A Palm-Size Personal Assistant

U.S. Robotics' Pilot PDA keeps business travelers well connected

Created by the Palm Computing Division of US Robotics, the Pilot is what a personal digital assistant (PDA) should be–light and simple.. It won’t allow you to page people, or send and receive e-mails or faxes like some of the more powerful PDAs. But the Pilot offers a hassle-free way to manage information on the fly. And for just $249, it beats most other PDAs hands down in the affordability department.

Designed as an extension of the PC or laptop, the pen-based Pilot supports both Windows 3.x/95 and Macintosh operating systems. The Pilot weighs only 5.7 ounces, including batteries, and is just 4.7 inches long and 3.2 inches wide, small enough to fit easily into pockets or even the smallest purse. Its screen is easy on the eyes, and includes software such as a date and address book, memo pad, calculator and to-do list.

Your entire schedule, to-do list and address book can be transferred to your office desktop and simultaneously updated using the Pilot’s cradle and Hot-Sync button. If you prefer using popular third-party personal information management (PIMs) software such as Lotus Organizer or Sidekick, you can still interface your PC with the Pilot.

The Pilot also has handwriting recognition software, called Graffiti. No more fumbling with microscopic keypads. This feature makes the Pilot feel personable, like jotting down information in a little datebook. You will have to learn Pilot’s special alphabet, which considers an upside down “v” an “a”, but the learning curve isn’t that steep.

The Pilot has a battery life of 8-12 weeks, and uses two AAA batteries. It comes in two versions, the Pilot 5000 ($299) and the Pilot 1000. The 1000 holds 500 addresses, 600 appoint-ments and 100 to-do items and 50 memos. The 5000 holds 2500 addresses, 2400 appointments, 500 to-do items and 500 memos.

For more information on the Pilot, contact US Robotics at 800-881-7256 or http://www.usr.com/palm/.

ACROSS THE WEB