COMDEX: Browse the Net from your backyard

Picture a wireless device the size of an Etch-a-Sketch toy that you can carry anywhere around your house (or backyard) to browse the Web and send e-mail. On Monday, National Semiconductor's Cyrix subsidiary debuted a prototype gadget, dubbed the WebPad, that provides just this capability.

To be available in the US starting mid-1999, the company will work with partners such as Internet service providers, telephone companies, cable providers and PC makers to build the actual devices.

The prototype WedPad that Cyrix showed off is a thin, flat pad with a 10.4-inch active-matrix display; it runs on the company's Media GX processor. You can hold the WebPad on your lap like you would a notepad. It runs four to six hours on a lithium ion battery and weighs less than three pounds.

The WebPad lacks a modem. Instead, it works in concert with several types of Net connections, such as dial-up, cable modem, Digital Subscriber Line, or DirecPC-type satellite access. The WebPad uses radio frequency transmissions to tap into that Internet connection, and let you surf the net anywhere within a 500-foot range of the accompanying RF transceiver -- which might be located in the user's cable box, PC or a separate base station. The WebPad also has built-in speakers and a microphone for making Internet phone calls.

Cyrix says the devices will cost about $US300 to build, so consumers may receive WebPads for low cost -- or free -- from Internet access providers. The devices can use Windows CE or other operating systems.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Comments

Comments are now closed.

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Shopping.com

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?