RealTime IT News

Linksys Helps PDAs Tap into Wi-Fi

Linksys, a leading networking equipment vendors for small businesses and home users, is taking steps to help handheld computer users tap into the growing number of so-called "public hotspots" -- wireless local area networks based on the IEEE 802.11b standard. On Monday, the Irvine, Calif.-based company announced the immediate availability of the Instant Wireless Network Compact Flash (CF) Card for Pocket PCs and PDAs using Windows CE.

PDAs utilize the Instant Wireless CF Card through a CompactFlash Type II sleeve. While there are very few 802.11b CF cards elsewhere on the market, there are specialty PDA sleeves with slots for users to insert conventional PCMCIA cards. However, Linksys argues that the CF technology will give users a more cost-effective solution.

At an estimated street price of $129, the Instant Wireless Network CF Card will save consumers roughly $100 by using a CompactFlash sleeve, instead of the more expensive Pocket PC sleeve with a PCMCIA slot. Yet, the Wireless CF Card still enables the same functionality, such as high-speed Internet surfing, network computing, and synching e-mail and data on a PDA quickly, the company said.

"With the Instant Wireless CF Card, Pocket PC users can also enjoy true digital mobility beyond what notebook PCs offer," said Wireless Product Manager Jim Harrington at Linksys. "Users equipped with the CF Card can go anywhere, access data rapidly from different resources and surf the Net without the hassles and time spent getting plugged in."

The Linksys CF Card, which uses Intersil's PRISM 2.5 chip set, is available now through e-commerce, retail stores and direct response. Linksys said the card offers compatibility wireless devices including the Linksys Instant Wireless Series: PC and PCI Cards, USB Adapters, Access Points, Wireless Routers, and Wireless Residential Gateways. But seeing as it is Wi-Fi certified, it is guaranteed to work with any vendor's equipment, not just Linksys.