An office in your pocket

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.

Jornada 540

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

e-mail solution.

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

soon.

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

airtime.

Sun Ray

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.

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