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Workplace Tablet/PDA

by ldo2010 / February 22, 2010 3:14 AM PST

I'm looking for a lightweight tablet/pda that has the following capabilities:

MS Office - especially Word and Excel
Voice activation (handicapped user)
Easy interface with a PC to download the files

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These are not out yet.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 22, 2010 3:17 AM PST
In reply to: Workplace Tablet/PDA
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PDA vs Tablet...
by John.Wilkinson / February 22, 2010 7:05 AM PST
In reply to: Workplace Tablet/PDA

PDAs, particularly WindowsMobile and select Android models, offer voice activation capabilities, though none compare to the voice activation and dictation capabilities offered by Windows Vista/7 and/or the third-party Dragon Naturally Speaking. That makes a tablet PC the better option, but does not rule out a PDA.

As to Microsoft Office, WindowsMobile PDAs come with a mobile version installed, though it is dramatically drilled down to the key functionality. All other major mobile operating systems, with the exception of WebOS, currently support Documents To Go by Dataviz, a third-party suite with similar, but slightly more enhanced, capabilities. Depending what the user intends to do with Office, though, that may rule out the mobile versions, necessitating a tablet PC.

Camera and file syncing are both nearly universal, making voice recognition and Office the top considerations. You'll also want to determine the user's price range, as PDAs (usually $200-$600) run significantly less than tablet PCs (usually $1200-$3000).

Let us know which would be best given the circumstances and we can make some recommendations.


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PDA vs Tablet
by ldo2010 / February 22, 2010 7:27 AM PST
In reply to: PDA vs Tablet...

Price is an issue but less so than the other items mentioned. I'm concerned about the weight of a tablet which is why a PDA is being considered. Primary use is to create reports "on the go" including pictures which would then be uploaded to a PC. Will Documents To Go translate to Word and Excel so it can be shared with others?

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by John.Wilkinson / February 22, 2010 7:46 AM PST
In reply to: PDA vs Tablet

Both Microsoft Office Mobile and Documents To Go read/save the the DOC/DOCX/XLS/XLSX file formats natively, so there is no conversion necessary. In addition, any formatting/functionality that is not supported by the desktop version, but not supported by the mobile version, is automatically retained. Thus, even though some things may not be visible in the mobile version, you don't lose anything in the file(s).

Feature-wise, lists, images, standard formatting, standard Excel functions, etc are all supported. More advanced features, such as Word Art, Excel's enhanced graphs, etc. are usually the ones that cannot be viewed/edited/created on the mobile version.

Do you think that would suffice for the user's needs?


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PDA vs Tablet
by ldo2010 / February 23, 2010 12:23 AM PST
In reply to: Yes...

I do think that would suffice. As long as voice recognition/activation is not an issue and the device weighs less than 2 lbs, it sounds like what we are looking for. Any knowledge as to where I can see/test one?

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by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 23, 2010 12:26 AM PST
In reply to: PDA vs Tablet

Did you watch the keynote address? There is some new stuff just waiting in the wings and the iPad was just the start.


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by John.Wilkinson / February 23, 2010 3:41 AM PST
In reply to: PDA vs Tablet

PDAs are largely a dying breed, with smartphones (combination PDA/cell phone) taking over the market share. HP is currently the only major manufacturer producing PDAs in the US, with retailers such as Best Buy frequently having store models you can try out.

Alternatively, an unlocked smartphone eliminates the need for a contract and can be used as a PDA, ignoring the cellular aspect. If you go that route, check out the in-store displays of electronics stores, cellular providers, and even Walmart. If you like what you see, you can buy an unlocked model from select online retailers, such as, or from reputable sellers on Ebay, usually with the full manufacturer's warranty intact.

As Bob said, though, a slew of lightweight, lower-cost, touchscreen tablets are going to appear later this year, so if time is not of the essence you may wish to hold off and see what selections are available this summer/fall.


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