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A Virtual Pen in Your Pocket?

Boot Camp feature for Friday, August 31, 2001

Putting text into a tiny cell phone. There's got to be a better way. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. You can browse the Web on a cell phone... .or store an address book. The problem is... .have you tried to spell things out using a telephone keypad? An Israeli company called OTM Technologies is working on a solution. The Vpen. Write the way you would write on paper... and the text appears on your cell phone or PDA. President and CEO Gilad Lederer...

"It gives you all the functionality of keyboard and mouse without the need for a desk to put things on because with the Virtual Pen you can write anywhere on the go. It's a wireless device, it works on top of any surface so you can write on the palm of your hand, ... .wherever you are, just write on any surface next to you. And what you write appears on your cell phone or PDA as digital text and that will be the way for you to write email or answer emails or short messages on the go."

The demonstration is impressive... but Lederer says the first Vpens won't be available for about a year. Initially... in wireless phones..

"The largest target market and in fact the one that I think in the most desperate need for a reasonable way for interaction and text input is the cellular phone market."

Especially in Europe and Asia where text messaging is even more popular than in the United States. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.