Hands full of information

By Jennifer DiSabatino, Computer World |  Development

The Accompli has a Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) Internet browser, e-mail and a personal information manager with PC synchronization. It can run on the Global System for Mobile Communications triband wireless frequency; that is, it can send and receive voice and data at 900 MHz, 1,800 MHz or 1,900 MHz. It supports WAP, the de facto standard in Europe and Asia, and will eventually support the Web content-tagging language HTML, says Motorola.

The device will also support Universal Mobile Telecommunications Standards when they are implemented during the next few years, Webber says. That should allow users to travel while coonnected to the Internet through a wireless device without loss of connection between carriers, he says.

Ken Dulaney, an analyst at Gartner Group Inc. in Stamford, Conn., says similar devices expected from Nokia Corp. in Espoo, Finland; Psion Inc. in Concord, Mass.; and LM Ericsson Telephone Co. in Stockholm will tempt gadget hunters, though none may be the complete solution they promise. "They'll be one of about 11," Dulaney says, "I definitely see an uptick in the interest in messaging. . . . Last month, there were 1 billion [short message service] messages in Europe."

"I think this will have some success," Dulaney says, but "there's a number of gotchas here. . . . WAP is not WAP is not WAP. . . . I don't happen to think there's one single device" that will solve the messaging needs for all people.

"The problem with putting a phone in [devices like the Accompli] is it doesn't have the convenience that someone who wants a phone will get," Dulaney says. Phone users want the device to be small, and anything with a clamshell keyboard will have to be relatively large. The converse is also true: "Bigger screens are better for messaging," he says.

And while it may seem great to be able to book a meeting with a colleague while running to catch a plane, "people aren't ready -- at least the systems aren't ready -- for them to start booking that calendar without [the other] people knowing about it," Dulaney says.

He says he sees the solutions in a combination of two devices. "They're going to want a really tiny phone and a messaging device that will connect through Bluetooth," he says. "Every scenario is possible. Each vendor has to have lots of different styles."

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