The Federal Communications Commission has given ASUSTeK permission to release a CompactFlash card that offers GPRS wireless service.
This device allows a Pocket PC with a CompactFlash slot to connect to GPRS wireless networks. The handheld can then be used as a mobile phone. In addition, it allows the user to connect to the Internet to surf the Web or exchange email. The theoretical data-transfer speed for GPRS is 144 Kbps, though real-world performance is typically about half that.
Of course, this CompactFlash card requires that the user have an account with a wireless service provider that uses GPRS, such as AT&T or Cingular. It has a slot for a SIM card.
It comes with a headset, which is required to make voice calls.
The user manual on file with the FCC only says this peripheral is compatible with Pocket PC 2002. However, the date on this manual is June 2003, which means it was probably submitted to the FCC before the release of Windows Mobile 2003. A user manual written at this time wouldn’t say anything about Windows Mobile 2003, whether ASUSTeK intended to add support for this new operating system or not.
This GPRS CompactFlash card can also be used with a Windows PC. it comes with with an adapter that allows it to be plugged into a PC Card Type II slot.
It is not known when this device will be released in the U.S. or what it will cost. While getting FCC approval is a necessary part of releasing any device that uses the RF spectrum, not every item that gets approval from the FCC is actually released.
Though ASUSTeK sells some products under its own name, more frequently it makes them for other companies and it’s possible, perhaps even likely, this card will be released with another company’s brand name on it. On the other hand, the company may offer it as an accessory for its MyPal A620 Pocket PCs, which have CompactFlash slots.
All the documentation ASUSTeK filed is available on the FCC web site.
Of course, this isn’t the first GPRS CompactFlash card. Chi Mei Communications makes one that was recently reviewed by Brighthand.