Cellular communications hardware maker Sony Ericsson on Monday announced a new quad-band PC card compatible with both Windows and Mac-based laptop computers that enables them to communicate with EDGE (Enhanced Data rates for GSM Evolution) cellular data networks. The new GC-89 card is planned for testing and customer trials in the fourth calendar quarter of 2004, and Sony Ericsson hopes it to be available for purchase through cell phone service providers in the new year.
Apple ships its laptops ready to accept either a Wi-Fi-capable “AirPort” or “AirPort Extreme” wireless networking card, so while it’s of less interest to Mac users, it’s still worth noting that the GC-89 also communicates via Wi-Fi — so users can hope from EDGE networks to Wi-Fi “hotspots” when they’re in range, using the same card. The GC89 is compliant with Release 4 of the EDGE standard. Sony Ericsson did not indicate what the GC-89’s retail price will be once it’s available from cell carriers.
Almost all Apple PowerBooks capable of running up to date Mac OS X releases have PC card-compatible expansion slots; the only exception is the 12-inch PowerBook G4. Apple’s iBook consumer laptops lack such an expansion port. Sony Ericsson’s Web site was not updated with a product page for the GC-89 when MacCentral posted this article.