PC card keeps road warriors connected

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 01 April, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 01 April, 2003, 12:00am

One of the biggest frustrations for any road warrior is the lack of network connectivity. Unless you happen to be passing through a modern airport like Hong Kong's Chek Lap Kok or Singapore's Changi, getting an Internet connection can be an expensive, or often impossible, task.

Considering the high prices of GPRS and the often patchy availability of wireless 802.11, or Wi-Fi, networks, more people are looking for a connection solution that combines the best of both worlds.

Sony Ericsson has just announced the GC79, a PC card that does indeed combine both GPRS and Wi-Fi in a single unit.

Unfortunately, the company has not announced full product specifications. We do not know, for example, whether the card will enable automatic switching between Wi-Fi and circuit switched data networks. However, the card should support tri-band GSM voice, SMS and fax, all of which are lacking on the average Wi-Fi network.

Another bonus for the new card is that it does away with the fragile aerial of the existing GP75 wireless GPRS PC card. This is the second PC card announced by Sony Ericsson in the past six weeks. In February, it also announced the GC82 Edge PC card, which was designed for North America's 850/1900 MHz GSM networks.

The GC79 is due to be released in Europe and the US by June, with the rest of the world following later in the year. Prices have not been confirmed.

Now all we need is a Compact Flash or Secure Digital version for our personal organisers.