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What's special about HP's Windows CE machine

What's special about HP's Windows CE machine

The handheld PC form factor coupled with the state of the present technology dictates limitations. It will be interesting to see what compromises each Windows CE manufacturer makes and who the manufacturer targets as its customer. Given HP's history and engineering excellence, we expect that its machine will be a premier machine for many types of customers. We expect, at first, that HP will target vertical corporate markets rather then emphasize the consumer marketplace where companies like Casio are well entrenched.

The most important and obvious distinction between the HP offering and its competitors is screen size. The HP Windows CE product is the only handheld PC with a 640 x 240 screen (rather than the 480 x 240). That means HP will support a readable, full, 80-column display for e-mail without wrap-around, web pages without side-to-side scrolling, a fax without squinting, and business document text presented in familiar formats. In other words, unlike its competitors, the HP machine screen will look like a normal-sized desktop PC screen.

Even though HP doesn't expect to ship until mid-1997, it presented a prototype at COMDEX. Here is what we observed:

The new HP Palmtop is about 3/4" longer than the HP 200LX. It's only slightly thicker, but curved at the edges and is definitely more sleek looking than the HP 200LX. The screen takes up almost all the area on its side of the clam-shell so there is less of a border around it than the 200LX. An 80-character line is significantly more readable than the HP 200LX's display in 80-column DOS mode.

The numeric keypad is embedded rather than separate. The keyboard is definitely more touch-typeable then the HP 200LX. There is more keyboard space since the unit is a little wider and there are no application keys or numeric keypad. Like the 200LX it has a PC card slot, a serial port, an infrared port, and a power adapter port. Also like the Palmtop it uses AA batteries and a watch-style backup battery.

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We buy used palmtops, working or broken: HP 200LX, HP 100LX and 1000CX.

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