Primer maintains PDF portability

It's no mystery: The problem with handheld computers is that they don'tdeliver all the capabilities of desktop computers. While Ansyr TechnologyCorp. can't remove all the limitations of handheld computing, it has removeda significant restriction by delivering Portable Document Format viewingcapability.

Adobe Systems Inc.'s PDF is recognized as a standard method for viewingand transporting documentation electronically, and Adobe's Acrobat softwareis widely present on desktop systems today. It is, however, conspicuouslyabsent from the handheld PC arena. This is where Primer has carved its niche.

Ansyr Primer PDF Viewer Version 2.3 supports many useful features foundwithin Acrobat, such as zooming within documents, hyperlinks within documents,encrypted PDF files and user-defined bookmarks.

More importantly, Primer offers the flexibility and convenience of readingPDF files on mobile devices. Although other applications can convert PDFfiles to HTML or other formats viewable on a handheld device, critical contentor formatting often is lost in such a conversion.

Viewing documents with Primer is a pleasure because Primer retains theformatting, graphics and fonts of the original PDF document. Documents canbe delivered in digital form with the same portability as paper and usersin the field can access these documents quickly and easily. A Navy mechanic,for example, can view a schematic of an engine while fixing it.

Primer's main targets audience within the federal arena are workersthat require secure access to complex content of scientific, technical ormedical nature. But it's obvious that Primer is good for anyone who needsto view more than just plain text and simple images.

We tested the Ansyr Primer software on a Hitachi Ltd. ePlate HPW-600with 16M of RAM running Microsoft Corp.'s Windows CE operating system. Theapplication ran flawlessly.

We were particularly impressed with Primer's ease of use, from the installationof the product — which took just a few clicks — to the no-nonsense customizableinterface. Primer runs almost transparently. Its main screen comprises mostlya large area for viewing documents and a few small buttons in the lowerleft-hand corner that control application and document-viewing settings.Primer runs on many types of handheld devices, including those from as NECCorp., Hewlett-Packard Co., Compaq Computer Corp. and Fujitsu Ltd., andthe software has even cracked into the cell phone market.

Ansyr Technologies plans future versions of Primer that will supportXML, HTML, rich text, plain text and document image types such as fax, JPEGand bitmap. High-fidelity PDF forms also will be supported.

Primer is not fancy, but it does achieve the goal of relieving mobileprofessionals from the burden of carrying hard copies of critical informationinto the field. Primer is definitely worth a look, especially by those whoneed to view formatted text and complex images from handheld devices whileon the go.

Ed Gray is a freelance writer based in Washington, D.C. He can be reachedat [email protected].

REPORT CARD

Ansyr Primer PDF Viewer Version 2.3

Score: B

Ansyr Technology Corp.
(425) 688-1600
www.ansyr.com

Price and availability: Ansyr Primer PDF Viewer is available free toindividual users for a 30-day trial. After the trial period, users mustpurchase the software for $50, but government agencies are eligible forother pricing schedules. Volume discounts and support packages also areavailable. The product is available for download and purchase on Ansyr Technology'sWeb site.

Remarks: Ansyr's Primer software is great for the handheld PC user whoneeds to view documents in Portable Document Format in the field or on thego. It can run on Microsoft Corp.'s suite of desktop operating systems (Windows95, 98, NT and Windows 2000), but Primer is specifically designed to runon a variety of handheld devices that use a mobile OS such as Windows CE,Pocket PC or Palm OS.

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