HP to add fingerprint scanner, WLAN to new iPaq PDA

Hewlett-Packard Co. is preparing a series of iPaq PDAs (personal digital assistants) with a built-in fingerprint scanner and WLAN (wireless LAN) support, according to documents filed by the product's maker with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

The "iPaq Pocket PC h5400 series" machines were detailed in a filing by South Korea's LG Electronics Inc. Because they transmit radio signals as part of their WLAN and Bluetooth personal area networking functions, the PDAs need FCC approval before they can be sold in the U.S.

The 5400 series models are technically similar in many ways to the company's current iPaq 3900 series and are based on the same Intel Corp. PXA250 XScale processor running at 400MHz.

The biggest change comes in the addition of a fingerprint scanner and WLAN support.

The fingerprint scanner is located in the lower part of the PDA's face between the four function buttons and underneath the main control button. It is a thin bar that can only scan a portion of the user's finger and so requires the user to swipe his or her finger over the sensor so that the whole fingerprint can be captured -- an operation that takes between 1 and 2 seconds. The scanner is a thermal type, which means it measures the minute temperature differences between the hills and valleys of the user's fingertip.

The addition of a fingerprint scanner will likely be welcomed by many users, especially as the security of computers and personal and company data moves further into the spotlight. It is one of several log-in options available to users of the new PDA, according to the manual. The others are a simple 4-digit PIN (personal identification number), strong alphanumeric password or combination of these, such as a fingerprint scan and password.

The WLAN function, which appears to be standard across all models in the range, supports up to 128-bit WEP (wired equivalent privacy) encryption, according to the PDA's provisional manual.

HP might be making a change to the amount of memory available in the PDAs, too. The specifications submitted to the FCC, dated July 2002, specify "64MB or greater" user memory suggesting configurations above 64M bytes will be available. No models in the 3900 series have more than 64M bytes of memory.

Otherwise, functions are similar to the 3900 series models, which the company is currently selling. The 5400 series models have a similar transreflective LCD (liquid crystal display) capable of 240 pixel by 320 pixel resolution and 64K colors, have a Secure Digital (SD) memory card slot with support for SDIO peripherals and have an infrared port that enables the PDA to act as a remote control for consumer electronics, according to the documents.

Like the current models, support for Bluetooth wireless networking is built into some models.

Further details of the PDAs were not immediately available. However, a spokesperson for the company in Tokyo said they are expected to hit the U.S. market before the end of this year.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Martyn Williams

PC World
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Bitdefender 2019

This Holiday Season, protect yourself and your loved ones with the best. Buy now for Holiday Savings!

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?