San Antonio — The Progressive Retailers Organization was at the Westin La Cantera Hill Coun
Bellevue, Wash. — Carrier T-Mobile plans Oct. 25 availability of a hybrid Wi-Fi/cellular smartphone called Dash.
Made by High Tech Computer (HTC), the EDGE-equipped Dash is similar to Motorola's Q phone in that it's based on the Windows Mobile 5.0 Smartphone OS and features a QWERTY keyboard. The Dash, however, also adds a dash of Wi-Fi for connection to enterprise or home Wi-Fi networks or hot spot networks. It will be available in the U.S. exclusively through T-Mobile for $199 with a two-year contract and $249 for a one-year. Other features include AOL, Yahoo, MSN, and ICQ instant messaging, digital music player that synchronizes with a PC's song collection, 1.3-megapixel camera, MicroSD card slot, speakerphone and Bluetooth.
Atlanta — Youth-oriented mobile virtual network operator Helio announced a hardware, software and service package that lets laptop users switch between Wi-Fi and CDMA 1x EV-DO networks for their wireless Internet access.
The Helio Hybrid package combines a software application, an EV-DO PCMCIA card, and a Data Connect membership for 3G and Wi-Fi hot spot roaming. Laptops loaded with the software can switch between 3G networks and commercial, free and private Wi-Fi access points. The package will be available free with a two-year contract and an $85 monthly fee. The software discovers and organizes Wi-Fi access points by signal strength. It can locate free hot spots and those in the Boingo network. The software also includes a hot spot directory, which is available offline.
Fountain Valley, Calif. — D-Link plans first-quarter shipments of cellular phones capable of switching between GSM cellular and Wi-Fi networks.
The V-Click line will feature tri-band GSM (900/1,800/1,900MHz) and 802.11 Wi-Fi access. The phone will activate GSM access through a consumer's existing SIM card activated on any GSM network. The D-Link phones will be sold unlocked and retail for a suggested $599. The phones will feature a dedicated button to activate the Wi-Fi connection. Using Wi-Fi and an optional wireless VoIP service, users can reduce their cellular bills and they can accelerate Web surfing speeds via Wi-Fi. The phones support Opera Mobile, a mobile browser for logging into Wi-Fi hot spots, Web surfing and sending e-mails. It features built-in WEP, WPA and WPA2 encryption, Wi-Fi roaming, and a 2-inch 176 by 220-pixel LCD screen. V-Click will weigh in at 3.3 ounces, with a talk time of up to five hours on GSM networks and two hours on a Wi-Fi network. It will sport a 300-contact phone book, 24MB of internal memory and a calendar.
Palo Alto, Calif. — Hewlett-Packard plans October shipments of the iPAQ rx5900 PDA, the company's first PDA to combine GPS navigation, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, MP3 and video playback.
The new PDA is marketed as a travel companion that can move from the dashboard to the pocket or purse. It is preinstalled with TomTom navigation software, preloaded maps, and integrated GPS antenna and receiver. It also offers playback of recorded TV as well as videos and ships with built-in games such as Solitaire and Bubble Breaker. Other features include a 3.5-inch anti-glare touch screen, 400MHz processor with 64 MB SDRAM, and up to 2.0 GB of flash ROM. It comes with a car mount and chargers at a suggested $599.
LAKE FOREST, Ill. — The latest entrant in the opening-price portable-GPS category is Navman's F20, shipping at a suggested retail of $379.95.
Several new GPS products have been introduced recently in the $399 to $599 range from existing and new suppliers. Delphi also broke the $399 price barrier recently with a new NAV200 to ship at $349.
The Navman F20 offers preloaded U.S. maps, 3.5-inch color touch screen and dedicated buttons for locating the nearest gas station and parking facility. Destinations can be entered by street address, intersection or ZIP code. The unit includes a 3.5-hour lithium-ion battery and a vehicle-mounting kit.
Navman also recently announced plans for two NavPix photo-location based portables with built-in digital cameras. They are the N40i and N60i at $499 and $599, respectively.