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REDFLY Mobile Companion

 REDFLY Mobile Companion Discontinued
15th July 2008

The REDFLY Mobile Companion looks like a laptop - but it isn't. Instead, the "Mobile Companion" is a giant accessory for your Windows-based mobile phone that gives you a decent sized keyboard and screen to work with, rather than the cramped controls of a smartphone.

It isn't the first time that we have seen something like this, last year's Palm Foleo was very similar. But there is one key difference - the Foleo was cancelled, but the REDFLY Mobile Companion is available to buy right now.

 REDFLY Mobile Companion and projector The basic concept behind the REDFLY is that your Windows based mobile phone is actually pretty powerful, and one of the main limiting features is the physical size of the device itself. So, the REDFLY Mobile Companion simply acts as a terminal to the phone, and the phone runs the applications and transmits them back to the REDFLY. The Mobile Companion really does very little, except provide a decently sized QWERTY keyboard, an 8" 800 x 480 pixel display, VGA output (so it can be used with a projector), 8 hours battery life and a couple of USB ports plus an optional mouse.

If you have ever used Windows Terminal Server or Remote Desktop Connection, or perhaps VNC, GoToMyPC, Citrix or pcAnywhere then you will have used a similar "thin client" technology. All the processing is done on the phone, the phone handles all the network connectivity and stores all the data. The REDFLY itself is just an accessory.

The advantage with this arrangement is simplicity. Once the Windows smartphone is set up with the appropriate network connectivity (e.g. email, VPN access etc) then very little work needs to be done to add the REDFLY. And if the REDFLY is lost or stolen, no data breach can occur without the mobile phone it is paired with. The phone and the REDFLY will work in exactly the same way, giving a great deal of flexibility, and because the REDFLY is so simple, then there is very little to go wrong.

 REDFLY Mobile Companion Also, if you don't want to carry the REDFLY then you don't need to, as your phone has all the same information. Of course, if you lose your phone then it's a different matter, but since Windows Mobile features a remote wipe function for stolen devices then any damage should be limited.

There are a couple of drawbacks that we can see with the REDFLY Mobile Companion. Despite all the cleverness that has gone into it, the fact is that it relies on a device running Windows Mobile for processing, and these tend to have limited processor speeds, not much memory and severely cut-down applications. Another one is cost - at around £300 / €430 / $500 or so, the REDFLY is not cheap. In fact, you can get a very basic Toshiba laptop for that price, but a standard laptop would lack the simplicity that the REDFLY brings.

 REDFLY Mobile Companion Ultimately, this kind of device is not for everyone. You will either want it, or you won't. This is the kind of thing that might appeal to corporate IT departments, or to consumers who are looking for a really simple but flexible mobile computing solution.

As we said, the REDFLY Mobile Companion is currently tied to Windows Mobile devices (although it may support other OSes in the future). At the moment, the only supported handsets are the HTC Mogul/XV6800, HTC Tilt/TYTN II, Palm Treo 750 and 700w/wx and the Samsung SCH-i760. The HTC Dash/S620, HTC Touch, Motorola MOTO Q 9c/9h/9m and the Samsung SGH-i617/BlackJack II should be supported from July. In theory, pretty much any Windows Mobile 5.0, 6.0 or 6.1 device should work with the REDFLY Mobile Companion, but only a small number are officially supported (the list is here).

The REDFLY Mobile Companion is shipping now worldwide. You can find more information about this device at the Celio Corp website.

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REDFLY Mobile Companion at a glance






None (used Bluetooth PAN)


800 x 480 pixels




Subnotebook format
152 x 229 x 25mm / 0.9 kg



Memory card:










Battery life:

8 hours approximately


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