The Pilot Killer? Everex Freestyle does Windows CE
The Everex Freestyle, the first of the Microsoft Windows CE-based "Palm PCs" is here, and it's one cool computer. Being a big fan of the PalmPilot, and well aware that the PPC is Microsoft's assault on the Pilot's palmtop supremacy, I approached the Everex with mild disdain. But the Freestyle offers a number of significant improvements over the PalmPilot.
First, there's more RAM. Lots of it. The new PalmPilot Palm III has 2MB. The basic model of the Freestyle, called the Associate ($329), has 4MB and the Manager ($400) and Executive($500) models have 8MB standard (upgradable to 32MB). The Everex also has a built-in audio recorder that lets you take voice memos without taking the unit out of its case.
The Everex has several navigation buttons on the outside so it can be operated one-handed (for certain operations such as searching a database). All models come with a rechargeable battery pack and a built-in recharger. They also have a CompactFlash (CF) card slot to allow you to add memory, a modem, pager, bar code reader, or LAN card. The Freestyle comes with a pager-like vibrator and flasher that can be used by new CF pager cards.
Like the new Palm III, the Freestyle has an infrared communications port, but where PalmPilots can talk only to their kin, Freestyles can talk to any computer that uses the industry standard IrDA port. One other big benefit of the PPC is that every brand will use the PPC version of Windows CE, so there should be lots of software titles available. The docking cradle that comes with the two 8MB models folds up, taking up less space in your travel bag. The Executive comes with a rechargeable battery pack for the docking cradle and a 33.6 modem.
Overall, I'm impressed. If I were in the market for a personal digital assistant, I'd seriously consider a Freestyle. PalmPilot, beware.
Information: 888-725-6724 or surf to freestyle.everex.com
You can take it with you: Player downloads files
The Audible MobilePlayer ($200) is a hand-held device that lets you download audio files from the Internet so you can listen to them away from the desktop, in your car, at the beach, etc. The Audible Web site has hundreds of titles (books, lectures, audio magazines) to choose from, for about half what you'd pay for cassette-based audiobooks. They offer some great exclusive content, and you can use the new Mobile RealAudio format to download free RealAudio content elsewhere on the Web.
The Audible player comes with a docking station and software for downloading and managing your Audible files. The sound is rather metallic (definitely not music quality), but that's likely to change quickly. Two hundred dollars is also a bit pricey, but Audible hopes that if the idea catches on, they'll be able to give the player away when you agree to buy a certain amount of their online content.
Information: 973-890-8799 or www.audible.com
You can find full reviews of these and other neat gadgets at www.streettech.com.