Alternative PDA’s

by Jamie McAfee

Today it seems everyone lugs around a personal digital assistant (PDA). Here are alternatives to those heavy devices. These units are unique because they can fit in a pocket, a wallet, or right on the wrist. They feature contact management software and synchronization capabilities with PCs and notebooks, as well as sporting Web capabilities.

Accompli 009
The Accompli 009 is a 256-color personal communicator which integrates a mobile phone that supports tri-band GSM and GPRS, text messaging, and PDA functionality with calendar, address book, and more. The Accompli 009 offers business users a full-featured package with WAP Internet browser, e-mail capability, send/receive faxes, SMS messaging, PIM functionality with PC synchronization, and OS programmability. The high-speed network allows users to browse the Web with ease and is set up for global roaming where available.

under $600

Xircom Rex 6000 MicroPDA
The Rex, about the size of a credit card, includes a calendar, address book, to-do list, memo function, calculator, and Web update capabilities. It features a touch screen and on-screen keyboard. The Rex synchronizes with Microsoft Outlook, and all major PIMs are supported for an additional charge. The Rex is also a Type II PC card, which fits into a notebook’s PC card slot for quick synching. The device has a nine-line, 240 by 120 pixel screen, packs 2MB memory and weighs in at 1.4 ounces.


Echo Personal Digital Assistant
Small as a credit card and only quarter-inch thick, the Echo comes with a docking station to synchronize with a PC. It transfers data to and from Outlook, ACT, Goldmine, and Scheduler. Record e-mail, Internet, or telephone numbers with 512K of memory. A touch-activated screen allows access to Echo’s personal and business management features such as: telephone directory, Internet directory, currency converter, metric converter, and daily alarm. Included is a free download of WINLINK Personal Information Management software.

Oregon Scientific

onHand PC
The onHand PC displays any to-do list, adds appointments to the calendar, finds addresses, and balances checkbooks while strapped to your wrist. The onHand PIM software works with Windows 95/98. It manages several types of information including schedules, job lists, expenses, and text memos. PIM information can be entered and edited with the onHand PC. Data can be synchronized between a personal computer or another onHand PC via an infrared port. The CompanionLink transfers files from a contact manager to an onHand PC. OnHand PC packs 2MB of flash memory and 128KB ROM. The screen features a 102 by 26 dot matrix display with EL backlight.


RIM 957
Research In Motion (RIM) has introduced a new addition to its Blackberry line. The 957 resembles a palm but incorporates the keyboard into the device eliminating the need for a stylus. With the RIM 957 users stay continuously connected to a 900MHz wireless network. The integrated keyboard makes it easy to type SMS messages and e-mails. A complete organizer keeps users ahead of the game with a 5MB flash memory plus 512KB of SRAM. The 957 comes with a complete synching package for PC users.

Research In Motion

Commodity Exchange
Look out eBay, here comes eSpotMarket, a real-time B-to-B trading floor for buying technology in bulk. The site acts as an exchange for a full array of computer products such as desktops, handhelds, and networking devices. Sellers and buyers enter bids and when a price is agreed upon, the two companies are matched instantly over the Internet. Vendors are approved before selling on the market and must agree to a standard return policy. Best of all, shipping costs — and thus, the true price — are automatically calculated and displayed.


Web Sites for a Song allows users to get a free two-page Web site consisting of basic home and contact pages. A self-administration tool lets the user make changes independently. Add modules for online shopping, credit card transactions, a guest book, and press releases. Pre-designed Web site packages are available.
Packages start at $60 to $100; modules extra

E-biz Land offers Internet-enabled business software solutions to increase the efficiency of day-to-day operations. Web applications include e-marketing for establishing a company Web site, e-commerce solutions, and e-operations for hiring, inventory management, and employee benefits. Pricing starts at $1,395 for setup and $195 per month for enterprises of any size, and includes a comprehensive set of solutions, service, and support. Other functionality options are available for additional costs.
$1,395 setup fee & $195 per month

Keep In Sync
FusionOne’s Internet synchronization services enable users to keep personal digital content up to date and in sync across all computing communications devices (including PCs, handhelds, mobile phones, and even Web applications like bookmarks) without the need for any physical contact between devices. Users enter information from any computer and FusionOne automatically updates all other corresponding units. FusionOne syncs all personal content, including files, folders, contacts, calendar, e-mail, and bookmarks the moment users connect to the Internet.

FusionOne Inc.
up to 25MB of storage-free space

In the Blink of an Eye
Now Internet surfers can get organized. provides users with a free, secure Web account where bookmarks from home and work are consolidated into a single personalized directory. The “Preference Engine” provides an array of search tools that find targeted, highly relevant sites customized to each member’s preferences.

Link Up to Sales Leads
Assist your online customers with RealCall, an automated interactive service linking businesses’ Web sites or online banner ads with a live customer-response tool. Customers can request a telephone callback from your Web site, which is sent via a cell phone or pager within seconds. Respond and talk to the customer directly. Businesses pay only for the sales leads they receive.

50 cents per request

Small Business Computing Staff
Small Business Computing Staff
Small Business Computing addresses the technology needs of small businesses, which are defined as businesses with fewer than 500 employees and/or less than $7 million in annual sales.

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