Changes to the user interface an Pocket appications make the new Pocket PC much more than a PDA,
Yes, of course, you can check
your appointments, look up a phone number, organize your tasks and do
everything else a PDA does. But the new Windows Powered Pocket PC also
lets you send and receive e-mail (with attachments), read and edit Word
and Excel documents, listen to music, read eBooks, keep track of your
finances, browse the Web, and more. It's a lot more than a PDA.
This article looks at the operating system (Windows CE),
the user interface, and the standard applications and utilities Microsoft
provides for each Pocket PC. Following this article are a series of
"First Look" reviews of the physical Pocket PCs, the hardware
developed by Casio, Compaq, Hewlett-Packard and Symbol Technologies. And
following those are reviews of some of the new applications built into the
But first things first. Let's take a look at the new
The Pocket PC has a re-designed GUI (Graphical User
Interface) that makes it easier to start applications and access features.
As with all Microsoft Windows operating systems, the Start button is a
quick way to open software applications. Microsoft moved the Start button
on the Pocket PC from the bottom to the top of the screen. Tap on the
Windows Logo in the top left of the screen and the Start menu drops down,
letting you open applications and access folders (Screen
1). This may
sound like a trivial change, but you're less likely to obscure the screen
with your palm while using the Start menu. Notice the icons in the Start
menu. Previously, icons, buttons, and scroll bars were three-dimensional,
reducing the amount of screen space available for data. All GUI elements
are now two dimensional, providing more screen space for the applications
and making the display easier to look at.
The taskbar, another item common to all Windows operating
systems, is usually found at the bottom of the screen. It provides
information about open applications, connection status, time, and more.
It's still there in the Pocket PC, but only at the bottom of the opening
"Today" screen (Screen 2). Deleting it from other screens
provides extra display space for the Pocket applications. However, you
need to switch back to Today to perform some critical functions like
disconnecting from a dialup connection.
To open documents and launch applications on a desktop PC
you double click on icons and menus. On the Pocket PC you use single taps
to make things a little quicker. The mouse on a desktop PC has a
right-click button to access certain features of a program. The Pocket
PC's tap-and-hold feature duplicates this right click functionality. Tap
and hold on any document, file, task, appointment, or contact and the Edit
menu appears (Screen 3). From the Edit menu you can copy, delete, or
rename the file. You can even send the file or document via e-mail or
infrared transmission. However, the tap-and-hold method is the only way
you can access the Edit menu.