The power of the portable information device is that it can roam anywhere, capturing and displaying information along the way. This feature is quite limited, however, if the device has no way of collaborating with other information devices to transfer captured data for analysis, or to retrieve data from a live source for display. By enabling collaboration, networking adds value by an order of magnitude to what the user is trying to achieve. Networking is therefore an extremely important feature of a portable device. Standalone computers were okay in the 1980s, but now we have mobile devices and to get maximum benefit from them they must collaborate with other devices and computers on networks.

In this chapter, we will look at how to perform basic networking on Palm devices using MIDP and on the PocketPC using PersonalJava.