Motient Debuts Always-On Wireless Modem for Palm V Series

Motient has released the MobileModem for the Palm V series, which allows always-on wireless email access. The modem can wake the handheld up whenever an email is received and has a built-in vibrating alert. It is available at an introductory price of $180 when purchased with an annual unlimited service contract at $50 a month. Regular price is $280. Motient also offers a "starter" airtime plan for $20 for 150 KB a month, which it says is enough for about 25 average length emails daily.

Currently the MobileModem only handles email but plans are in the works to offer Web browsing soon.

Users of the MobileModem can be wirelessly connected to all of the popular messaging platforms including Microsoft Exchange, Lotus Notes, and Novell Groupwise.

"With the MobileModem you can send and receive encrypted email, and soon the ability to access the mobile Internet and obtain a variety of enterprise applications all in the palm of your hand," said Peter B. Belman, vice president of marketing and brand management for Motient.

The current version works with the Palm V, Vx, and IBM WorkPad c3. Motient is also working on versions for other handhelds. It is demonstrating a prototype of the Palm m500 series version at the CES now and hopes to have it on the market by mid-year. The company is also investigating developing versions for Handspring and Sony handhelds. It chose to start with a V series version because its research showed there are about six million of those in use.

The MobileModem weighs 5.5 ounces and has its own built-in battery. It comes with the Smart-Sync cable that simultaneously recharges both the modem and the handheld and also HotSyncs with the desktop PC.

Motient is the owner and operator of America's largest two-way wireless data network and provides service to the Blackberry pager as well. It offers service in the 500 largest cities and all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Last Fall, Motient commissioned a research survey targeting more than 5,000 registered business and consumer PDA users across the United States. Nearly two-thirds of the respondents rated the ability to have always-on wireless two-way email as first on their 'wish list' for future services or applications not currently offered on most handhelds.

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Too Much Money

Beavis @ 1/8/2002 11:02:42 AM #
I'm Sorry. $50 per month is way too much. Yes, I realize this is targeted to the enterprise, but $50 a month per user? Ridiculous. Their "starter" plan at $20 per month is what the price should be for unlimited use.

RE: Too Much Money
swinginjonny @ 1/8/2002 11:08:09 AM #
Be patient. That's how technology works. When it first comes out, it's always too expensive. Someone will find a way to make it cheaper until it fits the general budget. I can't afford it either but there are many who can. Hopefully they will help move it further into the mainstream to the point where it fits our budgets. I know this is not totally new but with all the palm-focused wireless companies going under, can you blame them?

RE: Too Much Money
Ed @ 1/8/2002 11:13:08 AM #
When EarthLink bought out OmniSky last month, Lance Weatherby, an executive VP of EarthLink Everywhere, said, "OmniSky didn't take off because it cost $40 per month to get data services on a handheld device. People want to pay $20 per month," implying that the company intends to lower the subscription price.

News Editor
RE: Too Much Money
I.M. Anonymous @ 1/8/2002 11:15:13 AM #
If they do it (unlimited) for US20,00/month they will have many subscribers.
If they will do it for less they will have a lot of subscribers.
If they mantain ther price policy, they probably will be out of the market very soon. With one or two subscribers!
They did a survey about the user's wishes but forgot to ask for HOW MUCH!

RE: Too Much Money
I.M. Anonymous @ 1/8/2002 11:21:15 AM #
I did a survey and found out that everyone wants unlimited access for free and to have the modem delivered to their house by a stripper. This is the real world. What they charge has to cover their costs. The days when everything was really cheap and companies run at a loss are over because all those companies went out of business. Making a profit is in. Selling below cost to build up a customer base is out.

RE: Too Much Money
I.M. Anonymous @ 1/8/2002 11:28:14 AM #
. . . but are people really that interested in spending so much money for a dedicated wireless device and service? I think the days of such services are really numbered if the monthly fee is going to be so high. You'll soon be able to get similar services via devices like the Samsung or the Treo, and those give you the added bonus of providing voice communication as well. In today's economy, you'd have to be crazy to spend a bundle on a cell phone each month and another bundle on dedicated wireless service as well.

Just my thoughts. JBH

RE: Too Much Money
swinginjonny @ 1/8/2002 11:31:36 AM #
Here, here.
We've been so spoiled by the fast pace of innovation in the handheld market we're getting a little impatient!

RE: Too Much Money
Midknyte @ 1/8/2002 11:32:40 AM #
I can get 3,000 weekday minutes and unlimited weekends of bandwidth gobling voice traffic for under $40 and these morons can't find a way to provide spurts of data at a reasonable, let alone competitive price?

RE: Too Much Money
I.M. Anonymous @ 1/8/2002 11:40:01 AM #
ridiculous. I might have to carry a small cable around, but I get great coverage and CDMA data service WITH
voice and 3500 minutes airtime through Verizon by connecting my Qualcomm thinphone to my Palm Vx for only $35 a month.
And from the pictures of the modem, carrying a small cable isn't much worse off from carrying a
brick that attaches to my PDA.

RE: Too Much Money
Coyote67 @ 1/8/2002 1:25:51 PM #
Well some people will do it ala blackberry. But most people who do this are doing it because their company provides the device. Once you have a few hundred or thousand people on an account, they lower the price for service. The functionality is out there for other people. This functionality will be built into the Treo since HS has been working with business developers to provide this service since they announced the treo. But this is good to support a current fleet of a company's pdas. The most common pda in my firm is the PalmVx. It might make sense to support these units with blackberry functionality, instead of replacing them. But then again, just because the company gave a person a pda, doesn't mean they want them connected to the office 24/7. This functionality isn't just handed out when you go get your id card.

When you have a Clie shoved up your mouth, you can only talk in vowels.
RE: Too Much Money
lady_jn @ 1/8/2002 1:30:42 PM #
Don Cambell from Motient came to our Los Angeles Palm User Group last month and showed off this device. It will be worth the money and the monthly fee when it can access the Internet and wireless email. As the device can now be used: connect to the user's desktop PC and forward email that it received on that computer, it is not even worth $20 a month for the average Palm user. Mr. Campbell spoke about the necessity of connecting to the desired computer through a firewall. This is definately geared for the corporate market and computers with static IP addresses. The average home user will not be able to set up their computer for this type of access.

Email only forwarding from a PC which receives the data is not a very functional proposition.

Do one thing every day that scares you!

RE: Too Much Money
I.M. Anonymous @ 1/8/2002 1:59:22 PM #
the only reason i got on the Vx / omnisky bandwagon was that a year ago handango had a deal on the

-Vx (special edition model) $250

omnisky had a $100 rebate if you bought for the whole year making it
-$350 for the year -$100 rebate
that comes out to about $22 a month. that is the only reason i jumped. at $40 a month no way. nor at $30 a month. it's crazy any thing over $20 a month.

BUT! i do love my rig. i travel a lot and it always works. LA, san francisco, NYC, chicago. this sh*t works.

i'm now waiting for the treo since i travel to europe about 5 times a year and it would be nice to not have to have 2-3 phones with different SIM cards to swap out. let's go AT&T roll out that GSM. i'll be first in line here in LA

RE: Too Much Money
I.M. Anonymous @ 1/8/2002 3:05:24 PM #
if people really want to target the enterprise, they probably should:
1) figure out how to leverage existing cellular technology for always on internet service (or something that like it)
2) figure out how to have those cell phones connected to the pda
3) develop the right drivers and software to make use of those cell phones and internet service

not sexy, but so far I'm finding that CDMA data is still tops for wireless internet in the US. the
thing missing is the always-on Internet service. Don't most corporate users use cellphones today???

I use CDMA data for my wireless Avantgo and Vindigo service, as a "personal user". Never bothered
with a POP3 client on the Palm, cause I rather read it on a computer that can view attachments anyways.
and I can access my Yahoo mail with Avantgo. Not sure if the solution works with PQA yet,
because I didn't have a Palm that had PQA capability until recently.

Sometimes I think people are trying wayyyyyyyyyyy too hard with these proprietary hardware
solutions and/or trying to set up their own network.

The only people who's doing a decent job today with always-on email service is RIM and
people like Bellsouth IPS that provides network coverage for RIM Blackberries.
But only diehard fans and support people who monitor critical jobs use it at my company. And my
company has a fair amount of money to experiment with these kinds of solutions, but RIM and Bellsouth
do a fairly good job supporting their customers for the amount of money companies like mine pay.
Can Motient do that to attract corporate customers?

RE: Too Much Money
I.M. Anonymous @ 1/8/2002 8:58:37 PM #
Check out who is signing up people for the Motient MobileModem at $39.95/mo!!

RE: Too Much Money
I.M. Anonymous @ 1/8/2002 11:42:36 PM #
> The only people who's doing a decent job today with always-on email service is RIM

Motient, maker of the MobileModem, is the company that provides RIM with its wireless service. RIM just makes the hardware.

They have $19 / month option also
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/14/2002 2:55:08 PM #
$50 bucks a month is the ulimited package.

Motient also has a 150,000 characters/ month for $19. That is a lot of email. Given the average email is under 1k, that would give you at least 150 emails per month. Tone it down to the average email being .5k or less and you get at least 300 emails per month.

More US only devices...

mtg101 @ 1/8/2002 11:23:53 AM #
Here we go again... more devices for the US only market, where wireless connectivity is poor and generally portable comms devices are not used as much as elsewhere in the world. (just look at the figures for ('cell') phone ownership in the US comapred to the EU)

When are we going to see a GPRS sled / device available for Palm? I've spent over an hour this afternoon trying to find something that fits the bill, but with no luck.

Granted, there's the OhFish M3 - but since the announcement of this nothing more has been heard about it.

Then there's the Treo - which not only isn't released yet, but won't be GPRS enabled until 'the GPRS networks are commercially available and carriers are offering GPRS service plans'. I can only assume that the statement refers to availability in the USA, as in the rest of te world GPRS is rolled out all over the place and standard commercial tarrifs are commonly available.

Meanwhile 'pocket' PCs are making good progress here.

PPC already has the Trium Mondo, a GPRS device. Also there is the the Sagem Wireless Asstistant which is upgradable to GPRS (no info on date for this). Then there's the iPAQ's Wireless Pack for GSM/GPRS networks - a sled that adds GPRS capabilities to the iPAQ.

While in the US market Palm may be able to delay and not have it affect them too seriously, it will certainly hurt their sales outside the US. It's standard for new consumer phones to come with more and more PDA-like functioality as standard, like contacts lists, calendars, calculators and so on. They also have the benefit of always on messaging (SMS), and some devices even have radios and MP3 players in them.

If Palm don't move soon the phone market, powered by giants like Nokia and Ericssony, will take over the EU PDA market with devices like the 9210 (which was the fastest selling PDA in the EU last quarter) and the upcoming 7650.


Diga ao Falante pelos Mortos

RE: More US only devices...
I.M. Anonymous @ 1/8/2002 6:04:29 PM #
I think you are not reading Palm OS News. Have heard about the TREO from Handspring? Palm is developing an Palm OS device with ARM chip with GPRS and Bluetooth in one device. If Palm could not delivered this year, the will be out of business. Handspring will take over, not M$. I think PDA owner like me (I owned m505) will not be buying a normal PDA anymore. I doubt Nokia and Ericsson could complete with Palm OS devices using Symbian and Windows CE OS. Watch out from the TREO which will be released 3rd of January 2002!

RE: More US only devices...
I.M. Anonymous @ 1/8/2002 7:29:59 PM #
"Watch out from the TREO which will be released 3rd of January 2002!"

Check your calendar buddy....

RE: More US only devices...
TDS @ 1/8/2002 11:31:26 PM #
Maybe your question should be... "Why are there no European companies who develop hardware for my PDA?" - These are often US companies who are developing these wireless modems and such. If a European company developed some, I am sure that they would develop it for GSM, etc...

I am pretty certain that there are not a bunch of European hardware companies making CDMA modems... (Of course, the Cell Phone manufacturers over there sell some CDMA phones to the US market)

Like it or not, We Americans drive on the right side of the road, use the Standard units of measurment for everything, and use boring old CDMA. You will just have to drag us kicking and screaming into conforming with the rest of the planet. :)


RE: More US only devices...
I.M. Anonymous @ 1/9/2002 1:29:24 AM #
Sorry, omit week

RE: More US only devices...
I.M. Anonymous @ 1/9/2002 1:32:26 AM #
I should say "3rd week of January" and "omitted". Okay. Sir!

RE: More US only devices...
mtg101 @ 1/9/2002 4:30:07 AM #
In reply to IM Anonymous,

If you read my post again you'll see that I did reference the Treo, and noted that it won't be GPRS until Handspring release an update.

As for Palm's ARM based GRPS device - good point. However it's not out yet. It hasn't even been announced formally. And Palm are hardly known for keeping to schedules recently - where's the Bluetooth SDK and Palm with Bulti-in Bluetooth that was meant to be release Q3 2001?

In reply to TDS,

An EU based company should be manufacturing PalmOS based devices / sleds - it's a good point.

Unfortunately the big boys in the EU are locked into the Symbian OS, and so thy're not going to make PalmOS devices, and I suspesct they put pressure on the smaller manufacturers to go with Symbian over Palm.

As for what side of the road you drive one... well... all of Europe drives on the same side as you. Except my home the UK - which also dosn't use the Euro currency. I hate the nationalism of this country at times... but that's another story...


Diga ao Falante pelos Mortos

RE: More US only devices...
I.M. Anonymous @ 1/9/2002 2:55:24 PM #
Other world devices besides the OhFish are listed at

RE: More US only devices...
mtg101 @ 1/9/2002 6:18:20 PM #
...but none of them is GPRS.

Diga ao Falante pelos Mortos
RE: More US only devices...
mrscarey @ 1/9/2002 6:45:06 PM #

I agree with you. Ubinetics developed the GA100 for the Palm V but it obviously bombed. They have the ability to do a GPRS version but I think they got their fingers burned. Expansys are selling the GA100 for about £116 but it is only GSM and only for the V.

I find it strange that anyone would venture into the PDA market at the moment. Someone else has already commented on the Clie changing its name every week and the range of "universal" connectors. Who wants to gamble on the next most popular PDA or worst still the least, Cybiko or Vtech Helios anyone?


palmist and visionary

RE: More US only devices...
mrscarey @ 1/9/2002 6:54:32 PM #
In response to
RE: More US only devices...
Posted by: I.M. Anonymous @ 1/9/2002 2:55:24 PM

Other world devices besides the OhFish are listed at

Hello R U receiving us over there
Palm VII is US only no good in Europe
read your own recommendation - point 3 Is Palm.Net service available outside US?

The alternatives are also US only.

I sound like a broken record but it is very difficult to make a decision on buying anything unless you can see it and touch it and know it works.
This is not possible from a fuzzy jpeg and a shopaholic credit card no matter how hard I try.


palmist and visionary

RE: More US only devices...
I.M. Anonymous @ 1/10/2002 8:42:14 AM #
Hey Russ

Is your username mtg101 an old Cam ID?



Sony Clie

I.M. Anonymous @ 1/8/2002 12:15:18 PM #
Has anybody heard if there will ever be anything like this for the Clie.

RE: Sony Clie
Ed @ 1/8/2002 12:22:33 PM #
Sony offers a wireless modem for the S series and has its own service:
I don't know what its plans are for the N or T series.

As it says in the article, Motient is considering developing a version of the MobileModem for Sony devices.

I'm not aware of any other third-party companies working on wireless modems for the Clié. To be honest, the quick turn-over in Sony's models has to be hurting them. If any company was in the process of creating one for the Sony N series, it should probably go back to the drawing board to make one for the T series instead.

News Editor

RE: Sony Clie
I.M. Anonymous @ 1/9/2002 3:00:39 AM #
Ed, I do not agree with you on this. Sony is pretty new in the market and now they have 2 types of connector - one for the S- and N-series and 1 for the thin T-series. In the long run, I guess they will stick to these 2. If (and only if) they do not change the connector like their models, they will be fine. I can see Palm Inc also have 2 types of connector in the market now.

Of course if Sony is so stupid to keep changing connectors, they might as well go out of business, somehow I think Sony is smarter than that.

RE: Sony Clie
I.M. Anonymous @ 1/9/2002 6:41:08 AM #
Yes there is.

I am using my CLIE 770 with the BT module to connect to my ericsson t68 for "always on" internet access with GPRS speed.

I think its funny to read how Motient is prizing its wireless service. Here in Sweden the 3 major providers are having a prizewar to bind customers to their service.

As of now , and for the next 6 months, I am paying 0 ( zero ) $, € or Kr for UNLIMITED GPRS download per month. =)

And they are charging $20 for 150 kb a month??

For 150 kb of data you cant even download a third of the content on a regular news site ONCE.

Is there anyone who is actually willing to give away their money like this?

RE: Sony Clie
Ed @ 1/9/2002 8:56:17 AM #
> Sony is pretty new in the market and now they have 2 types of connector

That's a good point. I understand why Sony needed a new connector for the T series: the S/N series connector just wouldn't fit on the new slim model. I hope very much Sony sticks with just these two and possibly even phases out the S/N series one on future models. Adding a new one every time it creates a new line of handhelds would be a serious mistake.

News Editor

Welcome to 1999!!

slot_machine @ 1/8/2002 12:19:37 PM #
The Vx has been dicontinued. These add-on manufacturers really need to speed up their dev cycles. Parachute Technologies (PC card boat-sled) should thank their lucky stars for HandEra.

"2-0-0-0, party over, its outta time"
- His Royal Badness

RE: Welcome to 1999!!
I.M. Anonymous @ 1/8/2002 12:30:37 PM #
This was delayed a bit cause I remember seeing it demonstrated last spring. But there are more Vs than any other handheld. The article said six million (which seems high). Maybe that's how many were ever sold. But thats way way more than the 505 or 760. Making products for the biggest market works for me.

RE: Welcome to 1999!!
I.M. Anonymous @ 1/8/2002 1:45:46 PM #
Maybe your TV or VCR has been discontinnued some time ago and they do their job and you won´t throw them. 5-6 millions Vx users are more than happy with their units and keep buying accesories. I sell Palms and accesories. First time buyers are still demanding for the Vx. Maybe some of them get impressed and finally buy a m505, but the Vx will be on the users hands for a long time...

RE: Welcome to 1999!!
I.M. Anonymous @ 1/8/2002 2:36:11 PM #
Huh? I gave my Vx to my brother after purchasing the m505. In comparison to the m505, the Vx was a dog in terms of battery life when used with the keyboard. OS 5 should be out this year, with devices on the market by the end of the year. If I were this company, I would ditch the device-specific sled and work on something more universal. If that's an impossibility, I'd focus on the devices that use the newer universal connector as opposed to the discontinued connector on a discontinued model.


RE: Welcome to 1999!!
I.M. Anonymous @ 1/8/2002 2:55:03 PM #
So...what. You can find brand new parts for '66 Mustangs because people still own them. I know several co workers that love their Vxs and have no reason to change. I happen to own a Sony Clie N760C and love it. Even with all of the features that the Sony has, I must admit I miss my old Palm V from time to time.

There is still a market for the V series and there will be for a while. It was a great PDA.

RE: Welcome to 1999!!
I.M. Anonymous @ 1/8/2002 2:59:18 PM #
The Vx is still the most-used model out there. Anyway, it's only a matter of changing the connector and the shape a little to make it fit the new Palms, so I'm sure there will be a "universal connector" model as soon as they can crank it out.

BTW does any one know if the latest Sonys are compying with the universal connector specs? I haven't heard one reviewer talk about universal peripherals working with the new Sonys. I'm thinking of getting one, but I need to know about the connector before I buy.

RE: Welcome to 1999!!
I.M. Anonymous @ 1/8/2002 3:03:14 PM #
Complying? No. What are they supposed to be in compliance with?

The connectors on the S and N series handhelds are the same. The T series has smaller connectors due to the size of the units (T415 and T615).

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