Handhelds and Wi-Fi

With the ongoing ubiquity of Wi-Fi, it makes a great deal of sense to plan to use your handheld with Wi-Fi. If your handheld is Wi-Fi enabled, you will have the option of using it to connect on the road, in hotels, and in a wide range of places.

Pocket PCs present a slightly wider range of choices as of the present writing for Wi-Fi?enabled handhelds (although this may change by the time you read this book). You can buy Pocket PCs from HP, Toshiba, and others that feature integrated Wi-Fi. Figure 6.1 shows a popular model from HP.

Figure 6.1. HP's iPaq H4355 Pocket PC features integrated Wi-Fi.


Even if your Pocket PC doesn't come with integrated Wi-Fi, you can add Wi-Fi using a Compact Flash card.


Compact Flash (CF) cards, which were invented by SanDisk, are the world's most popular removable mass storage devices. A Compact Flash card is about the size of a matchbook and only weighs half an ounce.

Most Pocket PCs provide a Compact Flash expansion slot, originally intended for adding extra memory to the handheld device. You may be familiar with Compact Flash cards from adding one to a digital camera to add extra memory to store more photos.

By adding a Wi-Fi Compact Flash card such as the one from SanDisk shown in Figure 6.2 to the Compact Flash expansion slot, you'll be able to use the Pocket PC with Wi-Fi.

Figure 6.2. This Compact Flash card from SanDisk can be used to add Wi-Fi capabilities to a handheld device.


Figure 6.3 shows the Wi-Fi Compact Flash card added to a handheld device.

Figure 6.3. The Wi-Fi card fits in the Compact Flash expansion slot on the handheld.

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There are fewer Palm OS PDAs that support Wi-Fi (at least at this point in time) than there are Pocket PCs. One Palm PDA with integrated Wi-Fi is the Tungsten C from Palm, shown in Figure 6.4.

Figure 6.4. Palm's Tungsten C features integrated Wi-Fi.


You might also want to consider the Sony UX50 CLIE, shown in Figure 6.5, which has been called "the Swiss Army knife of PDAs," because it has many features and functions?and a high price to match!

Figure 6.5. The Sony UX50 CLIE is an upper-end Palm OS PDA featuring integrated Wi-Fi.


Besides built-in Wi-Fi, this gadget… er, device… comes with a camera, microphone, hi-fidelity sound and video, and multiple wireless communications spectrums (Bluetooth in addition to Wi-Fi). It will also do the dishes (only kidding)!

Certainly, the trend is toward more Pocket PCs and PDAs that feature integrated Wi-Fi, so you should research not only what is currently available when you decide to shop for a handheld device, but also what products PDA manufacturers plan to release over the next few months (sometimes these new products are worth waiting for).