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October 4, 1998

HP LAUNCHES CAPSHARE MOBILE SCANNING APPLIANCE

By CBR Staff Writer

Hewlett-Packard Co has launched the first product from its internal Portable Capture and Communication start-up operation, a portable CD-sized device that lets users scan and store paper documents for sending via email or fax. The HP CapShare 910 information appliance will cost $700, and is out in December. HP’s PCC division was formed in January 1997 around the development of CapShare, then code-named Swipe. The division is based in Greeley, Colorado, and works closely with HP Laboratories in Palo Alto, California and Bristol, UK. CapShare weighs 12.5 ounces and can capture up to 50 letter-sized pages in black and white. It includes page processing software that recreates the scanned document in around six seconds, which is then shown as a thumbnail on the unit’s liquid crystal display and stored as an Adobe PDF file. It can then be sent to a printer, handheld device or PC via IrDA cableless infrared or standard serial ports. Ross Allen, an HP Labs scientist credited with inventing the product, claims the device includes the power of around five Pentium processors but runs on two standard AA batteries. The power comes from a central CPU core and two navigator image processing chips and digital microscopes, capable of operating at up to 1 billion operations per second. These enable the image to be scanned at 300 dots per inch with a free form, swiping motion, at speeds of up to 16 inches per second, or nine inches per second sustained. The image is reconstructed by the software using the fibers of the paper. (The device consequently won’t work on computer screens or laminated materials). Allen says there is five years of software development behind the image processing software. CapShare uses the pSOS real-time operating system from Integrated systems Inc, and HP’s own JetSend communications protocol for sending the documents without user intervention. HP believes mobile professionals will use the device for sending sales leads, contracts, newspaper articles, and market reports to their offices without the usual technical difficulties. HP is planning to introduce more appliances as part of its new information utility strategy (CI No 3,508).

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