The IBM PalmTop PC110

Using the internal modem


Legal issues

Bear in mind that the PC110 was only ever sold in Japan. Despite it being a mobile device, I doubt very much that the modem was homologated (tested & approved) for international use. Remember that in some countries you could be breaking the law by using a non-approved telephony device...

Dial tone (or lack of it)

Not got a Japanese dial tone? Just add X3 to your initialisation string, and this will stop the modem looking for a dial tone before it dials out. If you have no initialisation string, use ATX3.


Loud, isn't it, that internal modem? Sadly, the modem only responds to M0, which mutes it, but I prefer it silent anyway. Again, add this to your initialisation string, and if you have no initialisation string, use ATM0.

Modem drivers

I don't know enough about modems to say which famous-brand it closely emulates, so I always go for Generic, and set the baud rate to the next highest after 2400 - usually 9600, but sometimes 4800 - with an X3 and an M0 in the initialisation string.

Fax support

Where available, I configure the modem as a generic class 2 fax modem, checking that I've set the port for at least 9600 baud. This is not a feature I play with at all often, being an e-mail or phone type of person. ;-)

Voice support

Yes, it does support voice. There are apparently four standard answering messages stored in ROM in the innards of this machine, and you can play them back using special modem commands. I don't recall any further details on the functions - I have seen much more information on this elsewhere, and will add in a link to it as soon as I remember where it was!

I have used the PersonaWare telephone application to dial a few people, to prove that it works, and have received a few calls on the PC110 too. Let's face it, you feel pretty daft holding your computer to your ear and talking to it, even if you are showing off to your mates at work! Clarity is apparently good, but the volume is low.

This is usually the last straw when you show your PC110 to an uninitiated gadget-head. Use with care!

Microphone switch

Here's a good one to catch you out - the microphone (right hand disc on the front of the case) is also used as the 'off hook' switch. Push it to the right, and you'll get a dial tone (if your cabling's plugged in), push it back to the left, and you'll drop the line. This can play havoc with the internal modem when you're forever carrying the PC110 in rucksacks or pockets, as having the switch in the 'off hook' position prevents the modem from using the line.

Ringer switch

Located on the right of the case, this controls whether or not the PC110 rings when an incoming call is detected. Again, one for impressing your mates in the office, because you have to hold your computer to your ear and talk to it to pick up the call. You also get a tiny green LED flashing on the microphone as it rings. Bonus!

Headphone / microphone jack

Since there's only one socket for earphone and microphone for either the sound card (rear) or telephony (front), I presume that this uses a single jack for both. Unfortunately, the socket is smaller than 3.5mm, so I haven't yet found anything to plug in here. The consensus on the mailing list seems to be that the hand-free kits for some mobile phones will work.

Wake up on ring

Finally, the PC110 supports wake up on ring. This means that if the PC110 is in suspend mode, and a call comes in, it will resume normal operation. This is of no real use, unless you have software running when it resumes that will answer and handle the incoming call. Many companies produce fax/data/voice routing, messaging and mailbox packages that allow you to set the machine up as a full communications centre. If you had one of these running, you could, for example, leave the PC110 in suspend mode and it would act as an answering machine when a call came in. Careful setting of power management controls is recommended if you're not plugged in to the mains!

Wake up on ring is controlled by the PS2 RI command.

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Written by Daniel Basterfield. Images found on the internet. Enjoy!