---------- ---------- PC Pro Realworld Computing: Paul Lynch - PDAs

Windows CE

Recent weeks have been full of new product releases from all the major players: the Palm VII made its American launch a few weeks ago and Psion shipped the Series 5mx. But the best machines released have been the Casio E-100 (and E-105) colour palm-sized machines, and the Compaq Aero 8000. These two models meet the promise of the platform better than any before.

The Casio E-100 plays video clips, plays sound files, has a reasonable battery life for a colour machine, and just about fits into a pocket. It is (inevitably) bigger than a Palm, and even bigger than the deck of playing cards that is probably its biggest competitor as a time killing toy. If a colour "scribble thing" is on your shopping list, then this is the one to have.

I was impressed with the idea of the HPC Pro machines, but less impressed with the execution of the initial models released, in the LG Phenom range, and the Hewlett-Packard Jornada 820. The Phenom models had an excellent keyboard, but suffered from a restricted screen resolution, sufficiently badly so that I couldn't bring myself to use one, although I have friends who admire them greatly. The Jornada 820 suffered (and still does) from a lack of software available for its StrongARM processor, and the HPC Pro software didn't quite live up to its promise of full Internet Explorer compatibility (JScript is not JavaScript, and it shows).

The Aero 8000 is an attractive HPC Pro machine, with the star bonus of 800 x 600 display resolution. As with the Jornada, it includes a client for Citrix Metaframe, and is most at home in a nomadic business environment using Metaframe or NT Terminal Server with wireless ethernet inside the office, and the built-in modem and standard Windows CE software for light use when moving between locations.

Words and design by:
Paul Lynch
Last updated: August 19, 1999

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