Date: Monday, February 1st, 1999, 00:00
IBM Japan has started selling two WorkPad PDA models, featuring a built-in PHS (Personal Handyphone System) terminal, directly to consumers through its ShopIBM Web site.
Thanks to the built-in PHS terminal, these models can send and receive data via the Internet without connecting to a PHS or mobile phone handset. The company also plans to sell these models through computer retail stores around Japan.
IBM Japan began selling a WorkPad with a built-in PHS terminal (8602-31J) to corporate customers in July. But, the company did not make the product available to consumers, citing the lack of adequate sale channels.
The Japanese subsidiary decided to sell the two built-in PHS models after garnering support of telecommunications carriers and retailers. Of the two consumer models, model 8602-31A is sold with a pre-registered PHS phone number for Tokyo Telecommunication Network Co., Inc. (TTNet)’s Tokyo Denwa Astel PHS service and costs 29,900 yen. (109.66 yen = US$1)
Model 8602-31J, priced at 34,900 yen, offers buyers a choice of telecom carriers between NTT DoCoMo Inc. and TTNet. But, applying for a phone number and setting up the device has to be made through channels designated by IBM Japan.
The corporate version of model 8602-31J, which has been sold exclusively to businesses, lets buyers choose any telecom carrier’s PHS service.
IBM Japan decided to limit the choice of carriers for the retail models because of the work involved in applying for a phone number and setting up the PDA. Corporate and retail models share the same data communications speed at 32kbps.
Some computer stores are already selling a WorkPad with a built-in PHS terminal, which uses the PHS service of DDI Pocket Inc.