In an era of convergence, feature creep and an often-unnecessary array of technological bells and whistles, itÄôs nice to find a piece of gear that serves one purpose, but does so exceptionally well. Sony EricssonÄôs GC83 EDGE PC card is one such item. The GC83 card is a tri-band modem that operates in the 850/1800/1900 Mhz bands. From my office here in the Bay area I was able to log on at GPRS speeds (around 80 Kbps), which was adequate for a trial run, especially considering I could move anywhere in the office and still get a signal (I was surprised it didnÄôt drop out as I moved away from the window). But it wasnÄôt till I took the laptop out for a spin over the weekend, and was able to surf at EDGE-like speeds of around 150Kbps while sitting in one of San FranciscoÄôs many scenic parks that I was really impressed. (Predictably, the wife was less impressed with my ability to track the progress of the dayÄôs many football games and download MP3Äôs while Äúat a frikkinÄô parkÄù, but she has a point.)
The GC83, while single-minded in purpose, also offers a few additional features that were actually useful. First, there was the intuitive and clean interface for sending and reading SMS messages. Not surprisingly, SMS is way more useful via laptop keyboard than on the unfortunately gimpy keyboard on the other Sony Ericsson product IÄôve been playing with, the P910. Additionally, the GC83 offers support for VPN connections, in addition to settings for three different profiles. Admittedly, itÄôs not often that I find myself needing Internet access someplace where I canÄôt find a Wi-Fi or Ethernet connection, but the GC83 is certainly a helpful tool in those places where Internet access is a little harder to come by.
Guest review by Matt Maier, Business 2.0’s fearless gizmo correspondent and my fellow traveler into the wireless wonderland. Matt uses six phones at a time, talks on none, takes video clips on two and when he is slowing down he double fists fizzy and fancy caffeine drinks.