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June 26, 1990


By CBR Staff Writer

Tandy Corp’s Grid Computer Systems arm has brought its handheld graphics-based computer which can recognise hand-printed data if you write carefully enough (CI No 1,274), to the UK. Called Gridpad, the computer weighs 4 lbs 6 oz and comes with 1Mb of memory, although for desktop use, 20Mb of hard disk can be added by clipping on an extra unit. It is 12.4 long, 9.25 wide and 1.4 high. The hard disk unit, which will be available in the UK in two months is about the same size and weighs 2 lbs 14 oz. Gridpad is aimed at mobile users, who would otherwise use a notebook or clipboard, such as field market researchers or salesmen. Information is entered by using an electronic stylus to write on the screen, which has liquid crystal display. Although signatures can be accurately captured, information has to be printed – bad luck, all those that hate writing in caps so much that their printing is much more illegible than their cursive handwriting. Software resides on the solid state secondary storage, and information can be retrieved at any time via an on-screen menu, using the stylus. An on-screen virtual keyboard can also be used. Since its introduction in the US last October, Grid says it has sold 5,000 machines, mostly in the sales and merchandising sector – for applications such as stock control. The UK price is UKP2,400 and the hard disk unit costs an extra UKP750. Prices come down for bulk orders. Grid Computer Systems UK, based in Esher, Surrey, provide standard software and a toolbox for for customers to produce specific software, as well as offering a two day training course to help them develop it.

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