Pack a Punch

The latest in portable power
Magazine Contributor
3 min read

This story appears in the February 2008 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Once upon a time, your options for portable computing were either a Palm PDA or an early Pocket PC. Now, solutions for handheld power include smartphones, ultramobile PCs and stand-alone PDAs. Even some MP3 players are evolving into smart devices.

The evolved media player of the hour comes from Apple. Although equipped with a somewhat skimpy 16GB memory and no memory card support, the $399 Apple iPod Touch's nifty multitouch screen and built-in Wi-Fi make it much more ready for work than your average MP3 and video player. But HTC's iPod-like Touch is the first of what is bound to be many competitors. Available on Sprint, it runs Windows Mobile and features a touchscreen interface, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and a 2-megapixel camera. It's an affordable $249--with rebates and a two-year contract.

Smartphones make a lot of sense for mobile professionals. You can get calling, a calendar, contacts, to-do lists, access to documents and web browsing all in a single compact device. LG's $299 (with contract and rebate) Voyager VX10000 is a standard-bearer for smartphones with a touchscreen, qwerty keyboard, Bluetooth, integrated GPS and EV-DO support on Verizon. The BlackBerry Curve 8310, which costs $200 with a rebate and a two-year contract, is an attractive smartphone option for AT&T users. The 8310 adds GPS to a mix that already includes Bluetooth 2.0, EDGE network support, a 2-megapixel camera and a sub-4 ounce weight.

The $250 LG CU515, available through AT&T, isn't as flashy as some smartphones, but it has the capacity to share real-time streaming video with other users. If you want more pizzazz from your phone, look into the $400 T-Mobile Sidekick LX. It's not just for Hollywood starlets--the full qwerty keyboard is a must for text messaging addicts, while the 1.3-megapixel camera with flash and Bluetooth are handy features.

I-mate is relatively new on the scene here in the U.S. Its line of Windows Mobile smartphones means business. The Ultimate 8502 offers up Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, a 2.6-inch touchscreen, qwerty keyboard and integrated GPS. Mobile professionals will like the direct-video output for handling displays and projectors. This powerful device costs $725 and is available as an unlocked phone for GSM networks.

UMPCs appeal to a certain early adopter crowd that wants a powerful, tiny computer but not the bulk of a laptop or the skimpiness of a PDA or smartphone. If that's the case for you, consider a device like the Fujitsu LifeBook U810. This 1.56-pound convertible-style UMPC with 5.6-inch screen comes stocked with a small keyboard, 1GB memory, a 40GB hard drive, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Starting at $999, it's not cheap, but business-friendly features include a fingerprint sensor and Vista Business.

We've barely scratched the surface of your options for portable, handheld power. A bouquet of Palm Treos, iPhones, and smartphones from Nokia, Samsung and Sony Ericsson want your attention. In the end, it may come down to that extra-special feature like GPS, video sharing or Vista.


More from Entrepreneur

Get heaping discounts to books you love delivered straight to your inbox. We’ll feature a different book each week and share exclusive deals you won’t find anywhere else.
Jumpstart Your Business. Entrepreneur Insider is your all-access pass to the skills, experts, and network you need to get your business off the ground—or take it to the next level.
Starting, buying, or growing your small business shouldn’t be hard. Guidant Financial works to make financing easy for current and aspiring small business owners by providing custom funding solutions, financing education, and more.

Latest on Entrepreneur