Paging All Email
SkyWriter, the new pager from SkyTel, isn't the fanciest device on the market. But it is one of the smallest — and perhaps the easiest to use. Users respond to messages sent to their pagers by typing on a screen-based "scroll-and-select" interface. And its email feature is remarkably user-friendly. Creating outgoing email doesn't require any special commands. People sending email to SkyWriter simply address them to the subscriber's identification number
SkyWriter sells for $399 and leases for $39.95 per month. Call SkyTel (800-292-9889) or visit its Web site (http://www.skytel.com).
Pager or PC?
PageWriter, Motorola's new two-way pager, won't be available until spring. But the paging world is already buzzing about it.
What's so special about PageWriter? For one thing, the hardware. PageWriter is more like a pocket PC than a traditional pager. It comes with a 46-key QWERTY keyboard that makes composing outgoing messages easier than ever.
There are software innovations as well. PageWriter is the first two-way pager with its own operating system, called Memos. Thanks to Memos, users can silence incoming messages other than those from specific people or on specific topics. They can compose messages to be sent later — a neat feature for long airplane flights — and they can store and organize read messages.
The basic package is expected to cost $399. It includes the PageWriter, a rechargeable battery, a charger, and a holster. Visit Motorola at its Web site
Let's say you already use a two-way pager to send and retrieve email. What's next? Get ready for the new frontier: using a pager to surf the web! Custom software turns the Inter@ctive pager, manufactured by Research in Motion (RIM), and marketed by RAM Mobile Data, into an access device for public Web sites and corporate intranets. It even lets users query the Net for high-priority information.
"You're stuck in traffic and you need to know the next three Continental flights out of Boston" imagines William Lenahan, CEO of RAM Mobile Data. "You put in a query and — boom! — the flight times come right down. That's what makes it interactive. You can initiate requests for information rather than just send and receive messages."
Scheduled for release in early 1997 and is expected to cost about $500. Call RAM Mobile Data (800-726-3210) or visit its Web site (http://www.ram.com).
A version of this article appeared in the Dec 1996/Jan 1997 issue of Fast Company magazine.