You Can Take It With You

Mobile computing took to make your business trip a pleasure

Size does matter, especially in the world of mobile computing. Professionals on the run want the most power and flexibility in the smallest size possible. In the past two years, two completely new categories of computer have cropped up: the handheld PC (HPC) and the palm PC (PPC), both with Windows CE–a sort of Windows lite for the discriminating user. Subnotebooks and personal digital assistants (PDAs) have also grabbed a share of the market, further muddling the array of choices for the professional on the go. Here are some of the latest:

This a laptop for the minimalist in you. At 3 lb. and 1 in. thick, it will fit in your briefcase without creating a bulge. The VAIO 505 comes in two different configurations: PCG 505G ($1,999) comes with a 200 MHz Pentium processor, 32 MB of RAM (expandable to 64 MB), a 2.1 gigabyte hard drive, a software upgradable K56flex data/fax modem, a 10.4-in. active matrix display and an external 3.5-in. floppy. For $700 more, you can get the 505GX ($2,699) with its 266 MHz processor.

Both models are awash with ports for your peripherals, including infrared and universal serial ports and a port replicator that expands the device to include keyboard, mouse, monitor, serial and parallel ports. Laptop veterans will appreciate the nearly full-size keyboard, and the stylish magnesium case will appease the artist in most of you. The VAIO 505 series lets you travel light without compromising on power or programs.

For more information, contact Sony at 888-371-VAIO or www.

The Phenom is larger than most HPCs and was designed that way on purpose. As the second generation of these devices was being developed, LG decided to offer comfort at the expense of compactness. At nearly 10 in. long, the device pushes the description “handheld” to the limit. Unlike many of its competitors, the Phenom’s keyboard is large enough to do a reasonable amount of typing. However, the unit is still small enough to be discreet. Face it though, this isn’t a full-power laptop. It’s for those of you who need connectivity, but not a duplicate workstation, on the road.

The Phenom sports a 100 MHz CPU with a built-in 33.6 Kbps modem, 16 MB RAM, a compact flash slot (for additional memory), type II PCMCIA slot and an over-8-in. 256 color 640 by 240 resolution display. The unit also has a VGA-out port that allows it to run PowerPoint 97 (the port only works with PowerPoint) presentations through an external monitor. Windows CE 2.0 is standard and the software bundle includes pocket versions of Word, Excel Internet Explorer and Outlook as well as a PowerPoint viewer.

The portable lithium-ion battery pack reportedly lasts up to eight hours, more than long enough for a crosscountry flight.

And if the LG Phenom doesn’t fit your fancy, there are several other models with either gray scale or color monitors to choose from in the HPC category, including devices from Philips, Sharp, Hitachi, NEC, Hewlett Packard and

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