JVC's new hand-held e-mail device, the HC-E100 PocketMail ($129.95) is the first glimpse at a new generation of e-mail appliances we'll be seeing in the coming year. The HC-E100 uses Pocket Science's PocketMail technology which is also being licensed to Sharp and other makers of personal digital assistants and hand-held computers.
The beauty of the HC-E100 is certainly not its catchy name. It's designed to send and receive e-mail from any type of phone (cellular, office phone, digital hotel phone, etc.) without a computer, modem or phone cable. It has an acoustic coupler stored on its back that folds out and is held against a telephone's handset to transfer data through audio signals.
You compose your messages on the fat, checkbook-sized device, dial an 800 number with a telephone, hold the HC-E100 to the handset, and transfer your messages. It's simple to operate and reasonably trouble-free. The monthly e-mail service is $9.95. You can also have your regular e-mail forwarded to your PocketMail account while you're on the road.
I love the idea of the HC-E100 and can definitely see it being useful to those who don't have a computer and want e-mail access. It could be invaluable to those who need e-mail in situations where a laptop might be impractical. Still, the HC-E100 has its problems. It's so much like a PDA, you find yourself wanting to be able to take notes or do other activities common to such a digital device. You also can't cut and paste within messages and your hand can get mighty tired holding the unit against the handset during transfers if you have a lot of mail. A Velcro strap would have been a thoughtful addition.
I think this technology is great and am eager to see future versions of the JVC device and how PocketMail will be incorporated into existing PDA/hand-held technologies. PocketMail on a PalmPilot: now that would be cool.
Information: 973-315-5000 or www.jvc-america.com/pocketmail/
Heavy metal makes a case for your PalmPilot
If you're looking for an indestructible case for your PalmPilot that's also chic, check out the Titanium Hardcase ($99.99) from RhinoSkin. This handsome case uses sheets of folded titanium, a slotted rod hinge and aircraft rivets, and it has a blasted finish. It's lined with neoprene rubber padding and has a cutout area under the Pilot for stashing money, credit card, ID, etc. The Hardcase also holds the IBM Workpad, but sadly, not the PalmPC (at least my Everex Freestyle didn't fit). It weighs 5.6 ounces.
For those in search of a softer, sportier case with room for more accessories, look at the RhinoSkin 2000 ($49.95). It will hold any PDA or PalmPC, along with a modem, cables, and other small gear. Made of tough codura, it has a belt loop, a small zipper pocket, a mesh pocket, battery pockets and a holder for an extra stylus or "analog" pen.
Information: 307-734-8833 or on the Web at www.rhinoskin.com
You can find full reviews of these and other neat gadgets at www.streettech.com.
Pub Date: 01/18/99