Originally created 09/13/98

Motorola tops in two-way pagers



Motorola's PageWriter 2000 is the Cadillac of two-way pagers. The $400 unit ($440 with deluxe charger) has a large back-lighted screen, 1.25 megabytes of RAM and a 47-key keyboard. Like a Cadillac, it's not small -- it's a little larger than a deck of cards, and weighs 6.7 ounces (including the battery). That's not enough to develop new muscles, but it feels fairly heavy hanging on your belt. The flip lid allows message viewing while the pager is still on your belt clip, a handy feature.

The PageWriter 2000 has lots to recommend it. A user-friendly operating system can be upgraded and new applications and functionality can be added to its flash memory.

The screen is gigantic for a pager, and the quantity of text it can display is impressive. There's a built-in infrared communications port on the pager and the charger.

The deluxe charger can be connected to a PC, and addresses from the pager's built-in address book can be synced with your computer's address book.

The PW 2000 can be used to send e-mail, faxes and messages to other pagers. Local, regional and national messaging options are available.

All its bells and whistles make the PW 2000 one of the most expensive pagers available, even before the monthly service charges.

These can be high -- you'd have to be as rich as Bill Gates to receive all your e-mail this way -- but if two-way messaging is critical to your work, you'll be amazed at how quickly the PageWriter 2000 will become indispensable.

Information: (800) 548-9954 or www.mot.com.

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When Saehan (a spinoff of Samsung) introduced a little Walkman-esque digital audio player called the MP-Man with solid-state storage, it drew the attention of geeks everywhere. It got even more interesting when it became clear that the format the company had chosen to compress the music with was MPEG Level 3, a favorite for delivering digital music with near-CD quality over the Internet.

The MP-Man ($300 for a base model with 32 megabytes of RAM, $500 for 64 megs) is easy to operate. Using your personal computer, you arrange your songs (translated from a CD or downloaded from the Net) in the order you want them. Then place the MP-Man into a cradle that's connected to your PC (there's no Mac version). Press a button and the songs are loaded into the player, ready to play when you hit the road.

The MP-Man is smaller than a pack of cigarettes and almost as light. Unlike most portable CD players, jogging it or jolting it doesn't make it skip because its music is stored in solid-state flash memory.

While this is a great concept, you may want to hold out for the next generation of MP3 devices. They'll be cheaper and may have removable storage. Net rumors have it that just before the holidays, another consumer electronics company will introduce an MP3 player for less than $200 with removable media. But if you can't wait, this one works fine.

Information: (707) 252-4382 or www.nordicdms.com.