Philadlephia Area HP Handheld Club Meeting

Wednesday, June 16th , 1993 - Drexel University

New HP Products

It is indeed an exciting time for HP users with three major Corvallis products all seeing their debut in the May/June 1993 time frame. The HP100LX has gotten high praise from reviews and users alike, with significant enhancements in virtually all aspects of the HP95 product software. The intro of the HP48G (already shipping) and GX (to be shipped in the coming weeks) has 48S/SX users a place to grow with increasing memory and number-crunching needs. And finally, with the introduction of the Omnibook 300 subnotebook, the initial reviews are also favorable. Advertised prices have been as low as the mid-1600-dollar range in the local newspapers for this 2.9-pound machine which compromises less than one would expect. The four PCMCIA slots allow several combinations of devices including hard drives, flash cards, modem cards, etc. The "built-in" applications aren't even built in, as all ROM-based software (including MSDOS, Windows, Excel and Word as well as several of the palmtop applications packages) totalling ten megabytes come on a plug-in card to allow future upgrades. And running for as much as 10 to 12 hours on a set of AA batteries will please the users on the go.

Summer CES Report

From June 3rd to June 6th the 1993 Summer Consumer Electronics Show was held in Chicago's McCormick Place. Attendance was half of what it had been in the glory years of the mid 1980's with many major exhibitors of the past staying home. However there were still some technology marvels to be found here and there on the show floor. Casio and Tandy finally rolled out the official version of their "Zoomer" personal digital assistant. (Once again, Apple's Newton was not visible, but also again the word was that they privately showed it in Chicago to small groups of people. Sounds like it really isn't ready for a public showing as yet.) Dauphin showed their "DTR-1" subnotebook machine which has both pen and de- tachable keyboard built into a 486 unit with virtually all necessary features. Motorola showed prototypes of a new digital cellular phone under the name of "Iridium" which in 1998 will be connected to a worldwide satellite network rather than antenna-based system. Panasonic showed a new portable phone that fits like a wristwatch on one's wrist. Running in the new 900-megahertz band for larger range, the base unit can support up to 4 "watches" worn by family members who can all talk on the line or communicate with each other via the built-in intercom system. Not shown at CES, but in the literature, Casio introduced a watch that doubles as a wrist-worn universal remote control to run the home entertainment products. AT&T demonstrated its LCD-based picture phone again, although it seems that the high price will be an obstacle. Virtual Vision again had their LCD color TV in a pair of glasses which act like a personal projection system with a TV tuner that can be attached to the user's belt.

Special HP Meeting

The annual CHIP group HP Handheld special meeting was a real treat with HP's Dennis York flying in from Oregon to speak to the group. He presented demonstrations on the HP48GX and also talked about the 100LX and answered questions on both products for literally hours. Richard Nelson showed slides of a disassembled HP48GX with Dennis filling in background details all throughout. I gave a brief update talk on the HP16C Emulator for the HP48SX and Brian Walsh spoke on the Internet-originated HP48 programming contest which Robin Getz was running from Canada. Also, the CHIP group sponsored a little programming contest involving user code to convert an HP serial number into its constituent parts (week of manufacture, country of origin, serial number during the week) and Richard Nelson awarded a prize to the program which met the shortest and fastest criteria while still being robust. The marathon session started around 8 PM and ended past 3 in the morning. I videotaped the proceedings and have that plus some glimpses from the Summer CES available on a single 8-hour tape. Some interesting tidbits can probably be learned from Dennis' HP48 and HP100 talks.

See You in July

For those who didn't get a chance to see the slides from Chicago, I will bring them along again at the upcoming Saturday meeting at Drexel. Also, I'm sure there will be much more discussion on the HP48GX and the Omnibook 300. The Omnibook is beginning to appear in local stores and should catch many folks' eyes. In addition, the HP Palmtop Paper newsletter people have announced a new publication called Omnibook World to cover HP subnotebook activities. With the rush of third-party products already popping up to support this novel computer, a separate magazine may just be warranted to cover all the news as it unfolds. Also, by the time you read this, the HP48GX units should be in stock at your favorite calculator dealer. Perhaps we'll have them in our hands fairly soon. See you at Drexel.

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