An office in your pocket
- By Dan Caterinicchia, Dan Caterinicchia, Natasha Haubold
- Apr 24, 2000
Small computing made a big splash at the FOSE trade show in Washington,
D.C., last week.
At the forefront were Pocket PCs, which are based on a revamped version
of Microsoft Corp.'s Windows CE platform and include "pocket" versions of
the most popular software applications from the company.
Federal workers showed a huge interest in Pocket PCs, said Debra Kennedy,
technical specialist at Microsoft's federal division.
"A lot of government folks want everything — personal and business information — in a single source so they can synchronize and keep it with them," Kennedy
said. "All organizations have meetings, but instead of having to take a
pen and paper or a laptop, you could take a Pocket PC. You could have downloaded
the agenda in advance, and then using "transcribe,' write a note on the
screen and transfer it to a colleague sitting across the table immediately."
Manufacturers including Casio Computer Co., Hewlett-Packard Co., Compaq
Computer Corp. and Symbol Technologies offer Pocket PCs that vary in size,
price and scope but are compatible with the latest software.
"You can include attachments from Word or Excel in e-mail messages,
which wasn't possible in the past. And the Web browser is stronger and gives
the full capabilities of the Internet," Kennedy said.
Capt. Kirk would be right at home with HP's Jornada 540. The device's
flip-up cover reveals a small but powerful communicator.
Weighing less than 9 ounces, the Jornada has the same capabilities
as a Palm Pilot, including address books, a calculator and task lists, but
as a Pocket PC, it also enables users to edit Microsoft Word, Excel, Money
and Reader files while away from the office. And users can access the Internet
and e-mail through a wireless modem.
The Jornada 540 comes with up to 32M of memory. The unit has a color
touch screen, but users also can attach a full-size keyboard and speakers
to use it as a personal computer.
Pocket factor: Well, kind of like a fat pocket protector — 5.2 inches
by 3.1 inches by 0.6 inches.
Cost: $499 for 16M; $599 for 32M.
RIM 950 with BlackBerry E-mail
Research in Motion Inc.'s new RIM 950 wireless handheld provides users access
to their e-mail from anywhere in the country through RIM's BlackBerry wireless
The device is constantly connected to the BlackBerry wireless network,
ensuring that messages are instantly sent or received, and there are no
long- distance connection fees.
For security, each handheld is password-protected and is designated
for a single electronic mailbox; messages are also encrypted.
BlackBerry handhelds are wired to accept Microsoft Exchange messages,
and the company plans to release a Lotus Development Corp. Notes version
The RIM 950 wireless handheld can be upgraded to allow for Internet
access or paging. Users also can install an electronic organizer program
that will automatically synchronize information between a desktop PC and
the handheld device.
Pocket factor: About the size of all those business cards you collected
last week — 3.5 inches by 2.5 inches by 0.93 inches.
Cost: $349 for 2M; $399 for 4M; $39.99 monthly BlackBerry flat-rate
Sun Microsystems Inc. believes it has found the solution to desktop
administration and information portability in its Sun Ray enterprise appliance.
With the Sun Ray, all computing — and thus upgrades, administration
and maintenance — is completed at the server. The small appliance (7.2 inches
square and 2 inches deep) transfers information from the server to a monitor.
Users can access information on their "desktop" at any location on the
network by inserting a personalized smart card into the Sun Ray.
Cost: $400 per unit.