An English Palmtop, Poshly Appointed

SMALLER, FASTER, LIGHTER, and cheaper. The latest portable computer maker to answer that mantra is Geofox Ltd., a startup in Cambridge, England.

On Oct. 23, the company will begin selling its Geofox-One handheld computer. Unlike other palmtops, Geofox-One features a built-in touch pad that allows owners to easily interact with the icon-based EPOC32 software, a Windows-like operating system developed by Psion PLC, a London-based palmtop maker. The 7.4-inch by 4.7-inch computer also features a sharp backlit screen almost equivalent in quality to a laptop display. Screen legibility is important since Geofox comes equipped with a dial-up networking program that enables owners to connect with almost any Internet service provider via a 33.6 kbps PC card modem. Its custom-built Web browser also is compliant with the latest Web standards.

Geofox, started by George Grey, founder and former CEO of Tadpole Technology PLC, a maker of portable UNIX workstations, will sell the devices directly from its Web site (, keeping costs down so its handheld is competitively priced. A Web-ready Geofox-One with four megabytes of memory will cost $749. A similarly equipped 320LX from Hewlett-Packard Co. sells for about $799, but with a smaller touch-sensitive display.

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