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Do you have carpal tunnel from typing on a smartphone with your
thumbs for hours? Going blind from squinting at Microsoft Excel
spreadsheets on that tiny smartphone screen? Relief is on the way.

Two-year-old Celio, which won a CES Innovations Award for emerging
technology in 2008, may just have the solution for your customers, and
the company is looking to recruit channel partners and distributors.

Celio’s Redfly Mobile Companion looks like a netbook in terms of form
factor. But it doesn’t have a processor. It’s just a screen and a
keyboard that can be plugged into a smart phone providing a larger
screen and display for smartphones and their squinting, repetitive
stress disorder suffering users.

“The smartphones of today are really more powerful than the laptops of
just a few years ago,” says Nicole Buchanan, vice president of
marketing at Celio. “Smartphones are made with the same components that
go into netbooks today, and more smartphones are sold today than
laptops.”

But it’s hard to type on those tiny keyboards. And it’s hard to see
anything on those screens without scrolling and scrolling and
scrolling.

“The vision is about connecting a smartphone to any large display and
keyboard, and Redfly Mobile Companion is one way to do that,” says
Buchanan. Celio also offers a Redfly Doc station that can connect to
any display and keyboard and also a software-only product that can be
loaded on an existing laptop (or included on a laptop by the PC
manufacturer in an OEM deal) to enable the laptop to become the
terminal to a smartphone.

The advantage of using that instead of a laptop stick or a netbook is
that you are only paying for the smartphone’s data connection and not
for the data connection of a PC.

The Redfly Mobile Companion device includes a graphics engine, patented
by Celio, that allows for the resolution change from smartphone screen
to larger screen. Users can see up to 8 columns on the Redfly Mobile
Companion of the same spreadsheet that they only saw three columns of
on the smartphone, says Kevin Sheier who is running the Celio’s channel
operations. 

The
Mobile Companion comes in two different models. The 7-inch screen model
offers up to 5 hours of battery life and retails for $199. The 8-inch
screen model offers up to 8 hours of battery life and retails for $249.
Both offer a full QWERTY keyboard and instant-on and instant-off
performance. It can connect to a smartphone via USB cable or Bluetooth.

Currently the devices only support Windows Mobile-based smartphones,
but Celio is working on support for the Google Android operating system
and the BlackBerry operating system. Additionally the company is in
talks with Apple about getting access to the technology it needs to
support the iPhone.

“We really need to get into the root OS because we are changing the
resolution,” says B. But because it is a locked operating system we’ve
had to work much more closely with Apple, and it’s not usually a short
term event to work with these folks to get into the operating system.”

Celio launched the Redfly Mobile Companion in July 2008 and within the
first eight months sold $2 million worth of products, including
accessories such as a carrying case, a media cable, a media port, a
wall charger and a VPA car charger.

So far the company’s sales have been primarily direct, but the company
is looking to scale its sales and is talking to resellers and
distributors, including vertical resellers in the mobile space who may
be bundling applications for use in medical or sales force automation
environments.