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Handhelds Hardware

Census Bureau Wants 500,000 Handhelds in 2010 124

Posted by michael
from the unnatural-acts dept.
andori writes: "ComputerWorld is reporting that the Census Bureau is wanting to conduct the 2010 Census without the use of paper. They want to use 500,000 handhelds with GPS and wireless communications abilities. And they want to do it for $100 an unit. I sure hope the industry is able to that price point some day! I will personally take a few if they do."
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Census Bureau Wants 500,000 Handhelds in 2010

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  • Uhh.. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Wakko Warner (324) on Saturday March 16, 2002 @03:12AM (#3172341) Homepage Journal
    They want to use 500,000 handhelds with GPS and wireless communications abilities. And they want to do it for $100 an unit.

    Can't the Blackberry almost do this already? In 7 years, we'll have nothing to worry about. You vastly underestimate the pace at which technological innovation moves on this planet.

    - A.P.
  • by PaxTech (103481) on Saturday March 16, 2002 @03:12AM (#3172343) Homepage
    Right now, the functionality is just about there and the price isn't that far off either. Given another 6-7 years of tech, I have to say I'll be pretty disappointed if something like that costs anywhere near $100.
  • by StarOwl (131464) <starowl-dotslash ... m ['isk' in gap]> on Saturday March 16, 2002 @03:13AM (#3172348) Homepage
    Sprint PCS [sprintpcs.com] is selling the Kyocera 6035 [kyocera-wireless.com] for $150. The 6035 is an combination Palm and CDMA phone.

    I don't think it's too unreasonable that a combination GPS, PDA, and phone could be made available at $100/pop within the next 6 years.

  • by mr_gerbik (122036) on Saturday March 16, 2002 @03:14AM (#3172353)
    "however it wouldn't work in alot of areas, such as mountian communities where thetre is wireless service"

    1) we are talking 2010 here.. in 7 1/2 years a lot of things can change 2) gps uses satellites.. you don't need a cellular tower.
  • by ubiquitin (28396) on Saturday March 16, 2002 @03:37AM (#3172363) Homepage Journal
    As the volume goes up, the price goes down. If retail stores take their typical 30+% markup on a $120 Palm device, then the Palm device makers are already in the range. I'm sure any one of the major handheld players would love to get that contract $50 million for 500,000 handhelds leaves LOTS of margin when those 500,000 handhelds are being churned out of fabs in Korea and Hong Kong.
  • Re:Uhh.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by KFury (19522) on Saturday March 16, 2002 @03:52AM (#3172394) Homepage
    Err, Blackberry can do wireless, but not GPS. A Garmin eTrek can do GPS for under $100, but not wireless.

    How necessary is wireless to the equation, really? What's wrong with storing the info on the unit until it gets to a base station at the end of the day? I mean, will wireless get the final census data out a day earlier?

    Of course, from a usability standpoint, where accuracy is absolutely vital, I don't think a chicklet keyboard like the blackberry or hiptop will cut it, and handwriting recognition probably won't either, so it'd probably be a pen-based systen with custom software. Add 24 months of development and 6 months of field testing, not to mention the specification and bidding process, and they'll have to be using technology that comes out in the next couple years...

    "You vastly underestimate the pace at which technological innovation moves on this planet."

    Perhaps, but you vastly overestimate the pace at which bureaucratic advancement moves on this planet.

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