PHOENIX-Pacific Communication Sciences Inc. unveiled the first product in a new line of Personal Access Links at the recent Mobile Insights ’96 conference.
The PAL telephone can make calls over the analog cellular network and transmit fax and data via circuit-switched cellular or emerging Cellular Digital Packet Data networks. The product can be connected to a personal computer via a serial port.
Production quantities of the phone should be available in June, according to Gwen Carlson, PCSI’s director of corporate communications.
The company is targeting cellular carriers to distribute PAL in addition to marketing it directly to vertical markets. Carlson said she expects carriers to offer the phone in the $600 to $700 range-about the price of a high-end cellular phone.
The PAL phone “is a convenient and familiar form factor but with a broader range of communications options,” she said.
The integration of several popular transmission mediums into a user-friendly handheld device is central to PCSI’s vision of Personal Access Links. Many of the early personal digital assistants missed the mark by not including communications in their feature sets in an age when networks are becoming dominant in the realm of information technology and the remote access market is reportedly growing at 60 percent a year.
PAL does not include a paging feature but can send and receive e-mail and messages via the Internet or a local area network, the company said. Warren Weiner, PCSI’s vice president and general manager of subscriber products said PAL will alert the user to an incoming message.
Weiner views PAL as a product platform designed to allow software developers to create application-specific programs for vertical markets. Other features include memory storage for incoming messages and canned responses, a 99-number speed-dial directory, a scratchpad function for entry of notes and numbers during a call, and several security features.
PCSI said future enhancements will include dual-band, dual-mode capability, voice recognition for dialing, an infrared interface to connect PAL to a PC and hybrid circuit-switched/CDPD service.