If you think low-cost laptops mitigate the need for handheld PCs, think again.

Mobile Endeavor

If you think low-cost laptops mitigate the need for handheld PCs, think again.

Mobile computing devices are becoming a mainstream part of the enterprise-wide computing environment. Whether you work for a Microsoft Certified Solution Provider or a corporate IT department, odds are you’ve been asked—or will be asked shortly—about including mobile devices in the solutions you design, implement and maintain for your customers or colleagues.

If you think low-cost laptops mitigate the need for handheld PCs, think again. Handheld PCs have advantages not seen in today’s laptops, including instant on/off every time, battery life supporting a full day of wireless connectivity, and solid-state construction with no moving parts. For heavy data collection in the field, a handheld PC with these features can replace paper-based processes; they’re an important enterprise tool.

Mobile computing devices are popular because they’re about increased productivity, decreased cost, and greater customer satisfaction. They increase productivity by providing real-time access to data anywhere, anytime, from any device and they replace time-consuming and error-prone paper-based processes of data collection.

They decrease costs by eliminating that second step of entering data digitally. Moreover, the devices—generally with read-only software and rugged hardware—are tougher to break, easier to use, and require less maintenance.

Handhelds boost customer satisfaction because companies can use their faster data access to make better decisions for customers and they can also give customers better data to improve their own decision-making.

Microsoft’s strategy is to offer a platform—based on the core Windows CE operating system—with strong ties to your existing corporate infrastructure. Windows-powered mobile devices can take better advantage of data exchange with existing corporate networks that use much of the same system software. They’re also faster and easier—and thus more cost-effective—for you to write programs.

Your users, meanwhile, can be up and running faster—with less continuing technical support—because they see a familiar Windows interface and applications. For example, non-Windows-powered personal digital assistants and handheld devices can’t support the range of Microsoft Outlook information fields. Only the Windows-Powered Pocket PC and Handheld PC platforms support all Outlook fields.

To learn more about taking advantage of mobile devices, review the information at www.microsoft.com/mobile and the user and support information at www.pocketpc.com. If you’re looking for a Microsoft Certified Solution Provider to help implement your solution—or if you’re an MCSP available to help corporate clients, check out our resource list at www.microsoft.com/mobile/enterprise/premsp.asp. OEMs and ISVs, meanwhile, should check out the help we provide through the Microsoft Solution Partners Program at http://msdnisv.microsoft.com/wce/.

About the Author

Doug Dedo is Group Product Manager of Microsoft's Mobile Devices Division.

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