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-- by John D. Ruley
WyndMail for Windows CE takes wireless communication to a new level.
You need a U.S. Robotics Megahertz Allpoints Wireless PC Card modem to run WyndMail. We tested both on a Casio Cassiopeia A-10 pocket computer. WyndMail worked well-provided there was strong signal coverage. Everything worked perfectly in a major metropolitan area. However, weak signals, slow performance, errors and shortened battery life plagued performance in areas with weaker signals. In an outlying California city, for example, we needed at least one new 9-volt battery daily to maintain adequate signal quality.
Given adequate coverage, WyndMail provides two-way wireless e-mail with error checking. By contrast, some Windows CE-compatible pagers, such as Socket's PageCard (see http://www.winmag.com/windowsce/pagecard.htm), are unidirectional and cannot request retransmission of a garbled message. WyndMail also provides gateways to Internet mail, pages, fax messages and even voice mail, via text-to-speech translation.
Setup works well as long as you have a good, error-free HPC Explorer connection. Once installed, WyndMail becomes part of Microsoft Pocket Mail.
We found the Allpoints modem poorly designed for our pocket computer. When connected, it blocked the computer's stylus and made the unit too large to fit in a typical jacket pocket.
Although the software itself is free, using WyndMail can be costly. Basic service limits you to 200 messages (up to 150 characters each) a month. Additional messages are 5 cents each. Unlimited service is available for $149 a month.
In large metropolitan areas where coverage is good, wireless e-mail is an excellent way to stay informed. Indeed, after using it for just a week, I found WyndMail hard to give up.