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HP NEWS: One-Stop Wireless Messaging; Greater 100LX availability

HP NEWS: One-Stop Wireless Messaging; Greater 100LX availability

HP's new StarLink service aims to simplify the process of subscribing to and using a wireless messaging system; 100LX's easier to get; HP offers lower-priced OmniBooks.

By Hal Goldstein

Hewlett-Packard has announced their new StarLink wireless service as a complete, "one-stop communications solution." With one phone call (1-800-917-LINK), the user can sign up for the messaging options of his or her choice and have the necessary hardware and software in hand within two business days.

The package includes a PCMCIA Type II-compatible Motorola NewsCard receiver with pre-installed HP StarLink software. Once connected to HP StarLink, the subscriber can receive messages via the NewsCard receiver. Messages can be sent by anyone through one toll- free number.

Central message control is provided by the National Dispatch Center, Inc., (NDC), a wireless communications gateway and premier provider of message dispatch in the U.S. NDC receives and processes StarLink messages 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, transmitting messages wirelessly to the HP 100LX. Operators can be instructed to automatically update customers' appointment calendars and to-do lists. The subscriber provides a security code to enable colleagues to make these updates.

Currently, the wireless carriers for the Star Link service are PageNet and SkyTel. PageNet provides local, regional and nationwide paging services covering more than 90% of the U.S. population. SkyTel offers national and international coverage.

Initially, StarLink will provide news, sports, weather, and other information services, as well as transmitting voice and data messages.

NewsLink will provide StarLink users with the latest headline news, Wall Street financial information, sports news, national weather reports and entertainment news.

StockLink is an optional service that provides up-to-the-minute stock quotes and news. There are four financial alert services to choose from, depending on your market interest. For example, a user can request real-time stock quotes or COMTEX buy/sell recommendations.

U.S. STARLINK: COSTS AND COVERAGE RATES

HP's StarLink messaging service has a variety of coverage options:

Service Price (U.S.$)

Basic (per mo) $10.95

Provides message retrieval, forwarding, limited transmission, group messages, and bilingual operator dispatch. Each transaction is then charged by coverage type (local, single- or two-region, or nationwide).

Local (per mo) $ varies

Offers coverage in the customer's metropolitan area for as low as $19.95 per month, which includes 100 computer-transmitted messages per month. For $29.95, customers can receive 50 operator-transmitted messages per month in their local area.

Regional (per mo) $36.95

Provides coverage in several states in a geographic region. One- or two-region service is also available. Includes 50 operator- transmitted messages per month.

National (per mo) $62.95

Provides service to all major metropolitan areas in the United States. Includes 50 operator-transmitted messages per month.

NewsCard with software $229

PCMCIA wireless receiver with necessary software.

NewsLink (1st mo) free

$5 per month thereafter if customer chooses to continue the service.

StockLink (per mo) $39.95

StarLink messaging service is expected to be up and running by April 4. Sign up for the service, or receive additional information, by calling 800-917-LINK (U.S. only). Send written inquires to: Hewlett-Packard Company Inquiries, 1000 N.E. Circle boulevard, Corvallis, OR 97330. StarLink is available now in the U.S. Future service outside the U.S. will be announced as it becomes available. Product availability and specifications may vary in non-U.S. markets.

HP to Broaden its U.S. Distribution of the HP 100LX

Until recently the HP 100LX has been available only through qualified HP dealers. That limited its availability and mail order access. HP will now begin to distribute in the U.S. its 100LX through calculator channels. That means University Book Stores, electronics stores, and mail order companies will be able to carry the 100LX.

Greater distribution and lower prices should mean more HP 100LX sales. That is good for all 100LX users. More HP Palmtops means more commercial third party products, more HP Palmtop knowledge, and more freeware and shareware. We'll all be the beneficiaries.

HP Purchases Part of Geoworks. Focus on Low-Cost Consumer Computing Devices

Hewlett-Packard Company and Novell, Inc. have taken equity positions in Geoworks, a company that develops and markets GEOS(R), a compact and highly efficient operating system (OS) for mobile devices, interactive television, information appliances and smart phones.

The three companies share a common goal -- the creation of small, sub-$500 products that will allow the average person to send or request digitized material including video, text and graphics over extended networks, and even the much-touted "information superhighway."

New OmniBooks with DOS and Windows on Hard Drive

The OmniBook 430 PC comes with MS-Windows and DOS loaded on its hard drive instead of the system PCMCIA card. This allows use of Windows enhanced mode and the availability of more DOS memory when operating outside of Windows.

HP is aggressively pricing the OmniBook line and making it available through computer superstores such as CompUSA, Computer City, and Fry's Electronics, as well as retailers such as ComputerLand, Intelligent Electronics, and MicroAge.

Model Price (U.S.$)

HP OmniBook 430 PC (F1038A) $1,599

(105MB hard disk, 6MB RAM)

HP OmniBook 430 PC (F1037A) $1,399

(105MB hard disk, 4MB RAM)

HP OmniBook 430 PC (F1035A) $1,199

(40MB hard disk, 2MB RAM)

OMNIBOOK ACCESSORIES

Fax/modem Comm Pac (F1040A) $379

2MB RAM expansion (F1041A) $179

10MB Flash disk card (F1013A) $600

20MB Flash disk card (F1014A) $999

MB RAM expansion (not yet avail) NA (Available from Kingston Technology, Call 800-835-6575)

AD/DC adapter (F1044A) $99

Battery pack (F1045A) $99

105MB hard disk (F1039A) $699

iPhone Life magazine


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