CeBIT 2002: PC makers delve into phones

Hewlett-Packard and Toshiba will be among the PC manufacturers showing off mobile phones in Hannover, and with HP's Jornada 928 you won't even have to look under the lid to see the surprises
Written by Matt Loney, Contributor
The distinction between mobile phones and computers will blur further next week as several PC makers demonstrate their first mobile phone devices at the CeBIT show in Hannover. Hewlett-Packard and Toshiba will both be showing off their latest models -- both, coincidentally, designed by the same firm: Farnham, UK-based Alloy Total Product Design. HP's Jornada 928 Wireless Digital Assistant was first demonstrated at the 3GSM World Congress in Cannes, France last month. The Pocket PC 2002 handheld computer has a dual-band GSM phone built in and GPRS ready for always-on, high-speed Internet access. The 184g Jornada 928 is similar to the Jornada 560 series. It has 32MB of flash ROM, 64MB RAM, a 16-bit colour TFT touch screen, and an expansion slot for a CompactFlash Type I card. But unlike previous Jornadas, the 928 has a second monochrome LCD screen on the lid; this displays phone numbers, both incoming and outgoing, so that the phone functions can be used with the lid closed. HP is quoting 12 hours of life from the rechargeable Lithium-polymer battery pack for PDA use, and talk time of up to three hours with a standby time of up to 120 hours when used as a phone. Toshiba is also due to launch a phone next week, but the company has released few details aside from the fact that it will be GPRS-ready. The phone is expected to contain PDA features too. Later this year, Toshiba is also expected to launch a 3G mobile phone. Both products will put it in competition with companies such as Nokia, Sony and Ericsson, but the company would not reveal further details. Gus Desbarats, chairman of Alloy, said the unusual design of the Jornada 928 was prompted by users' desire to get a PDA from where it is being carried to where it is needed. "Everyone's thinking clock speeds these days," he said. "But when it comes to PDAs we're thinking speed of deployment. That's why we put the stylus in the lid of the earlier Jornadas." The second LCD screen was not part of the original design brief, however, he said. "This was just one of four or five ideas, and we put it at the bottom of the list, but HP did customer trials and they seemed to like it," said Desbarats. Desbarats would not be drawn on details of Toshiba's products.
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