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Sony Ericsson Makes a tri-band GPRS modem 143

Posted by Hemos
from the tri-band-that-modem dept.
prostoalex writes "Sony Ericsson announced their new PCMCIA GPRS wireless modem, capable of delivering 57.6 Kbps. It is tri-band and works in 900/1800/1900 MHz range, which led Sony Ericsson to imply that the card will work in 160 countries, providing an always-on Internet connection. Currently only Microsoft operating systems (starting at Windows 98) are supported. No exact price information on official site, but the PC Pro article above quotes 200 UK pounds. The manufacturer also runs a contest for those who would rather get one for free."
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Sony Ericsson Makes a tri-band GPRS modem

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  • by natron 2.0 (615149) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `97sretepdn'> on Monday November 11, 2002 @10:26AM (#4642330) Homepage Journal
    Finally I can lug my PC Case around with me to the mall and always have a connection to slashdot!

    • Finally I can lug my PC Case around with me to the mall and always have a connection to slashdot!


      Yes, if only someone would invent a portable computer!

      Fucking hell, 'Funny' moderation hits new low.

  • so when (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Multiple Sanchez (16336) on Monday November 11, 2002 @10:31AM (#4642361)
    will they manufacture a wireless modem that is "always on" in 160 countries, but bumps it up to high speeds when I stroll through a Ricochet zone or a community 802.11b hot spot? Never? The Jetsons promised me way much more than this. Come on -- chop, chop -- make it happen.

    • Re:so when (Score:5, Interesting)

      by MooseGuy529 (578473) <i58ht6b02.sneakemail@com> on Monday November 11, 2002 @10:42AM (#4642426) Homepage Journal

      That is a good idea but consider this:

      Which does a service provider make more money on?

      1. A phone that can use other networks like 802.11b, Bluetooth, etc... which won't earn them money, or...
      2. A phone that *always* uses their network and as such will *always* earn them money for your traffic.

      Personally, I agree with your point but I know myself that #2 will probably happen. I would love a PDA, especially, that can roam between Wired Ethernet, Bluetooth, 802.11b, GPRS, CDPD, etc... to get the best connection. But it's just not in the best interest of the service providers. Oh well.

      • Re:so when (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Luckily mobile phone manufactures makes phones to the end users instead of service providers.

        Option 1 will happen in the future, it's just takes a while before 802.11b implementation is small and cheap enough for mobile phones.
        • "Luckily mobile phone manufactures makes phones to the end users instead of service providers."

          Are you sure? I have a C35 (siemens) which the first selection on menu is "Internet", in fact WAP. Do you think its because of a chance?
        • Mobile phone manufacturers make phones for the customer, but if a phone company knows a phone has features on it that they could run over the network (i.e. net access, if it can be done w/o the cell ntwk then they lose money), then they won't get as much money and they will sell another phone. Many phone service companies only sell a few (cingular has 5-6 in the store I went to) models of phones that cover a nice range of manufacturers (an Ericsson, a couple Motorolas, and a few Nokias [I have a Motorola 120t]) and make a good scale of low- to high-end. But like I said, if it lets people use the net w/o their network, it will be a while before they can afford to lose the business. The people who have the money/geekiness to use the wireless web enough to make them money are also the people who would spend money on a phone like this--so it takes away their best customers!

      • Re:so when (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Ford Fulkerson (223443) on Monday November 11, 2002 @11:22AM (#4642648)
        Which does a service provider make more money on?

        How is this relevant, Sony/Ericsson is a mobile phone manufacturer. They don't provide the network access. All theyr'e interested in is makeing a modem that you'll rather but than whatever Nokia is shipping. Putting this kind of functionality into the modem will definetely make that happen.

        Also, I know for a fact that Ericsson have done a lot of reseash into mobile phones that automatically use normal digital DECT wireless phone networks available in many workplaces, when available. So no conspiracy with the service providers here.
        • Re:so when (Score:4, Insightful)

          by dago (25724) on Monday November 11, 2002 @11:28AM (#4642681)
          maybe ericsson is also a big mobile network equipment supplier ?

          for the DECT+GSM, they were one of the few (with SAGEM) to make a dual standard phone. Unfortunately, both discontinued their product some years ago.

          in fact, DECT could be far worse for mobile phone operators than 802.11. It's quite easy to make an ad-hoc network of dect phones ... do you really thing that any supplier or service provider wants that ?
          • Its sad, but it seems you're right about DECT being a threat to mobile vendors - I spoke to a SAGEM rep (here in Australia) a few months ago on sourcing a DECT+GSM module. He said SAGEM did sell dual mode DECT+GSM phones abroad but that they were "definitely not" (he was quite vehement here) introducing them to Australia. He didn't help much with sourcing the module either. I eventually gave up.

            DECT is great for voice: nodes can be configured in ad-hoc networks easily (in under 2-3 seconds), voice quality is superb (better than GSM or 802.11b streaming), it scales well, and has the largest installed base of digital cordless voice phones (not in the US though).

            There was some talk about a GSM cordless technology called CTS -- supposed to be a "DECT-killer" -- but no one seems to be using it.

    • Re:so when (Score:3, Informative)

      by trynis (208765)
      Actually you can do this yourself. I did it a year and a half ago. It's called vertical handover, and I did it between 802.11b and bluetooth. I wanted to do GPRS as well, but I had no access to such hardware at the time. It's quite easy to set up using MobileIP and some clever programming. There should be more advanced solutions available now, I think.
      • Actually you can do this yourself. I did it a year and a half ago. It's called vertical handover, and I did it between 802.11b and bluetooth. I wanted to do GPRS as well, but I had no access to such hardware at the time. It's quite easy to set up using MobileIP and some clever programming.

        The source code required for this is slightly larger than the margins in the comment box allow for. The actual coding is left to the reader as a trivial programming exercise. </sarcasm>
    • by chrestomanci (558400) <david@chrestomanci.oELIOTrg minus poet> on Monday November 11, 2002 @10:53AM (#4642485)
      Check out the D211
      http://www.nokia.com/nokia/0,4879,1449,00.ht ml

      It is a wireless PCMCIA conectivity card, which supports both GPRS and 802.11b

      There are even linux drivers avalabe to to download. (I don't know if they work)

      It has been out for a couple of months.

      The main downside is that it only supports dual band opperation, so I guess american readers are out of luck.

      The other downside is that switching between GPRS and 802.11 is not automatic, though you could probably put together a script to make it so.

      I dare say it is rather expensive as well.

    • So get this card and a WiFi card and configure your computer to change over to the WiFi network when possible. Something similar to how dual-band phones work. The project to implement an open (free as in speech and beer) wireless phone network is designed in such a way.
    • the service providers guarantee a certain speed, but should you be near a tower, they can often get better transfer rates. verizon has two services: one mobile ip which is 19k or so, and two express network, which can burst up to 144k (http://www.verizonwireless.com/express_network/in dex.html). i was told by a verizon person, though i doubt his tech skills, that the mobile ip will also burst to nearly the same speed. read the fine print!
  • I'll be darned, lol. When I clicked on the story, it had no comments. Thought I was first, but oh well. And yeah, the phone only supporting Windows blows. Not to mention - Can anyone see a company willing to let you use it as a (nearly) always on connection, without charging you an arm, a leg, and your firstborn child too? I can't.
    • Re:Well... (Score:3, Informative)

      by Arker (91948)

      It's not a phone, that wouldn't be news, I've got a tri-band GPRS phone in my pack. Plug it in via firewire... anyway this isn't a phone, it doesn't do voice, data only, it's a PMCIA card dedicated GPRS modem. And you're right, it's expensive, mind you the nice thing with GPRS is that you don't pay for time connected, just bits transferred, so if you filter your mail on the server and browse with lynx you could keep constantly up to date relatively cheaply. GPRS service in Europe runs around 20 cents a megabyte IIRC, depending on where you are of course... anyone know about the US? it would definately get expensive fast if you don't take steps to keep your bandwidth usage limited.

  • by Denito (196701) on Monday November 11, 2002 @10:33AM (#4642374) Homepage
    Thoughts from a GPRS user:

    I have a Handspring Treo phone here in Denmark, and it works great with GPRS. However, the cost (around 20c US / Mb) adds up quickly..

    Coverage is fine and it is very usefull. But untill providers give unlimited use plans, this is very cost-prohibitive.

    • by Cyn (50070)
      1USD/5MB sounds like an amazing rate. Everywhere I've heard is the opposite, you end up paying about
      5USD/1MB.

      You sure you didn't mean KB or something? then it would be much worse and I'd understand you - but personally I'd be happy to pay $1/5MB (given my options now, though naturally I'd be happier with unlimited).


      • Indeed, I cited the wrong rate above, as I lost a zero on my Kroner -> Dollar conversion..

        it is about 3 USD per Mb. That's why it's cost prohibitive.
      • by TheSync (5291)
        In the US, Sprint PCS Vision offers unlimited CDMA 1xRTT data even in their $30/month plan - BUT they only guaranteee unlimited free data only for three months. You can buy on a month-by-month basis for $10 more per month to avoid getting locked in for a year. It seems kind of silly to me for them to only have unlimited for three months.

        T-Mobile is selling the Danger Sidekick with unlimited GPRS data for $39.99 with 200 anytime minutes and 1000 weekend minutes. But they only guarantee unlimited data for one year.

        Verizon Wireless "Unlimited Express Networks" gives you unlimited CDMA 1xRTT data for $100/month, no hedges.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      In the U.S., Sprint PCS now offers unlimited voice and data plans.

      I have the Sprint PCS Connection Card, a.k.a. the Merlin C201 from Novatell Wireless:

      http://www.novatelwireless.com/pcproducts/index. ht ml#SprintPCS

      I was very skeptical when I bought it, but after 14 days of testing in various locations I decided to keep it. It works well even in places where I have only one bar of signal strength.

      Testing using the test for mobile devices at bandwidthplace.com I regularly see connection speeds in excess of the "peak" advertised, and my average speed is definetly higher than the average the 50-70Kbps they advertise -- more like double that.

    • living in finland I haven't found the price to be a problem. there is a gprs service for 16 a month, unlimited transfers. works like a charm.
  • by EyesWideOpen (198253) <curtis AT cusmith DOT com> on Monday November 11, 2002 @10:34AM (#4642381) Homepage Journal
    The manufacturer also runs a contest for those who would rather get one for free.

    Who wouldn't rather get one for free?
  • Seems like a great product that could be very useful to travelling businessmen, and even just vacationers looking for a good place to eat. Lets just hope the security is there to go along with it. I have my doubts about it though, I would imagine something of this nature wouldnt be hard to intercept, theyve been intercepting cell phone transmissions for years.
    • Seems like a great product that could be very useful to travelling businessmen, and even just vacationers looking for a good place to eat.

      Finding food while travelling is one of the most basic instincts - even the most primitive hunters and gatherers managed it. I've been on many trips and vacations and never found it necessary to do much more than "follow my nose" to find something decent to eat. Most "travel guides" seem to steer you to over-priced tourist traps, so I would need some other motivation to take another expensive gizmo along on a vacation.

      In most of the world there is no such thing as a doggie bag. -- Prof. Kelly Brownell
      • no one *needs* to have a pc to find food. I was merely suggesting a possible use. And on that note, I use my PC frequently to find restaurant reviews, and online menus. It makes for fewer unpleasant restaurant experiences.
  • by A Commentor (459578) on Monday November 11, 2002 @10:35AM (#4642389) Homepage
    So on the contest site (sonyericsson.com), in the rules it states that it's a EUR 399 value

    The prize consists of one Sony Ericsson GPRS PC Card Modem, GC75, which has a recommended retail price of EUR 399.
    • Now that is a real rip-off... amazing I say, amazing price. You can have a full feature phone with that,with gprs and bluetooth etc. amazing price.

      e.g. the Nokia 7650 with built in camera and mms, of course gprs is=$250!
  • bandwidth (Score:4, Interesting)

    by asv108 (141455) <alex@phatauTWAINdio.org minus author> on Monday November 11, 2002 @10:36AM (#4642400) Homepage Journal
    With At&T, I pay $5 for every 2 megs of bandwidth used. If I buy this card, it would cost me $15 just to download all the porn spam I get every morning. Unless the bandwidth costs get reasonable, I won't buy it. What happens if I accidently click on a goatse link? Can I send someone an invoice?
    • With At&T, I pay $5 for every 2 megs of bandwidth used. If I buy this card, it would cost me $15 just to download all the porn spam I get every morning. Unless the bandwidth costs get reasonable, I won't buy it.

      Youch, that's a lot more expensive than it is here (Sweden) IIRC. That said, if you really need the portable connection, there are ways to minimise the bandwidth needed. Filter your mail on the server, use an IMAP client (mail.app on mac, mutt on *nix, pmail on windows all work alright for this) and set it to only download headers automatically, wait till you request the message to get the body, wait till you request attachments to get them... and browse with lynx. Or at least turn off image loading. Do all that and you'll cut your bandwidth usage tremendously.

      • It's not really as bad as you think.
        Sprint, for example, offers reasonably priced (well, sort of) unlimited plans (as does Verizion). AT&T just has high prices.

        BTW: Both Verizion and Sprint use CDMA; not GSM; however, CDMA is actually a tad bit faster than GPRS.
  • by The Evil Twin (217345) on Monday November 11, 2002 @10:44AM (#4642439) Homepage
    So I've been reading about how in the UK everyone is using bluetooth enabled devices. This device becomes a perfect example of a "why do we need this?" product.

    The way things should be:
    - Most notebooks come with bluetooth.
    - you have a Bluetooth enabled GPRS phone.

    Done.. there is your internet connection.
    Intead, for us stuck here in North America. We get CDMA, and no bluetooth to speak of (except as an option on some high end notebooks). Sure we can buy an adapter for the notebook. But no phones.

    • My SonyEricsson has both Infrared and bluetooth, but my thinkpad only has infrared.

      Turn the phone on infrared, and the thinkpad registers the "modem" T68i.

      Voila, and no strings attached:)
    • Who needs bluetooth? I've been doing exactly that for years with the power of Irda!

      I admit that BT can give faster speeds, and doesn't require line of sight, but for simple "check your email from laptop" it's so easy and works just fine. I use my mobile from my laptop, Palm and sometimes PC (when my landline dies, which it does sometimes).

    • I have Nokia 6310i triple band phone w bluetooth and a socket bluetooth cf card. GPRS works fine and is supposed to work in US too in most of the urban areas although my operator lists them as untested. Downside is that my operator charges 16 (about equal in $)/ 1MB of data / month and 1 for additional MB's
    • Lol - but I am AND GPRS.

      While in the land of cheap hardware (the US) I picked up a rather nice little USB Bluetooth adapter by those lovely Belkin chaps.

      Slipping this into the USB port (yes THE USB port) of my Sony Vaio C1VE (now you see why I said THE USB port :P ) lets me talk to my wonderful little Sony Ericsson T68i cell-phone (Tri-band, GPRS, POP3, IMAP4 and other goodies).

      From there I can then use my GPRS to connect to the web.

      According to ZDNET's Bandwidth Testing script (UK site only I think) I was getting a better connection via BT/GPRS than I normally get coppered into the PSTN network - go figure.

      Actually just re-read the article I am replying to and this is exactly what The Evil Twin was saying to do - so instead of being a "nah nah ne nah nah look what I can do" post its now a "Yeah man - I agree and its all cool"

      I do know however that the T68i IS available in the US - I saw it in more than a few of your reasonably prices electronics outlets - Circuit City for example (where it came in a really funky dark blue colour as opposed to the silver/grey of the UK) mind you I was in to buy DVD's - £13 for Blade 2 when it hadn't even been released when I got home and was pre-ordering at its normal UK retail of £19.99 - long live DVD region disabling.

    • So I've been reading about how in the UK everyone is using bluetooth enabled devices. This device becomes a perfect example of a "why do we need this?" product.

      Uhhhh, no. That is, I'm afriad, a bit of a fallacy. Yes, we have bluetooth phones here (and the odd headset - which costs a fortune and makes you look an idiot, hence low take up) but if you think we're all using these devices then I'm afriad you're wrong.

      At the moment there are two Nokia phones (7650 and 6310i), one SonyEricsson and probably two others of other makes. This isn't much.

      I actually have a theory that Bluetooh won't really start to take off in the UK until Nokia starts supporting it on every single phone.

      At the moment they're only putting it into high end mobile phones. Out of the 9 phones they've announced 3 have bluetooth. Whilst this might not sound that bad, one of those is a 3G phone, one of those is a communicator and the other is their top of the range model.

      Granted I don't expect the new budget 2110 [nokia.com] to have it, but considering the chips are cheap, available and low power - it would make more sense to stick them into all phones.

      After all, text messaging didn't become popular by being put on only the most expensive phones. Yes, there was interoperability issues too, but if you want people to use new technology, you can't price it out of the range of the masses.

    • Intead, for us stuck here in North America. We get CDMA, and no bluetooth to speak of (except as an option on some high end notebooks). Sure we can buy an adapter for the notebook. But no phones.

      You're not trying hard enough. I have T-Mobile in Boston. I have a Nokia 6310i phone. I have a 3800 series iPaq. I regularly read Slashdot from my iPaq while on the tram home from work.

      I actually really like the idea of this PCMCIA card, as my thinkpad doesn't have bluetooth, and the Belkin USB-Bluetooth adapter I bought for it absolutely breaks Win2k. (or maybe I just need a new Thinkpad... hmm...)
  • by adrianm (100624) <adrian@@@adrian-merwood...net> on Monday November 11, 2002 @10:46AM (#4642447)
    GPRS, HSCSD, and 802.11 all in a single PC Card
    (http://www.nokia.com/nokia/0,1522,,00.html? orig=/ phones/nokiad211)
  • by Des Herriott (6508) on Monday November 11, 2002 @10:46AM (#4642452)
    If it's like other PCMCIA GPRS cards I've encountered, it might work under Linux/BSD/etc. - simply appearing as a serial device to which you send AT commands (and thus available to run pppd on).

    The Windows-only sticker may just refer to some cutesy control centre applet which will (obviously) only run on Windows. Every modem needs its own control centre on Windows these days, it seems.
  • Anonymous Surfing? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SealBeater (143912) on Monday November 11, 2002 @10:49AM (#4642465) Homepage
    This is interesting. According to the article, you can swap out the SIM card on the modem. Two immediate options occured to me. One, cell phone theft is a problem in Europe. This can lead to people swiping a cell phone, grabbing the SIM card and doing whatever needs to be done anonymously via the Internet. I'm sure everyone can use their imagination. Second, and perhaps more interesting, there are various services that will purchase or provide SIM cards that are (more or less) anonymous, so you can make phone calls that are not traceable to you. These pre-paid SIM cards are rechargable. This could be a help if you had one in a climate where you needed to make sure something you posted on the web, for example, would be far more difficult to trace. Very exciting. Brave new world.

    SealBeater
    • by gl4ss (559668) on Monday November 11, 2002 @11:00AM (#4642533) Homepage Journal
      you could always do this.. of course you can switch the sim card on the modem, how else were you going to get your sim card in it? and being what it is(basically a gprs phone without phone look options). and this is hardly the first one of these to hit the market even, several solutions exist yet, but they dont do triband afaik like this.

      provider/phonenumber locking per phone is medieval, something you hear horrorstories from nmt days.

      and gprs doesnt do anything 'new' to this, not in this modem or anything. you could always use the 'data' mode of the gsm phone to post things with these. for hmm, 9 years already?

      and as somebody mentioned, very few of these precharged providers provide gprs, but that is non issue anyways as long they provide some way to make data calls.

      they could use the wap/gprs-modem portions of the phone itself even if the sim card was epoxied in every phone.
    • Ummm... (Score:4, Informative)

      by rcs1000 (462363) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .0001scr.> on Monday November 11, 2002 @11:20AM (#4642636)
      All European cell-phones have removable SIM cards. Many, although most users don't realise it, have built in modems.

      The Nokia 7xxx and 8xxx, plus the Ericsson R520, T28 and T68. By using either IR or Bluetooth, you can attach these phones to a laptop, and can then use an anonymous Internet account (like Freeserve in the UK.)

      Indeed, I have been using this method (except for the Freeserve bit) for about four years now to access the web when I am travelling. It's not quick, but it's super useful.

      Contrary to this posters' opinion, most criminals won't use stolen cell phones for Internet access. It's slow and clunky, and there are still ways to find who posted the hypothetical email message...

      (1) Trace email message to ISP.
      (2) Dredge ISP log to find phone number and time, duration of call.
      (3) Contact cell phone company that carried the call, discover IMEI number of the cell-phone.

      Now if anyone uses that cell phone again... you will know. You can track which cell they are in, etc. Complicated, but theoretically possible to catch the person you want.

      Thx,

      Robert
      • I'm pretty sure that the switch couldn't care less what the IMEI is ('cuz you bill on the IMSI), so the call records that come off the switch don't have that informtation. I work for a cellular billing vendor, but admittedly, the batch/switch/OSS stuff ain't my particular area of expertise (or GSM for that matter), so I could be wrong...
    • ... except that when the phones negociate with the AUTH center on the network, they send the IMEI, which is the serial number of the mobile station.

      When people steal phones, they try and re-flash it to change the IMEI, but this is getting more difficult, and probably very difficult on a PCMCIA based dealy.

      Plus, they know where you were when you made the call :)
    • Hey,

      cell phone theft is a problem in Europe

      In the UK, there are a few main providers, who have a communal database of stolen phones' IMEI numbers (Individual serial numbers). They can be automatically banned.

      This could be a help if you had one in a climate where you needed to make sure something you posted on the web, for example, would be far more difficult to trace.

      Or you could put it on a floppy and post it from a cybercafe. Unless it was more than a 1.44Mb, in which case it would cost a bloody fortune with the amount most providers charge for data services.

      Just my $0.02,

      Michael
  • Nokia Cardphone (Score:5, Informative)

    by Psychic Burrito (611532) on Monday November 11, 2002 @10:50AM (#4642470)
    Also, compare it to the Nokia Cardphone [nokia.com]. Works with Linux, too :-)
  • Not so new... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by sheriff_p (138609) on Monday November 11, 2002 @10:53AM (#4642489)
    Turns out with my T68, Bluetooth dongle, and iBook, I already have a tri-band GRPS phone that works with a stable operating system...
  • So What? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kitsook (516402) on Monday November 11, 2002 @10:56AM (#4642502)
    why not just buy a gprs phone? then use infra-red to connect your notebook/ppc to the phone?
  • by alecbrown (66952) on Monday November 11, 2002 @10:56AM (#4642505) Homepage
    They keep coming out with this cool technology but price it out of reach. My T39 Ericsson mobile phone has been able to connect via GPRS and my laptop's IrDA port for a year now, never done it though because my network providers (O2) costs is extortionate in my opinion, I stick to GSM dialup at 9600 bps to download my email when I am on the move. These mobile telcos shoot themselves in the foot.

    Three years ago they were pushing WAP hard but then made it expensive to use, so no-one used it in Europe and all the techie press (including slashdot) said it was a dead and cr@p because of the small form factor, where are the WAP sites now? Slashdot's WAP site seems to have gone (eh Taco?). In South Korea they made WAP and GPRS affordable, and everyone used it, there are lots of sites and both technologies are considered a success.

    The really strange technology success (for the telcos) is txting, they thought no-one would be interested so they bundled it as a cheap feature, and everyone used it. If they make GPRS cheap and put useful things on WAP (such as TV guides) then everyone will use it.

    £rd generation mobile technologies will also fail unless these telcos learn this painful lesson.
    • In South Korea they made WAP and GPRS affordable, and everyone used it, there are lots of sites and both technologies are considered a success.

      The 2.5G technology available in Korea is CDMA 1X RTT, and one carrier has deployed a 1X EV-DO network, which can be legitimately called 3G. There is no GSM in Korea; hence there is no GPRS.

      The killer data application for cellular carriers in Korea is the same as it is in Europe - SMS. The audience is the same, too - those under 30.
  • which led Sony Ericsson to imply that the card will work in 160 countries, providing an always-on Internet connection.

    I would tend to not worry about the actual cost of the card but rather the cost of having an "always on" wireless connection. Is there some kind of pricing plan out there for the actual service? I know if I spoke on my cell phone 24/7 it might cost a little bit of money. I don't see how this is any different.

  • by smitty_one_each (243267) on Monday November 11, 2002 @11:12AM (#4642599) Homepage Journal
    We must quietly respect the gentle extension of market share on the part of the Big Guy. No whining, no complaints, no trolls: manufacturers are flooding the market with products that are only going to work with the Master System.
    The reasonable thing to do is refuse to purchase these products until a reasonable selection of drivers is available for them.
    Also, try not to by new boxes incorporating inflexible hardware.
    Smarter markets are the key to a better future.
  • If you hover over the word "Contest" in the story blurb, it's a doubleclick.net ad link, for OSDN. That's a bit of a sneaky way of getting us to click-through isn't it?
  • Already Been Done (Score:2, Informative)

    by GuyZero (303599)
    Gee, too bad there's already the same thing... in Compact Flash.

    http://www.shoppingpda.com/product/rtm8000/rtm80 00 .asp

    GSM/GPRS, Tri-band, data, earphone jack for voice calls, supports PDAs & Windows - oh, and it's only $283 USD. Cheaper too.
    • Hi - the updated link is here: http://www.shoppingpda.com/catalog/product_info.ph p?products_id=33 This is a pretty good deal - US$235. I'm surprised they got it into this form factor!
  • by sstory (538486) on Monday November 11, 2002 @11:14AM (#4642610) Homepage
    When this tech is invisible, I'll be able to buy a laptop, and it will just be online. No worrying about cards or areas, it'll just be omnipresent connectivity.
  • In the U.S., at least, you can already purchase a CDMA 1x PC Card for $200 that will get you speeds over 100kbps.
  • Motorola P280 (Score:3, Informative)

    by rit (64731) <bwmcadams@NOspAM.gmail.com> on Monday November 11, 2002 @11:33AM (#4642721) Homepage
    I have a Motorola P280 (purchased last year) TriBand GSM Mobile which does the same thing. It's access is via t-mobile here in the states; it came with a serial cable which plugs right into the phone - the phone is a full 56k modem which when plugged into serial port is addressable as a standard modem - no special software required.

    It also handles GPRS modem, which does require special "iStream" software ( dunno what voicestream calls it now that they rebanded to t-mobile) and only runs on Windows.

    It has all the same features of the above mentioned modem, but it also is a phone.

    I paid about $300 for it in January, so it's probably more affordable now.

    They have an i280 now also that is same phone PLUS bluetooth.

    I love the Motorola bluetooth car kit....

    • Unfortunatly, it wouldn't work with some providers in the USA - ATTWS doesn't use Circuit Switched Data, thye only use their very expensive GPRS service.
    • I was able to get a GPRS connection through my P280 to my Mac over IR, so it's not Windows-only. Finding the right modem script is impossible, though.
    • I've got pretty much the same phone, up here in Canada. Except it has an infrared port, so you can use it as a modem without having to connect any cables.. neat phone...
  • Seems to me using a GPRS enabled phone with bluetooth or irda would be the better solution, and here's why:

    - Most laptops come with only 2 pcmcia card slots, and frequently you can only get one card in at one time. No big deal, just a little bit of hassle factor if I have a pcmcia hardrive/usb 2.0 adaptor etc in there already.

    - If I already have a GPRS/GSM account with a provider, I don't want to have to transfer the sim card from my phone into the card every time I want to use it, since then I won't be able to receive or return calls!
  • by Myuu (529245)
    funny, you can get the service in 160 countries but you cant get it in farking north dakota
  • It's ridiculos how the providers are charging you for GPRS traffic. The amount of traffic a MB of data creates just doesn't justify a cost of around $3 no matter how you look at it. If a network has got GPRS coverage the network radio stations will be able to handle both voice and data so there is no additional cost for the providers when it comes to data, still they are so stubborn trying to make loads of many out it even though no one wants to use it.
  • GSM Triband, GPRS, Bluetooth, infrared access. And a nice tiny colour screen.

    I use ICQ, web, email, connecting to it thru a bluetooth memory stick and a sony clié. I also have a bluetooth dongle on the PC. Folks, it's really nice to access the Net using the GPRS modem. It's not for everyday use, but if my ISDN link goes down, now I have a backup.

    For now speed is below 56K, but it will increase (we hope so).

    Cost? For free until Jan 1st. After that, people are talking about R$0,40/MB. Since the Dollar is around R$3,70, it will be really cheap.

  • I've had this card for a month now. Pretty neat stuff though.
  • Why buy a modem card? Why not a cell phone and a cable or Bluetooth? It's almost as convenient and much more multi-purpose.

    6310i is tri-band, has GPRS, Bluetooth, and all the standard phone stuff. And works perfecly with Linux. I'm quite happy with it, except when I have to reboot it occasionally to get the GPRS working.

    With Bluetooth, any Bluetooth-cabable system can use the cell phone as a GPRS modem right from your pocket. For example, I have a Sony TRV-50 video camera that has Bluetooth, web browser, and e-mail client. Theoretically, I could use my cell phone as a modem for the camera. Ok, not in practice, I haven't gotten it to work yet.
  • Cingular's GPRS pricing is still at the absurd level: Pricing [cingular.com]

    Go over your allotted data and you're looking at $0.03/KB. If you are able to get that 57.6 Kbps out of this modem, that's about 7KB/s, or $0.21/s.

    Want to download a 5MB MP3? $153.6 please.

    I don't understand how they expect people to use this service, given the alternatives. [slashdot.org]

I find you lack of faith in the forth dithturbing. - Darse ("Darth") Vader

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