Carry your office in the palm of your hand; a pocket-size device is your computer when you're on the road.With today's technology, not only can you take your "office" with you when you travel, but you also can stash stash Drug slang noun A place where illicit drugs are hidden it conveniently in your pocket or purse. Welcome to the world of PDAs--personal digital assistants. These handheld devices can perform many of your computer tasks and some even do double duty as cell phones.
This article is for would-be PDA (Personal Digital Assistant) A handheld computer for managing contacts, appointments and tasks. It typically includes a name and address database, calendar, to-do list and note taker, which are the functions in a personal information manager (see PIM). buyers, many of whom feel so overwhelmed o·ver·whelm
tr.v. o·ver·whelmed, o·ver·whelm·ing, o·ver·whelms
1. To surge over and submerge; engulf: waves overwhelming the rocky shoreline.
a. by the swift advances in PDA technology they can't decide which device best meets their needs. After all, new PDA products with advanced features are introduced so frequently that even technology buffs The name Buffs can mean:
The world of PDAs is divided into five basic groups: Palm, Pocket PC, Blackberry blackberry, name for several species of thorny plants of the genus Rubus of the family Rosaceae (rose family). See bramble.
blackberry , smartphones and combination devices (which function both as PDAs and cell phones). We'll explain what they do, what they do well and what they don't do so well.
The first PDAs to capture the market were Palms and Pocket PCs. In their early incarnations, Palms were designed to provide just the basic functions: address book, calendar, to-do list and note pad There are several software applications known as Notepad or Note pad.
The third PDA category, the Blackberry, was designed primarily as a tool for wireless access to e mail and the Internet, as a phone and for basic contact management, Outlook integration and calendaring. A few Blackberry models don't work as cell phones. In general, Blackberries provide fewer bells and whistles A slang English term for exceptional features in some product. In the computer field, it typically refers to functions in software that may be greatly appreciated by some users, even though they may not be necessary most of the time. than a Palm or Pocket PC. For in stance, Blackberry users can't create Microsoft office Microsoft's primary desktop applications for Windows and Mac. Depending on the package, it includes some combination of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access and Outlook along with various Internet and other utilities. documents, play MP3 files, make a voice recording or play games. Also, they have limited ability to add software to expand functions.
The fourth option is the smartphone--a device that takes a traditional cell phone and enhances it with the Pocket PC or Palm operating system operating system (OS)
Software that controls the operation of a computer, directs the input and output of data, keeps track of files, and controls the processing of computer programs. so it also can function as a PDA.
The fifth category is the PDA phone--a device that combines a traditional PDA (including Palms and Pocket PCs) with cellular phone technology. With such a device users can wirelessly access e-mail and the Internet, manage calendars and address books and record notes, among other things.
Currently, no one device offers the perfect blend of form and function. The smartphone A cellular telephone with information access. It provides digital voice service as well as any combination of e-mail, text messaging, pager, Web access, voice recognition, still and/or video camera, MP3, TV or video player and organizer (see PDA). is a bit larger than a regular cell phone, but the screen is smaller than a typical PDA and data entry is much less efficient in most cases. Moreover, sonic manufacturers allow their phones to work only on their own wireless network. With a PDA phone A personal organizer (PDA) and cellphone combined in one device. See smartphone. , data input is convenient but the phone can be bulky bulk·y
adj. bulk·i·er, bulk·i·est
1. Having considerable bulk; massive.
2. Of large size for its weight: a bulky knit.
3. Clumsy to manage; unwieldy. , making it difficult to carry and to hold to one's ear. While microphones and earpieces are available, it's still not as convenient or as sleek as a typical cell phone.
If you're considering acquiring one of these devices, be aware of the following advisories.
Most Palms and Pocket PCs require a stylus stylus: see pen.
(1) A pen-shaped instrument that is used to "draw" images or select from menus. Styli (the plural of stylus, pronounced "sty-lye") come with handheld devices that have touch screens, such as PDAs and video games. on a touch screen to input data, although a few models have keypads. However, typing on such a keypad A small keyboard or supplementary keyboard keys; for example, the keys on a calculator or the number/cursor cluster on a computer keyboard. See programmable keypad. can be a bit awkward because you can use only your thumbs. Palm's Graffiti graffiti
Form of visual communication, usually illegal, involving the unauthorized marking of public space by an individual or group. Technically the term applies to designs scratched through a layer of paint or plaster, but its meaning has been extended to other markings. software recognizes your handwriting--or a unique shorthand shorthand, any brief, rapid system of writing that may be used in transcribing, or recording, the spoken word. Such systems, many having characters based on the letters of the alphabet, were used in ancient times; the shorthand of Tiro, Cicero's amanuensis, was used alphabet alphabet [Gr. alpha-beta, like Eng. ABC], system of writing, theoretically having a one-for-one relation between character (or letter) and phoneme (see phonetics). Few alphabets have achieved the ideal exactness. notation notation: see arithmetic and musical notation.
How a system of numbers, phrases, words or quantities is written or expressed. Positional notation is the location and value of digits in a numbering system, such as the decimal or binary system. . It takes a bit of practice to learn, but once mastered, it's faster than traditional handwriting.
Pocket PCs are more sophisticated: They use letter-recognition technology that allows users to write conventional letters and numbers on the screen, Rather than users' having to train themselves to write a unique script, the Pocket PC must be trained to recognize individuals' handwriting. Another option for Palms and Pocket PCs is a portable keyboard Either a very small keyboard or a full-size keyboard that can be folded into a small unit for travel. Portable keyboards are available for PDAs and other handhelds as well as laptops. See virtual keyboard. , which, unlike a tiny, thumbs-only keypad, unfolds into a full-size keypad and attaches to the PDA, making typing fast and easy.
Blackberries come with an attached miniature keypad; however, users still must type with their thumbs.
Smartphone input is performed via the phone key buttons--and therein lies a problem: Phone numbers are entered as they would be on a regular phone, but entering PDA data is more cumbersome. For example, you must press the number 2 key three times in order to enter the letter C; that doesn't set speed records--a barrier, for the moment at least, to wide acceptance of combination devices. One technology that may accelerate the widespread adoption of smartphones is voice recognition, which is available for both Palm- and Pocket PC-based smartphones. Someone using Microsoft's Voice Command for Pocket PC-based smartphones can access contacts, place phone calls, view the calendar and even select music based on album, artist or genre by speaking into the device. The software can be downloaded for a free trial or purchased for $40 at http:// microsoft.handango.com.
All but the very low-end Palm models (those under $100) have high-resolution color screens--some as high as 320 X 480 pixels See pixel. . Pocket PCs offer maximum screen resolutions of 240 X 320 pixels. Higher pixel counts produce crisper crisp·er
One that crisps, especially a compartment in a refrigerator used for storing vegetables and keeping them fresh. picture and display more information.
Blackberry devices don't provide the same level of screen resolution as PDAs. Blackberry's top-of-the-line model offers 240 X 160 pixels and only some models (the 7200, 7500 and 7700 series) feature a color screen. While their display is not as brilliant as a Palm or Pocket PC, it's more than adequate for e-mail and contact management.
Smartphones provide display resolution similar to Blackberries (176 X 220 pixels). While the resolution is sufficient for the application, the screen is so small details are hard to recognize.
Pocket PCs use a version of the Windows operating system; as a result they have the look and feel of Windows desktop computers. Palms and Blackberries have their own unique operating system; smartphones can be either Palm- or Pocket PC-based. Users, however, shouldn't be too concerned about a device's operating system because all of them have advanced to the point where they are easy to use.
All the devices incorporate password protection. The product with the most advanced security, the HP iPAQ h5555, uses a fingerprint-scanning system.
If you're considering something that connects wirelessly to the Internet or links to a corporate network, you'd be wise to check with an information technology professional to verify that the security provided by the vendor is sufficient.
WIRELESS NETWORKING See wireless network. SUPPORT
The wireless revolution is changing the way many people work, and users of PDAs must be sure the product they select can do the job whether it's connecting to the Internet, accessing e-mail or tapping into a corporate network. Three types of wireless connections are available on PDAs: the 802.1lb, also known as the wireless local area network (WLAN See wireless LAN.
WLAN - wireless local area network ); the Bluetooth; and the wireless wide area network (WWAN See wireless WAN. ).
Today, when most people talk about wireless, they are referring to Wi-Fi, or WLAN, which often is identified by its standard technical designation, 802.1lb. Wi-Fi installations at first were limited to private use--in homes, factories and offices--but now are spreading to public places: restaurants, hotels, airports, schools and even parks. Devices equipped with Wi-Fi electronics can link to these networks, getting fast (from 1 to 11 Mbps) connections to the Internet.
The second type, Bluetooth, provides short-range communication (up to 33 feet). It operates in the 2.4-gigahertz band with transfer speeds of up to 1 million bytes per second (Mbps). Bluetooth typically is used to link a PDA to a remote printer and a phone, a phone to a headset Headphones combined with a microphone. Used in call centers and by people in telephone-intensive jobs, headsets provide the equivalent functionality of a telephone handset with hands-free operation. Many people use headsets at the computer so they can converse and type comfortably. and a PDA to a Bluetooth communication hub that allows multiple devices to connect to each other simultaneously--for instance, a PDA to a printer, phone and headset all at the same time.
Bluetooth technology is being added to many different kinds of hardware including desktop and laptop computers and printers--allowing these devices to "network on the fly" and share information. Look for this technology to show up in more short-range connectivity devices such as handhelds to printers. For more information on Bluetooth, go to www.bluetooth.com or www.bluetooth.org.
The third wireless option, WWAN, connects a PDA to the Internet via cellular phone technology. To establish a link, users either dial their specially enabled phone or purchase a special card to plug into a PDA. Connection speeds generally are slow, but services soon will be available to boost them to DSL-like speeds.
Lower-end Palms and Pocket PCs generally don't come with wireless support. Mid- to high-range models can include Bluetooth and/or 802.11b and are expandable with add on products for wireless support. Blackberries access the Internet with WWAN. Combination devices are designed for WWANs and require a monthly subscription service just as a regular cell phone would. Some smartphones are Bluetooth-enabled but most do not provide 802.1lb support. For an overview of some of the basic features of PDAs, sec the exhibit on page 53.
PRICING THE PRODUCT
Depending on the features, PDA prices vary significantly. Palm devices begin at $79, offering very basic functions. Pocket PCs start around $200 for a Dell Axim The Axim Family of personal digital assistants was Dell's line of Windows Mobile-powered Pocket PC Devices. The first model, the Axim X5, was introduced in 2002, while the final model, the Axim X51, was discontinued on April 9, 2007. X5, which includes a color screen, plenty of memory and a faster processor than the entry-level Palm. High-end models for both Palm and Pocket PC range from $500 to $800. These models include high-resolution screens, the fastest available processors and built-in 802.1 lb and Bluetooth compatibility.
Blackberry models are available from about $250 to 8500, plus the monthly service of $30 or more for wireless connectivity through providers such as AT&T, Cingular, T Mobile and Verizon Wireless Cellco Partnership, doing business as Verizon Wireless, owns and operates the second largest wireless telecommunications network in the United States, based on total wireless customers. . Service contracts often are mandatory when buying a Blackberry but can reduce the purchase cost by at least $100.
Combination devices, such as the T-Mobile Pocket PC Phone Edition A Pocket PC with telephone capability. It is the combination of Microsoft's Pocket PC and Smartphone platforms. See Pocket PC and Windows Mobile. and the Samsung MPx200, cost between about $250 and $600 and require a monthly wireless service contract in addition to the cost of the voice service.
Caveat [Latin, Let him beware.] A warning; admonition. A formal notice or warning given by an interested party to a court, judge, or ministerial officer in opposition to certain acts within his or her power and jurisdiction. : Avoid signing up for lengthy wireless contracts; the marketplace is evolving quickly and the technology that seems both adequate and affordable today could be obsolete by tomorrow.
If product features are paramount and money is no object, consider the current top-of-the-line options for each of the PDA categories summarized below. Again, keep in mind that PDA technology is advancing rapidly, with new, more advanced features being introduced regularly.
* Palm: Tungsten tungsten (tŭng`stən) [Swed.,=heavy stone], metallic chemical element; symbol W; at. no. 74; at. wt. 183.85; m.p. about 3,410°C;; b.p. 5,660°C;; sp. gr. 19.3 at 20°C;; valence +2, +3, +4, +5, or +6. C costs $399. Features include built in wireless (802.1] b, Bluetooth and GSM--global system for mobile communications), digital camera, thumb keyboard A miniature keyboard designed to be used with the thumbs. See thumb culture and mylo. , MP3 and video playback, memo recorder, Intel 400-megahertz (MHz (MegaHertZ) One million cycles per second. It is used to measure the transmission speed of electronic devices, including channels, buses and the computer's internal clock. A one-megahertz clock (1 MHz) means some number of bits (16, 32, 64, etc. ) processor, 64 Mb of RAM and a 320 x 320 pixel display. It weighs 6.3 ounces.
* Pocket PC: HP's iPAQ h5555 costs $650. Features include built-in wireless (802.11 b and Bluetooth), built-in speaker and microphone, MP3 and video playback, integrated biometric fingerprint reader A scanner used to identify a person's fingerprint for security purposes. After a sample is taken, access to a computer or other system is granted if the fingerprint matches the stored sample. A PIN may also be used with the fingerprint sample. , Intel 400-MHz processor, 128 Mb of RAM and a 240 x 320 display. It weighs 7.3 ounces.
* Blackberry: The 7750 Wireless costs $500 with wireless service available from Verizon Wireless. In addition to being data- and voice-enabled, it features a cell phone (with speakerphone speak·er·phone
A telephone or telephone attachment that contains both a loudspeaker and a microphone, allowing several persons to participate in a call at the same time without the telephone receiver being held.
Noun 1. ), viewable e-mail attachments A file that rides along with an e-mail message. The attached file can be of any type. E-mail programs make it easy to attach a file. For example, in Eudora, all you do is select Attach from the Message menu, browse through the folder hierarchy to find the file you want and then double , optional text messaging Sending short messages to a smartphone, pager, PDA or other handheld device. Text messaging implies sending short messages generally no more than a couple of hundred characters in length. , 16-Mb RAM and a 240 x 240 display. It weighs 5 ounces.
* Combination device: Samsung's i700 costs $599 and operates on the Verizon Wireless network. Features include an Xscale 300 Mhz processor, 64 Mb of RAM, camera, phone, hands-flee speakerphone, wireless fax and modem, MP3 player A digital music player that supports the MP3 format, which was the audio format that started a revolution in online music downloads and distribution. All portable music players, the iPod being the most popular, support MP3 along with one or more other audio formats. and SD (a type of high-capacity memory card) expansion slot A receptacle inside a computer or other electronic system that accepts a printed circuit board. The number of slots determines future expansion. See PC data buses.
(hardware) expansion slot - A connector in a computer into which an expansion card can be plugged. . It weighs 6.9 ounces.
* Smartphone: The Samsung i600 costs $499 and operates on the Verizon Wireless network. Features include a 200-MHz PXA250 processor, 32 Mb of RAM, Pocket Outlook, Windows Media Player Digital jukebox software for Windows from Microsoft that plays a variety of audio, video and streaming formats including MP3, WMA, CD audio and MIDI. Starting with Version 6.2 in 1999, the Windows Media Rights Manager was added for securing copyrighted content. and Internet Explorer Microsoft's Web browser, which comes with Windows starting with Windows 98. Commonly called "IE," versions for Mac and Unix are also available. Internet Explorer is the most widely used Web browser on the market. It has also been the browser engine in AOL's Internet access software. , the ability to sync directly with your desktop and a 176 x 220 display. It weighs 5 ounces.
If value is defined by the number of features a consumer can get for a particular price, then here are what we consider the best values for each category of wireless device:
* Palm: Tungsten E and Sony Clie PEG-TJ37.
* Pocket PC: Dell X5, HP iPAQ h2215 and HP iPAQ h1935.
* Blackberry: Blackberry 7210, 7230 and 7280.
* Smartphone: No one device stands out at this point. All models, including Samsung i600, Treo 600 and Kyocera 7135, are competitively priced and "value" really depends on what features you are looking for Looking for
In the context of general equities, this describing a buy interest in which a dealer is asked to offer stock, often involving a capital commitment. Antithesis of in touch with. .
* Combination device: T mobile Pocket PC Phone Edition and Samsung MPx200.
There are hundreds of add-ons for PDAs, especially palms and Pocket PCs. They include full-size folding keyboards, small thumb keyboards, multimedia cards and microdrives for additional data storage. If a PDA user can dream of some add-on, it probably already has been created. Some of the fancier ones include bar-code scanners, global positioning systems Global Positioning System: see navigation satellite.
Global Positioning System (GPS)
Precise satellite-based navigation and location system originally developed for U.S. military use. and digital cameras.
In the final analysis, it's best to focus on the core features when shopping for a PDA. Begin by listing your needs; once you find the product that matches them, see what hells and whistles you would like to add. Once you start using the new device, you'll find it enhances your workday in many unexpected ways.
A Shopper's Guide to PDAs Palm Pocket PC Standard Traditional PDA features Traditional PDA features features (calendar, task (calendar, task management and address management and address book), plus voice book) plus voice recorder, ability to recorder, ability to create and edit create and edit Microsoft Office Microsoft Office documents, wireless documents, wireless capabilities and capabilities and multimedia playback. multimedia playback. Shortcomings Graffiti software takes Usually more expensive time to learn. than Palm. Input Primarily with a stylus; Primarily with a stylus; simplified via Graffiti; some models have some models have attached keyboard. attached keyboard. Display Most models 240 x 320 pixels. resolution 320 x 320 pixels; some 320 x 480. User User-friendly and User-friendly and interface intuitive; based on intuitive; based on Palm operating system. Windows Mobile 2003. Security Password-protected Password-protected access. access; HP iPAQ 5555 offers biometric security. Wireless Midrange to higher-end Midrange to higher-end network models include support models include support support for 802.11, Bluetooth for 802.11, Bluetooth and wireless WANs. and wireless WANs. Price $79 to $600 $200 to $650 Top of Tungsten C; Sony HP iPAQ h5555 the line Cite PEG-UX 50 Best values Tungsten E; Dell Axim X5, Sony Chile PEG-TJ37 HP iPAQ h2215 and HP iPAQ h1935 For more www.palmone.com; www.pocketpc.com; information www.palmgear.com; www.handango.com; www.wiredguy.com www.wiredguy.com Blackberry Smartphone Standard Basic contact management Combines a traditional features and always-on access to cell phone with the e-mail and the Internet. Pocket PC or Palm operating system. Shortcomings Fewer bells and whistles Inefficient data entry than Palm or Pocket PC. and small screen. Input Thumb keyboard. Windows-based: Phone keypad; limited input with voice command. Palm-based: stylus or thumb keyboard. Display 240 x 160 pixels; 176 x 220 pixels. resolution 7700 series offers 240 x 240; 7200, 7500, and 7700 series provide a color screen. User Simple and intuitive, User interface is interface but not as good as intuitive, but small Palm or Pocket PC. screen makes it more difficult to view. Security Password-protected Password-protected access and keyboard access. lock. Wireless Built-in wireless Built-in wireless network WAN technology. WAN technology. support Price $250 to $550 $250 to $550 Top of Blackberry 7700 series Samsung 1600; the line Kyocera 7135; Treo 600 Best values Blackberry 7210, All are priced about the 7230 and 7280 same and offer similar features. For more www.blackberry.com; www.microsoft.com/ information www.rim.net/products/ windowsmobile/products/ handhelds/index.shtml smartphone/default.mspx; www.brighthand.com/ smartphone/index.php Combination device Standard Combines teatures of a features PDA and a cell phone. Shortcomings Can be bulky and inconvenient when used as a phone. Input Primarily with a stylus; some models have attached keyboard. Display 320 x 320 pixels. resolution User User-friendly and interface intuitive, based on Palm or Windows Mobile 2003 operating system. Security Password-protected access. Wireless Built-in wireless network WAN technology. support Price $250 to $600 Top of Samsung i700 the line Best values T-Mobile Pocket PC Phone Edition; Samsung MPx200 For more www.microsoft.com/ information windowsmobile/products/ smartphone/default.mspx; www.brighthand.com/ smartphone/index.php Source: David M. Cieslak and company Web sites. Information current as of April 30, 2004.
* WELCOME TO THE WORLD OF PDA--personal digital assistants. These handheld devices can perform many of your computer tasks and some even do double-duty as cell phones.
* THE PDA MARKET IS DIVIDED INTO FIVE GROUPS: Palm, Pocket PC, Blackberry, smartphones and combination devices (which function both as PDAs and cell phones).
* IF YOU'RE CONSIDERING BUYING ONE of these devices, be aware of these advisories:
* Most Palms and Pocket PCs use a stylus on a touch-screen to input data, although a few models have keypads. However, typing on such a keypad can be awkward because you can use only your thumbs. Palms' Graffiti software recognizes your handwriting or a unique shorthand alphabet style. It takes a bit of practice to learn, but once mastered, it's faster than traditional handwriting.
* Pocket PCs use letter-recognition technology that allows users to write conventional letters and numbers on the screen. Rather than users' having to train themselves to write a unique script, the Pocket PC must be trained to recognize individuals' handwriting. Another option for Palms and Pocket PCs is a portable keyboard, which makes typing fast and easy.
* Blackberries come with attached miniature keypads, but users still must type with their thumbs.
* Smartphones allow users to input data via the phone key buttons--and therein lies a problem: Phone numbers are entered as they would be on a regular phone, but it's harder to enter PDA data. Voice recognition technology, which is available for both Palm- and Pocket PC-based smartphones, may accelerate the widespread adoption of smartphones, however.
* HUNDREDS OF ADD-ON PRODUCTS FOR PDAs are avail able. They include full-size folding keyboards, small thumb keyboards, multimedia cards and microdrives for additional data storage.
* IT'S BEST TO FOCUS ON THE CORE FEATURES when shopping for a PDA. Begin by listing your needs; once you find the product that matches them, see what bells and whistles you would like to add.
DAVID David, in the Bible
David, d. c.970 B.C., king of ancient Israel (c.1010–970 B.C.), successor of Saul. The Book of First Samuel introduces him as the youngest of eight sons who is anointed king by Samuel to replace Saul, who had been deemed a failure. M. CIESLAK, CPA/CITE GSEC GSEC GIAC Security Essentials Certification (computer security certification designation)
GSEC Geophysical Survey and Exploration Contract
GSEC Generalized Switch-And-Examine Combining (GIAC (Global Information Assurance Certification) The award for successful completion of a course in computer security from The SANS Institute, Bethesda, MD (www.sans.org). Introduced in 1999, GIAC tests the practical application of the required knowledge. security essentials certified See certification. ), is principal of Information Technology Group Inc., Simi Valley, California Simi Valley is an incorporated city located in the extreme southeast corner of Ventura County, California, bordering the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles in the Greater Los Angeles Area. . His e-mail address See Internet address.
e-mail address - electronic mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. MATT VAN WINKLE is programming director at Information Technology Group. His e-mail address is email@example.com.