Palm-sized PC; Renegade 64; Zipping-Quick Apple; Amiga Held Captive; Deep-Sea Macintosh; ST on the Green
What's smaller than a laptop, more powerful than a calculator, and able to forge a link with your PC? The hottest new class of PC peripherals: handheld electronic organizers.
The hand-held craze started about a year ago with the Psion Organizer. Now, the idea has caught on with a vengeance, and these clever devices seemed to be everywhere at the Consumer Electronics Show.
There's the Sharp Wizard. This computer is about the size of a Day Runner notebook (3½×6½ inches) and about the same weight. It has a 16 × 8 character LCD screen and an array of built-in functions that include an appointment diary, a phone directory, a notepad, and a world clock.
In addition to its built-in software, the Wizard takes special software cards. There have been rumors of Lucid 3-D and GrandView cards, but the only ones available to date are a speller/thesaurus and a group of scheduling, planning, and billing applications. The Wizard's biggest drawback is its keyboard, which is small and follows an ABC pattern instead of the traditional QWERTY arrangement.
To make the Wizard talk to your PC, you'll need Sharp's special link software and hardware package, which sells for just over $100. The unadorned Wizard costs $299.
Casio's B.O.S.S. (Business Organizer Scheduling System) in larger than the Wizard and has a QWERTY keyboard, but, unfortunately, it isn't a full-sized one. Built-in B.O.S.S. functions include a telephone directory, business-card library, notepad, and schedule. The B.O.S.S.'s screen is large for this class of machine—32×6 characters. The B.O.S.S. comes in three flavors, differing in available memory (32K-64K) and keyboard (membrane or full-action), with prices of $220, $240, and $260.
To make the B.O.S.S. talk to your PC, you'll need Casio's $ 110 PC-Link software, sold separately.
Largest on our list is the Laser PC3. This machine has a full-sized QWERTY keyboard on the outside and a full-fledged word processor, spelling checker, notepad, and calculator, plus 32K of memory, on the inside.
The PC3's small 20 × 2 screen is its biggest drawback, but with a price tag of $279, you could probably learn to live with it. The software and hardware that link the PC3 to a PC (or to a Mac) is included with the machine, as is the newest version of PC Tools Deluxe.