Palms Across America

A review of the latest Palms and Pocket PCs on the market

"One moment, please... let me check my schedule," you say as you whip out your Palm PC. No more ring binders for you. You have the whole world right in your hand. The selection of palmtops has grown since the original Apple Newton went the way of all obsolete hardware.

The handheld industry is heading for some fast advances. Microsoft is attempting to challenge Palm's 70 percent market share with its revamped operating system, dubbed Pocket PC. The new system corrects the compatibility problems of the original CE while adding features like the Windows Media Player. The Pocket PC's main advantage over Palm is its up to 65,536-color screen.

Palm is formulating its own strategy for advancement. They're creating a voice-activated handheld and making a move to faster processors (up to 200MHz vs. the current 20MHz). Future Palms should have boosted performance and capabilities without sacrificing Palm's battery-savvy edge over Pocket PC.

If you don't want to wait for the latest and greatest to wind its way to the shelves, there are several options already available. Palms generally cost less, have longer battery lives and are cross-platform. Pocket PCs feature colorful displays and tight Windows integration.

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This article was originally published in the September 2000 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Palms Across America.

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