The Deliverator – Wannabee

So open minded, my thoughts fell out…

Jornada Sniping

Posted by Deliverator on January 24th, 2005

I have been trying to get out of the house more recently, but my need to stay in contact (for business purposes) via email and IM has made this difficult. I really don’t like the bulk of a laptop. I want something that I can carry in a jacket pocket. During my freshman year in college, I owned a Toshiba Libretto 70CT, a 1.8 pound (including battery) palmtop wonder that ran Win 98. I really loved it and it fit my needs well. Unfortunately, I have a bad history of gadget abuse, and true to form, I managed to drop it off the bed one night. I am really not happy with the direction that the Palm and Win CE market has been going. While devices like the Ipaq are great for what they do, they don’t offer wide enough screens for reviewing documents and they don’t have efficient text input methods. What I really want is a modern Win CE device of the HPC “clamshell” type form factor. Most devices of this type have a fairly large qwerty keyboard (large enough to touch type, with care) and a 1/2 VGA (full width, half height) screen. NEC is the only manufacturer still actively supporting this form factor. Their Mobilepro 900 and 900c models are really nice, but are totally overkill for my purposes, and rather bulky (1.8 pounds, same as my Libretto). HP used to make a real nice series of HPCs in their “Jornada ” line, but they discontinued them a few years ago. Still, I think a Jornada (720 or 728) is the device for me. Here are some reasons why:

  • 640*240 screen allows for full width viewing of documents (Word, Excel, PDF’s, Emails, Webpages, etc.)
  • keyboard has fairly fullsize keys and good tactile response for rapid hammering out of emails
  • Has both a type II PCMCIA and a type I CF slot, allowing for use of CF Microdrives (I have a 2.2 GB one), flashcards and wireless adapters (including the excellent Orinoco series of cards).
  • USB port for rapid sync with PC
  • optional VGA output card
  • built in Remote Desktop/Terminal Services Client and 3rd party VNC client for remote management.
  • Pocket IE Web browser with support for most modern web standards (you can alter the User Agent via a registry hack, so that it will work with most web pages).
  • Active developer community that continues to support the HPC form factor, long after most manufacturers have abandoned it.
  • 3rd party gaming API allows for 2d acceleration of games, video and allows many newer apps to run on the older HPC 2000 (Wince 3.0) OS. This includes PocketDivx, Pocket Quake I and II, etc.
  • Extended life battery allows for 20+ hours of use (probably 6-8 with Wifi and CF active).

Anyways, I have been trying to get my hands on one of these on Ebay, but it appears there are a number of snipers that are buying these up as well. Sniping, for those of you who haven’t heard the term, refers to placing your bid at the last possible instant, to ensure that other buyers don’t have a chance to counter your bid and elevate the price. I have seen a number of 6-day auctions for 720’s that have hovered around $70 for 5 days and then shot to over $300 in the last few hours. I am tracking around a dozen auctions right now and hopefully I will be able to get one for a reasonable price.

Oh yes, you will be mine…..oh yes!