Tech Nous Working Wirelessly

Things have changed mightily in office technology over the past two to three years.

Much of the excitement about new technology has switched from devices inside the office to those outside – tools for today’s busy mobile managers.

Just take look at the raft of new smartphones, PDAs, handheld PCs, laptops, digital cameras, and other portable lifestyle and business devices that have flooded the market and you’ll realise where the research and development money has gone in recent times.

New Intel platform
One of the latest developments in the mobile arena has been the launch of Intel’s Centrino mobile chip technology. The introduction of this new platform by the world’s largest processor manufacturer addresses some of portable PC users’ recent concerns, including that of battery life and wireless connectivity. META Group, provider of IT research, advisory services and strategic consulting, predicts that by 2005, 95 percent of new corporate notebooks will have built-in wireless capability. Centrino will go long way towards helping notebook manufacturers achieve this goal. Toshiba has already incorporated the new technology into its corporate Portege and Tecra notebooks.

The Centrino’s impact on the Portege 2010 provides an example of how new mobile technology can push the envelope in notebook performance. Released in January this year, the 2010 is Toshiba’s most compact ultra-portable. New hard drive technology means that 40Gb drive can slot into its slim 15mm chassis. The polysilicon screen is also remarkably thin, while the lithium polymer battery delivers life of up to six hours.

With Intel’s Centrino technology, the notebook’s weight drops from 1.2 kilograms to one kilogram, and the 900MHz processor performs exceptionally well with the larger 1Mb level two cache. Toshiba says that overall, the technology makes it possible to spend virtually full working day in an “untethered computing experience”, without the need for an AC adapter.

Organic light
Mobile technology just gets better and better. Another recent example was the arrival of the world’s first digital camera with active-matrix organic light-emitting diode (OLED) display. For all those camera users tired of squinting at tiny, washed-out LCD screens, relief has come at last. The Kodak EasyShare LS633 has 2.2-inch OLED screen that’s brighter (greater contrast) and up to 107 percent larger than typical displays. Its 165-degree viewing angle means that it’s much easier for users to share their on-camera images with other people.

Kodak scientists apparently discovered the light-emitting properties of organic substances more than 20 years ago; however the time has only just arrived for the commercial application of the technology. OLED consists of extremely thin layers of organic material applied on substrate such as glass. When stimulated by an electrical charge, these materials emit light. By eliminating backlight, OLED displays can be just 1.5mm thick. They also have refresh rate 1000 times faster than LCD – ideal for video viewing, plus they have lower power consumption which is good news for digital camera users who have been forced to buy AA batteries by the boxful until now.

Research firms now predict that the OLED display market could reach US$3 billion by 2007, with the technology quickly incorporated in electronic devices such as mobile phones, digital cameras, PDAs and DVD players.

Expect to see many more advances in mobile technology as the year progresses. Toshiba has just loaned me one of its new Tablet PCs to trial. Here is new generation portable personal computer that promises even more flexibility and convenience while working wirelessly. I’ll have full report next month.

Glenn Baker is regular contributor to Management. Email: [email protected]

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