Compaq upgrade Aero, GSM available soon

Compaq is set to improve its Aero PDA with the inclusion of an onboard GSM phone, Mobile Executive has learnt.

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By  Peter Conmy Published  August 5, 2000

Compaq is set to improve its Aero PDA with the inclusion of an onboard GSM phone, Mobile Executive has learnt.

The Aero 1550, the thinnest Pocket PC available, has also recently received an upgrade to Pocket PC operating system enhancing its performance considerably.

The new operating system allows the Aero to run Microsoft applications including Pocket Word, Excel, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Reader and Windows Media Player.

With the GSM unit, which will be built in to new models as standard, the device will gain a new functionality over many of the competition’s Pocket PC models.

Mobile Business Users

The Aero 1550 is aimed at mobile business users who need simplicity and portability over power functions. As the thinnest Pocket PC device on the market, and weighing just 150g the Aero is certainly portable.

The screen measures 240x320 pixels and has a 16 grayscale display, and with the operating system it is an easy to navigate. The QMenu system, which can be launched with a single button helps users find files, switch between and close frequently used applications.

A dial/action button provides a scroll function to browse menus or contact lists and activate selcetd items with a push of the dial for one-handed operation. Buttons can also be customised for use as short cuts to favorite functions.

The touchscreen is capable of data input through either handwriting recognition, a softkeyboard or voice recorder.

One major improvement that is enabled by the switch to Pocket PC is to audio performance. The 1550 lets users listen to audio books that can be downloaded from the Internet, or play MP3 and WMA music files. An onboard microphone allows voice recording for messages.

Optimized Processor

The processor is a 70MHz NEC RISC CPU which is optimized for the Pocket PC OS. Memory is provided with a CompactFlash memory card; the Aero has an expansion port to add more memory on either a 32MB or 64MB card.

The expanison port can also be used for a network card or barcode scanner to tailor to the users working environment.

The Aero 1550 is twenty percent faster than its predecessors, but Compaq is offering any Aero 1520 or 2100 owners the chance to upgrade to Windows for Pocket PC for a small fee. The new operating system comes with 24MB of RAM.

Power consumption, or rather lack of, is another feature of the Aero that is being promoted heavily. The Lithium-Ion battery can provide up to 14 hours of constant usage, or eight days on standby.

A docking cradle allows synchronisation with a desktop PC while the Aero is automatically recharging. An infrared port provides an alternative method of data transfer.

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