Ten hot handhelds for the road warrior
Late-model smartphones and data gizmos offer mobile and IT professionals nearly endless possibilitiesFollow @EricKnorr
Handhelds have come a long way from desktop synchronization with contacts, calendar, and task lists. An emerging class of business-oriented smartphones and PDAs -- typically running the BlackBerry, Palm, Symbian, or Windows Mobile 2003 operating system -- offer an amazing wealth of data capabilities, with browsing the Web and editing Word and Excel documents just the start. Throw in a new generation of mobile middleware, from vendors such as Good Technology, Intellisync, and Research In Motion, and they not only can link to familiar Lotus Domino/Notes and Microsoft Exchange servers, but can even take advantage of wireless extensions to back-end applications and services.
Hewlett-Packard iPaq h6315 Pocket PC
Available exclusively from T-Mobile, this solidly built alternative to a laptop sports a crisp color screen and runs the Windows Mobile 2003 operating system. It’s larger and, at 6.7 ounces, a tad heavier than many phone-based PDAs, but it boasts extensive connectivity -- quad-band GSM/GPRS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, infrared, and USB. Most impressive, it automatically switches data connections from the T-Mobile GPRS network to the faster Wi-Fi as you come within range of an access point.
Click for larger view.
I have received trouble-free access to corporate servers via GSM/GPRS and to WLANs via Intellisync’s Mobile Suite . For enterprises that don’t want to set up third-party connectivity infrastructures, an add-on service is available for $9.99 per month to provide wireless access to Microsoft Exchange servers -- but it works only via T-Mobile Wi-Fi hot spots. Either way, this handheld is a fine choice for high-speed wireless access to e-mail, corporate networks, and the Internet -- not to mention its worldwide phone capabilities.
Price: $599; Hewlett-Packard
-- Mike Heck
HP Compaq Tablet PC tc1100
The Tablet PC is something you either love or hate. Sure, it doesn’t fit in a suit pocket, but if you’re willing to lug three or four pounds, you’ll get desktop-class productivity in return. My love affair with the Tablet PC began when I first used the original tc1000 to take written and graphical notes on a project; HP’s latest offering, the tc1100, has improved on an already winning formula.