Category Archives: Product Reviews

HP Ipaq HW6900 handheld

Although not expected to ship in North America and sometime during the summer of 2006, the HP IPAQ hw6900 phone looks amazing. The device will contain four integrated radios for flexible connectivity: Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE, Wi-Fi, GPS and Bluetooth. It runs the Microsoft Windows Mobile 5.0 operating system and provides push-email functionality. A nice keyboard is available on the unit and select units will come with a 1.3-megapixel HP Photosmart camera. Finally, the device will come with Skype mobile. This device, along with the Cingular 8100/8125, are tied on my list to replace my existing smartphone.

From Slashphone

Cingular 8100/8125

Cingular has announced its 8100/8125 phones (aka the HTC Wizard, O2 Xda Mini S, Orange SPV M3000, Qtek 9100 or K-Jam). According to an Engadget posting, the same underlying phone (MDA) is expected to be released shortly by T-mobile. The specs are impressive (alghough no GPS) but a few commentators who have played with the phone (known as the Mini-XDA in the UK) have posted remarks that raise a concern about its stability. Guess I’ll have to monitor the forums before making a purchasing decision.
Continue reading Cingular 8100/8125

iPhantom vpn firewall device

I recently came across information about an interesting hardware-based VPN firewall. Its made by a company called Phantom Technologies and is called the iPhantom. The device connects to the ethernet port of a computer or router (so that it can be used to protect multiple computers at a remote location or for use in a small office). It then sets up a highly encrypted VPN tunnel to Phantom Technologies data center so that all traffic is routed back and forth to that data center. This can be useful to help protect a remote computer being used at a public location (such as a hotel) or in a foreign country where the information may be susceptible to interception. Unfortunately, its not very useful for laptops being used at wi-fi hotspots. It can also help protect against viruses and adware because all data being accessed from the Internet is scanned at the Phantom Technologies data center.

Note that the data is still susceptible to interception by anyone monitoring traffic moving into or out of Phantom Technologies data center. Also, an ongoing subscription is required in order to use the device.

AuraGrid – rebroadcast Wi-Fi signals using existing cable

AuraOne Systems has a neat new product, AuraGrid, that can be used to rebroadcast wi-fi signals using existing cable tv (but not satellite) cabling. The solution is supposed to work with both 802.11b and 802.11/g signals. It comes with a 4-way duplexer/splitter that connects to the cable line where it enters the home. The wi-fi signal can be injected from, and is then sent to, any of up to 3 antenna units that can be connected to any room with cable access. I suspect that any low cost one-way amplifiers that may be present in the house may need to be upgraded to two-way broadband type amplifiers (of the type used with digital cable signals) or that the use of any amplifier may interfere with the operation of such a system. Also, one hopes that the 4-way duplexer/splitter has a filter built in so that any wi-fi signals are not sent back down the line.

Philips VP5500 WiFi VOIP Phone

Philips has finally released its VP5500 Wi-Fi VOIP handset. The VP-5500 is powered by Linux and lets users make live video calls using its built-in VGA camera (640×480 resolution). The 30 FPS video is displayed on a 2.2″ color LCD supporting 64k colors. Not sure of availability outside of The Netherlands or whether the phone is compatible with SIP service providers other than Dutch telecommunications operator KPN’s consumer VoIP (Voice-over-IP) service called InternetPlusBellen.

Thanks to Tom Keating’s VOIP and Gadgets Blog for the heads up.

High Power 200mw Senao USB Wi-Fi Adapter

From the interesting new products department …

Pasadena Wireless is offering Senao’s new high power (200 mw / 23 dbm) USB adapter. Specifications state that it supports Windows 98-XP, WEP and WPA encryption and 802.11b/g. The external antenna is changeable. I’ve had trouble in the past with the stability of drivers (particularly in Windows 98 machines) for Senao wi-fi adapters and hope things have improved since then.

The USB aspect is good because it allows moving the antenna slightly away from the computer and other electronics that may interfere with operation. Also, I prefer a USB approach over having a PCcard inside the laptop adding extra heat.

Creative announces PC-less Skype Phone

Creative recently issued a press release announcing its Skype Internet PhonePLUS – a phone that enables users to connect directly to a router. A full-color 2.5-inch color screen displays the intuitive Skype interface, and five-way navigation buttons provide easy menu browsing and setup. The Creative Skype Internet PhonePLUS will be available in spring 2006 in North America and is expected to function with existing Skype services such as SkypeIn, SkypeOut and Skype voicemail. This device joins Skype-compatible wi-fi handsets also recently announced by other vendors. These types of devices may be especially attractive for homes with kids who love to yap on the phone with their friends.