need help finding the RIGHT PDA - Portable

This is a discussion on need help finding the RIGHT PDA - Portable ; I am not a typical yuppie looking for the latest toy so I have some specific requirements for a PDA. I'm hoping that I can get some suggestions based on my needs. My use of a PDA will be for ...

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Thread: need help finding the RIGHT PDA

  1. need help finding the RIGHT PDA

    I am not a typical yuppie looking for the latest toy so I have some
    specific requirements for a PDA. I'm hoping that I can get some
    suggestions based on my needs.

    My use of a PDA will be for data acquisition in the field. I will be
    using it as a survey device to enter cartographic data and rough map
    sketches to be uploaded to a more powerful machine after returning from
    the survey. the idea would be to enter compass, clinometer, and distance
    measurements while cave/mine surveying and have an application that
    immediately draws a vector diagram and lets me sketch in passage detail
    while I am underground. This is essentially a replacement for the paper
    survey books we currently use.

    My requirements are:
    1) MUST support USB or IR connection to a Linux based PC
    2) support Java applets I write on the PC and download to the PDA
    3) use REMOVABLE commonly available batteries
    4) accept flash memory or CF memory cards formatted as VFAT filesystems
    and allow execution of programs that reside on those cards
    5) async serial connectivity (RS232C)
    6) lots of internal memory
    7) cpu capable of running my custom applets
    8) industrial strength weather resistant body
    9) runs an OS that is interoperable and based on open standards

    Features that are meaningless to me:
    1) MPEG/MP3 processing or any audio/video capabilities
    2) office type applications
    3) wireless RF connectivity
    4) thumbprint security lock

    Needless to say, the (you want fries with that?) salespeople at retail
    electronics stores haven't been able to help me and I cannot find the
    level of information I seek in my online searches.

    Any suggestions?


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  2. Re: need help finding the RIGHT PDA

    In article news:<421997ce$1_2@127.0.0.1>, Wiseguy wrote:
    > I have some specific requirements for a PDA.


    Don't ask much, do you?

    Unfortunately PDAs are coming to be more and more tailored as mobile PIM
    devices and games/media players, and so are becoming less and less
    suitable, in general for the sort of use you propose.

    > My requirements are:
    > 1) MUST support USB or IR connection to a Linux based PC
    > 2) support Java applets I write on the PC and download to the PDA
    > 4) accept flash memory or CF memory cards formatted as VFAT filesystems
    > and allow execution of programs that reside on those cards
    > 7) cpu capable of running my custom applets


    I think post modern PDAs will do those (though I'm not sure whether Pocket
    PC devices can talk to linux)

    > 9) runs an OS that is interoperable and based on open standards


    That depends rather on what you mean by "based on". It might rule out
    PocketPC and/or Palm devices ...

    > 6) lots of internal memory


    How much is "lots"?

    > 5) async serial connectivity (RS232C)
    > 8) industrial strength weather resistant body


    It'll be very hard to find either of these on modern PDA devices. RS232 has
    been pretty-much replaced by USB in modern PDAs, and I've *never* seen a
    device sold as a PDA that was even moderately weather-reistant.

    You can get 3rd-party waterproof housings for some PDAs ... but, from your
    questions, I suspect that you want to use this data-collection device with
    some sort of wired data-capture peripheral, and that might not be
    compatible with any waterproof case.

    > 3) use REMOVABLE commonly available batteries


    Most modern PDAs use internal non-user-replaceable rechargeable batteries -
    this is pretty-much mandated by their use of colour screens. Just a few use
    removable rechargeable batteries so you can actually carry a spare.

    One can get external battery packs that take ordinary alkaline cells and
    can be used to run the devices and recharge themin the field, though. These
    can be kinda clunky.

    > Features that are meaningless to me:
    > 1) MPEG/MP3 processing or any audio/video capabilities
    > 2) office type applications
    > 3) wireless RF connectivity
    > 4) thumbprint security lock


    Oh, they *all* have 1 & 2, and many of the top-end ones have 3. Avoiding
    those will be fun!

    The only device I can think of that even begins to fit the bill is the
    Sharp Zaurus range ... they're not particularly rugged or weatherproof,
    though.

    Hav you looked at devices from Symbol (www.symbol.com) and Psion
    (www.psionteklogix.com)? They're not sold as consumer PDAs and may be
    better suited to the tasks you wish to perform ... though being more rugged
    more specialized they are quite a bit more expensive.

    Cheers,
    Daniel.





  3. Re: need help finding the RIGHT PDA


    "Wiseguy" wrote in message
    news:421997ce$1_2@127.0.0.1...
    >I am not a typical yuppie looking for the latest toy so I have some
    > specific requirements for a PDA. I'm hoping that I can get some
    > suggestions based on my needs.
    >
    > My use of a PDA will be for data acquisition in the field. I will be
    > using it as a survey device to enter cartographic data and rough map
    > sketches to be uploaded to a more powerful machine after returning from
    > the survey. the idea would be to enter compass, clinometer, and distance
    > measurements while cave/mine surveying and have an application that
    > immediately draws a vector diagram and lets me sketch in passage detail
    > while I am underground. This is essentially a replacement for the paper
    > survey books we currently use.
    >
    > My requirements are:
    > 1) MUST support USB or IR connection to a Linux based PC
    > 2) support Java applets I write on the PC and download to the PDA
    > 3) use REMOVABLE commonly available batteries
    > 4) accept flash memory or CF memory cards formatted as VFAT filesystems
    > and allow execution of programs that reside on those cards
    > 5) async serial connectivity (RS232C)
    > 6) lots of internal memory
    > 7) cpu capable of running my custom applets
    > 8) industrial strength weather resistant body
    > 9) runs an OS that is interoperable and based on open standards
    >
    > Features that are meaningless to me:
    > 1) MPEG/MP3 processing or any audio/video capabilities
    > 2) office type applications
    > 3) wireless RF connectivity
    > 4) thumbprint security lock
    >
    > Needless to say, the (you want fries with that?) salespeople at retail
    > electronics stores haven't been able to help me and I cannot find the
    > level of information I seek in my online searches.
    >
    > Any suggestions?
    >
    >


    Have you considered a Tablet PC? Some of the newer ones are getting smaller.

    With respect to your requirements, why do you need both the USB/IR
    connectivity and RS232? Seems redundant. Also how much are you willing to
    pay? Getting industrial strength and weatherproofing built-in are going to
    cost you unless you opt for a ruggedized case.

    Take a look at this one: http://h18000.www1.hp.com/products/tabletpc/rugged/

    Cheers
    TC




  4. Re: need help finding the RIGHT PDA

    noone@uber.usachoice.net (Wiseguy) wrote:
    <...snip...>
    >My use of a PDA will be for data acquisition in the field. I will be
    >using it as a survey device to enter cartographic data and rough map
    >sketches to be uploaded to a more powerful machine after returning from
    >the survey. the idea would be to enter compass, clinometer, and distance
    >measurements while cave/mine surveying and have an application that
    >immediately draws a vector diagram and lets me sketch in passage detail
    >while I am underground. This is essentially a replacement for the paper
    >survey books we currently use.
    >
    >My requirements are:
    >1) MUST support USB or IR connection to a Linux based PC
    >2) support Java applets I write on the PC and download to the PDA
    >3) use REMOVABLE commonly available batteries
    >4) accept flash memory or CF memory cards formatted as VFAT filesystems
    > and allow execution of programs that reside on those cards
    >5) async serial connectivity (RS232C)
    >6) lots of internal memory
    >7) cpu capable of running my custom applets
    >8) industrial strength weather resistant body
    >9) runs an OS that is interoperable and based on open standards

    <..snip...>

    Req #8 pretty much rules out most PDAs, #3 and #8 together rule out
    most of what's left...
    As others pointed out already, you should look for "rugged(ized)"
    handhelds for industry, data collection, etc.
    Here are a few links, courtesy of Google. (1/2 are from an usenet
    thread titled "Need PDA to work in cold weather")

    Intermec:
    http://www.intermec.com/eprise/main/...c/Content/home

    LXE:
    http://www.lxe.com/us/products/default.aspx?id=51

    Kontron:
    http://www.kontronmobile.com/kmcpdpr...yProduct=31597

    Microslate:
    http://www.microslate.com/esidearm.htm

    Xybernaut:
    http://www.xybernaut.com/Solutions/p..._T_product.htm

    Walkabout:
    http://www.walkabout-comp.com/products.html

    Juniper:
    http://www.junipersys.com/products/why_allegro.cfm

    Casio:
    http://www.casio.com/index.cfm?fusea...rial%20Devices

    Xplore:
    http://www.xploretech.com/index.pl

    Fujitsu + otterbox
    http://www.fujitsupc.com/www/product...blets/overview

    Handheld:
    http://www.handheld.com/Site.aspx/na...ts/sbus/?sbu=2

    Unitech:
    http://www.ute.com/products/pa950.html

    Talla-tech:
    http://www.talla-tech.com/products.htm

    Itronix:
    http://www.itronix.com/

    Symbol:
    http://www.symbol.com/

    Timbatec:
    http://www.timbatec.com/welcome_e.htm

    Trimble:
    http://www.trimble.com/recon_mgis_handheld.html

    Touchstar:
    http://www.touchpc.com/Americas/group.asp?gID=1

    Fitiri:
    http://www.fitiri.com/Products.html



    Roberto Waltman.

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