Au Group launched the “Rapira Card C315SK” its first PC-card mobile phone geared to cdmaOne communication systems and due out in late September.
The product enables packet communication via a cdmaOne network. Au Group has been providing similar products exclusively to corporate users since December 2000, but decided to extend the service to personal users through shops such as volume retailers of home electronic devices.
NTT DoCoMo Inc. also provides a similar PC-card mobile phone only for PDC-formatted data communications. Called “DoPa MAX 2881P,” it offers different maximum communication speeds from the Rapira Card C315SK. While Rapira Card C315SK communicates at 64kbps downstream and at 14.4kbps upstream, DoPa MAX 2881P performs at 28.8kbps both downstream and upstream.
The manufacturer of Rapira Card is Seiko Instruments Inc. The card weighs 60g, and supplies power from a personal computer to which it is connected. It supports operating systems such as Windows 95/98/Me/2000 and Windows CE, but not Mac OS. A detachable antenna will be included in every product for use in areas where electric waves do not reach. The price is open.
Rapira Card does not enable telephone calls and data communications by circuit switching. Therefore, users are supposed to choose a charging scheme solely for packet communications of the “PacketOne Single Service,” when purchasing the phone. The service offers three schemes with different maximum speeds for monthly basic charges, and packet transfer fees for “Single 9.6,” “Single 14.4,” and “PacketOne64.” In the PacketOne64 scheme, for example, the maximum speeds are 64kbps downstream and 14.4kbps upstream for a $12 USD monthly basic charge, and 0.1 cent per packet (one packet = 128 bytes) as the packet transfer fee.