Once touted for executives on the go, the PDA's demographic has expanded. The device can be found in just about any circle. Students, executives and sales personnel are all using the Pocket PC nowadays. The diversity within the market bodes well for solution providers looking to sell PDAs individually or as a large company rollouts.
Hewlett Packard's recently released iPaq hx4705 offers many opportunities for solution providers in corporate markets, since the device's built-in wireless capabilities allow users to stay connected in and out of the office.
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HP's iPaq hx4705 eases wireless mobility.
HP has a very strong partner program in place for such rollouts. HP's three-tier PartnerONE program helps solution providers grow their top and bottom lines. Any solution provider integrating HP products is eligible to be a Business-level partner. Platinum partners must have 15 HP-certified technical consultants on staff or generate $75 million in HP product revenue annually.
Gold partners must employ five HP-certified technical consultants or generate $10 million in HP product revenue annually. All partners receive promotional rebates, sales leads and Web-based sales and marketing tools for developing marketing campaigns and materials, sales growth engines, online proposals and eCatalogs.
The hx4705 is priced at $649.99 per device and offers an 8 percent margin. The unit is covered by a one-year parts and labor warranty and includes 90-day software technical support.
The iPaq hx4705 includes an integrated WLAN 802.11b connection that provides high-speed wireless access to the Internet and e-mail. CRN Test Center engineers were able to connect easily and quickly through several hot spots around the Test Center lab. Once on the network, connecting to Internet pages and checking e-mail was seamless. The hx4705 is not a WAN device however, and will not connect from just anywhere. It is a WLAN device and will only work in a Wi-Fi environment around designated hot spots.
Solution providers who roll out iPaqs for corporate customers or SOHOs can create more revenue by upselling wireless network solutions. In a corporate setting, solution providers can offer security add-ons such as antivirus software and firewalls for the wireless LAN. The device offers encryption and authentication from HP Protect Tools powered by Credant, with full VPN and WEP security included in the Microsoft OS.
Other wireless capabilities include integrated Bluetooth for connection with other Bluetooth devices and infrared connectivity with up to 4 Mbps bandwidth.
Solution providers can generate further revenues by synchronizing the iPaq solution with a customer's server. For Outlook users, the devices must provide access to Microsoft Exchange Server using Active Sync, which is not an easy task. For Lotus users, a Cadenza client must be set up. A trial version of Cadenza synchronization software is included on the software CD, but customers will have to pay once the trial period expires. HP was unable to provide the pricing model.
Other features include advanced multimedia capabilities such as MP3/WMA playback, voice recording, stereo headphone, headset jack and 5-band equalizer for playback.