AlphaSmart Shipping Dana Wireless

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The AlphaSmart Dana is a Palm OS device that falls somewhere between a handheld and a laptop. AlphaSmart is now offering a new version that includes built-in Wi-Fi wireless networking.

AlphaSmart Dana Wireless The Dana Wireless is quite similar to the original version. Like its predecessor, it includes a nearly full-sized keyboard like a laptop. However, it also includes a touch screen that allows text to be entered with Graffiti. Its screen isn’t as large as that of most laptops but it is much larger than a regular handheld’s: 560 by 160 pixels.

As it has integrated Wi-Fi (802.11b), it can access email and the Internet wirelessly. It comes with AlphaSmart’s Internet Solutions Pack, which includes the widescreen DanaWeb browser, Mark/Space Mail e-mail client, and a three-month trial subscription to VeriChat, a widescreen instant messaging (IM) client. In addition, any third-party Internet app that can run under Palm OS 4.1 should work on the Dana, though they won’t be able to take advantage of the larger screen like the ones AlphaSmart provides.

Most Palm OS apps will run in a window in the middle of the screen, plus quite a few applications come with the device that can use its entire screen. This includes versions of the Address Book, Date Book, To Do List, and Memo Pad. Of course, the Dana can HotSync with a desktop or laptop like any Palm OS device.

In addition, it comes bundled with a version of DataViz’s Documents To Go Professional which supports the extra-wide screen. This allows users to work with Microsoft Office documents, such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint on a display that is about 3.5 times larger than that of a standard Palm device.

Other apps that ship with the Dana Wireless and can use its full screen include AlphaWord, a word processor with spell-checker and thesaurus. It also comes with office productivity software, including another spreadsheet, and PrintBoy Premier from Bachmann Software, which allows the device to print from AlphaWord to printers that support IR, USB, or Wi-Fi.

Another improvement in the new model is its screen now supports 16 shades of grey. It also has twice as much memory, jumping from 8 MB to 16 MB, and a slightly newer version of the operating system: Palm OS 4.1.2.

The Dana Wireless has two SD/MMC slots that support SDIO. It has a USB port to allow it to print and be connected to desktop PCs. It also includes an infrared port.

AlphaSmart primarily markets the Dana to schools and students but it can also be used by professionals in healthcare, journalism, energy, social services, insurance, and many other fields.

Dana Wireless is available now for $429 from the Dana Online Store. Customers also have the option of purchasing Dana without wireless capabilities for $380.

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