The upcoming hiptop device from
will offer an excellent companion device for a Mac (or PC, for that matter), Joe Britt, founder and chief technical officer of Danger, told MacCentral.
reported on Dec. 6, Danger plans to launch its first Internet product, the US$200 “hiptop” in early 2002. The handheld device, which is designed to compete with the Blackberry pager, will let users check e-mail, surf the Net and store personal information.
“The hiptop does everything wirelessly,” Britt said. “It’s a cell phone and data communicator and does its job by communicating with the Danger service. It also has a Web front end, so you can access your personal calendar through any computer via a Web browser. You can import data through the Web interface and have personal info, like contact data or photos, appear on your hiptop.”
Danger provides an end-to-end mobile applications platform that includes the aforementioned back-end service, a standards-based framework that uses programs written in Java, and hiptop hardware designs. The hiptop isn’t meant to compete with personal digital assistants (PDAs) such as Palm and Visor devices because it’s actually much more flexible than those gadgets, which are “expensive and slow,” Britt said.
“PDAs such as Palm devices are single tasking devices, and they need a modem to get on the Internet,” he added. “They can only access the network if you tell them to. The hiptop is always on and always on the network. You can do things such as instant messaging anytime. Plus, it’s easy to enter text with the keyboard. The hiptop also multitasks — you can, for instance, download Web pages at the same time you’re checking e-mail or sending an instant message.”
Beatnik, the folks who provide structured audio software solutions for mobile devices, have entered into a licensing agreement with Danger. As a result, the Beatnik Audio Engine (BAE) will be incorporated in the Danger platform and hiptop device, providing an enhanced user experience through polyphonic ring tones, game sound effects and user interface sounds, according to Lorraine Hariton, president and CEO of Beatnik.
The BAE enables users to experience “instantaneous high-quality” audio through a variety of mobile devices, including mobile phones and PDAs, using extremely small file sizes, Hariton said. The BAE is hardware-independent, providing a complete audio sub-system for devices, and is optimized to work within such resource constrained environments. The BAE can play back and mix popular audio file formats such as XMF, MP3, WAV, AIFF and MIDI. The BAE enhances MIDI by adding custom samples to recreate the original sound of the music.
By incorporating Beatnik’s standards based audio technology into its first generation hiptop device and platform, Danger will be able to create and deliver rich musical ring tone services and peer to peer multimedia messaging, offering increased revenue opportunities for the wireless industry and Danger, company CEO Andy Rubin said.
A Flash demonstration and photos of the hiptop are available on the Danger Web site. The company will exhibit at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) held in Las Vegas, Jan. 8-11. The hiptop is slated to go on sale in the first quarter of 2002.