Breadbox participates in Brother GeoBook
Brother Introduces GeoBook(TM): The World's First Personal Digital Notebook
SOMERSET, N.J., June 13 /PRNewswire/ -- The latest salvo in the computing revolution has nothing to do with Microsoft(R), Apple(R), or even Pentium Pro(R). Brother International Corporation announced today the introduction of GeoBook(TM) -- the world's first Personal Digital Notebook. Designed as a notebook, GeoBook allows users to send E-mail, get Internet access for information, fax, use word processing, spreadsheets, address book, PC file transfer and more -- delivering all the features they really need from a notebook, at the price of an organizer! Up until now, mobile computing has been limited to the few who have huge disposable income, or who are supplied the product at no cost by their companies.
However, unlike the true road warrior, most individuals are looking for a low cost way to take their information with them on the road. For many people, who only dream of owning a notebook, the most-used applications are word processing, spreadsheets, e-mail, address book and calendar. Why then must someone spend $1,500 - $2,000 for these basic applications? Students, technical writers, salespeople, business people, simply need an easy-to-use product which delivers PC-like functionality without the headaches normally associated with computing, such as system crashes, IRQ and compatibility problems, and built in obsolescence. GeoBook brings mobile computing to the masses and truly offers all the functions you really need from a notebook at the price of an organizer.
Who Says This Is What Consumers Want?
According to the latest findings from IDC (International Data Corporation), a staggering 65% of American households do not own computers due to price issues and/or a general fear of technology. The computer industry has responded to this by introducing seemingly simple to use and affordable mobile computing devices that offer Internet access and apparent state-of-the-art computing ability.
Not one of these products has been embraced by end users. Why? Because they are not usable. Article after article in newspapers and magazines point out that while there is a huge need for portable, easy-to-use appliances that provide computing functions, e-mail and Internet access, these new products continue to "miss the mark"...usually for similar reasons: The displays are unreadable, the keypads are unusable, and as far as claims of pocket size portability are concerned, you need pretty deep pockets!
The technology media continues to ask, "Why can't someone invent a product that people can actually use, is really portable, can provide what consumers need and is reasonably priced?"
Finally, someone has. It's GeoBook and it's from Brother.
Want to play the latest video games? Go buy a $3,000 computer. Need MMX technology and a trillion gigabytes of memory? Better look elsewhere. Want to send e-mail, get information from the net, do all your word processing and spreadsheets on a full-size keyboard and take it on the road? Then GeoBook is for you. Waiting for the $2,000 price tag? Surprise: It's $599.* Yes, $599!*
Discovering Myth From Reality
"The under-$1,000 windows-based notebook PC is a myth and the functionality of a Windows-CE based digital organizer is even a bigger myth," said Dean F. Shulman, Senior Vice President of Brother. "With one ($1,000 notebook) you're usually getting old technology, or even worse, you're only getting basic hardware, which needs to be immediately upgraded to include a modem, extra memory and applications, bringing the actual usable price to $1,500. Now, you're way out of range to most of the people who really want the ability to be mobile. With the other (digital organizer), you're getting a small, unreadable display hardly bigger than a business card and a keyboard just about big enough for two-finger typing. In short, a configuration that's hardly ideal for serious productivity and simply acts as the world's most expensive address book," said Shulman.
It's Not Another Word Processor From Brother
GeoBook is a new type of computing device that brings "computing to the masses." Based on Geoworks' new Geos 3.0 operating system, this highly efficient integrated operating system allows GeoBook to deliver real computing at a cost almost everyone can afford and in a form factor that everyone wants: a notebook.
With its full-size keyboard, full-size backlit VGA monochrome display, built-in BrotherWorks '98 software suite, and internal 33.6/14.4kbps data fax modem, GeoBook overcomes all the industry negatives about handhelds, set top boxes, Internet access devices, and other non-Windows(R) computing devices. Also included is a 1.44 MB disk drive, PCMCIA type II slot for flash memory, a VGA out, and serial as well as parallel port, all for a cost under $600 complete.
GeoBook also allows files to be easily imported and exported to a PC as well as offering BrotherWorks '98 on CD -- so that a PC user can load all of the software applications of BrotherWorks '98 on their desktop for full PC compatibility.
"A pocket organizer, with all the 'bells and whistles,' including its not-so-user-friendly keyboard and poorly lit display, is simply not practical. What we have designed is a fully featured product for people who need mobile computing at an affordable price," said Shulman. "We asked people what features they really need in a notebook and at what price point. They told us they wanted something easy to use -- that worked -- and gave them full function word processing, spreadsheet, E-mail, Internet access, address book and other fundamental features. Brother understands the needs and desires of mass-market consumers -- business travelers, students, professional writers and desktop users that have been unable to take advantage of the power of mobile computing, until now," added Shulman.
Brother designed GeoBook to expand the market for mobile computing and not substitute for it. Brother believes there are millions of people who simply cannot bring themselves to spend over a thousand dollars for basic mobile applications.
"But it's not just price, it's price for what," said Nick Donatiello, President of Odyssey, a San Francisco research firm. "It's value -- knowing that what you buy will last and will not be too complicated to use." Brother's GeoBook combines state-of-the-art technology with easy-to-use functions that result in all of the computing power users need, in a format that's as easy to operate and maintain as a toaster!
Strategic Alliances In Place ... Team Concept Helps Deliver GeoBook
-- Geoworks -- Utilizing the company's GEOS 3.0 Operating System, the Graphical User Interface (GUI) system of choice for a number of specialty and professional platform productivity products, like Smart Phones, allows Brother's GeoBook to deliver affordable computing to the masses. "Brother understands the needs and desires of mass market and is in a position to leverage its well-established brand name, distribution channel and aggressive pricing strategy to get innovative Geos-based products into the hands of the average consumer," said Gordon Mayer, President and CEO of Geoworks.
-- AMD -- Upgrades are made painless thanks to AMD's onboard flash memory, which lets users upgrade applications and take files they need on the road. AMD flash memory helped Brother reduce system power consumption compared to a conventional hard drive -- an important consideration because GeoBook can run on battery power. Flash memory is also much less expensive than a hard drive, and smaller, lighter and more rugged for the rigors of portability. AMD sales manager Doug Breaux points out a unique advantage of AMD flash memory: "We guarantee for every sector a minimum of 100,000 read/write cycles. Every bit location can be rewritten 100,000 times. For GeoBook, that's much more critical than for most flash applications because people write to their hard drives all the time." To further reduce cost, Brother called on AMD's X86-based Elan SC300 processor. "We use a lot of technology in the background, but customers don't have to learn that technology. All they have to do is what they want to do," Shulman explains.
-- STNC Enterprises -- Based in the U.K., STNC specializes in computer networking, communications and the Internet, and has created Internet access products using the Geoworks GEOS 3.0 Operating System. Brother's GlobeHopper Net Browser is based on STNC's Web Technology Library and a suite of associated application protocols, ensuring an ease-of-use and user-friendly approach to Internet features.
-- SanDisk Corporation -- SanDisk Corporation designs, manufacturers and markets industry-standard, solid-state data, image and audio storage products using proprietary, high-density flash memory and controller technology. SanDisk Corporation has partnered with Brother by providing its Flash Storage PC Card for Brother's GeoBook. "We think that the Brother GeoBook will be a great success and believe that consumers will discover that our FlashDisk Cards are a great addition to their new product," said Nelson Chan, Vice President of Marketing, SanDisk Corporation. The PCMCIA/ATA compatible solid-state storage cards will be sold, under the Brother label, in the removable Type II format in 4MB and 10MB capacities.
-- Breadbox Computer Company -- Breadbox Computer Company of Port Richey, Florida, is the leading developer of third-party applications for the GEOS operating environment and has partnered with Brother for GeoBook. Applications include desktop software, GEOS-based PDAs, Smart Phones and other devices. Breadbox specializes in commercial contract development for GEOS technology-based products and also provides GEOS SDK training in Europe and the U.S. Breadbox Computer Company has been a steadfast and long participant in the GEOS-based market. "Our strong alliance with Brother is a testimonial of our continued support of the GEOS platform and our belief in Brother products and concepts. We anticipate the Brother lineup of products, unique in their design and capabilities, to be very attractive for a majority of users in many different markets," said Frank Fischer, President of Breadbox Computer Company.
-- EarthLink Network TotalAccess(TM) -- EarthLink Network, which is based in Pasadena,
California, has quickly established itself as one of the leading Internet Access Providers since its
establishment in 1994. Their national presence allows them to provide more than 600 dial-up
points throughout the U.S. and Canada. The EarthLink Network gives GeoBook users flexibility
and mobility to surf the net by providing fast, simple and direct Internet access. GeoBook software
is pre- configured to run easily with the EarthLink Network. For GeoBook users, the $25 set up fee
is waived when they select EarthLink Network as their Internet Access Provider.
-- PUMA Technology -- the leader in Mobile Data Exchange and synchronization software solutions. PUMA Technology developed and licensed to Brother a customized version of its industry-leading IntelliSync content-aware synchronization software offering. The solution provides mobile computer users with the ability to directly synchronize data between various computer devices and numerous PC-based personal information management (PIM), contact management and group scheduling applications. Brother GeoBook users will be able to synchronize data from the address book, planner and things-to-do list with their desktop PC. The optimal PC software runs under Microsoft Windows '95, NT and 3.11. Synchronize with ACT 3.0, Microsoft Schedule 7.0, and Sidekick for Windows, plus many more.
Somerset, New Jersey, is the corporate headquarters for Brother in the Americas (from Canada to South America), and has a fully integrated sales, marketing, services, manufacturing, research and development capabilities, located here in the U.S. In addition to its headquarters in Somerset, New Jersey, Brother has branches in California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Tennessee and Texas, as well as subsidiaries in Ohio, Canada, Brazil, Chile and Mexico.
All trademarks and registered trademarks referenced herein are the property of their respective companies.
*Estimated Street Price
Brother International Corporation;
Breadbox Computer Company;
International Data Corporation;
ST: California, Florida, New Jersey