TECHXNY - Extras! extras! (for PDAs)

Turn your PDA into a car navigation device, or a hiking companion. Use it to type documents, or browse entire Web pages on its tiny screen. And keep it ticking--even beyond its normal battery life.

Hardware and software to accomplish all of the above--and much more--was on display last week at TECHXNY (PC Expo). Perhaps in keeping with the show's downsized profile, much of the residual buzz went to add-ons, services, and accessories for these small, increasingly ubiquitous handhelds. Some details:

Zframe: For handheld users, wireless Web access usually means either looking at small portions of pages at a time or simply getting bits of information via Web clipping apps. Zframe's new browser for wireless PDAs and some mobile phones actually fits entire pages (or at least portions you'd see on normal PC displays) on tiny handheld screens.

Okay, you can't read much of anything on the miniaturised page, but the legibility sacrifice is only temporary: Tap any place with a stylus and that immediate area is magnified to readable size. If what you've enlarged is a link, you can tap again to follow it.

The system works by processing Web pages through a Zframe Content Server that formats standard pages to preserve their layout on small screens. Zframe hopes to sell these servers to corporations who want employees to access Intranet content, but individuals will be able to use Zframe by signing up for the company's service. But at $US23 a month (after a two-month, $US25 beta test period) -- not including wireless Web access -- it won't be cheap.

TravRoute Pocket CoPilot 2.0: The new version of this $US299 nifty Pocket PC car navigation system has a cute, round GPS module and an easy-to-use interface. Instructions are transmitted by voice so you don't have to risk getting into an accident by looking at a map. Works with Casio, Compaq, and Hewlett-Packard Jornada Pocket PCs.

DeLorme Topo USA 3.0: The latest release of this well known mapping company's topographic software package targets the frequent hiker. New features include automatic trail and road routing for the entire United States and simplified GPS waypoint management. While primarily a desktop mapping product, Topo USA can export its maps to Palms. With or without a GPS module, these maps can be invaluable on hikes and camping trips.

Electric Fuel Instant Power Charger: But what if your PDA starts pooping out while you're on one of those extended camping trips? Electric Fuel, which last year introduced disposable zinc-air battery packs for cellular phones, now has units for PDAs and wireless modems. Just unwrap one of these $US20 units (exposing it to air triggers power production), plug it in, and you're back in business. Chargers are available for most popular Palms, Handspring Visors, and Pocket PCs, as well as a couple of Novatel Minstrel modems.

Matias Half Keyboard: While Targus' Stowaway folding keyboards are great for wordsmiths who want to compose documents on their PDAs, Matias took a different approach: Its Halfkeyboard for Palms and Handspring Visors is literally just that. It looks like the left half of a keyboard slashed down the middle. But when you hold the space-bar down, the keys become their mirror image. Whatever key you now strike is the key it would be if you touch typed with your right hand--thus, the f becomes a j, the g an h, and so on. The keyboard itself is not brand new, but at Expo Matias showed it worn on one arm and the Palm on another, using Velcro strips. If nothing else, it's an unusual approach to keyboarding on a handheld.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Yardena Arar

PC World
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?