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Chapter Summary

This chapter provided an overview of handheld computing and the personal digital assistant. Important points presented in the chapter follow:

  • A PDA is a handheld computer that actually provides processing power and data storage.

  • The two most popular PDA operating systems are the Palm OS and the Windows CE OS.

  • The Palm OS provides a minimalist approach to computing, so Palm devices do not typically have the processing power or memory found on Windows PocketPC devices.

  • The Windows CE/PocketPC operating system provides the familiar Windows interface and Windows applications such as Word and Excel.

  • Palm devices provide easy access to applications using the Application Launcher, which allows the launching of any installed application with a tap of the stylus.

  • The Windows CE environment provides the Windows Start menu and desktop icons that are used to launch applications with either a stylus or from the keyboard found on some PocketPC devices.

  • PDAs provide users with the ability to work both offline and online (using a modem or cellular technology). Offline information accumulated is then synced with a PC to reconcile any information changed in applications such as an address book or calendar software.

  • To synchronize a PDA with a PC, a physical connection is necessary between the devices, and synchronization software must be present on the PDA and the PC.

  • Bluetooth is a new open-systems technology that uses radio signals to connect mobile computing devices with PCs and other network devices.



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