Long Live Windows CE – the benefits of Windows CE-based handheld computers – Technology Information – Column
Forget power-user frills–give me battery life/
On warm Saturdays, I take my kids to the Ancient Playground on Fifth Avenue. As they’d dash to stake claim to a free tire swing, I’d settle down at a cement chess table with my Compaq Armada notebook to edit a file or catch up on e-mail, pleased with my talent for managing time and juggling responsibilities.
But invariably, not 20 minutes would pass before the red battery light made its first warning blink. As the blinks became more frequent, I felt as Dorothy must have felt when a green-faced Margaret Hamilton flipped over the hourglass, releasing a stream of red sand. “Do you see that?” the wicked witch asked, teeth flashing. “That’s how much longer you’ve got to be alive. And it isn’t long, my pretty, it isn’t long.”
Although I loved the idea of mobility, after a string of such days last fall, I gave it up. I left my notebook on my desk at home, fat and happy on AC power, and started going to the park with printouts, sticky notes, and pencils–and doubled my productivity. But I’m still in the market for a playground computing solution (and forget that Lithium Technology says it’s developing a 10-hour laptop battery; it won’t be shipping until 2000). My conclusion? Conventional notebooks with their delicate hard disks, heavy batteries, and doorstop power bricks belong on the desktop. For mobility, give me Windows CE.
When the first CE palmtops debuted a couple of years ago, I judged them glorified pocket PIMs running a sham version of Windows. Their keyboards were teeny, making touch typing impossible. But the siren song of today’s Windows CE Handheld PC Professional Edition (also called H/PC Pro or CE 3.0) is tough to deny.
Billed as PC companions, not laptop replacements, micronotebook devices like HP’s Jornada 820, LG Electronics’ Phenom Express, and Vadem’s Clio boast usable keyboards, weights ranging from 1.5 to 3 pounds, and affordable ($700 to $1,000) price tags. But the real zinger is that their batteries pack 8 to 12 hours of unplugged productivity. No more blinking; we can stay all day.
–TONI KISTNER, SENIOR TRENDS EDITOR
COPYRIGHT 1999 CURTCO Freedom Communications
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