It’s not the first cellular modem PC Card for PowerBooks and other laptops, but the AirGo PhoneCard, announced today, is the first with a unique combination of data, fax, and voice capabilities for cellular and land-line communications. The new Type III PC Card for Macintosh or Windows computers comes from AirGo Communications, Inc., a new subsidiary of Dayna Communications.
The AirGo PhoneCard works in a Type III PC Card slot such as the one in the PowerBook 5300 and the earlier PCMCIA adapter for 500-series PowerBooks (each slot can support a single Type III card or two Type II cards). While the PhoneCard is docked, users can send and receive faxes, use the modem for data at up to 14.4 Kbps, or place and receive voice calls, using the cellular circuit or a land-line connection. The earphone jack supports any compatible earphone, such as Jabra’s earPHONE, for hands-free use.
AirGo’s included PhoneBook software enables users to keep track of contact names, phone numbers, and addresses, as well as the phone’s use. The software can download up to a hundred contacts to the card itself.
The package also includes the company’s CardPhone handset, which serves as a stand-alone cellular phone when the PhoneCard is inserted. The handset’s display makes it easy to access contact information that’s been stored in the card. The LCD display also shows the usual signal strength, battery charge, and roaming indicators.
No final price has been set for the card and phone handset, which are expected to ship around the end of the year, but the company expects "unsubsidized" prices to be around $1,000 for card, handset, and software, along with a battery charger and a single battery. Lest that price scare you, keep in mind that even the cellular phones given away for free (or for $20-50) by cellular service companies have unsubsidized prices in the $200-500 range. This package, purchased with cellular service, is likely to be much less expensive when it becomes available.
AirGo Communications — 801/269-7200 — 801/269-7363 (fax)