With the recent release of a minor upgrade to the Windows CE operating system for the Palm PC platform to support colour displays, IT organisations considering these devices will need to decide between flashy screens and battery life.
Backlit displays, also called transmissive displays, work best indoors and will offer users a "more intense colour depth," according to Roger Gulrajani, group product manager for Windows CE at Microsoft.
However, battery life is seriously compromised and backlit displays do not work as well outdoors.
"Choosing the right display depends on where users do most of their work," said Alex Chou, North American product manager for Hewlett-Packard's handheld division.
HP recently announced the Jornada 420 Palm Windows CE model, which has backlit colour as well as an estimated battery life of six hours.
Reflective displays will give users intense colour outside, according to Gulrajani.
"Anytime you have intense light com- ing off the display, like out on the golf course for scoring, it makes for a nice experience," Gulrajani said.
Everex Systems will upgrade its Freestyle Palm PC and ship it in the second quarter with a reflective display. Philips Mobile Computing Group will upgrade its Nino model in the same time frame but a representative would not say whether the company would use a backlit or reflective display.
IT managers, however, still have some additional issues with the Windows CE operating system.
"We can't access our corporate network," said an IT manager at a Fortune 500 company. It is virtually impossible to get connectivity to corporate networks through a third party because WinCE can't execute a multilevel log-in script."
Compaq was expected to officially announce a Palm PC product last week.