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Learn More About Handhelds

What kind of handheld do you need?

Handheld with Palm-based OS


Ideal for: Managing and storing all of your personal information: names and addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, to–do lists, tasks, appointments (calendar and alarm reminders), project plans, personal expenses, etc. If fitted with a modem, also ideal for performing online tasks, such as receiving email and downloading the latest news. Advanced models support a wide range software applications and Microsoft applications such as Excel® and Word®.

Key features:

  • Palm Operating System (OS), used by Handspring®, Palm®, and Sony Clie® models, requires less memory than the Pocket PC based OS. Comes with anywhere from 2 to 16 MB of built–in memory.
  • An expansion slot allows for the addition of more memory. Adding memory increases the number of addresses and information, as well as the variety of software applications, the handheld can run.
  • Comes with a stylus (a pen–like device) that is moved across a touch–screen for easy data entry. The shorthand alphabet, called "Graffiti", takes only 20 minutes–or–so to learn. Some models also have a small, built–in keyboard.
  • If you plan to enter a lot of data, some models can attach to an external, foldable keyboard for easy, natural typing.
  • "Synchronizes" with laptop and desktop computers (that is, information is automatically updated) every time you put the handheld in the docking cradle, which connects to a computer's USB port.
  • Some models are fitted with a microphone that receives voice commands, which makes it simple to record great ideas — wherever and whenever they strike.
  • Most models come with an infrared port, which transmits information (addresses, tasks, etc.) wirelessly.
  • Choose between color and monochrome (black–and–white) LCD screens. A color screen requires more memory, but is more vivid and easier–to–view. Some models also have backlit screens, which are more readable in low light. Color displays have higher power consumption, a critical consideration for frequent users.
  • Depending on the model, the expansion slot can also accommodate a wireless modem for wireless Internet access, Global Positioning cards for satellite navigation and location technology, an MP3 module to listen to MP3 music files, game cards to play video games, and even a device that transforms the handheld into a digital camera.
  • Advanced models work with "Documents to Go" software, which enables you to use Microsoft Word® and Excel® documents.
  • Models come with either alkaline (usually AAA) or rechargable (lithium ion, nickel–cadmium, nickel–metal hydride) batteries. Rechargable batteries, though generally more expensive, reduce the cost of battery replacement.



Handheld with Pocket-PC based OS


Ideal for: Those who would like to use Windows® programs such as Word®, Excel®, and Microsoft Outlook® email on their handheld. Pocket PCs can be used to manage personal information, and are also ideal for performing advanced tasks, such as listening to MP3 music files and using a MPEG movie player.

Key features:

  • Pocket PC based Operating System (OS), used by the Compaq iPaq® and the HP Jornada®, among others, recreates the familiar Windows® PC desktop and laptop work environments. Comes with anywhere from 16 to 64MB of standard memory.
  • Many models come with a color (rather than black–and–white) LCD screen, which is vivid and easier–to–read. Bit depth measures the richness of the screen's color. 8 bit depth means 256 distinct colors can be represented. 24 bit depth means that 16 million colors can be represented.
  • Comes with either a built–in, miniature keyboard or a stylus (pen–like device), which is moved across a touch screen for easy data entry. Some models can attach to an external, foldable keyboard for easy, natural typing.
  • "Synchronizes" with laptop and desktop computers (that is, information is automatically updated) every time you put the Pocket PC based handheld in the docking cradle, which connects to a computer's USB port. Most models also come with an infrared port, which beams information (addresses, etc.) between Pocket PC handhelds, desktop and laptop computers.
  • Some models are fitted with a microphone that receives voice commands, which makes it simple to record great ideas — wherever and whenever they strike.
  • Lets you leave your laptop on the desk — send and receive email, store, send and carry digital pictures, listen to music, play games, work on Microsoft Word® and Excel®, all from your Pocket PC.
  • Expansion slot allows for the addition of more memory. Adding memory increases the number of addresses and information, as well as the variety of software applications, the Pocket PC based handheld can run.
  • Depending on the model, the expansion slot can also accommodate a wireless modem for wireless Internet access, Global Positioning cards for satellite navigation and location technology, an MP3 module to listen to MP3 music files, game cards to play video games, and even a device that transforms the handheld into a digital camera.
  • All models come with rechargable (lithium, nickel–cadmium, nickel–metal hydride) batteries, which are recharged by placing the Pocket PC based handheld in a docking cradle. Rechargable batteries reduce the hassle of battery replacement.
  • Processor speed varies by model. Generally, the higher the clock speed, measured in MHz, the faster the processor. A faster processor can run (and switch between) Microsoft Word® and Excel® documents more quickly.

Tip: Prior to purchasing a new handheld, consider how you will use it. This will help you to narrow the range of products to consider and result in greater satisfaction with your purchase. Also, don't forget that there are literally thousands of software titles and peripheral devices available to customize your handheld and improve your productivity.


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