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Socket Expands Serial I/O Card Family for Mobile Macs


Socket Communications, Inc. announced three new additions to the Socket family of serial PC Card adapters as well as important enhancements to Socket's existing Serial I/O Card.

With the goal of solidifying its position as a leading provider of serial PC Card products, Socket is expanding its current offering to provide mobile users with low-power and flexible communication ports which allow mobile computers to communicate to peripheral devices.

Based on Socket's High-Integration Serial (HIS) chip and compatible driver software, the serial card products operate with the widest variety of mobile computing devices and operating systems, including Windows notebooks, handheld PCs and pen computers; Apple PowerBooks and Newton MessagePads; as well as the Sharp Zaurus and HPLX palmtops.

In addition, all four serial PC Card adapters feature extremely low power-consumption for extended battery life of mobile computers, especially important for handheld computers and PDAs.

  • The enhanced Socket Serial I/O Card
  • The new Socket Ruggedized Serial Card
  • The new Socket Dual Serial I/O Card
  • The new Socket Combination Serial/Ethernet Card

"The proliferation of notebooks, PDAs and handheld PCs is fueling the demand for reliable mobile communications and connectivity solutions. Expanding our Serial I/O Card family supports our goal of offering products that maximize customers performance and productivity," said Martin Levetin, president and CEO, Socket Communications.

"With these products, users can easily share data between mobile computers and peripheral devices without reducing the life of their battery between charges -- a crucial consideration for people who are away from the office."

"With the further development of new low-cost serial peripherals and the integration of industrial equipment, we're seeing a greater demand for multiple communication ports to operate these devices with mobile computers," added Howard Case, vice president of marketing, Socket Communications.

The expansion of Sockets Serial I/O Card family enables mobile computers to communicate with serial-based devices such as fax/modems, digital cameras, portable sheetfed scanners, bar code scanners, stenography machines for court reporting, data collection or lab equipment, as well as Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers, and printers.

Serial I/O Card Enhancement Offers Lowest Power Consumption Available

The enhanced Socket Serial I/O Card gives mobile PC users an additional high-speed communication port. The product is ideal for users who have purchased a notebook computer or other mobile computing device and need an additional serial port to connect a peripheral device.

The new version of the card uses 50 percent less power than the company's previous serial card. This is a critical consideration especially for mobile professionals who use handheld computers and PDAs which have far less battery power to share for peripheral operations. At 13 mA, the Socket Serial I/O Card uses 10 to 20 times less battery power than other serial card products.

Certified for Windows 95 and Windows CE, the Serial I/O Card runs on all Windows platforms, DOS notebooks and pen-based computers; the Apple PowerBook and Newton MessagePad; and the Sharp Zaurus and HPLX Palmtops.

Ruggedized Serial Card for Harsh, Rigorous Environments

The new Socket Ruggedized Serial Card optimizes the standard serial card adapter for mobile users who, due to their work environment, subject equipment to very harsh conditions. The sonically welded case provides a permanent seal that fully protects the PC Card and is extremely rigid to prevent torquing or bending, a typical cause of circuit board failure.

The fully-integrated fixed cable is pressure-fitted between the top and bottom frame to ensure durability and guarantee connection in a highly mobile environment. This ruggedized design results in increased reliability and longevity when used in rigorous environments. The Ruggedized Serial Card is optimized for industrial or field applications such as inventory control devices used in factories and mobile communication units used by fire and emergency services.

The Ruggedized Serial Card carries the same certification and runs on the same platforms as the standard Serial I/O Card.

Dual Serial I/O Card Offers Two High-Speed Ports

The new Socket Dual Serial I/O Card provides two high-speed communication ports on one PC card, allowing simultaneous and independent operation of both serial ports. Separate cables on the card provide added flexibility to use only one port without dangling an extra cable, and also allow a user to mix custom and standard cables.

The Dual Serial I/O Card provides a maximum performance connection for two peripheral devices, such as an ISDN modem or digital camera. Other functions include specialized industrial or field applications such as connecting remote sensing devices used in agriculture and altitude sensing equipment used in aviation.

Like the Socket Serial I/O card, the Dual Serial I/O card features extremely low power consumption specifications and works under Windows 95, Windows NT (mid-December '96), with DOS drivers available upon request. Sample device drivers are available to developers and OEMs interested in other operating systems.

Combination Serial/Ethernet Card Runs Two Popular Interfaces Simultaneously

The new Socket Combination Serial/Ethernet Card combines serial and 10BaseT Ethernet on the same PC Card. This product offers high-speed serial and high-performance Ethernet simultaneously from the same PC Card slot to give users access to a local area network while operating a serial-based peripheral.

This design enables other PC Card slots on a mobile computer to remain available for use with additional devices. With the combination card, users get maximum data throughput from both connections.

The Combination Serial/Ethernet Card operates under Windows 95 and DOS, and will be offered through select channels.

Serial I/O Card - $169 Ruggedized Serial Card - $189
Dual Serial Card - $249 Combination Serial/Ethernet - $279


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