iCOM Personal Internet Browserby Veronica Hendricks
Interactive Imaging Systems, Inc. (IIS) has developed the iCOM Personal Internet Browser (PIB), a device you can carry in your hand to perform one main task -- browsing the Internet. At 4.65 inches high, 2.5 inches wide, and 1.4 inches thick, the PIB actually can fit in your hand, and it's pretty lightweight, too, at 6.2 ounces. But perhaps the most interesting feature of this device is the unique display. A 1.25 inch diameter virtual display system is the equivalent of viewing a 21-inch desktop display. The 12-bit, 4,096 color VGA 1/4-inch AMLCD micro-display is set at a 640 x 480 resolution.
Now, what is all of this display technology supposed to show you? The Internet, of course. The Windows CE-based PIB comes equipped with Internet Explorer to handle all of your browsing needs. You can connect to the Internet using virtually any wireless CompactFlash Type II card, including those made for Bluetooth, 802.11, and GSM networks, among others. To load the drivers for your card of choice, sit the PIB in its USB-attached docking cradle and simply sync it up. The nifty docking cradle is also used to recharge the PIB's 750 mAh Lithium Polymer battery.
As everyone knows, the Internet is not just for looking anymore; it's for hearing as well. The PIB has that all covered. It supports MP3 and Web audio record & playback, and has a standard 3.5 mm stereo output jack. To round out the audio features, the PIB has an integrated microphone and digital voice notation recording & playback. If you're concerned about storing these large audio files, iCOM has addressed that too. The PIB has not one, but two CompactFlash card slots, so you can dedicate one to connectivity and one to memory. Internal memory is usually set up with 16 MB of flash ROM and 16 MB of SDRAM, with a 32 MB option.
Now, in this rather abnormal handheld device, IIS has tossed previously held ideas of navigation out the window. Mainly, there is no touch-screen interface, so surfing is conducted with the 5-way OptiNav navigational system and vertical/horizontal auto-scroll buttons under the display. There are also four software-configurable buttons to quick launch programs. Besides Internet Explorer, the PIB comes with ActiveSync, Calendar, Contacts, Tasks, Voice Recorder, Calculator, Solitaire, Inbox, and File Explorer software.
Pricing and Availability
The iCOM Personal Internet Browser is set to hit the streets in six to eight months for approximately $995.
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