MTS, Manitoba’s preeminent, full service telecommunications company, and Zero Gravity, a technology provider for mobile Internet users in Canada, today announced an Internet connection and other wireless services for Palm Canada customers throughout most of the Manitoba service area.
The new service, also called Zero Gravity, functions over the Palm Operating System (OS), and is the first wireless service for Palm and Handspring Visor PDA (Personal Digital Assistant) users who want high level, wireless access to Internet, full email service, and customized, web-based content services.
“We’re very excited to be the first telecommunications company in Canada to offer an integrated wireless package for Palm PDA users in Manitoba,” says Roger Ballance, Executive Vice-President Sales and Marketing of MTS. “The new service combines MTS’s innovative drive and wireless data networking capabilities with the software expertise of Zero Gravity to provide Manitobans with a wireless connection that turns a Palm PDA into a complete, mobile office solution.”
The Zero Gravity browser can view virtually all websites, including graphics (in a modified form), thanks to an advanced server which formats web content and graphics for PDA screens using standard, HTML Internet language. Customers will have instant access, through the main menu, to a number of portal sites and content services – everything from news, weather and sports updates, to entertainment and guide sites, and financial services. Websites on the main menu include canada.com, Yellow.ca, CBC.ca, SkynetMD.com, Film-Can.com, and Google.ca, with more sites to be added in the months ahead. With the browser’s 128 bit encryption, stock trading and online bank transactions can be carried out in complete security.
The Zone sites can be synchronized with the browser so that content can be downloaded for viewing later without having to go back on-line. Zero Gravity also provides an email account and a full-featured Palm OS version email program, which allows users to have up to six email IDs. The standard email capabilities include the downloading of attachments, and the ability to categorize and sort email.
“Zero Gravity is the first offering in Canada to deliver a comprehensive wireless solution” states Harold Korsunsky, CEO of Zero Gravity. “Our use of the most advanced mobile computing technology available today is allowing us to meet the needs of the thousands of Palm users throughout Western Canada.”
The Palm OS remains the de facto operating system of choice for the handheld industry in Canada, as products using the Palm OS account for well over 80% of all handheld devices shipped in Canada. Zero Gravity is compatible with the Palm lll and Palm V series of handheld devices.
“Palm Canada fully supports both MTS and Zero Gravity in bringing a wireless solution for Palm users in Manitoba and throughout Western Canada,” says Michael Moskowitz, President and General Manager, Palm Canada. “Delivering wireless connectivity to all Canadians is one of Palm Canada’s most important mandates, and we’re excited for Palm users in the MTS service region. Zero Gravity is a positive step toward furthering our quest to bring wireless mobile computing to everyone.”
Zero Gravity runs on MTS’s wireless data CDPD (Cellular Digital Packet Data) network, an advanced, IP-based, packet network that uses the analog cellular network. It’s the same network used for Lightning Mobile CommerceTM, an MTS service that allows merchants to process debit and credit card transactions using a hand-held, wireless terminal. MTS’s CDPD network, launched in May 1999, covers about 85% of the population of Manitoba – by July of this year, over 95% of the population will be covered.
MTS is offering a Zero Gravity launch promotion package that includes a Palm or Handspring PDA modem, plus web browser and email software for under $300 (including a $50 bill credit). The monthly service fee of $49.95 includes unlimited Internet and email usage. Zero Gravity is currently available at several MTS dealers – five in Winnipeg and two in Brandon.