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Hewlett-Packard Joins the Pocket PC Club
 
Todd Ogasawara By Todd Ogasawara
Windows CE Forum Manager

May 2000--Microsoft introduced the Pocket PC and its Windows CE 3.0 operating system April 19, 2000. One of the first Pocket PC systems available is the Hewlett-Packard Jornada 545.

The Jornada 545 has a slim, smoke-gray metal case, giving you the sense that the unit is durable enough for day-to-day use in all kinds of conditions. The PC, which fits comfortably in your hand, is smaller and more comfortable than its predecessors: the Jornada 420 and 430.

The Jornada 545 has a metal cover that opens about 100 degrees out from the display screen. The cover serves two purposes. First, it protects the screen when closed. Second, when open, it provides a shade for the display. This shade cover helps with the screen’s visibility under various lighting conditions.

What’s new?
The Pocket PC is a complete makeover from the older palm-sized PCs. The start button has moved from the bottom left of the screen to the top left. This seemingly minor change greatly improves the user interface. Another improvement to the navigation is the addition of a recent task list. You will see up to six icons when you press the Start button, representing the last six applications you had open.

One of the biggest and most welcome changes is the addition of universal serial bus (USB) support for connecting your Pocket PC to your desktop PC or laptop. ActiveSync 3.1 comes with each Pocket PC and supports USB connections, as well as serial, infrared (IrDA), and Ethernet. If you have a Windows 98 or Windows 2000 desktop PC, you will definitely appreciate the ease associated with using USB to connect with your Pocket PC.

Applications in the box
All Pocket PC Professional systems come with the applications listed below:

  • Notes
    Notes is a simple note-taking application that lets you take notes using handwriting, drawings, or audio recordings.
  • Windows Media Player
    You can listen to MP3 or Windows Media files with this player.
  • Pocket Internet Explorer with AvantGo
    PIE is a Web browser for online or offline surfing. It integrates AvantGo’s great offline retrieval and viewing system. This lets you take your Web content with you.
  • Pocket Excel
    The popular Excel spreadsheet is now available for your Pocket PC. ActiveSync 3.1 lets you copy spreadsheets to and from your desktop PC.
  • Pocket Word
    This Microsoft Word-compatible word processing program is a lightweight version of the desktop version.
  • Microsoft Money
    Microsoft Money is compatible with the desktop version.
  • Microsoft Reader with ClearType
    Imagine carrying 30 or more books with you in the palm of your hand. Microsoft Reader lets you do this and more. Microsoft’s ClearType display technology makes the words on a screen nearly as clear and easy as reading words on paper. Microsoft provides more than 20 books that you can load from the accompanying CD-ROM. More Reader books will be available from Barnes and Noble and other sources soon. And keep an eye out for Reader content creation tools to let you create books.

HP also gives you other applications built into the Jornada 545’s read-only memory (ROM):

  • HP Settings
    This lets you easily adjust the display, sound, and certain button settings.
  • HP Security
    Secure your Jornada 545 from prying eyes.
  • HP Backup
    Backup and restore your data and applications to a CompactFlash storage card.
  • HP Home Menu
    A simple icon menu of your installed applications.
  • HP Task Switcher
    Not very useful as a task switcher since it is only accessible from the Today screen; however, it is a useful way to close all your applications at once.
  • Landware Omnisolve
    This is a great calculator. You will definitely want to consider using this instead of the simple Calculator that Microsoft builds into all Pocket PCs.

What is on the ActiveSync 3.1 CD-ROM?
ActiveSync 3.1
Internet Explorer 5
Outlook 2000
Pocket Streets 3
Calligrapher handwriting recognition application
Books for Reader

What is on the HP Applications CD-ROM?
America Online Mail
Yahoo! Messenger
MusicMatch Jukebox 4.4 (for desktop)
Sample songs from eMusic
Sierra Imaging Image Expert 2.0
ZIOGolf 1.2
Audible 2.0 for Pocket PC
Audible Manager 2.5 (for desktop)
HP JetSend
Phatware HPCNotes 3.03 Lite Edition

Conclusion
The HP Jornada 545 is a great, feature-packed Pocket PC worthy of your purchasing consideration. The metal case is built to survive your day-to-day use. And it comes bundled with an excellent set of applications.

Specifications:
133MHz Hitachi SH-3 Processor
16MB RAM
16MB ROM
320x240 display
4,096 color display
Stereo headphone mini-jack
CompactFlash Type I slot
Docking cradle that enables serial or USB synchronization

Get More Information
HP Jornada 540 Series information

Microsoft’s PocketPC.com columns, reviews, and how-tos

Microsoft’s Pocket PC information

Video: Microsoft CEO and President Steve Balmer’s introduction of the Pocket PC