AT&T Developer Blog – Equipment Reviews
Hello and welcome to the Equipment portion of the devCentral All-Star blog site! I’m thrilled to bring you the latest in hardware reviews and news in our very own devCentral site. This blog represents an exciting opportunity for me to share some of the wonderful products that I have been given the pleasure to test. It is my hope that the AT&T developer will find these reviews useful and will generate some excitement around the amazing products that complement AT&T’s service so well.
Before we get into my first review, I’d like to introduce myself and tell you a little bit about my background. I started with AT&T 9 years ago in customer care and have worked my way to my current position testing advanced devices and companion products. In my current role, I spend a great deal of time evaluating products that are stocked and sold in our retail stores as well as unlocked handsets and accessories that offer compelling features often times not found in our stocked portfolio. My colleagues usually refer to me as “toy-boy”, “device guru”, or “device guy” since I spend so much time with gadgets.
Now for the good stuff~
It was not difficult to decide what gadget I would write about first. About six months ago, I was introduced to the team at Celio and their product the Redfly. One of the most incredible aspects of wireless is how the handsets have evolved through the years. Every new handset is becoming smaller and lighter, yet more powerful. As we race to create new handsets with more features, we’re still faced with the limitations inherent in a 2-3 inch screen and a micro-keyboard. Certainly Blackberrys, Windows Mobile Handsets, and iPhones have proven that our customers love their smartphones but clearly we have a ways to go before our customers will leave their laptops at home on their next business trip.
Enter the Celio Redfly (www.celiocorp.com). The Redfly is a mobile companion product that is compatible with many of the latest Windows Mobile handsets available today. The Redfly, when you get down to it, is essentially a “dumb” terminal that connects to your handset via Bluetooth or USB and offers you a full 8-inch screen, full sized QWERTY keyboard, and integrated touchpad. After loading the drivers from Celio’s site, I was up and running in 5 minutes. What is important to note is that the Celio solution does not just “magnify” the screen but actually changes the resolution of the device giving you more desktop to work with. The Redfly has breathed new life into the office mobile suite, which were seldom used before my testing of the Redfly.
Finally, a very attractive aspect of the Redfly is the security and reduction in total cost of ownership (TCO) that you get by using a “dumb terminal” with your smartphone. Since there is no data on the Redfly, there is no confidential data that can be taken from the device. All information is stored on your handset, which can be safely wiped by your system administrator. Additionally the maintenance and upkeep is minimal since there are no CPUs, hard drives, or operating systems.
As I mentioned above, the Redfly can be connected to your smartphone via Bluetooth or USB. One of the real advantages of USB is that the Redfly will charge your device allowing you to take advantage of the Redfly’s large battery (8-10 hours!). On a recent vacation, I left my laptop at home and left equipped solely with my Redfly and AT&T Tilt. Along the way we hit some of the worst traffic I have ever experienced. With only one battery bar on my Tilt, I plugged into the Redfly, fired up Google Maps, and navigated through back roads and bypassed the accident. With the help of the Redfly I was able to take advantage of the 8 inch screen (giving more map to use) all the while charging my battery which probably would have died after 10 minutes.
Other benefits include a VGA out port for connecting to an external monitor or projector and 2 USB 2.0 ports for connecting your handset, connecting a mouse/keyboard, or a USB memory drive (very convenient for managing files in two different locations). Please take a look at Celio’s website for additional information or purchasing options.
Did I mention I’m blogging this article from the Redfly?