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Honeywell Bows Wireless, Portable Internet Tool

Honeywell on Wednesday has unveiled a wireless, portable tool for high-speed connection to the Internet.

The WebPAD Internet Appliance allows users to surf the Web via any service provider, send and receive email and enter information implementing a touch-screen display. Honeywell believes it is the first of its kind, although other startups such as ePods have unveiled similar devices.

"Technologies in the home continue to converge allowing the integration, monitoring and controlling of key home functions via the Internet," said Jay Schrankler, vice president, Honeywell Home and Comfort Systems. "The WebPAD appliance will be a fundamental component in this convergence - permitting wireless Internet access today and a wide range of wireless home control capabilities in months and years to come."

The product -- which weighs less than three pounds, measures less than one-inch thick and is the size of a standard sheet of paper -- uses a wireless connection to a base station that is connected to broadband cable or DSL. Once connected, users can enjoy all the benefits of a high-bandwidth Internet connections from within 150 feet of the base station.

The base station can accommodate up to eight WebPADs. Further, the product can transmit through walls and ceilings so that it can be used indoors and outdoors, upstairs and downstairs.

The WebPAD is based on National Semiconductor's Geode WebPAD platform, which is a complete hardware and software reference design. The reference design is based on the highly integrated Geode GX1 processors, a low-power x86-based chip that integrates sound, graphics, memory control and the PCI interface.

Features of the product include connection speeds up to 1.5 Mbytes a second; online downloadable software as new features become available, and onboard speakers and headphone jacks for listening to audio.