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VGA PocketPC with GPS
WindowsMobileToday that Fujitsu-Siemens will be bringing out a VGA (640x480) screened Windows Mobile Pocket PC with built-in GPS capability, the Pocket LOOX N560. While there are already VGA-screened PDAs, and PDAs with GPS chips, this will be the first time the two have been brought together.

Although I maintain that PDAs are a little too fragile to be used as a backcountry, skiing, or workout GPS, for more or less every other use of a GPS they are very good. Even with a normal PDA screen size (320x240 or 240x240) they offer a good display for street maps, plus their open operating system and programming environment means it's relatively easy to create custom software for them. Add-in their Internet connectivity, large (and ever increasing) inexpensive storage cards, MP3 (and video) player capability etc, and you have an excellent travel companion. With a VGA screen one definitely gets to the point where one can leave one's laptop behind for a great many trips.

An interesting technical detail of the N560 is that it can supposedly act as a USB host. Most PDAs connect to PC host for synchronization, but cannot be used themselves as the "PC" that cameras, MP3 players, GPSes, and other USB gadgets connect to. Although there may be missing software pieces to deal with, this capability could be very useful to round out the "laptop replacement" ability of the PDA.

03/02/06Montjoux
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