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56-kbps notebook modems on way

Hayes Microcomputer will soon ship a 56-kbps modem for notebook PCs to keep pace with the introduction of similar products from U.S Robotics.

Hayes Microcomputer says it will soon ship a 56-kbps modem for notebook PCs in an attempt to keep pace with the introduction of similar products from U.S Robotics.

Shipments of 56-kbps PC Card modems--a bit bigger and thicker than a credit card--for notebook PCs are lagging shipments of standard desktop 56-kbps modems by about a month at major vendors.

Notebook PCs users wanting increased connection speed will be able to purchase the Hayes Accura 56-kbps PC Card modem by month's end. The PC Card standard formerly was referred to as PCMCIA.

The fax-modem will offer an automatic power saving mode, software upgradeability, and an onboard chip that increases data throughput. As with most PC Card products, the modem can be removed without rebooting the computer.

The company expects the card modem, which is based on K56flex technology from Rockwell Semiconductor and Lucent, will have a street price of $209.

In related news, a California-based company called Smart Modular Technologies announced the availability of its Rapid Transit 56-kbps ISA card fax-modem. The modem, designed for use with Pentium-based PCs, is also based on K56flex technology. The modem will be available at dealers such as Ingram Micro and PCs Compleat for an estimated street price of $140.

Like all 56-kbps modems, consumers will have to make sure the modems they buy can communicate with modems used by their service provider to attain the higher connection speed. Otherwise, modems will default to the 33.6-kbps transmission standard.