Pinetree Computer System Inc. is one of those small local computer companies that makes you think, “They’ve really got something there.”
What has really caught our eye is the company’s two-way hand-held data entry computer and portable printer. This computer is intended to eliminate such paper work as sales orders, inventory counts, field technicians’ reports and any other type of data collection that needs to be done outside the office.
How does it work? The hand-held computer is preprogrammed to accept the type of information that needs to be relayed. Once it’s programmed, a salesperson or field technician can punch in the alphabetical or numerical messages that need to be sent while he is out working in the field. After typing in the message, the salesperson turns the computer over and affixes it to a telephone receiver. Then the user only has to dial the identification number of his office-based computer, and the information-as much as a full day’s worth-is relayed there instantly. And if the office manager wants to send a message to the salesperson, the computer can do that. too.
John Manry, who left IBM after 20 years in marketing, is chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Pinetree. He says he’s spent the last four years analyzing the company’s target market and trying to convince other companies that the hand-held computer can eliminate a lot of corporate headaches.
NCR was the first company to implement the hand-held computer on a national scale; it ordered 7,200 units ($5.7 million worth) last June. Pine-tree is rather unique in that the company builds all of its computers at its office off Freeport Parkway in Dallas. The computer retails for about $1,000.