DemoMobile 2003 Debuts Wireless Wares

Reporter's notebook: Interconnectivity and infrastructure were themes at this year's edition of the DemoMobile wireless show.

LA JOLLA, Calif.— instant wireless network to Tapwave Inc.s Zodiac mobile content device, which merges the capabilities of the Palm operating system with high-performance graphics chips suitable for gaming.

Some of the technology demonstrations, however, showed just how fragile—and frustrating—wireless connectivity can be. Early in the show, Firetide launched its HotPoint wireless mesh router, which can be used to create an instant wireless network. While the companys goal was to set up a network during the six-minute time slot allotted for a demonstration and then have it act as the official wireless network for DemoMobile, things didnt go as planned. The network eventually went up, although some attendees complained of slow connectivity speeds.

Demonstration issues aside—which are to be expected at a technology conference—Firetides HotPoint router should appeal to enterprises looking to deploy temporary or even permanent wireless networks. Using advanced routing technologies and IEEE 802.11-compliant radios, HotPoints also allow sites to expand the boundaries of a wireless network using standard AC power outlets.

A number of vendors showcased solutions that aim to enhance worker productivity. On the hardware side, Brother International Corp., introduced a Bluetooth version of its Mprint micro-printer, a pocket-size wireless printer that supports Windows-based tablets and laptops as well as Pocket PC and Palm-based PDAs. The printer, which measures 4 by 6.4 by 0.7 inches and weighs in at less than 10 ounces, will be available in October.

On the software side, Aventail Corp. announced End-Point Control, which lets IT managers provide secure access to corporate resources via any device running a Web browser, including airport kiosks and mobile PDAs.

As spam encroaches on the wireless space, spam-fighting companies are seizing the opportunity to release products for a new market. Startup DigiPortal Inc. demonstrated ChoiceMail Enterprise Edition, a solution designed to fight spam on mobile wireless devices as well as corporate desktops. The permission-based system allows users to set up identification verification or to personalize filters.

Nokia Inc. released a new version of Message Protector, which will be available in October. Version 1.3 of the content-management appliance will offer enhanced spam protection, content inspection and virus protection for both wired and wireless users.

While some executives may cringe at the concept, some companies demonstrated ways to have fun with mobile devices. Paris-based Realeyes3D S.A. demonstrated software that allows users to add handwritten electronic notations to photos taken with camera phones. And Pulse Entertainment Inc. introduced Mobile Veepers, virtual animations of photos taken with camera phones.