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New HP OmniGo 120 Organizer Offers Holographic Face

New HP OmniGo 120 Organizer Offers Holographic Face

New addition to Organizer line features brighter display and built-in Pocket Quicken.

By Carol de Giere

On September 9, 1996, HP unveiled the new HP OmniGo 120 organizer with Pocket Quicken built in and a new "holographic" screen. The new screen features greater contrast than standard screens, appearing brighter and more readable than before. Pocket Quicken is the portable version of Quicken, the popular financial management program that allows you to track your personal and/or business checking, credit card and cash accounts. Pocket Quicken helps you keep accurate records (for personal or tax purposes), and follow budgets.

At this time, the new HP OmniGo 120 organizer will be sold only in the United States and Europe. The street price in the United States is expected to be $399. HP will continue to sell the HP OmniGo 100 organizer (street price between $300-$350).

The HP OmniGo 120 organizer also supports CompactFlash. This is a new size in Flash cards, much smaller than current models. The CompactFlash PC Card fits into an adapter unit that is then inserted in the PC Card slot in the side of the HP OmniGo 120 organizer. Flash technology provides non-volatile memory that doesn't need battery power to maintain it, and therefore provides a more reliable way of storing data. The CompactFlash card and adapter are expected to be available at the same time as the HP OmniGo 120 organizer and will list at $239 for the 2MB size. This compares favorably with SRAM card prices, which go for approximately $229 for 2MB. CompactFlash technology is relatively new and is targeted for digital cameras, camcorders, pagers, and other electronic devices in the future.

Green screen meets testers approval

The green holographic screen received positive responses from the Beta testers we interviewed. The new screen offers a brighter display that optimizes the available light, increasing readability and creating the impression of a backlit screen without compromising battery life.

Ed Keefe, one of our regular contributing authors who tested the same screen on a different machine, agrees. I found the screen very readable. I didn't want to return it after my testing period was over. In proper lighting the screen looks like it is back lit, and the contrast is better. Ed explained that certain lighting conditions seemed ideal for the screen, especially light that is coming over your shoulder. I checked the screen in my car one night while sitting in a parking lot. I thought I would have to turn the overhead light on in the car, but the street lamp in the parking lot shown on the screen and made it glow. Fortunately for 120 owners, the added luminosity is an effect caused by the screen's reflective background and not from added battery power.

Ray Kump, an accountant with his own accounting firm in New York, loved the screen. I found it was brighter in most lighting conditions than the previous screen. In low light you can read it a lot better. Ray tested the machine both at his office and in his car. I travel a great deal and found that, in the car, the letters jumped out at me more with this type of screen. In my office, when I would glance over to check what appointments were coming up, it was easier to read the green screen from farther away. Ray also found the green color of the screen pleasing.


HP has been working on expanding the HP OmniGo organizer's availability. The 120 is expected to be available through numerous retail outlets and mass merchants, including Circuit City, the Good Guys!, J&R Computer World, OfficeMax, Nobody Beats the Wiz, Service Merchandise and Staples. The product will also be available through mail order and other computer and electronics outlets. There is no upgrade path for 100 users.

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