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The wireless-data market continued to add new services and higher speeds with separate announcements from Yahoo and GoAmerica.
Yahoo, Sunnyvale, Calif., launched Online Account Access service for Web-enabled wireless phones, and GoAmerica of Hackensack, N.J., has begun packaging its wireless Internet service with a second PC Card radiomodem for Ricochet's 128kbps wireless-data service.
In its announcement, Yahoo said access to its current Online Account Access service has been extended from PCs to wireless web phones. The service lets users view account information from various financial institutions, such as credit card companies, brokerages and banks. Subscribers can view past transactions as well as pay bills. Other features include stock-price and financial-indices lookup.
Yahoo contends the wireless service is secure, in part because data is encrypted when it's sent over the air. For additional security, Yahoo uses Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) security, a standard used by Internet browsers and merchants selling over the Web. Users must also enter a personalized security code in addition to their usual Yahoo ID and password.
Yahoo services are available from any browser-enabled phone but appear on the top menu of phones operating on the Sprint network.
Recently, Sprint announced the use of compression techniques to speed up its network's data rate to an effective 56kbps from 14.4kbps with a $399 Sierra Wireless type II AirCard 510.
In as separate announcement, GoAmerica announced availability of Sierra Wireless's AirCard 400 Type II PC Card radio-modem, which operates on Ricochet's 128 Kbps network. The card, priced by GoAmerica at $299, is available on the company's Web site and will be rolled out soon to retailers, said Glenn Wise, a director on GoAmerica's product management team.
Sierra's card is the first Type II wireless PC Card for Ricochet's 128 Kbps network to feature always-on capability, Wise said.
GoAmerica also offers the Novatel Merlin R Type II Card for the 128 Kbps network, Wise said, but users must manually connect it to the network, whereas the Sierra card automatically connects itself, he said.
The Merlin R is available direct to enterprises but will also be available to retailers soon, he added.
Metricom's Ricochet service, which can be used in a vehicle moving at up to 70mph, uses utility-pole microcells that connect wirelessly to an access point that connects to the landline network. The frequency-hopping network uses the unlicensed 2.4GHz band.
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