Document Sample


                   Submitted by


in partial fulfillment of requirement of the Degree


       Bachelor of Technology (B.Tech)




                KOCHI- 682022

                   JULY 2010


      Certified that this is a bonafide record of the seminar entitled

                      HANDHELD COMPUTERS

                                done by

                          INDRAJEET KUMAR

of the VIIth semester ,Computer Science and Engineering in the year 2010 in
partial fulfillment of the requirements to the award of Degree Bachelor of
Technology in Computer Science and Engineering of Cochin University of
Science and Technology.

Mr. Pramod Pavithran                             Dr. David Peter S.
Seminar Guide                                   Head of the Division

Place: Kochi-22
Date: 23.07.2010
Handheld Computer


Many people have contributed to the success of this seminar. Although a single
sentence hardly suffices, I would like to thank Almighty God for blessing us with His
grace. I extend my heart felt thanks to Dr. David Peter S., Head of Division,
Computer Science and Engineering, for providing us with the right ambience for
carrying out this work. I am profoundly indebted to my seminar guide, Mr. Pramod
Pavithran for innumerable acts of timely advices, encouragement and I sincerely
express my gratitude to her. I express my immense pleasure and thankfulness to all
the teachers and staff of Division of Computer Science and Engineering, CUSAT for
their cooperation and support.
                      Last but not the least, I thank all others and especially my classmates
who in one way or another helped in successful completion of this work.

                                                                 INDRAJEET KUMAR

Division of Computer Engineering, School of Engineering, CUSAT
Handheld Computer


our years ago Palm created the first successful PDA. Today it holds an 80% share of
the market for handheld computers. Its most serious competition is a family of devices
from various vendors based on the Windows CE operating system. In some ways the
competition between these two systems is reminiscent of the earlier Macintosh-
Windows battle. Users become familiar with a device and develop strong preferences.

                                 The Palm OS was originally designed for a device
with 512K of memory and no hard disk. Subsequent models doubled and redoubled
available memory until the current generations of devices (IIIxe, Vx, IIIc) have 8M
RAM at the same or lower prices than the original model. Although the Palm OS was
modified to allow use of larger memory, it retains its original base architecture and
processing speed. It is almost impossible for an ordinary user to use anywhere near
the full 8M. Windows CE is a scaled down version of the Windows 9x operating
system. Just booting the system seems to use up 3M of the RAM, and with Pocket
versions of Word, Excel, IE, and (in some models) Access it is fairly simple to fill a
typical 16 or 32M systems. CE devices typically have a slot for a plug in "Compact
Flash card".

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                                             List of Figures

No.                        Title                                 Page No.
2.1                       Tablet design                              4

2.2                        Clamshell design                          5

2.3                        Palm OS                                   9

2.4                       Windows OS                                 11

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Handheld Computer

                             TABLE OF CONTENTS

SERIAL NO:                 TITLE                                 PAGE NO:

1.            Introduction                                          1
2.            Types                                                 3
3.            Other Form Factor Issues To Consider Include          6
4.            Standard Issues                                       13
5.            Issues Consider When Bying                             14
6.            Implemantation Issues                                     15
7.            Different Connectivity Options                            16
8.            Handheld Computers Be Used In Education                   18
9.            Handhelds Develop In Future                               19
10            Advantages And Disadvantages                              21
11.           Refferencs                                                 22

Division of Computer Engineering, School of Engineering, CUSAT
Handheld Computers

                                   1. INTRODUCTION

Any small, mobile device that provides computing and information storage and
retrieval, and that can be easily carried and used, can be called handheld computer.
Often such devices are referred to as personal digital assistants or PDAs.

                                        Handheld computers are generally small
enough to fit into the palm of the hand and can be carried comfortably in a jacket
pocket. Currently, the majority of handheld computers on the market are tablet
designs and are operated via a stylus and touch screen, rather than a keyboard. Some
handheld computers are clamshell designs that include keyboards and resemble very
small portable computers, but there are far fewer of these on the market at present.

                                       Handheld computers vary considerably in their
specifications and performance. Currently, all are most commonly used as secondary
devices to augment rather than replace primary computing devices such as portables
and desktops. Handheld computers are generally connected to a portable or desktop
computer via a cable and/or docking station to synchronise information such as e-
mails,calendars and contacts lists between the two devices, allowing the user to carry
this information around with them in a small, convenient device.

                                         The most basic handheld computers are
designed for personal information management (PIM) applications, enabling users to
keep calendars, task lists and addresses handy. More sophisticated devices offer
applications and tools such as word processors and spreadsheets. Some handheld
computers can provide access to e-mail and the Internet via a connection to either a
local area network or an internet service provider.

                                        Wireless technologies are increasing the ways
in which handheld computers can be used. Infrared connectivity is now practically a
standard feature on handhelds, and Bluetooth and 802.11b wireless LAN connectivity
are becoming increasingly common too. Multiple versions of some devices are now
available (for example, the Toshiba e740 Pocket PC is available in two versions, one
with Bluetooth and the other with 802.11b connectivity), whilst some devices now
offer more than one wireless connectivity option as standard.

                                          GSM and GPRS connectivity are
increasingly being supported too. A number of handheld computers (such as 02‟s
XDA, Handspring‟s Treo and Palm‟s Tungsten W) offer phone functionality as well
as e-mail and internet access, alongside conventional PDA features. At the same time,
a number of mobile phones offer some computing or data functionality, making the
distinction between phone- and data-centric handheld devices ever more difficult to
draw. Two examples of this type of device are the Orange SPV E100, which runs
Microsoft‟s Smartphone operating system, and SonyEricsson‟s P800, which runs the
Symbian operating system. These devices offer features and functionality over and
above those typically offered by mobile phones, such as diaries, to do lists, contacts
managers and web browsing.

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Several location-based systems now employ handheld computers in conjunction with
small global positioning system (GPS) receivers, often in the form of jackets that
attach to the device. When used in combination with mapping software (mapping
information is downloaded from a computer to the handheld), this enables highly
accurate positioning and route-finding for a variety of applications. For example, kits
(including the GPS receiver, mapping software and mounting brackets) are available
for a number of handhelds (both Palm OS and Pocket PC models) to enable them to
be used as in-car navigation systems.

                                    The smallest portable computers (often called
ultraportables) are now almost as small as handheld computers. For example, JVC‟s
MP-XP7230GB MiniNote PC includes a 933MHz Pentium III-M processor, 256MB
of RAM and a 30GB hard drive. It weighs around 1.2kg and measures approximately
6” x 9” x 1” with a screen size of 8.9”. A way to differentiate this class of device from
handheld computers is on the basis of operating systems (OSs). Ultraportable
computers run a full portable/desktop OS (such as Windows XP) rather than OSs and
applications designed specifically for handheld computers (such as Pocket PC or Palm
OS). Ultraportables are more similar in performance, specification and price to
portable than to handheld computers; indeed, the smallest and lightest ultraportables
are generally amongst the most expensive portable computers available. For more
information on portable computers, see the ICT Advice web site:

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                                                2. TYPES

There is a variety of sizes and shapes of handheld computer on the market designed
for different kinds of use. Handheld computers are most usefully categorised in two
     • by appearance/form factor

     • by operating system (OS) and functionality.

Appearance/form factor:
Handheld devices vary significantly in physical appearance or form factor. The most
obvious division is between tablet and clamshell designs.

Tablet designs:

Tablets, also sometimes referred to as slates, tend to be small in size. They are based
around a small screen that fits into the palm of the hand, generally with no integral
keyboard. Some tablet design handhelds (such as Palm‟s Tungsten C, Sony‟s
PEGTG50 Clié and RIM‟s Blackberry 7230) include integral mini-keyboards. The
displays of tablet devices are touch-sensitive and the user selects icons and enters text
using a stylus. Text is entered either using a handwriting recognition system, an
integral mini-keyboard or a „soft keyboard‟ that can be called up on the device‟s
screen. Users select characters from this with the stylus in the same way as they
would type on a conventional keyboard. Fold-away or portable keyboards (from
accessory manufacturers such as Targus) that can be attached to tablet devices to
make it easier to input text are available for many models.

                                 Tablet design handheld computers should not be
confused with Tablet PCs. These are much larger devices (around A4 size) and offer
the performance and specification of a portable computer in a tablet form factor. They
are intended to provide a more natural way of interacting with a computer akin to
using a pen and paper and employ Microsoft‟s Windows XP Tablet PC Edition as the

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Clamshell designs:
Clamshell devices fold open and shut and usually include miniature versions of
conventional keyboards and screens. In the past clamshell design handhelds have
ranged in size from pocket-sized devices to sub-notebook designs that more closely
resembled portable PCs, but at the time of writing (August 2003) there are very few
clamshell design handhelds on the market.


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Different input mechanisms:

The need for small size and portability necessitates alternative, less bulky data-entry
devices and methods. Different devices employ different input mechanisms (such as a
stylus, keyboard or phone keypad). These strongly influence the ways in which the
device can be used. With a tablet device, accessing and browsing data using a stylus is
quite convenient, but text and data entry (content creation) is not. A keyboard is the
most practical mechanism to enter larger amounts of text, but obviously has
implications on device size and portability. Integral mini-keyboards provide a
compromise between size and convenience, but are still best suited to entering shorter
amounts of text.

Handwriting recognition:

Handwriting recognition software enables users to enter text by „writing‟ on the
device instead of using a keyboard. The user writes on the pressure-sensitive screen of
the device using a stylus and the software recognises characters from the pen strokes.
Palm-based organisers use Graffiti, a shorthand alphabet that is relatively easy to use
but takes time to learn. Other handheld devices use similar systems or attempt to
recognise users‟ natural handwriting.


Handheld device processors are designed to provide high performance and long
battery life within the constraints of a small device. Palm OS devices generally
include slower processors than Pocket PCs. However, it should not be inferred from
this that Palm OS devices offer inferior performance than Pocket PCs, as Palm OS
requires less processing power to run than the Pocket PC OS. At the time of writing
(August 2003), many new Pocket PCs running Pocket PC 2003 feature Intel‟s
400MHz XScale PXA255 processor. Devices running Palm OS (such as Sony‟s Clié
range and Palm‟s own range of handhelds) currently employ a variety of different
processors, including (in increasing order of price and speed) Motorola DragonBall,
Texas Instrument OMAP and Intel XScale processors. Sony‟s forthcoming UX-40
and UX-50 clamshell design Cliés are expected to feature Sony‟s own processor.


Handheld devices include a small amount of read-only memory (ROM) where critical
programs such as the OS are stored. The amount of ROM on a handheld PC is
measured in megabytes (MB). Some handheld devices, but not all, have upgradeable
ROM, enabling users to upgrade to new versions of the OS as they become available.
Handheld computers also have varying amounts of RAM, which affects the amount of
data and applications that can be stored on the device. Pocket PC devices tend to

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include larger amounts of RAM than Palm OS devices, but this is in part due to the
fact that Pocket PC applications tend to require more memory to run.

Wireless connectivity:

An increasing number of handheld devices are available with one or more wireless
connectivity options, typically infrared, Bluetooth or IEEE 802.11b wireless LAN.
HP‟s H5450 and H5550 iPAQ Pocket PCs feature all three. Infrared connectivity is
short range, requires line of sight and is included on the majority of handheld
computers. It is typically used to exchange business cards between handheld PCs or to
connect to a mobile phone. Bluetooth is also short range and can be used for similar
purposes but does not require line of sight, while 802.11b allows handhelds to be
connected to wireless LANs such as corporate networks or public hotspots.

Expansion slots:

Some handheld devices have expansion slots that can accept certain types of card
such as CompactFlash, MMC (MultiMedia Card) or Sony's Memory Stick.
Depending on the type, these slots may be used for additional storage or to attach
peripherals such as modems, wired and wireless network adapters or GPS devices.
Some devices have no slots built into the body of the device but expansion jackets
that include them are available as accessories.

Battery types:

Some handheld devices use standard, disposable alkaline batteries while others have
built-in rechargeable batteries that are recharged either using the docking cradle or
directly with an AC adapter. Battery life can have a major impact on the usefulness of
a handheld device.


Pocket PCs feature colour displays. Some Palm devices employ greyscale displays
while others are colour. Colour displays tend to add to the cost of devices and can also
have an impact on battery life.


The inclusion of a camera in handheld devices is becoming increasingly common,
particularly in mobile phones, where image capture and exchange is seen as a key
driver for take-up of 3G mobile services. In the handheld computer arena, Palm‟s Zire
71 and a number of Sony‟s Clié models include integral digital cameras. The camera
included with Sony‟s PEGNZ90 provides a resolution of 2 megapixels, comparable
with entry level digital still cameras.

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Operating systems (OSs) and functionality :
Another way to categorise handheld devices is through the different operating systems
they employ and the functionality they offer. While handheld OSs perform similar
functions to the OSs of their larger desktop and portable counterparts, handheld
devices have a very different set of requirements. Handheld OSs must be compact so
as not to take up valuable memory and must consume as little power as possible to
preserve battery life, but ideally, they should still provide a rich set of functionality.
They must also be able to synchronise with other devices (normally desktop
computers) in order to share and update personal information management data such
as contacts and task lists. There is also an increasing need for them to support new
types of voice and data communications, including emerging wireless standards.

                                    A wide variety of applications are available for
handheld devices. Most are supplied with „lite‟ versions of desktop applications, such
as word processors and spreadsheets, which offer compatibility with and conversion
between office applications. Numerous third-party software and applications are also
available, ranging from utilities and communications to games and reference
resources. Web browsing and e-mail are also possible using handheld devices. For
example, Pocket PCs are supplied with Pocket Internet Explorer.

                                     The two most widely used OSs for handheld
devices are Palm OS and Microsoft‟s Windows Mobile suite of OSs.

Palm OS:

Palm OS was designed specifically for use with tablet-design handheld devices. The
current release is version 5. Palm OS‟s built-in software suite includes a calendar,
address book, alarm clock, memo pad, calculator and email tools, and includes
software to read and edit Microsoft Office files. GSM, 802.11b and Bluetooth
wireless network connectivity are all supported. Both Palm‟s Tungsten W and
Handspring‟s Treo run Palm OS and include phone functionality. There are lots of
third-party developed applications available for Palm OS devices, including many
applications beyond personal information management (PIM) tools. Palm OS devices
tend to be less costly than Windows Mobile based devices such as Pocket PCs.
However, high-end Palm OS devices are comparable with Pocket PCs in price.
Devices running Palm OS include Palm‟s own range of devices, Acer‟s S60 handheld
and Sony‟s Clié range.

                  In August 2003 Palm announced that it will change its name to
PalmOne after the spin-off of its operating software arm. This is expected to be
completed by autumn 2003 with the new company being called PalmSource, Inc.
PalmOne will also encompass the Handspring range of devices, following the
announcement in June 2003 that Palm would purchase Handspring, creating a new
company with a broader product line.

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Windows Mobile:

Windows Mobile is the new name for Microsoft‟s suite of OSs for small form-factor
mobile devices. Windows Mobile is currently available in three versions optimised for
three different classes of device: Pocket PC 2003, Pocket PC Phone Edition and

                           Pocket PC 2003 has a look and feel (icons, menus) similar
to its full OS counterparts and includes scaled-down versions of Microsoft Office
applications such as Pocket Word and Pocket Excel, as well as calendar, email,
contacts and task managing applications that can be synchronised with information
held on PCs. It also includes a version of Internet Explorer optimised for handheld

                             Pocket PC 2003 offers a number of improvements over
previous versions, particularly in the areas of wireless connectivity and multimedia. It
offers “zero configuration” WLAN connectivity, in that a suitably equipped device
running Pocket PC 2003 will automatically detect and link to a wireless network.
Bluetooth support is also improved. Pocket PC 2003 also includes Windows Media
Player 9 and a digital imaging and editing application called Pictures. There are also a
number of features aimed at business users, such as support for the latest wireless
LAN security standards and the inclusion of a virtual private network (VPN) client to
allow secure connections to corporate networks.

                              Pocket PC Phone Edition is used on Pocket PCs that
include phone functionality, such as 02‟s XDA, which includes GSM and GPRS
connectivity for voice and data, as well as standard Pocket PC functionality. Pocket
PC Phone Edition should not be confused with Microsoft‟s Smartphone OS, which is
for use with devices that are designed primarily as mobile phones but which also offer
additional functionality such as web browsing and email facilities. It is optimised for
one-handed navigation and the smaller displays available on such devices, and
includes a diary, to do list manager, contact book, a version of Internet Explorer,
inbox (which integrates email and SMS messages), voice notes manager, Windows
Media Player, and a calculator. At the time of writing (August 2003) the only device
available in the UK running Microsoft‟s Smartphone OS is Orange‟s SPV E100.

                                                 Handheld devices that employ
alternatives to Windows Mobile and Palm OS are also available. Sharp‟s Zaurus SL-
5500 handheld is based on an open source Linux/Java platform, while Symbian OS is
employed in devices such as Nokia‟s 7650 mobile phone and 9210 Communicator
and Sony Ericsson‟s P800. Symbian OS is designed for the specific requirements of
advanced mobile phones.

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                                    4. STANDARDS ISSUES

Aside from the different operating systems described above, there are no major
standards issues to be aware of in relation to handheld computers. Two factors to
consider are the type of removable media/expansion cards that devices employ and
the proliferation of wireless standards relating to handheld devices.

                                             Purchasers should be aware that some
removable media (such as CompactFlash cards) are used by a variety of
manufacturers in a wide range of devices such as cameras and MP3 players as well as
handheld computers. If you are already using devices that use a particular type of
memory or expansion card, you may wish to ensure that the handheld devices you
purchase employ the same type. Also, note that some types of removable memory
cards are proprietary and are used across a single manufacturer‟s product range. An
example is Sony‟s Memory Stick, which is used in its Clié range of handhelds as well
as its Vaio range of desktop and laptop computers and digital still and video cameras.
Removable memory cards can be expensive (especially larger capacity cards offering
128Mb and above), but recently prices have dropped considerably.

                                                Two forms of wireless connectivity
that are particularly relevant to handhelds are Bluetooth and 802.11 wireless LAN.
Bluetooth is primarily used as a wireless replacement for a cable to connect a
handheld, mobile phone, MP3 player, printer, keyboard, mouse or digital camera to a
PC or to each other, while IEEE 802.11 supports greater distances (typically up to 100
metres depending on the local environment) and is typically used to connect devices
to a building‟s wireless LAN. Bluetooth offers speeds of up to 780 Kbps;
considerably slower than the various 802.11 standards, however Bluetooth chips are
considerably cheaper and have lower power requirements. Bluetooth and wireless
LAN expansion cards are available for handhelds, and an increasing number of
devices include at least one wireless connectivity option as standard.

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                           5. ISSUES CONSIDER WHEN BUYING

     • What do you want to use it for? Be realistic about the capabilities of current
        handhelds. Remember that in most instances handhelds are used as adjuncts to
        rather than replacements for desktop and portable computers.

     • Does it run the applications you want to use? Does it support versions of
        standard applications with which you‟re already familiar or new ones that
        you‟ll have to learn how to use?

     • How big and readable is the screen?

     • What data input technology does it use? Is it appropriate for your needs? Will it
        support easy entry of lengthy amounts of text? How useable is the handwriting
        recognition software? Is there a suitable portable keyboard available for the
        model you are considering?

     • Are sufficient levels of processor power, memory storage and battery life

     • Is connecting and synchronising with a desktop computer or other device

     • Does the device provide the connectivity you require, either to your
       desktop/portable computer, to your local area network or directly to the

     • Is the device small and light enough to carry easily?

     • Is the cost within your budget? Currently, Palm devices (including Palm‟s own
         range, Handspring‟s Visors and Sony‟s Cliés) range in price from around £100
         to £400. In comparison, Pocket PCs range from around £200 to £600,
         depending on specification

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                          6. IMPLEMENTATION ISSUES

It is important to be clear and realistic about the tasks and types of use for which
handheld computers are appropriate and those for which they are not. As discussed
earlier, some tasks may in fact be better suited to a handheld rather than a portable or
desktop. However, while handheld computers offer many advantages, they are likely
to continue to be used as adjuncts to primary computing devices (such as a portable or
desktop computers) rather than as primary computing devices in their own right for
some time yet.

                 Many analysts predict that wireless connectivity for handheld devices
will flourish, however developments may be impeded by several factors, including the
fragmentation of wireless data services around competing technologies, low speed of
existing networks compared to wired data connections, and the cost of new wireless
services. It should be remembered that wireless connectivity for handheld devices is
still in its infancy and many people‟s expectations for both devices and services,
especially in relation to web browsing, are far ahead of the current reality. That said,
this is an extremely dynamic and fast-moving area, and new technologies such as 3G
are bringing exciting new possibilities.

                    The most important implementation issue for handheld devices is
recognising the different connectivity options they offer. Handheld devices used in
isolation are limited in scope; when connected to additional devices, networks or
services they become much more powerful.

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Synchronising with a desktop or portable computer:
This will most likely be the user‟s primary computing device, probably connected to a
local area network. Rather than being used in isolation, the handheld device forms an
adjunct to this machine, allowing the user to synchronise and carry important
information with them. Handhelds are normally supplied with synchronisation
software (ActiveSync in the case of Pocket PCs, HotSync in the case of Palm
devices). Services such as AvantGo and mobile favourites enable the synchronisation
of web content. Specified web pages and content („channels‟ in the case of AvantGo)
are accessed via the primary computer‟s internet connection and downloaded to the
handheld for viewing on the move. They are updated each time the user synchronises
the handheld with his or her computer.

This type of connectivity can be achieved via:

     • Interfaces: All handheld devices have at least one of two types of interfaces for
         making a physical connection with a host PC to synchronise data and upload
         programs: serial or Universal Serial Bus (USB). Serial connection is an older,
         slower standard. USB is more recent and supports faster transfer of files and
         applications, and is now much more common than serial connections.
     • Docking cradles: Some handheld devices include a cradle into which the device
         is inserted to synchronise data and upload programs from the host PC and/or
         recharge the batteries. The cradle remains connected to the host PC when the
         device is removed. More basic models only include a data cable, not a full
     • Infrared connectivity: Many handheld devices include an infrared port (often
         called an IrDA port) that can also be used to synchronise data with a host PC
         or to exchange data with other devices. Devices must be within a few feet of
         each other with a clear line of sight between them for this to work.
     • Wireless: A number handhelds (including both Pocket PC and Palm OS models)
         now include built-in wireless connectivity via IEEE 802.11b or Bluetooth

Connecting to a local area network (LAN):
In this instance, the handheld device is connected to a local area network as a client in
its own right, allowing access to networked resources and facilities. (Note that ways
of achieving this vary and not all devices currently support this kind of connectivity.)
For example, Pocket PC 2003 includes Terminal Services Client, allowing Pocket
PCs to be used as thin clients when connected to Microsoft server products over both
wired and wireless LANs and dial-up connections. Handheld devices tend not to
support LAN connectivity in their own right, however CompactFlash and PCMCIA
(PC) network interface cards (NICs) for wireless and wired local area networks are

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available that can be used with some handheld devices. If this kind of networking is a
priority, make sure that suitable cards and accessories are available for the handheld
devices you want to network. It is also worth noting here that such cards can take a
heavy toll on the battery life of devices.

Connecting directly to the Internet:
Here the device connects directly to the Internet using a conventional modem and
telephone line, or alternatively a wireless connection such as that provided by a GSM
mobile phone or GPRS connection. CompactFlash and PCMCIA card modems are
available for handheld devices, alongside devices for particular brands of handheld.
Some handheld devices use cables or infrared ports to connect a mobile phone for a
dial-up connection – note that currently this will only provide a 9.6Kbps connection,
which is much slower than that possible via a 56K modem. Higher mobile data rates
(up to 28.8kbps) are available via HSCSD (high speed circuit switched data) services
but at additional cost. Data rates for GPRS connections are higher, comparable with
those achievable via a wired 56Kbps modem connection. Again, make sure that
devices either directly offer the kind of connectivity you require or that appropriate
accessories and peripherals are available.

Wireless connectivity:
Wireless connectivity is beginning to support mobile e-mail and web access from
handheld devices. As illustrated in the previous section, it is important to distinguish
between wireless connectivity that links a mobile device to a local- or wide-area
network, and mobile connectivity on a regional or national scale similar to that
available for mobile phones that provides connectivity directly to a mobile handheld
device. Handheld devices offering built-in GPRS connectivity (such as the 02‟s
XDAand Palm‟s Tungsten W) are available. GPRS offers always-on internet
connectivity that is billed on the basis of the amount of data downloaded (usually by
the megabyte), rather than on a call duration basis. Initial devices and services are
expensive and are aimed predominantly at the business user rather than the consumer,
but this may change over time.

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Handheld computers allow immediate deployment – their instant start-up provides
less of an interruption to the flow of learning and facilitates flexible distribution of
computing resources around a school for routine computing tasks. Many handheld
computers include applications such as word processors and spreadsheets that can
support a range of activities in a variety of locations in and around the school. Their
easy portability, instant start-up capability and long battery life means they can be
deployed quickly and easily within a class with minimal disruption. Handheld
computers can therefore be a useful and cost-effective addition to ICT resources. In
some instances, certain tasks may even be better suited to a handheld computer than a
portable or desktop.

Examples of how handheld computers can be useful within an educational setting

     • recording and processing information during a lesson, where moving to a PC
         would be disruptive or is not possible or practical. Handheld computers can be
         used to provide a large number of pupils with easy access to computing.

     • inputting data and automated data gathering – for example, during a science
         experiment, regardless of where the work is taking place, indoors or outdoors.
         Datalogging equipment developed specifically for use with handheld
         computers is available. GPS (Global Positioning System) peripherals and tools
         are also available for handheld computers.

     • manipulating and interpreting text and shared writing, where text files can be
        moved easily between handheld computers to allow children to work on the
        same piece of text. Handheld computers can also be passed between pupils

     • working on individual pieces of work seated in a group around a table. Handheld
        computers support face-to-face interactions that would be interrupted by sitting
        in front of a desktop computer.


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                   9. HANDHELDS DEVELOP IN FUTURE

It is not yet clear whether the much-predicted convergence between handheld
computers and mobile phones will become a reality. At present, there are relatively
few such integrated devices on the market, with many people using a mobile phone
alongside a handheld. However, a number of analysts have reported that sales of
handhelds have declined in recent months, predicting that in future smartphones will
occupy a much larger space in the handhelds marketplace.

                                     In early 2003, European analyst firm Canalys
predicted that shipments of smartphones would exceed those of handhelds in the
Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) region for the first time in 2003. Gartner and
IDC offer a similar analysis, predicting that increasing competition from inexpensive
notebook/tablet PCs, smartphones and enhanced mobile phones will limit handheld
growth and that worldwide PDA shipments will continue to decline in 2003. Gartner
believe that handhelds will remain popular with users who have considerable mobile
data needs, and that the growth of wireless LAN "hot spots" will stimulate demand for
wireless handhelds. IDC report that converged mobile devices are becoming
increasingly accessible to the mainstream consumer and, like Canalys, expect them to
ship in greater numbers than traditional handheld devices for the first time in 2003.

                                  New manufacturers are continuing to enter the
handheld marketplace. Dell launched its first Pocket PC, the Axim X5, in early 2003.
The Axim was particularly notable for being significantly less expensive than other
Pocket PC models. Handheld products (particularly tablet-design Pocket PCs) are
becoming less diverse and more akin to other products based on standard architectures
and form factors, such as portable computers. The factors limiting the usefulness of
handhelds, such as screen size and battery life, are unlikely to be solved in the short to
medium term.

                                  Wireless connectivity is likely to become a more
common feature of handhelds, with devices increasingly offering a range of built-in
wireless connectivity options (such as Bluetooth, IEEE 802.11b wireless LAN, GPRS
and 3G). This will enable users to connect to and roam between whatever wireless
networks are available to them, wherever they are. For example, a pupil might use a
Bluetooth connection to transfer data between a handheld and desktop computer in the
home, surf the Internet via a GPRS connection on the way to school and then, once in
school, connect the handheld to the school‟s wireless LAN via IEEE 802.11b.

                                      Three (previously Hutchison 3G) launched the
first 3G service in the UK in March 2003. At the time of writing, the geographic
coverage of the service is limited and only a few models of handset are available.
New services available via Three include video calling, messaging and download
(such as movie trailers, weather reports, football clips, news reports etc). Full internet
access is not offered at the time of writing (August 2003).

                                     There has been much debate over whether the
roll out of public access wireless LAN technology (which offers high bandwidths but
within a very localised area, such as a café, conference facility, airport departures

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Handheld Computers

lounge or railway station waiting room) will impact on takeup of 3G services, which
at present offer lower bandwidths but much greater geographical coverage once
networks are fully established. If sufficient public wireless LANs were to become
established, users could potentially roam seamlessly between them, maintaining
connectivity as they do so. This is a long way from reality at present, as numerous
issues (both technical and financial) remain to be resolved, but such networks could
offer serious competition to 3G services, particularly as wireless LANs are relatively
cheap and straightforward to set up.

                                  As 3G services continue to roll out and wireless
LANs become more and more commonplace, handheld computers are likely to offer
much greater and more cost-effective mobile data capacity, allowing users to access
the Internet and send email from anywhere.

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Handheld Computers


Handheld computers have a number of key advantages when used in an educational

     • They are all small and lightweight and can therefore be used anywhere inside or
        outside the school. They can easily be used on pupils' desks, taking up little
        desk space
     • Unlike desktop and portable computers, handheld computers take seconds to
        boot up („instant on‟). They save your work when you switch off and continue
        where you left off the next time you switch on.

     • They have a very long battery life, extending to a full school day of use. This is
        not currently possible with portable computers, which typically have a
        maximum battery life of 3-4 hours.

     • Many (but not all) handheld computers are significantly lower in cost than
        desktops or portables.

General (rather than specific to educational use) disadvantages of handheld computers

     • Their functionality is limited compared with more powerful devices such as
        portable and desktop computers. Handheld computers are best used to augment
        rather than replace portables or desktops. Small screen-size is a particular
        problem that limits usability.

     • They have limited potential for expansion and upgrade. The fast-moving nature
        of the handheld computer marketplace means that devices can date extremely

     • Connectivity and interoperability options for handheld devices are limited at
        present. Also, new forms of mobile connectivity (such as GPRS) can be
        prohibitively expensive, although costs are likely to decrease over time.

Division of Computer Engineering, School of Engineering, CUSAT                       21
Handheld Computers


1.Handheld computers in education


2.Microsoft Windows Powered Mobile Devices




4. Microsoft Windows Powered Mobile Devices


5.Guide Reviews and advice for a wide variety of handheld devices and platforms.


Division of Computer Engineering, School of Engineering, CUSAT                     22

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