With the introduction of such devices as the Ericcson R380 Smartphone, the Trium Mondo and and Kyocera Smartphone into the marketplace, it is clear that the future of mobile technology lies in a combined device offering PDA and mobile capabilities.
UbiNetics has realised this, and has developed its GA100 device to woo existing Palm V/Vx owners into ditching their current mobile and converting their PDA into a combination device. The GA 100 clips onto the back of the Palm and connects via the serial port, to provide the Palm with dual band GSM mobile capabilities.
Simply place your SIM card into the GA100, install the included software, charge the battery and you can begin to make calls using your Palm. Unlike the custom-made combination devices, the GA100 doesn't allow you to use the Palm like a mobile: you can't hold it to your ear, but have to use the included hands-free kit to talk.
The GA100 offers both voice and data calls, including SMS and fax capabilities. GSM data transfers can be carried out at up to 14.4kbps. With full Address Book integration, the GA100 can be used instantly - no setup procedure required.
Bundled with the GA100 is the Mobile Internet Kit from Palm, allowing full Wap and web clipping access to the internet.
Even with the GA100 attachment fitted, the Palm can be used as normal, including full Hotsync capabilities and battery charging - simply slot into the Hotsync cradle using the serial connection on the back of the GA100. The battery for the GA100 is charged when placed in the cradle, along with the Palm battery - whichever is weaker gets charged first.
The suggested talk time using the GA100 is around three hours between charges, and in tests we weren't too far away from these figures. The disadvantage of the method of charging described above is that you can't charge the GA100 when away from the office, without taking your Hotsync cradle with you or making use of somebody else's.
Everything about the GA100 is easy to use, operating exactly as a mobile phone does, only in software rather than hardware form. The number keys are large enough to be selected with your finger, and because it utilises the Palm's memory, you can store a great deal more data on the GA100 than on a traditional mobile phone, whether this be contact details or SMS messages.
The GA100 a good product that gives much needed extra functionality to the Palm. But its high price means that its chances of success in the competitive world of mobile communications are limited, even after the cost reduction offered by mobile operators when purchased in conjunction with a 12-month contract*.
*If the GA100 is purchased in conjunction with a 12-month mobile contract from the Carphone Warehouse, the cost of the unit is reduced to a more feasible £149.
UbiNetics +44(0) 1763 262 222, www.ubinetics.com