HPC:Factor Handheld PC Top 10 - 2006-2007 Edition

Clinton Fitch | Reviews Editor
February 26, 2007

As we begin another new year, it is time to stop and reflect on those things which make life more enjoyable. Obviously a good wine and a fine meal will do the trick as will great companionship with friends and family. For me personally, 2007 will be an even greater year if Kimi Raikkonen can win the Formula One World Championship this year with Ferrari… but I digress.

2007 will mark the 5th year that I have compiled a Top 10 list for the Handheld PC platform and upon reflection of the past lists I see a whole collection of applications that in many cases continue to mature and genuinely make this great platform all-the-better. These applications that I’ve listed in the past – and those I list in this edition – are applications that make life more enjoyable to be a Handled PC owner. It is also true that as I look at these lists it reminds me of just how significant the H/PC has been in the grand scheme of mobile technology. Where would we be today if it had not been for the 200LXs of the world!?

With this reflection I give you my Top 10 Application List for 2007. The criteria for making it onto my Top 10 are simple: It has to be an application that either greatly enhances my ability to use my Handheld PC or is an application that I use on a regular basis. In many cases, these two objectives are met in the same application. These are the applications that if I’m asked “What software should I get for my device?” I will without any hesitation or second guess recommend. As for you, the loyal HPC:Factor reader, I remind you that this is my personal recommendation list. Many of you likely have your own lists and they may not necessarily match mine.
As always, I encourage you to post and email with your thoughts as you review this list. Thanks for your support of HPC:Factor and continued patronage.

 

Number 10: Tascal Search

If there is one “should have had it built in” function of Handheld PCs it is a search function. Why this was not included can be debated but the bottom line is if you want to search for files on your H/PC, you can’t do it without a 3rd party application. Thus I start my 2007 Top 10 list with Tascal Search.
Tascal Search has been around since 2001 and I wrote my first review of it back in 2002. It is a tried-and-true application that allows you to search your H/PC through a keyword, wildcard and file extension and provides those results in an easy-to-read explorer window.

Tascal Search

Cost: Free
Review Rating: 4 Star Rating: Recommended

HPC:Factor Review | Developers Home Page

 

Number 9: SpreadCE

Included with every Handheld PC is the Microsoft Pocket Excel application, a trimmed down version of the far more powerful desktop version of Excel. The challenge, as most know, is the limited number of formulas and formatting that Pocket Excel will allow you to do. The first remedy I would recommend is my Number 9 application, SpreadCE. Bye Design’s SpreadCE is an excellent, low cost spreadsheet editor that can read and write Excel 97-2003 files, has advanced formatting features such as borders and shading and essentially every formula that is supported by Excel. It is a no-frills but powerful solution for those who need serious spreadsheet power on their H/PC.

SpreadCE

Cost: $20 (Shareware)

HPC:Factor Review: Coming May 2007 | Developers Home Page

 

Number 8: PHM Registry Editor

My Number 8 application in this year’s Top 10 list comes with a word of warning. If you are not familiar with the structure of the Windows CE registry and don’t have experience with it, this application may not be a good fit for you. Editing the registry can render your device unable to boot if you make a mistake so be careful – and you’ve been warned.

For those who do like to tweak in the underbelly of Windows CE, PHM Registry Editor should be an application to consider. It is a straightforward GUI driven editor that allows you to create, edit, delete and view every aspect of your device’s registry as well as offering a cut-and-paste function. It is as powerful as any desktop Registry Editor I have seen and makes it easy to tweak your device.

PHM Registry Editor

Cost: Free
Review Rating: 4 Star Rating: Recommended

HPC:Factor Review | Developers Home Page

 

Number 7: CE Agenda

The challenge with any mobile device is being able to find and access your personal information in a quick and easy way. As one whom “lives” by my Outlook calendar, this aspect of mobile computing is particularly important to me and no other application for the Handheld PC platform does as good a job of getting me that information as my Number 7 application. CE Agenda is, as the names suggest, an application that provides you a clear and easy-to-use view of your Outlook calendar. You can view the information by Agenda, Day, Week, Month or Year views and it easily allows you to add or delete appointments. Because CE Agenda fully supports synchronization with Microsoft Outlook, you can have all of your calendar entries in CE Agenda without any intervention required on your part.

CE Agenda

Cost: $10
Review Rating: 4 Star Rating: Recommended

HPC:Factor Review | Developers Home Page

 

Number 6: Conduits Pocket Artist

My Number 6 application has been one of my favorite applications for a long time and is one of the best at what it does. Conduits Pocket Artist is, simply put, the best photo viewer and editor for Handheld PCs in my opinion. Pocket Artist goes well beyond the simple edits such as cropping and saving in a variety of file types. With it you can change the brightness and contrast of a picture, add text, add textures and even create an image from scratch using the wide variety of pens and brushes in the application. There really isn’t anything you can’t do with it and once you start using it, you will quickly realize that it is close to if not more powerful than some desktop photo applications. Yes, it’s that good and well worth the price of admission.

PocketArtist

Cost: $49.95
Review Rating: 4 Star Rating: Recommended

HPC:Factor Review (version 2.0. 3.0 Review coming July 2007) | Developers Home Page | Sponsored Purchase Location*

 

Number 5: DVD Catalyst

As we go into the top 5 applications on the 2007 Top 10 Handheld PC application list, we start with a realitively new comer to the Handheld PC arena but one that has made a powerful impact. At Number 5 is DVD Catalyst, a DVD ripping application that actually resides on your desktop PC. If it is a desktop application, then why is it on a Handheld PC list you ask? It’s here because it allows you to size and rip files into DVIX, use the TCPMP player and view files on your device. DVD Catalyst provides you with a wide range of editing options and sampling options so you can truly tune the final output file to either the size you want or the quality you desire.

DVD Catalyst

Cost: $24.95
Review Rating: 5 Star Rating: Exceptional

HPC:Factor Review (Version 1.1) | Partner Site Review | Developers Home Page | Sponsored Purchase Location*

 

Number 4: SOTI Pocket Controller Professional

My Number 4 entry is a brand new entry to my Top 10 and one that I simply can’t live without at this point. SOTI Pocket Controller Professional is an application that allows you to control your Handheld PC via your desktop. It does this by putting your device’s desktop onto your PC when you have your device connected either by USB or ActiveSync. Further, you can capture videos of your device’s desktop and take screen captures of it. If you have visited my Pocket PC site, Clinton Fitch (Dot) Com!, virtually every screenshot you see on the site is taken with SOTI Pocket Controller.

Funny interlude for you… I discovered SOTI Pocket Controller worked with Handheld PCs completely by accident. I was in the process of writing a review of my site and connected up Boris, my Jornada 720. I have Pocket Controller configured to automatically launch when ActiveSync connects and if it doesn’t detect the mobile device client it prompts you to install. Realizing what I’d done and that Boris was connected to my PC, I decided to tell it to install just to see what happened. Presto! 2 minutes later I was capturing screenshots from Boris. It was a nice discovery as this application is one of my favorites.

Pocket Controller

Cost: $34.95

HPC:Factor Review: Expected Q2 2007 | Partner Site Review | Developers Home Page | Sponsored Purchase Location*

 

Number 3: Ilium Software’s eWallet Professional

My Number 3 application, eWallet Professional, has been on every list since I started the Top 10 in 2001 and there is a good reason for it: It is, without question, the best wallet application available for Handheld PCs. Not only does eWallet allow you to enter and encrypt information such as PINs, credit card numbers, account numbers and the like, it allows you to customize the cards to allow virtually any type of information to be stored. Top this with an easy-to-use and read interface and you get a great all around package for your Handheld PC. eWallet is the only application I’ve ever reviewed – Handheld PC or Pocket PC – that I’ve given all “5’s” to during a review.

On February 14, 2006 HPC:Factor became the exclusive home of all of the Ilium Software products for Handheld PCs. From our site you can download eWallet and the other Ilium applications and get support for them in our forums. Best of all: FREE OF CHARGE!

eWallet 3.1

Cost: Free
Review Rating: 5 Star Rating: Exceptional

HPC:Factor Review | Developers Home Page

 

Number 2: SoftMaker’s PlanMaker 2006

This is the upgrade we have all been waiting for! SoftMaker, the German software developer, has recently released PlanMaker 2006 and it is simply fantastic. PlanMaker 2006 builds on all of the strengths of PlanMaker 2004, the original version of the application for H/PCs, by giving the application a completely new interface, refining its functions and added a whole host of new features including Unicode support.

The beauty of PlanMaker 2006 is it is completely compatible with Excel files so you can open and edit these files and save them again in Excel format without losing any of your edits or formatting when you synchronize your device with your PC. Further, passworded files are not stripped of their protection during conversion (PlanMaker file format)! It is everything that Pocket Excel should be and thankfully SoftMaker has come to the rescue.

PlanMaker 2006

Cost: $69.95 (Upgrade $34.95) and Includes TextMaker 2006. $99.95 (Upgrade $49.95) and includes desktop versions of the applications
Review Rating: 5 Star Rating: Exceptional

HPC:Factor Review (Review of 2006 version coming in Q2 2007) | Developers Home Page | Purchase Location

 

Number 1: SoftMaker’s TextMaker 2006

For some of you this year’s Number 1 application is not a surprise given the application in the Number 2 position! Along with upgrading PlanMaker, SoftMaker also updated TextMaker, bringing it up considerably from its previous 2002 edition.

Many of the benefits of TextMaker are the same as PlanMaker, centering around synchronization and the ability to keep formatting and security in place when doing so. TextMaker 2006 has also received an impressive GUI update along with significant performance increases as well. In the 2006 version you can now easily add and edit tables, substantially improved document filters for Word documents, Track changes and comments. It is every much the desktop word processor you would expect only it’s on your Handheld PC!

TextMaker 2006

Cost: (Upgrade $34.95) and Includes PlanMaker 2006. $99.95 (Upgrade $49.95) and includes desktop versions of the applications
Review Rating: 5 Star Rating: Exceptional

HPC:Factor Review (Review of 2006 version coming in Q2 2007) | Developers Home Page | Purchase Location

 

So there you have it: The Top 10 Applications of 2007 for your Handheld PC. I hope you give these applications a try as I think you will see why I like them so much!

 

* Sponsored Purchase's made through the Clinton Fitch (dot) Com! store contribute to the day-to-day financial running costs of HPC:Factor

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