Sierra Wireless today announced the introduction of its ExpressCard product line, with the upcoming AirCard 597E wireless wide area network card for EV-DO Revision A networks. Built for notebook computers with ExpressCard expansion slots, the AirCard 597E will be fully compliant with network operator requirements and will offer user-friendly features such as Assisted GPS (aGPS) location based services; a robust, fixed antenna design; and an external antenna jack for flexibility and improved reception in fringe coverage areas or for specialized applications. The AirCard 597E is expected to begin shipping in the first quarter of 2007. ExpressCard models for HSDPA networks are expected to follow later in the year.
ABI research estimates that adoption of the ExpressCard standard for PC card slots will be significant in 2007, shipping in 45 percent of laptops sold, up from 10 percent in 2006(x). Sierra Wireless will also continue to produce AirCard products in the Type II PC Card form factor to serve the established base of notebook users with PC Card slots. For those with PC Card slots who wish to purchase an ExpressCard product in anticipation of an upcoming notebook upgrade, the company will offer an ExpressCard-to-PC Card adapter accessory.
"Notebook installations of ExpressCard slots are expected to move toward critical mass in 2007 - we are timing our ExpressCard products to match market adoption." said Trent Punnett, Senior Vice President, Marketing and Corporate Development for Sierra Wireless. "The AirCard 597E delivers a fresh new industrial design with a fixed antenna that is not compromised by the smaller form factor - our engineering team has designed the antenna to provide performance comparable to our new AirCard 595 PC Card. Having this level of internal expertise means the company is not reliant on off-the-shelf components, and that enables us to consistently deliver the durable, reliable products our customers expect from Sierra Wireless."
The AirCard 597E wireless wide area network card is an ExpressCard 34 (ie. 34 mm wide) form factor compliant card, compatible with both ExpressCard 34 and ExpressCard 54 slots in newer notebook computers. For customers without an ExpressCard slot, an adapter will be available to allow the use of the card in Type II PCMCIA card slots.
Designed for connectivity to EV-DO Revision A networks, the AirCard 597E is capable of peak data speeds of 3.1 Mbps on the downlink and 1.8 Mbps on the uplink when operating on a Revision A network. For use in areas where EV-DO Revision A is not yet available, the card is compatible with widely available EV-DO Release 0 and CDMA 1X networks.
(x) Mobile Broadband to the Laptop: Cellular PC Cards and Embedded Modems, 2006-2011, ABI Research, April 2006.