CCrane WIFI2 Radio

Turning a PDA into a Cordless Phone

Boot Camp feature for Thursday, October 11, 2001

Turning a PDA into a cordless phone. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. Remember those toys called Transformers. Robots that could turn into cars... which could turn into airplanes. The concept behind the Handspring Visor is kind of like that. With the Palm operating system at its core, Handspring uses what it calls Springboard modules to let users turn their PDAs into digital music players, cameras, game machines... .and now... cordless phones. Arkon Networks makes a module called Parafone. My question is why would you want to do that? Arkon's Alvin Ma...

"The main advantage is the integration between the Visor's address book and our module here. The thing is, a Visor user usually has a lot of contacts in the address book. So basically, what the Parafone does ... you can directly dial from your address book."

The phone module comes with a cradle that re-charges phone and syncs the Visor with your PC. It works well enough... and gives you a nice big display for caller ID... and such... .

"And on top of that we have a thousand call entry and fifty speed dials."

The problem we found is that with older Visor models, the quality of the sound suffers. Through the end of this year... Handspring is offering to replace models with one optimized for use with the Parafone. The price... is about a hundred twenty dollars. The kind of money that would buy a pretty full-featured stand alone cordless phone. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.