GBM Interview: Celio REDFLY Execs: Part 1

Celio RedflyFundamentally, the REDFLY is an 8 inch screen and a slightly reduced size keyboard. There is no processor, no memory, and nothing to configure. And this is its strength.

The REDFLY is truly a mobile companion. You must have a compatible Windows Mobile 5 or WM6 phone for it to pair to for this to be a functional device. The REDFLY connects via USB or Bluetooth and extends the functionality inherent in your phone to a screen and keyboard that are fully usable. By doing this, you can keep the same REDFLY and switch phones to your heart’s content. You also don’t have to sync your data with yet another device. Considering how much time I spend syncing data between devices, this is a major benefit.


Many people underrate the power and flexibility of Windows Mobile 5&6. Given sufficient screen real estate, you can actually do real document and spreadsheet editing in versions of mobile Office. Many activities that are frankly painful on a 2 inch screen become possible when expanded onto an 8 inch display. Think about the differences people have mentioned on UMPCs – that the XP and Vista OSs don’t scale down well to the smaller screen. Fortunately, Windows Mobile 5&6 can scale up, courtesy of some custom drivers that Celio has created and ship with the REDFLY.

The most common comparison for the REDFLY is to the canceled Palm Foleo, but the Foleo had drawbacks that the REDFLY doesn’t. The Foleo was practically a computer, including a larger 10 inch screen, additional processor, memory, WiFi, and capabilities that extended the range of activities that the Palm device could perform. Although this was an interesting idea, most people inherently understood that, for the price of the Foleo, they could get an inexpensive laptop and have full functionality. Basically, the Foleo aimed too high and tried to do too much. It was also, obviously, tied to the Treo, which doesn’t have the install based that Windows Mobile enjoys.

In contrast, the REDFLY has very little that is specialized to any device and it has practically no support costs. Since the REDFLY doesn’t have the processor, memory, etc, it has a very simple device with long battery life and a small size. IT departments will love it because there is little setup and easy compatibility. By sticking with the core idea of extending the functions of a Windows Mobile phone, the REDFLY has kept it simple and reduced the support needs and headache potential. It is less likely to become the proverbial brick, since as I upgrade my phones, I can keep the same REDFLY and use it with the new phone. I can also easily share a REDFLY with multiple other users since all of the user specific information is stored on the phone, not the REDFLY. No security issues here.


REDFLY Key Strengths


  • Small size, light weight – easy to carry with you
  • Battery life – about 8 hours, and if the phone is tethered via USB, the REDFLY will also recharge the phone.
  • USB ports – attach USB flash drives
  • VGA port – use your phone to do presentations
  • No onboard storage means no data loss if the unit is lost or breaks. Just keep your phone like you do right now. This is also less of a security risk since sensitive data is not being copied/synced to yet another device.

Technical Specifications:

  • Weight 2.0 lbs.
  • Battery Life 8 Hours under normal use via USB
  • Display Size 8 inch diagonal wide screen
  • Display Resolution 800 x 480
  • VGA Display Output 800 x 480
  • Keyboard 8.3 inch 80-key QWERTY keyboard
  • Touchpad 1.0 x 2.9 inches
  • Special Fn keys Fn buttons are hot-keys for phone control (i.e. send, end, OK, esc, left menu, right menu, etc)
  • Operating System Compatibility
    • Windows Mobile 5.0 (Pocket PC and Smartphone editions)
    • Windows Mobile 6.0 (Professional and Standard editions)
  • More operating system compatibility to be announced. See tested smartphone list at
  • Application Compatibility: Applications and data from the smartphone appear on the REDFLY enabled display
  • Ports and Connectors VGA port, 2 high speed USB 2.0 ports, AC power connector
  • Smartphone Connection via Bluetooth Bluetooth 2.0 EDR (compatible with Bluetooth 1.0, 2.0)
  • Smartphone Connection via USB Use USB cable included with smartphone
  • Smartphone Charger via USB Able to charge smartphones via USB (as supported by phone)
  • USB Flash Drive Compatibility Standard USB Flash Drives (Drives appear on smartphone file system)
  • USB Keyboard Compatibility Standard USB Keyboards
  • USB Mouse Compatibility Standard USB Mice
  • AC Power Charger AC Power Adapter Input: 90 — 264VAC, 47 — 63 Hz, Output: 9VDC, 2.5A

Next up in Part 2 I’ll go over how these technical specs translate into useful usage models.

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