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By Chris De Herrera 
Copyright 1998-2007
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A Subjective Review of the Awesome Intermec 6651
By Charles P. Finlay, Copyright 2001

 Version 1.00  Revised 3/12/2001

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Introduction

I have been using Windows CE devices since 1996, and I believe that I now own one that is everything Window CE has promised to become; at least in the handheld PC (HPC) platform.

Unfortunately, it appears as though the HPC platform has been relegated to the vertical market category with all of the advertising dollars going to the Pocket PC platform.  That’s a shame, because for people such as myself, this is what mobile computing is all about and I need a keyboard.  I could only find one retail store that carries it – Mobile Planet.  Although not the cheapest vendor on the web, I have done business with them before and they have excellent service. 

No, the Intermec 6651 won’t fit in my pocket like the PPC, but I have a REX6000 in my wallet for basic PIM functions such as phone numbers and calendar functions.  Maybe when the new Pocket PC comes with a Blackberry style keyboard I’ll change!  I hear that some are going to!

Hardware

Mobility at its BestSpeaking of size, the Intermec 6651 is the size of a thin paperback book when closed.  I bought a padded DayRunner case and slid out the binder.  The pocket that is for a cell phone holds my PCMCIA Ricochet modem nicely.  I also attached (with Velcro) a retractable telephone patch cord.  As the picture demonstrates, it is a nice a tidy package.

Screen – This screen is simply awesome.  An active matrix touch screen.  

Specifications  

· 129MHz Toshiba MIPS Processor
· 32MB RAM
· 7.1" TFT Color Display
· V.90 56K Modem
· 350k-pixel Digital Camera
· 79-key Keyboard
· Handheld PC 2000 Operating System
· 24MB Masked ROM
· 800 x 480 SVGA Resolution
· Ports: Type II PC card slot, Type II CompactFlash slot, IrDA 1.1 (4Mbps), USB, RS-232C/VGA out (18 pin), headphone jack
· 10.8V 1800 mAH Lithium Ion rechargeable battery, 10/5hrs normal/continuous battery life, 2.5 hour charging time
· Lithium coin backup battery, approx. 9 days life
· Microphone and Speaker
· Pocket Applications: Office, Pocket Internet Explorer, Pocket Outlook
· Utilities: Launcher, 180 degree screen rotation, backup, PC file viewer, Clik! PC card drive software
· Internet Utilities: Mail, Simple Internet connection, Web surfing
· Multimedia: Image editor, MPEG-4 camera, Movie gallery, player
· Special buttons: ON/OFF, Movie/Still camera shutter, Web surfing button, email receipt button, 10 icons on the touch screen (2 are user programmable)
· Included in box:
6651 Handheld PC, Pen, AC cord, AC adapter

Color TFT Active Matrix LCD, 800x480 pixels, 0.192 dot pitch, 64K colors, 2MB Video RAM

Ports – I decided to use the Compact Flash port for extra memory.  I have my games, pictures, and work that I don’t need to keep sync’ed all on that card.  I chose to use the PCMCIA port for communications other than the built in 56k modem.  I have a Ricochet high-speed wireless modem and a socket low-power PCMCIA Ethernet card.

Keyboard – The keyboard is just a bit too small for me to touch type.  I had gotten used to the keyboard on the Mobilon 5000 and liked that a lot.  However, it is still useful and much simpler than trying to get a machine to recognize my writing!!!  I do not use the keyboard cover when in tablet mode, because when you press the button to flip the screen, it disables the keyboard!

Battery – Since I use external memory and communications card, I will never realize the advertised battery life.  But the way that I use it also precludes me from needing that.  I like that fact that the battery is easily replaceable after my experiences with the Mobilon 5000.

Camera – Not the best, but a very cool thing to have.  Almost everyone that has seen my unit is most impressed by this feature, although I am not.

Unretouched picture from Intermec 6651

Multimedia – The microphone and speaker are what you might expect from a unit this size.  The speaker is not covered up when in use, like on the Mobilon 6000.  Just plug a pair of earphones into the jack and starts your favorite MP3.  Although not my expertise, I would compare it to the sound from a good CD walkman. (Editors Note: Yes, it is Stereo!)

Side buttons – Sharp has added a couple of interesting features that allow you to check your email and surf with opening the unit (or turning it on).  I use the email button, which connects to the POP3 server checks the mail and then disconnects without making a sound.  A LED on the side flashes if I have new mail.  The other button makes copies of web pages in the same way.  I wish that they would have added a button for the voice memo feature.  I assigned one of the two programmable button on the screen for that.

My uses

Ricochet – This is what makes this unit so useful to me.  I have a 1 hour+ bus ride in the morning.  I can check my email, surf the web, etc.  I use both the AOL CE IM client and the Ruksun MSN Messenger client.  I have used CDPD before this, and there is a BIG difference.  Heck, I hardly use my home PC anymore to surf because it is slower than my Intermec!

WTS & Citrix – I work in a large corporation and am in the IT industry.  Having the ability to RAS into the network and use a terminal server or Citrix server gives me the power to manage my network resources from my Intermec (17,000+ workstations and 1,000 servers).  I am chomping at the bit for a VPN client to be released that will work with our

The operating system is version 3, which is really 2.11 at heart (Editors Note:  The base applications are the same, the OS is not).  That is fine for me for now, because all of my previous MIPS HPC software works just fine.  Intermec will be releasing a user-installable HPC2000 chip in the near future.  They have already changed some of the information on their web site reflecting this.  I’ll give that a shot and report back.  I may end up not using it if my software doesn’t work!

Links for Additional Information

World

http://sharp-world.com/sc/excite/hc7000/index.html

Hong Kong

http://www.sharp.com.hk/dc/telios/telios7000.htm

Japan

http://www.sharp.co.jp/sc/gaiyou/news-e/001013.html

The animated logo on the Microsoft Web site includes a picture of the Intermec 6651 http://www.microsoft.com/mobile/handheldpc/default.asp and lists it among manufacturers http://www.microsoft.com/mobile/handheldpc/buyhpc.asp

Intermec Product page: http://corp.intermec.com/products/6651over.htm

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