Now, Laptop Lovers Can Get A Laptop Satellite Dish, Too

The world is rapidly going wireless. In addition to cordless appliances and telephones, laptop computers equipped with radio-communication devices are starting to hit stores. But Toshiba Corp. is ready to push a setup that goes even further.

On Nov. 1, it plans to unveil a portable, battery-powered satellite earth station for laptops. The earth station resembles a typical notebook computer in size, shape, and weight. When plugged into any IBM-compatible PC, it can transmit to any other computer that's connected to an earth station--no matter where it is or how bad the local phones may be. Toshiba will provide detailed diagrams showing the precise angle and tripod elevation needed to bounce a signal off an International Maritime Satellite Organization (Inmarsat) bird from any location in the world. But before you start dreaming of doing your job from a beach in Fiji, remember that the rechargeable batteries last for only 30 minutes and that each totable station costs a sky-high $17,000.