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PDA purchase looming - need advice

by tstammen / August 22, 2006 1:06 AM PDT

I'm planning on purchasing a PDA/Pocket PC in the very near future and am hoping ya'll can offer some sage advice. What device would you recommend that has the following capabilties?

* Operates Word, Excel, and Powerpoint
* Bluetooth enabled
* WIFI capability
* Accepts 1gb+ CompactFlash cards
* Can display digital photos
* Plays MP3 or WMA files

Also, I give lots of presentations, so ideally I'd like to be able to connect the device to a projector and run a slideshow with it (acquiring the right connectors & software of course).

I've looked at the Axim X51v, will that do what I need? What else should I be looking for?

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None operates Word, Excel and ...
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 22, 2006 1:20 AM PDT

Pocket Powerpoint was MIA on most PDAs. I hear it may appear in Windows Mobile 5.0 but haven't seen it.

-> Here's what you need to know. A PDA is not a PC. Even the PocketPC is not a PC and the interface is not even close to Windows even though the WindowsCE or such a label is found on that OS.

The killer items in your post is that Powerpoint item and the compact flash requirements. That should narrow your list to a few iPaqs but a Pocket Powerpoint may be absent which should drag the list down to zero.

Maybe a Libretto laptop is what you are after?


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by tstammen / August 22, 2006 7:26 AM PDT

So, there aren't mobile editions of Word, Excel, and Powerpoint that I can use on a PDA? I don't expect full-fledged versions of the software (I guess I should have been more specific), but something that I can use to do minor tweaks to Word or Excel files.

I've already got a pretty small Dell laptop, I'm just trying to get a bit more condensed and not have to carry it with me to every meeting.

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There is Pocket Word, Pocket Excel, but ..
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 22, 2006 7:34 AM PDT
In reply to: What?

I haven't found Pocket Powerpoint. You can google that.

And you can't add them later. These are in the ROM and no one sells them for later use.

Even with the pocket versions many find them not as useful as they first imagined as text formatting does tend to vanish.

There was some rumor in Windows Mobile 5.0 it would show up but again it seems to have submerged.

The Axim x50v (and others) have a VGA output cable for use with many projectors so you may be 1/2 way there after you add more software and sync the documents you want to take with you.

Sadly, Microsoft disabled Activesync over wifi and PDAs only carry so much. This matters since we can't load a .DOC file directly into Pocket Word. Yes there are addons to let use connect to a file share over wifi but we can't use the .doc file directly.

The libretto's look better with each issue we explore.


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'Pocket Office'...
by John.Wilkinson / August 22, 2006 10:18 AM PDT

In Windows Mobile 5.0 Microsoft renamed Pocket Office to Office Mobile so that the name blends with the OS. Thus, a search for ''Powerpoint Mobile'' (added in WM5) will be more successful in finding information. One site you should check out is the one provided by here.

With the latest version of Office Mobile you should no longer lose data when syncing Word and Excel files with your PDA...all formatting may not be displayed on the PDA, but should still be there after transferring it back to the PC.

In regards to Powerpoint Mobile, you can view the Powerpoint presentation almost exactly as you do on your computer, with all images, formatting, etc, just smaller. However, you cannot edit Powerpoint presentations on the PPC. If you need the ability to create and edit PPTs on the go then I recommend Conduits' Pocket Slides, which is as close to the full version of Powerpoint as you can get.

Finally, I have no problems opening and saving .DOC files using Pocket Word even in Windows Mobile 2003 SE on my Axim X30 high. (DOC, DOT, RTF, TXT, and PSW are all supported.) The new XML file types in Office 12, however, are another story.

Hope this helps,

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Thank you.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 22, 2006 1:12 PM PDT
In reply to: 'Pocket Office'...

I had the name wrong and my Dell buddy with an Axim didn't have the Powerpoint in rom so he's hooped for now.

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by tstammen / August 22, 2006 7:35 AM PDT

Okay, I've got to stop doing so many things at once! I'm following too many forums for my own good.

So the powerpoint thing is the problem? I don't mind purchasing the additional software if necessary, I just don't want to end up purchasing a PDA that has no shot of even running Pocket Powerpoint or running the slideshow.

What are the limiits on the CompactFlash? If it can take the card size, shouldn't the memory size on the card be incidental to the PDA? A 512mb card is the same size as a 1gb card, won't the PDA recognize both? Or do i need to carry two 512mb cards?

Thanks for your help, this is very interesting. Which PDA would you recommend for business use?

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I'd jump to 2GB.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 22, 2006 10:00 AM PDT
In reply to: Sheesh!

My last 2GB card was all of 38 bucks. I have reasons why not the 4GB today but I see no reason to move to 2GB today.

Since Pocket versions of the Office apps are of interest, the Axim x51v since it has the vga and more items you may use should be explored.

And the links I provided should find your powerpoint tool.


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by ccsmithp / August 24, 2006 1:48 AM PDT
In reply to: Sheesh!

i have the HP hx2495 and use it for business purposes. It can recognize my 1gb card no problem. Also has powerpoint installed along with the rest of windows mobile 5.0. Comes with bluetooth, wireless, IRdA as well. The wireless performance on the pda is outstanding. This is by far the best pda i have ever owned (have previously owned toshiba, palm). I bought a refurbished model for about $250 - was well worth every penny. hope this helps

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by tstammen / August 24, 2006 2:05 AM PDT
In reply to: hx2495

Thanks to everyone who has offered up advice, it is all extremely helpful.

I have one more additional question, sorry if this is a real dumb one. I'm new to this whole WIFI thing and am curious as to how your connectivity is. Do you get a signal fairly often? How often do you need to pay for service? Is there one fairly comprehensive provider? Sorry, but I don't want to end up with a great WIFI connection that I can only use in the office (we do have WIFI available).

Okay, I lied - I've got another question. What other software would you recommend for business users? I've seen some info on the expense software, etc, but didn't know if it was worth the memory space.

Again, thanks for all of your help, it has been very helpful to my decisionmaking process.

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About wifi. I own a rx3115 and a PalmOne T|X
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 24, 2006 2:25 AM PDT
In reply to: Thanks!

Free Wifi spots are all over my town and even moreso in SoCal. You can't be sure where they all are but there seem to be plenty.


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One answer...
by John.Wilkinson / August 24, 2006 12:22 PM PDT
In reply to: Thanks!

When using WiFi you must be within range of a wireless network or at a "hotspot."

* At home or work, if there's a wireless router set up and it supports 802.11b then you can connect to the net from your PDA. If the network is password protected then you'll have to authenticate yourself (process depends on the setups) first.

* Thousands of businesses, such as airports, Starbucks, bowling alleys, etc have Hotspots (localized wireless internet) set up. Each one can control whether or not it's free. McDonalds, for instance, charges by the hour while others give it away to customers as an incentive to go there.

* Please, please, please be careful when connecting via WiFi for two reasons:
1.) If you connect to a network that you do not have permission to use you can be charged with theft of WiFi.
2.) Logging onto unknown networks can be potentially dangerous...the owner could have set up an Evil Twin (google that) that they use to intercept your personal information.

In short, though, you need to be within range of such a wireless offering...there is no 'nationwide' access at this time. Some cities, such as Google's hometown, are launching city-wide WiFi service, though, so it may not be long.
Okay, I lied too. Happy I could make a couple hundred software recommendations (I test software on a fairly regular basis), but some of the top suggestions would be:
1.) Acrobat Reader (Free): Free reader from Adobe so you can read your PDF documents on the go.
2.) Airscanner Mobile (Free): They offer free antivirus and firewall software for the PPC. There isn't much of a threat to the PDA yet, but it never hurts to be prepared.
3.) SPB Finance ($25): The best money-management software for the PDA I've encountered, it syncs with both Microsoft Money and Quicken. Microsoft also offers a free version of MS Money which, while limited, still gets the job done.
4.) Mapopolis (per-map): Mapping software that also supports GPS receivers...never get lost again.
5.) Resco Explorer ($25): Replace the standard File Explorer with something much more reminiscent of what you'd find in Windows XP and then some.
6.) NiceStart: Replace the standard logon screen with a more visually-appealing and customizable one. it also possess the ability to lock down for XX minutes/hours or even wipe all data after XX number of incorrect access attempts...a major boost in security.
7.) Wisbar Advanced: Skin the entire interface to your liking. Sorry, but this is one area that is drastically lacking, so I consider Wisbar a must.

If there's anything in particular you're looking for, just ask.

Hope this helps,

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