Dumb Terminals for Smartphones
LAS VEGAS -- Question: What has no operating system, storage or processor, but uses a smartphone's computing power to give users the ability to access a remote PC or a company's applications on an 800 x 480 resolution display? The answer: Celio's Redfly mobile companion. Think of the Redfly as a dumb terminal for your smartphone. In other words, you plug your phone into this mini-notebook style device and use all your phone's applications and wireless services. It's like adding a real keyboard and large color screen to your smartphone. If you've ever wished your phone was more like your laptop, then Redfly might just be right for you.
The Redfly has a large screen, full QWERTY keyboard, touchpad pointing device, and USB, VGA and media ports, enabling you to use the smartphone like a laptop. The company points out that the total cost of ownership is significantly less than that of a laptop or netbook because the Redfly does not require any additional software, wireless subscriptions or IT management. Celio also claims it significantly increases productivity and efficiency of mobile workers. We saw two models on display at a pre-show event here at CTIA in Las Vegas. There was a 2-pound Redfly with an 8-inch screen that preliminarily carries a suggested retail price of $299, and a lighter-weight, 7-inch model that, with rebates, should sell in the $100 range. One of the display models was attached into a Microsoft-based ( MSFT) Windows Mobile smartphone (available shortly) and another was plugged into an Android-based G-1 phone (available later this year) from T-Mobile and Google ( GOOG). A model for Research In Motion's ( RIMM) BlackBerry also is expected for later in 2009.
Celio also was showing off its Redfly Mobile Viewer software that lets you connect to, view and use your built-in Windows Mobile smartphone applications on your larger-screen PC or Windows XP/Vista-operated laptop. And since your smartphone will be wirelessly connected to your cell phone provider's high-speed data network, so will your laptop. You can also work on separate smartphone and PC applications at the same time. Celio is pricing its Mobile Viewer software at $40.