NEWS: HP's New 200LX Palmtop PC Replaces the 100LX and Features Intuit's Pocket Quicken

HP's new Palmtop makes it easy to track expenditures with Pocket Quicken and improves the "look and feel" of the hardware and built-in applications. HP also releases a new Connectivity Pack for both the 100LX and 200LX.

By Rich Hall

On August 1st, the Hewlett-Packard Company announced the HP 200LX, the latest product in its family of Palmtop PCs. As of that date, the 1MB and 2MB versions of the HP 100LX are being discontinued.

In addition to the built-in applications found on the HP 100LX, the new HP 200LX includes a built-in version of Pocket Quicken, Intuit Inc.'s mobile financial tracking application. Pocket Quicken enables HP's palmtop users to easily track business and personal expenditures and keep on top of their daily cash flow while on the road or at home.

Physical changes

The HP 200LX looks a little different from the outside. The case is a pleasing green/grey with "Hewlett Packard 200LX" in the lower left corner. The keys are laid out almost exactly like the 100LX. The only exception is that there is no longer a blue cc:Mail hot key and there is now a Quicken hot key between MEMO and Lotus 1-2-3. A few other changes are noticeable. The blue hot keys are now a more greenish blue and the Fn key is now purple (see photo, page 31). One nice touch is that HP has left-justified the labels on the keys. So, for example, the W key has the "W" positioned on the left side of the key. It looks nicer and gives the appearance that the keyboard is bigger (which it is not). Pocket Quicken and Lotus logos are found inside the case to the lower right of the display.

Software improvements

The new HP 200LX runs DOS 5.0 and features all of the built-in software found on the original 100LX, with the exception of the redirector software. HP replaced the original program with a better version from Traveling Software and has improved on-line help for new users.

Daily Greeting Screen on 200LX: Graphic
  Data Card View in Database Apps: Graphic
  Pocket Quicken -- the big difference!

The big difference between the 200LX and 100LX is Pocket Quicken. Pocket Quicken was designed for the mobile user and provides the same basic checking, credit card and cash account tracking as the best-selling Quicken personal finance software. Pocket Quicken's feature set is selected for mobile finance and tracking and doesn't have some of the tools found in the full desktop version. However, Pocket Quicken and the full desktop PC version are well integrated and transfer and update data smoothly and seamlessly. (Pocket Quicken and the Macintosh version of Quicken are not integrated.)

Pocket Quicken is designed to provide fast and easy capture of data. A user can press the Pocket Quicken button and view a list of their various accounts and account balances.

Pocket Quicken-New on 200LX: Graphic

 Another press of a button, and a user can record transactions using a traditional checkbook register.

Checkbook Register in PQ: Graphic

 To speed data entry, Pocket Quicken utilizes the QuickFill feature. Once a transaction has been recorded, such as a cash withdrawal from an ATM, similar transactions can be completed in the future with fewer keystrokes.

Pocket Quicken helps to organize expenses by tracking and categorizing all spending, including checking, credit cards, and cash. Pocket Quicken makes it easier to track business travel expenses on the go. A user can quickly set up special groups to track business expenses by specific business trips or individual clients.

Special Groups in PQ: Graphic

 At the end of a trip, each group will contain all the information necessary for an expense report.

The big advantage of having Pocket Quicken on a Palmtop is that you can track transactions as they occur. Pocket Quicken users can fill out and categorize an "electronic receipt" faster than they can write and record a check using a traditional checkbook. A transaction report sorted by category can be printed to a file and viewed in MEMO.

Reports in PQ: Graphic

 Pocket Quicken's portability makes it easy for users to keep their finances complete, accurate, and up-to-date. Pocket Quicken can be used as a stand-alone personal finance manager with basic report capabilities or as a data capture device that communicates with and transfers data to desktop versions of Quicken. Pocket Quicken data can be merged with desktop Quicken via the HP 200LX Connectivity Kit.

Broadened Availability

Hewlett-Packard has broadened availability of its Palmtops in the U.S. through a variety of retail outlets, including: Service Merchandise, Office Depot, Staples and EduCalc. In addition, the product is available through PC/peripherals distribution channels, including computer super- stores. It is available wherever you can buy HP calculators, which may include some university bookstores. It is available internationally through the same sources as the HP 100LX.

The HP 200LX comes in two models. The 2MB of internal RAM model lists for $699 (US), a $50 reduction over the 2MB 100LX; and 1MB model for $549. Both products are available immediately worldwide.

HP considers the 200LX a different computer and is not offering an upgrade path for 100LX users. However, Intuit will be offering a disk- based version of Pocket Quicken for 100LX users (see Pocket Quicken sidebar, page 15).

HP Introduces New Connectivity Pack for 100LX and 200LX

HP also released an enhanced Palmtop Connectivity Pack for both the HP 200LX and 100LX. The pack includes the cables and adapters for PC, modem and printer connections. The HP 200LX has the same serial interface as the 100LX and uses the same cable and adapters. The pack includes software for file transfer, access, merge and backup, and can translate between 100LX/200LX and Comma Delimited File (CDF) general database formats. In addition, it supports translation between 95LX, 100LX/200LX, and CDF Phone/Appt file formats. It also contains desktop PC versions of the HP Palmtop PIMs.

The new HP 100/200LX Connectivity Pack features a number of improvements, designed to facilitate seamless connectivity to a PC. Enhancements include:

Connectivity Pack Availability

The new (HP F1021B) Connectivity Pack replaces the original (HP F1021A) HP 100LX Connectivity Pack and works on both the HP 100LX and 200LX. It retails for $119.49 and is available through the same channels as the Palmtops. HP is also offering a software-only version of the Connectivity Pack (HP F1021-60001, $70) for those who already have the cable and adapters. The HP 100LX/ 200LX Connectivity Pack software requires a PC, a 286 or greater processor, and an EGA or better display.

HP offers one international version of the new Connectivity Pack (HP F1021C) with install options for German, French, Spanish, or English. An international version of the software-only Connectivity Pack is also available (HP F1021-60002).

New HP OmniBook 530 Offers Improved Performance

HP also introduced a new, faster version of its popular OmniBook Superportable PC. The OmniBook 530 sports a 33MHz Intel 486SX processor and a VGA port allowing you to connect to an external monitor. HP's internal tests using four different performance benchmark tests indicated a 200-300% increase in performance over the OmniBook 430.

The new OmniBook has the same form factor as other OmniBooks but weighs a little more at around three pounds. HP states that typical battery life under continuous use is up to four hours (The OB 530 only comes in a hard drive version. If you replaced the hard drive with a flash card, you might get longer battery life.)

The OmniBook 530 comes standard with a 130MB hard disk drive, 4MB or internal RAM (expandable to 12MB), a serial and VGA cable and AC adapter. The OmniBook 530 has two user available type II PCMCIA slots or one type III slot. The System BIOS is on the motherboard (not on a ROM card or OTP system card as with prior OmniBooks). The OmniBook has one Infrared port, one RS232 9-pin serial port and one parallel port.

Built-in software includes Windows 3.11, DOS 6.2, LapLink Remote Access for file interchange, HP PIM for calendar and time management on the go. LapLink Remote Access and HP PIM are also provided on a floppy disk to allow you to install them on your desktop PC.

HP OmniBook 530 (F1052A) . . . . $1,799

4MB RAM expansion (F1054A) . . . . 399

8MB RAM expansion (F1055A) . . . . 649

130MB hard drive (F1057A) . . . . . 699

External floppy drive (F1059A) . . 199

To upgrade, or not to upgrade...

Pocket Quicken for the HP 100LX

CheckView 3.0: a Quicken Alternative