to capitalize on the .NET platform for small smart devices.

The airpanel 100 retails for $1,195. For more information, visit www.view sonic.com or call (800) 888-8583.

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