Personal Digital Assistants

Personal Digital Assistants

Apple Newton MessagePad 130

Manufacturer's Suggested Price: $799

Phone Number: (800) 776-2333

Features: The MessagePad 130 begins with basic organizers, such as a built-in note pad, to-do list, date book, telephone log and address file. The unit comes with Pocket Quicken, a version of Intuit's popular expense-tracking/spreadsheet program. Information can be entered either by hand, by using an on-screen keyboard, or through an optional external keyboard. Handwriting-recognition software allows your handwriting to be converted into typed text. The Message-Pad 130 can exchange information with both Mac- and Windows-based personal computers. It can be plugged directly into a wall outlet, or it can run off a rechargeable battery or four AA batteries.

Sony Magic Link PIC-2000

Manufacturer's Suggested Price: $899

Phone Number: (800) 556-2442

Features: This latest version of the Magic Link has been expanded to 2 MB RAM, effectively doubling the memory of the last-generation Magic Link. The Magic Link's operating system, Magic Cap, integrates a wide variety of communications, data collection, database access, finance, and special industry applications. The unit allows users to connect and perform a pair of separate applications at once--such as downloading information from a PC while connecting to a cellular telephone to send an e-mail message. The built-in modem is 14.4 kbps, an industry standard for speedy transmission and reception.

The unit also has auto-dialing capabilities and a built-in speakerphone, which can be used with a cellular phone for use in a roundtable conference call.

Hewlett Packard OmniGo 100 Organizer Plus

Manufacturer's Suggested Price: $349

Phone Number: (800) 443-1254

Features: The OmniGo, a handheld organizer, looks like a palmtop computer and has all the functions of a PDA. Unlike other units, the OmniGo allows the user the option of entering data via the attached keypad or using the pen to use on-screen features. The OmniGo enables users to track appointments and expenses, take notes, maintain a phone list, and compute financial information. The Omni-Go's jotter function is modeled after the concept of Post-It notes, and the unit employs a handwriting-recognition system to allow for easy conversion to typed text. Pocket Quicken, a connectivity package allowing users to connect to a Windows-based PC to download or upload data, is also available with the unit.

Casio Z-7000

Manufacturer's Suggested Price: $599

Phone Number: (201) 361-5400

Features: The Z-7000 employs a touch-sensitive screen and allows users to incorporate both text and sketches onto one page--allowing, for example, a user to have his handwriting converted for a telephone book entry and include a hand-drawn map of directions on the same page. The Z-7000 provides all basic organizing functions and also includes handwriting-recognition and Pocket Quicken software. In addition to spell-checker and thesaurus functions, the unit includes a translation dictionary providing equivalents for 1,000 words in 26 languages. By using an optional modem, a user can connect to America Online via pre-installed software. Another optional link package allows users to connect with a PC to share information. The Z-7000 is powered by an AC adapter or by three AA batteries, which will provide up to 100 hours of use.

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This article was originally published in the November 1996 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Personal Digital Assistants.

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