ThinkPad Add-On Has Built-In Cradle

IBM has developed an ultra-portable cradle for its ThinkPad notebooks. It's an Ultrabay Plus add-on, which means it can actually be stored inside the laptop.

The Ultrabay Plus is a slot in the side of the ThinkPad that many types of devices can be put into. The Ultrabay Plus Device Carrier fits in this slot then the Ultrabay Plus Cradle goes into the Device Carrier and lets handhelds with Palm's Universal Connector HotSync and have their batteries charged.

The bay can be closed with the ThinkPad Ultrabay options installed and they are hot-swappable. It works with the ThinkPad T23, ThinkPad R30 and ThinkPad A30.

The cradle was designed for IBM's c500 series but this is just a rebranded version of the m500 series.

The Ultrabay Plus Device Carrier is $60 and so is the Cradle. The cradle will be available in a week or so.

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IBM swappable bay

I.M. Anonymous @ 10/9/2001 3:51:02 PM #
That IBM swappable bay looks like a nice option. I'm a Thinkpad convert and wouldn't consider any other type of laptop now. Though I believe my USB hotsync and charge cable is a cheaper lighter equivalent which doesn't hog my ultrabay.

RE: IBM swappable bay
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/9/2001 3:52:37 PM #
I think that's pretty cool - one less thing to carry when traveling.

RE: IBM swappable bay
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/9/2001 4:47:18 PM #
But the ironic thing is, we already have mobile sync capabilities with the infrared. Granted, working IR hotsyncing seems to come and go (i.e., it was working flawlessly with my Tecra 8000 and Windows 2000 for several months, then it stopped with the cryptic "serial port in use" and I can't figure out what's changed), but that's just nitpicking ;)

RE: IBM swappable bay
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/9/2001 4:53:38 PM #
Yes using the IR port is a good option. Took me a while to set up, but now I wouldn't use anything else to HotSync. Event do this new product new product looks, as the French would say, tres cool.

RE: IBM swappable bay
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/9/2001 8:42:33 PM #
but IR port won't allow you to charge battery...

USB cable is imho still best option.

RE: IBM swappable bay
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/9/2001 9:46:55 PM #
The IR sync has one problem, when you turned the auto receive on, the Palm won't stop after hotsync. It still connected to the notebook. It consumes lot of battery. Then you need to set the auto receive off.
you sacrifice a good function or you need to turn it on when exchange name card with friend.

The best way to hotsync is the cradle.

RE: IBM swappable bay
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/9/2001 10:05:44 PM #
I use the IR all of the time and I never have to turn of the auto receive. You are doing something wrong. I also have an Thinkpad, and although this option seems cool, I don't know how I can justify it. IR is terrific. Maybe the battery charger ????

RE: IBM swappable bay
TDS @ 10/9/2001 11:29:04 PM #
Since this has turned into an IR Thread - My IR Sync seems very slow! albeit I do only have a 166 Mhz Pentium Laptop, it still takes forever to sync. on the order of 15-20 minutes, compared to 2-3 minutes via USB on my desktop. Is this normal?

I wish IBM would use some of it's creativity to make their own Palm OS Handheld instead of just rebranding Palms. They are very nice, and slick looking, but I can imagine that IBM could make some great additions to a handheld with their resources. (Built in IBM Microdrive, enhanced display, etc...)

RE: IBM swappable bay
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/10/2001 12:47:30 AM #
Hmm... I wonder if they would ever consider making multiple add-ons for each brand, read: HANDSPRING!

Excellent option, IR sync is too slow
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/10/2001 7:12:14 AM #
Since the m500/m505 do not support FIR, the fastest sync speed you will get with IR syncing is 115kbps. You'll sync roughly as fast using a serial cradle.

Assuming this add-on cradle is USB, it will be a road warrior's best friend.

RE: IBM swappable bay
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/10/2001 8:41:17 AM #
> I wonder if they would ever consider making multiple add-ons for each brand

I doubt it because IBM doesn't sell a Handspring clone. Wonder if they'd let someone else make one.

RE: IBM swappable bay
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/10/2001 10:07:39 AM #
I agree!! It is mindboggeling that IBM isn't interestested in putting any money and creativity into the handheld market. Its great IBM uses Palm software, but they need to do something with it.

Any idea how much this work. I have a full Vx w/all kinds of databases, spreadsheets and book and my IR sync doesn't seem to take that long. I'll pay closer attention.

RE: IBM swappable bay
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/10/2001 11:19:40 AM #
Uh, IBM is involved in creating handheld applications for the corporate market. You don't hear about them much because they are custom solutions built for individual companies (e.g., a Palm application for SafeWay supermarkets in the UK that allows users to connect via modem to send their grocery order).

IBM does not release release many "packaged" software solutions to consumers, although some of its subsidiaries do (e.g., Lotus Software).

RE: IBM swappable bay
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/10/2001 12:10:50 PM #
We use networked IR ports at our company to sync. Every conference room has an IR port that allows you to sync back to your desk or sync you AvantGo on the run (EthIR LAN)

Serial Port is Busy
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/10/2001 12:27:55 PM #
To the dude with the port problem about 10 comments ago...

It means the serial port at the bottom of the Palm. Mine did this once. It thinks its still doing something else.

Do a warm reset (hold up and stab it in the back), then a soft reset (just stab it). That should smack the sense back into it. Worked for mine.


RE: IBM swappable bay
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/10/2001 12:45:37 PM #
look to ibm jumping ship to ppc...

RE: IBM swappable bay
Altema @ 10/10/2001 1:52:37 PM #
I use all three methods... either IR or serial cable at work, and USB at home. Serial is usually twice as fast as IR, with USB being 5 or 6 times faster than IR. I've been through several Palms, and a full reload for an 8Mb device has taken me 55 minutes with IR, about 26 minutes with serial, and 12 minutes with USB. I actually like IR the best, but use the other methods for transferring large files. I think the kicker for this option will be the built in charging. Of course, I wonder how many people will try and force it shut with the Palm inside?