I’m a member of the DualCor Board of Expert Technical Advisors, and just got an update from DualCor‘s David Ciccone regarding the DualCor cPC’s wireless capabilities. There’s been a conversation happening in the blogosphere, kicked off by the revelation that the DualCor Windows XP/Windows Mobile device would not ship with any integrated wireless radios. That includes WiFi, Bluetooth, and cellular wireless for phone and data. You will have to add your own peripherals for wireless connectivity.
DualCor says their market research indicates that their potential buyers favor choice – the ability to choose, say, CDMA/EVDO over GSM/EDGE. If the cellular radio were integrated, they would be limiting themselves to the market of people who already have (or are willing to switch to) that particular service.
I can see the logic in this, but it also puts the DualCor cPC device firmly in the “not a phone” category. Sure, you could track down and add a CompactFlash GSM/EDGE card (there are no CF EVDO cards, yet), and add it on. But that doesn’t make the device a phone any more than doing the same to a laptop or Tablet PC makes it a phone. It’s a computing device with some phone capabilities. I don’t see this as a negative thing, unless you had the expectation that the device would act as a phone. If you did, I can see how you might be disappointed or upset.
For local wireless connectivity, there’s some slightly better news. Dave tells me that all cPC devices will ship with a CompactFlash 802.11g WiFi card, so you’ll have some connectivity out of the box. Like most CF WiFi cards on the market, it will protrude about a half inch from the CF slot. Want Bluetooth? You’ll have to get a CF or USB Bluetooth add-on.
Again, I can understand the logic of wanting to offer maximum choice and flexibility, but I really would have liked to see at least integrated WiFi, if not Bluetooth. When is the last time you heard of a super high end mobility device like this (the cPC will cost $1999 when it ships) that didn’t include WiFi? I’m guessing that I’m misunderstanding the market they’re aiming for with the cPC. Some customers (governments, etc.) might not purchase the devices if they included integrated wireless. At this price point, it’s clear that enthusiasts and geeks are not the target market. So hopefully, everything will work out well.
Devices are expected to ship within 90 days, and I’ll be sure to pass along any more info that I can, as it becomes available.