PC makers adopt 56-kbps modems

Hitachi and Dell will integrate 56-kbps modems from U.S. Robotics into their personal computers.

Hitachi (HIT) announced today that it will integrate a 56-kbps modem from U.S. Robotics (USRX) into its notebook computers.

The 56-kbps technology, dubbed x2 by U.S. Robotics (USR), can overcome the speed limits of current modems by using telephone companies' digital switches. Under ideal conditions, the new modems will be able download data at rates up to twice that of 28.8-kbps modems but will still be limited to 33.6 kbps for sending data out.

Earlier this week, Dell Computer (DELL) announced that they will offer U. S. Robotic's Sportster Voice internal modem with its Dimension desktop PCs early next year. The modems will be upgradeable to USR's x2 technology. The modems feature fax and data capabilities, voice mail with multiple mailboxes, remote voice message and fax retrieval, fax on demand, caller ID, and a speakerphone.

USR is attempting to create a de facto standard for 56-kbps technology by rounding up the support of numerous ISPs and computer manufacturers. In the absence of an established communications standard, modems from different manufacturers are likely to have interoperability problems, which means that initially, U.S. Robotics customers will only be able to hook up with the ISPs and other customers using technology from USR.

Hitachi says they expect the modem to ship in early 1997 on their C, M, E and soon to be released Mx series notebooks.