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SOCKET DELIVERS FIRST PCMCIA ETHERNET ADAPTERS FOR THE HP OMNIBOOK 300
Socket Communications Inc. today began shipping PCMCIA Ethernet adapters
for Hewlett Packard's popular OmniBook 300 sub-notebook. The SocketLink(TM)
package, which includes a high-speed, 16-bit Ethernet adapter plus software,
coverts the OmniBook to a workstation for Novell's NetWare and NetWare Lite,
Microsoft's LAN Manager and Windows for Workgroups, IBM's PC LAN, Banyan's
VINES and other popular networks. The SocketLink EA handles 10BaseT Ethernet
and the SocketLink EA+ handles both 10BaseT and 10Base2 Ethernet.
"SocketLink is an economical way to give the OmniBook a giant boost in
functionality and performance when communicating with other PCs," says Socket
president Mile Gifford. "We see SocketLink as a companion product to
Traveling Software's LapLink, which comes bundled with the OmniBook. It's the
nature of mobile computers that your environment keeps changing. You run
LapLink when you want to talk to a PC which isn't attached to an Ethernet
network. You run SocketLink when you have access to an Ethernet connection.
Together, these two packages give the OmniBook super flexibility for wired
Gifford states that the most important difference between SocketLink and
LapLink in a LAN environment is the different physical interfaces used by
each product. "LapLink uses the OmniBook's built-in RS-232 serial port to
talk to other PCs. SocketLink uses the OmniBook's PCMCIA interface to
implement a full-scale Ethernet connection. This gives SocketLink a big edge
in connectivity and performance. Because SocketLink uses Ethernet instead of
a serial port, it transfers files over 10 times faster than LapLink. And by
converting the OmniBook into a network node compatible with any popular
network operating systems, SocketLink opens the door to features which
LapLink can't provide, such as printer sharing, compatability with all e-mail
programs, and a true client/server architecture." All this comes at no cost
in DOS memory, a resource which many OmniBook users are eager to conserve.
"Since our Ethernet drivers are relatively small, OmniBook users end up with
more DOS memory available when using SocketLink than when they use LapLink,"
The key to SocketLink's high performance is its use of the PCMCIA interface
which comes standard with the OmniBook. "The PCMCIA interface makes all this
possible," explains Gifford. "PCMCIA is an externally accessible 16-bit
memory and I/O interface with roughly the performance of the popular ISA bus
found in PC-AT computers. There's almost no limit to the connectivity you can
add to a mobile computer via PCMCIA. In fact, Socket also offers a high-speed
16550 serial port option and a Global Positioning System for the OmniBook
300, and we'll be announcing some important new products at COMDEX in
November. The OmniBook 300 is a great example of how manufacturers like HP
can harness loads of features simply by designing in the PCMCIA interface."
Founded in 1992, Socket Communications' mission is to design, manufacture and
market seamless connectivity products for mobile computers. Socket holds a
leadership position in the development of mobile I/O products, having
introduced the first PCMCIA Ethernet adapter, serial adapter and Global
Positioning System. Socket is a member of the PCMCIA LAN Working Group, as
well as the Working Groups for Socket and Card Services and for the 32-bit
Card Bus. Socket's designs stress cross-platform compatibility, as
exemplified by the Socket EA Ethernet adapter. This is the only PCMCIA LAN
adapter which works on all of the following platforms: PC notebooks including
the OmniBook 300, Elonex and Librex; the Commodore Amiga; and the AT&T EO.
Socket often works with corporate partners to adapt existing communications
technology to a variety of host platforms equipped with PCMCIA slots.
The manufacturer's suggested retail price for the 10BaseT-only product is
$399. The MSRP for the 10BaseT/10Base2 combination is $420. SocketLink is
available in the U.S. through Tech Data.