Wireless Spec Gains Support

Gateway 802.11g laptops due at CeBIT.

The new 802.11g standard will get another vote of confidence this week when Gateway Inc. rolls out notebooks ready for the wireless LAN protocol.

The move comes as several vendors prepare new gear enabled for wireless platforms in conjunction with the first CeBIT America show, in New York. Gateway will join with Broadcom Corp. to offer notebooks that incorporate 802.11g, which was ratified by the IEEE last week. That protocol offers speeds that more than double those of 802.11b. Gateway last week also unveiled two notebooks that support Intel Corp.s Centrino chip set, which supports only 802.11b.

"We wanted to offer an option," said Kelly Odle, a spokeswoman for Gateway, in Poway, Calif.

Gateway plans to participate in Microsoft Corp.s announcement later this month of its new handheld operating system, Pocket PC 2003, but devices running on the operating system wont be available until next quarter, Odle said.

Hewlett-Packard Co. will unveil a line of commercial notebooks at the show, according to officials of the Palo Alto, Calif., company. HP this year also is expected to unveil iPaq devices running Pocket PC 2003, said sources.

At the CeBIT Enterprise Wireless Pavilion, WebLink Wireless Inc. will show devices that run on its ReFlex paging network, which is based on technology from Motorola Inc.

Although the wireless industry offers networks and devices that support both voice and data, WebLink officials insist their offering remains important to customers who cant afford a high-end smart phone or who dont trust Short Message Service.

"The ReFlex technology is highly reliable," said Doug Glen, chief operating officer of WebLink, in Dallas. "The enterprise doesnt necessarily want to pay for voice." The two-way ReFlex products on display at CeBIT will be aimed at cost-conscious corporate customers, he said.

HuneTec Co. Ltd. is readying two new ReFlex products. The H200 is an e-mail pager that supports 10 lines of text and includes basic management and scheduling tools. It is due in September for about $100, officials said.

The HuneTec H500, meanwhile, is a color touch-screen device that runs Version 5.0 of Palm OS. It includes 8MB of memory and is due in the fourth quarter for about $250, officials said.