Lost Packets: Networking news and trivia

German telco to launch 3G notebook…

German mobile phone operator T-Mobile Deutschland plans to offer a low-cost notebook with three wireless connectivity options in a move to promote its high-speed mobile data services in Europe’s largest cellular market. The notebooks, to be manufactured by Fujitsu Siemens, will be equipped with 3G, HSDPA and WLAN technologies, T-Mobile said in a statement. The computers will be available in the second quarter of 2006 to customers in Germany, according to a T-Mobile spokeswoman. She says the primary target group for the high-speed wireless notebooks are business users, but declined to comment on pricing, pointing to the Cebit trade show in March when the operator intends to announce terms and conditions.

…while Verizon plans EV-DO laptop

Hewlett-Packard has unveiled a business notebook with an embedded chip that lets users connect to Verizon’s EV-DO network in the U.S., part of a new trend toward built-in wide-area networking capability in PCs. HP joins fellow PC makers Dell and Lenovo Group in embracing cellular networks as an alternative for business users who are tired of searching for a Wi-Fi hotspot or an Ethernet cable. Dell has announced plans to embed EV-DO and HSDPA chips into its notebooks, while Lenovo announced an HSDPA notebook in partnership with Cingular Wireless. The idea is to give business users the ability to access the Internet from anywhere they can get a mobile phone signal. Verizon’s EV-DO network provides download speeds between 400Kbps and 700Kbps, with HSDPA networks offering similar speeds.

Panasonic unveils massive plasma TV

Never let it be said that an inch doesn’t matter in the world of big-screen televisions. Matsushita Electric Industrial (Panasonic) has unveiled a prototype plasma display panel (PDP) with a 103-inch screen — an inch larger than screens made by two of its rivals. “It might possibly be the world’s largest plasma to become an actual product,” said Yoshi Yamada, chairman and CEO for Panasonic of North America. He didn’t announce any commercialization plans for the monster panel, but did note it likely would not fit into most living rooms. The screen has full high-definition resolution of 1,920 pixels by 1,080 pixels and has a 3000:1 contrast ratio. Both LG Electronics and Samsung have unveiled 102-inch PDP panels in the past.

Finnish vendor launches versatile RFID device

Finland’s Nordic ID has launched a versatile, radio-based handheld computer designed for users in the retail and logistics sectors who prefer to collect and forward data wirelessly. The PL3000 mobile data terminal can collect data from both one-dimensional and two-dimensional bar codes, as well as RFID smart tags. The robust terminal can connect wirelessly to back-office computer systems via a handful of technologies, including WLAN 802.11a and 802.11g systems, GPRS (General Packet Radio Service), EDGE (Enhanced Data Rates for Global Evolution) and Bluetooth. Designed for easy use, the PL3000 has a 3.5-inch VGA (video graphics array) colour transflective TFT (thin film transistor) touch-panel display and a backlit keyboard with 29 keys. It weighs 500 grams, is equipped with a 200 MHz processor designed by ARM Ltd. and runs Microsoft Windows CE operating system. Memory can be adjusted to up to 4GB with SDRAM and Flash chips, and the device has a slot for secure digital multimedia cards.


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