Pocket PC's upgraded standard apps set to compete with Palm in handheld market

Pocket PC's upgraded standard apps set to compete with Palm in handheld market

By Mark A. Kellner

Special to GCN

Microsoft Corp.'s new Pocket PC package, which is powered by Windows CE, will have a better Microsoft Outlook inbox plus revised, lightweight versions of Microsoft Word and Excel.

Phil Holden, a Microsoft group product manager, said the Pocket PC versions of the leading office applications will have a far greater reach than organizers and personal digital assistants.

Handheld Pocket PC devices are being made by Casio Inc. of Dover, N.J., Compaq Computer Corp. and Hewlett-Packard Co. (see story, Page 53).

Holden acknowledged that Microsoft has an uphill job competing against Palm OS and the market-leading handhelds of Palm Computing Inc. of Santa Clara, Calif.

But Microsoft claims that devices running Pocket PC will outperform the color Palm IIIc [GCN, Feb. 21, Page 1].

Holden said the Palm IIIc draws 1.2 watts of power, more than the Pocket PC prototypes he has seen. Casio claims 25-hour battery operation for its color device and 80 hours for the monochrome version, Holden said.

Easy reader

Also, some of the color handhelds will have reflective screens that are easy to read in direct sunlight'a challenge for the Palm IIIc.

A Pocket PC device can import data from Microsoft Outlook better than the Palm handhelds now available, Holden said.

Among the most frequent downloads of third-party software for the Palm platform are apps for viewing Word and Excel documents. By putting their functions into Pocket PC, Microsoft hopes to extend the enterprise reach of its Office suite.

The Outlook inbox in the new platform will support multiple file attachments. And the inbox will work with the Internet Messaging Access Protocol 4, Lightweight Directory Access Protocol and Post Office Protocol 3 for compatibility with Microsoft Exchange and Lotus Notes messages.

Holden demonstrated a Pocket PC version of Internet Explorer for Web browsing with full, interactive graphics. The Palm OS' Web clipping function is text-only.

Pocket PC will have built-in password security.

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