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By Chris De Herrera 
Copyright 1998-2007
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The End of an Era - Where did the Handheld PC Go?
By Chris De Herrera , Copyright 2003

Original 7/11/2003, Revised 7/16/03

 

Background on the Handheld PCs

The Handheld PC was Microsoft's original PDA design way back in 1996.  The latest version called the Handheld PC 2000 represents the fourth generation of the product.  Until the new Hitachi which has a built in keyboard the Handheld PCs were the only devices with a keyboard.  They also have a 1/2 VGA or larger display and offered features such as a Terminal Services client along with Pocket Word, Pocket Excel, Pocket PowerPoint and Pocket Access.

Along with the launch of the Windows Mobile 2003 Pocket PC, was a major restructuring of Microsofts Mobile Devices webpages. Originally it provided major links the Handheld PC, SmartPhone and Pocket PC sections. Each of these sections included an overview of the product, support information and links for downloads.

What happened to the Handheld PC WebPages?

Well when Microsoft restructured their website to support the Windows Mobile 2003 products, I noticed that the Handheld PC pages were removed. Right now you can only access a copy of the information that was there using WayBackMachine. So all the downloads are no longer available for end users. The Knowledge Base articles covering the Handheld PC are still available for support.

NECs Announcement MobilePro 900

Recently, NEC announced their latest Handheld PC 2000 called the MobilePro 900. It appears that the MobilePro 900 represents the last of the Handheld PCs as we have known them. I really find it ironic that an OEM can release a product and shortly thereafter Microsoft removes all references to that type of product.

My Thoughts

I really think that the removal of the Handheld PC information and downloads was ill timed. I would recommend that Microsoft provide a plan for the lifecycle of the devices they offer. Clearly Corporate users of these products need to know how long they can expect support for them just like the desktop operating systems and applications.

Update

On July 15th, Microsoft added back all the Handheld PC downloads to their website.

In September 2003, Microsoft no longer has links to the Handheld PC downloads on their  website so get your downloads while you can!


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