Toy Box: Perfect plaything for the IT correspondent

Now we're cooking with gas. Auckland PC assembler Ultra Computer has released the Ultra 1820N, a laptop with built-in GPRS phone. No more wires to the cellphone, no more 9.6kbit/s.

Now we're cooking with gas. Auckland PC assembler Ultra Computer has released the Ultra 1820N, a laptop with built-in GPRS phone. No more wires to the cellphone, no more 9.6kbit/s. It's sitting here right this minute giving me a connection speed of 115kbit/s, which is none too shabby.

I can now sit in press conferences (in the back row, of course) and type up the story and have it up on the website before any of the dailies get back to the office. Ah, the power. Even better, if the conference degenerates into a death by PowerPoint extravaganza, I can quietly log on to my favourite game server and kick some butt, just so long as I don't leap in the air shouting "back atcha!" too often.

The laptop specs are what you'd expect: a mobile Pentium III 1GHz chip, 20 GB hard drive, 256 MB of RAM, and go up from there. It's the phone that's exciting. Slap in a SIM card and you're all set to go. The interface is a phone-like graphic where you can either mouse over the keypad or simply type in the number you want to call. You can't make a voice call while transmitting/receiving GPRS traffic but you can talk and send a text message at the same time.

For companies with staff on the road that can't make do with dial up or mucking about with Bluetooth to the cellphone and then cables and infrared, this could be the answer. It sure beats trying to send and receive email on those little teeny phone screens, that's for sure.

Send and receive text messages while talking on the "phone" or go for a two-device cellphone/laptop combo to talk about those late breaking figures in detail. Hours of fun. Now, where do you want to go today?

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