Virtual Ink, vendor of the electronic whiteboard Mimeo, on Tuesday at the Demo conference will unveil its move into the wireless world with an upgrade it calls "category breaking."
Mimeo x i (for NeXt Ink) is a departure from the company's four-year-old Mimeo electronic whiteboarding product in that it allows users to record whiteboarding writing without a PC and with almost no setup time via wireless connectivity.
"We're looking to take the barrier to use so far down ... it's a reinvention of the category," said company President and CEO Greg McHale, based in Boston.
Mimeo x i is a foldable gray-and-silver device that snaps to whiteboards with suction cups. Using a DSP chip to process ultrasound and infrared input, the upgrade is substantially smaller and flatter than its predecessor, though it still weighs about 2-1/2 pounds.
The breakthrough from a usage point of view is the addition of flash memory, which allows the device to story the recordings of a whiteboarding session, freeing users from having to connect PCs to the Mimeo appliance.
The upgrade is also designed for "personality modules," essentially plug-ins that support different connectivity options. The first module, called Link USB, allows a user to take the module from the Mimeo appliance and use a USB cable to download the contents of the whiteboarding session to a PC.
At Demo, 3Com is expected to show off a proof-of-concept module for Bluetooth that allows the data to be fed to a PC via a wireless connection, and ultimately to a corporate network. Virtual Ink is publishing the specifications and plans to develop a version for IRDA to connect to PocketPCs or Palms; the company expects that third parties will create a WiFi module.
Mimeo x i will cost $699 and will ship by the end of March. A Bluetooth module is expected for release next quarter.