personal communicator


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personal communicator

A concept for a handheld mobile device that was co-created by Toronto engineer Robert J. Fraser in 1991, who also coined the term. The personal communicator was conceived to provide always-on, wireless connectivity to a nationwide network for information retrieval and transactions (stock market, weather, banking, etc.) as well as calendar synchronization, messaging and email. Contacts and to-do lists were also envisioned.

Humble Beginnings
At least two devices with the personal communicator moniker appeared within a couple years. AT&T offered the EO in 1993, and IBM, in conjunction with BellSouth, introduced the Simon in 1994. Apple's Newton was introduced in the same time frame, but had only a fax/modem and infrared communications. All of these handhelds were underpowered for the tasks at hand and never took off.

An Eventual Reality
The functionality in Fraser's device did materialize a decade later when the Internet became ubiquitous and devices such as the BlackBerry emerged. After the turn of the century, wireless PDAs using cellular networks (true personal communicators) became a reality, and they eventually evolved into the smartphone. See PDA and smartphone.
References in periodicals archive ?
As far as looks go, the Apple Newton, Casio Zoomer and AT&T EO Personal Communicator pretty much resemble one another; they are plastic boxes, roughly the size of a paperback, a third of which is an LCD screen.
For example, she says, a professional on the road doesn't have to wait to go back to the office to retrieve e-mail messages--she can read them wherever she is with her personal communicator. Instead of going back to the hotel to send a fax, she can send one by writing it out and selecting the proper command.
The personal communicator will radically alter our sense of who talks to whom, about what, when, and where.
The Personal Communicators, worth pounds 99, are ideal.
Here, you will plug in your personal communicator, or personal digital assistant, and download all the data you've collected into a single unit--an integrated intelligent document-processing and management appliance combining fax, copier, printer, and scanner all in a machine no larger than your current laser printer.
Still the lightest phone on the market is Motorola's MicroTac Lite Digital Personal Communicator Telephone, which weighs 7.5 ounces, has an alphanumeric directory and auto answer.
Personal communicators once believed the stuff of science fiction are now one of the most ubiquitous gadgets on the planet, while we can watch TV in such hi- definition resolution, the real world looks like a badly focused mess by comparison.
The first, mass-produced PCs were growing in popularity, while "personal communicators" -dubbed "bricks" due to their size and weight-were starting to take off, and supply chains were growing ever more complex.
Most personal communicators can be used in group settings by mounting them in a public space for everybody to use.
And it is believed that his findings could have potentially profound effects for low-powered electronic devices such as cell phones, laptops, personal communicators and a host of other computer-related devices used by everyone from the average consumer to law enforcement officers and even soldiers in the battlefield.
The future also looks good for tools like personal communicators, portable computers, etc.
Two possible solutions are to equip hospital personnel with hands-free personal communicators (eliminating the need for loudspeakers) and to wrap fiberglass insulation with an antibacterial fabric to form a sound-absorbent tile for ceilings and walls.

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