March 23, 2006
 

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Posted: 05.16.05

Sony Goes WWAN

Hotspots have allowed people to use their computers outside of home and office and gained much popularity over the last few years. But the mobility they provide is still very limited: although unwired, computer users are still confined to the radius of a hotspot and laptops are still not nearly as mobile as cell phones.
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By Rita Kushnir




This is all about to change with the launch of Sony’s ultra-portable VAIO T-Series notebooks. This is the first line of notebook PCs with integrated high-speed wireless wide area network (WWAN) technology. Sony has partnerd with Cingular Wireless on this innovative integration. Because the ability to connect over cellular signals is included, T-Series users can connect wherever their cell-phone has a signal.

T-series computers come equipped with Sony’s SmartWi application that searches for connection options and allows a user to switch easily between wireless networks using the computer’s function keys. This provides users with a choice between 802.11b/g, Bluetooth and WWAN, depending on whether they wish to connect to a hotspot, peripherals or Cingular’s nationwide EDGE network.

Cingular operates one of the largest digital wireless voice and data network in the United States. It is currently available in 13,000 cities and along many stretches of Interstate highway,s with average speeds ranging from 70 to 135 kbps. Unlimited access to Cingular’s EDGE network costs $79.99 a month for VAIO T-series users with a one-year service agreement. The less costly $49.99 service is limited to 50MB of data usage. Trial promotions are available for new subscribers.

The latest VAIO T-Series notebooks are 3-pound compacts that fit into small briefcases and decent-sized purses. Under the hood is Intel’s ultra low voltage pentium M 1.2GHz processor, a 60GB hard drive and 512MB or 1GB of memory. To destroy any skepticism associated with the VAIO’s tiny size, it comes equipped with a high-power mobile entertainment center and Sony multimedia software. Advanced battery optimization technology promises to keep the PC running for up to 9 hours but the battery life, of course, varies with usage. Sony’s new WWAN enabled notebooks start at $2,200 and can currently be pre-ordered at www.sony.com.
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