BluePAD Offers Glimpse Into Wireless Lifestyle

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BluePAD Offers Glimpse Into Wireless Lifestyle - 03/10/02 11:58 PM

BluePAD Offers Glimpse Into Wireless Lifestyle
By Kim Deok-hyun, Staff Reporter, The Korea Times

Greenbell Systems, a local system integration application reseller, has begun to introduce a post-personal computer of sorts, which offers a glimpse of wireless lifestyle in the nearest future.

The device, named BluePAD is just shy of 2.2 centimeters deep, 21.4 centimeters high and 29 centimeters wide, and weighs in at 1.2 kilograms including battery.

Among the main features of this post-PC are cordless communication system driven by both Bluetooth and wireless local area network (LAN) technologies, easy and instant access to the Internet, 10.4-inch thin flat transistor liquefied crystal display (TFT-LCD) screen and menu-driven navigation.

``The BluePAD is expected to become an ideal communication tool for virtually all consumers at home and office, from on-the-go professionals to fashion-conscious young adults," said Kim Moon-kyoung in an interview with The Korea Times.

At the fitness club, for instance, consumers can check their record of weight and get health information while exercising, he said.

``At school, students can write down lecture notes as if in their notebook, get information via the Internet, and send homework to teachers through e-mail,'' Kim said.

``The device's possible use is nearly unlimited, from automating your home and car, to accessing information while in a beauty shop, hotel or restaurant,'' he said. The company is now in negotiations with a domestic electronic scale maker to make BluePADs compatible with the scales.

Over the past few years, the desktop PCs have been rapidly changing into Internet-access devices with shapes and sizes that cater to individual preferences.

``They'll be used at home or office, carried in a backpack or shirt pocket, or worn around the wrist or neck,'' the 61-year-old chief executive said, adding the machines will keep getting faster, smaller and smarter.

Perhaps more importantly, Kim said, computing networks will enhance capabilities of other machines: cars, gas pumps, dishwashers, doorknobs or maps. Computing will become a utility _ like electricity or running water _ that gets noticed only when it fails.

Kim said Greenbell Systems will become the first company in South Korea to market the post-PC that allow cordless connections between desktop computers, personal digital assistant and other electronic home appliances such as refrigerators and washing machines.

``We see Bluetooth as the most promising digital communications technology in the nearest future,'' Kim said. He added Greenbell seeks to lead the emerging digital consumer market with the new devices.

Incorporating ``Bluetooth'' technology, the post-PC will allow users to exchange e-mail, pictures and other data with other wireless devices at a distance of up to 10 meters.

The device will go into mass production from the middle of June, with a price tag of one million won (between $800 and $1000), Greenbell spokeswoman Sophie Kim said. She added that the retail price has not been fixed yet.

Bluetooth, named for a 10th century Viking king who unified the kingdoms of Denmark and Norway, was created to allow computers, mobile phones, digital cameras and other devices to connect and exchange information through short-range radio waves rather than messy wires.

Developed by the Swedish group Ericsson in 1994, Bluetooth is a technological cooperative that also counts IBM, Intel and Microsoft among its advocates.

According to a report by Cahners In-Stat, a technology market research firm, more than 1.4 billion wireless equipment and devices would be embedded with Bluetooth by 2005.

But the technology is still working out some of its kinks, such as its fear of wireless data ``traffic jams'' in homes, a problem that analysts say could give Bluetooth-enabled devices a short shelf life if solutions are not found.

``Despite some technological glitches and high prices for Bluetooth- enabled devices, almost all makers of computer hardware and consumer electronics are incorporating the technology into their offerings of products,'' Kim said.

Greenbell's Bluetooth-equipped device can process data at a speed of 732.2 bits per second, within the frequency bandwidth between 2.4 and 2.8 giga- hertz.

Established in 1994, Greenbell has offered optimal system integration applications under partnership with Sun Microsystems and EMC Corporation.

The company, which has 56 employees, has gained its reputation by obtaining exclusive rights to supply its Interactive Electronics Technical Manual (IETM) for the navy.

The IETM is a sort of systemic electronic solution to view technical information _ such as product operations, fault diagnostics, and maintenance _ on computer screens. It converts and stores various technical manuals existing in papers into electronics repositories and allows users to access the information instantly regardless of time and place, according to the company.

Greenbell's revenue totaled 34.6 billion won in 2001, up from 27 billion won the prior year. After weathering the stormy Asian financial crisis in late 1997, the company has kept on track to generate a moderate growth for the past three years. At the end of last year, KTB Networks, one of the leading venture-funding companies in the country, financed two billion won to Greenbell.

``Our target is to achieve four billion won in net profit on sales of 50 billion won for this year,'' he said.

Kim, who had worked as a senior managing executive at Hynix Semiconductor, formerly known as Hyundai Electronics, said Greenbell plans to list its shares on the over-the-counter Kosdaq stock market between late 2002 and early 2003.

BluePAD by the Numbers

_ Price: 1 million won (retail price is not yet fixed)

_ Built-in memory: 64 megabytes

_ Central Processing Unit: National Semiconductor Geode GX1 300 mega-hertz

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