Company:

UsedHandhelds

Price

$99.90 USD

License:

Payware

Rating:

5 Star Rating: Exceptional

UsedHandhelds.com “The Great Handheld PC Software & Resource CD 2007”

Chris Tilley | Editor-in-Chief
March 26, 2007

If there is probably one single thing that I am not used to in dealing with the Handheld PC it is boxed software. I am sure that I will be speaking for myself here, but when I was presented with a neatly wrapped USPS ‘priority mail’ package a slight twang of panic came over me as I had to try and remember exactly what a CD was and how one uses it in conjunction with a Handheld PC.

… Thankfully that moment of terror didn’t last very long.

Figure 1: The Great Handheld PC Software & Resource CD 2007Operating out of Iowa in the United States, UsedHandheld’s are the commercial front-end of Thaddeus Computing Inc, the people behind Smartphone & Pocket PC Magazine. The UsedHandheld’s team have been integral to the Handheld PC movement since the days before they were even called Handheld PC’s. Thaddeus has ridden the wave of every successive Microsoft PDA release into the market going all the way back to 1985 – starting of course with the early MS-DOS versions!

Despite the magazine’s shifting focus onto other areas, the bread and butter of UsedHandheld’ activity continues to revolve around the venerable Handheld PC. The team remain focused on community activity and have extensive contacts within the developer community, which has given rise to the promotional release of “The Great Handheld PC Software & Resource CD”.

The idea is simple: Take a handful of the most popular ‘must have’ Handheld PC software applications, put full versions of them onto one CD and sell it for an irresistible (and downright crazy) price.

The CD is written in a web readable format, and is compatible with your systems native web browser (be it Internet Explorer, Firefox etc.). The main interface provides simple navigation around the disk - which doesn't require an internet connection to use. Stylistically the layout is clean and neatly presented, including the usual good humour that we expect from the Thaddeus team.

While the interface won't win any web design awards, and some of the pages are a little long because of weight of content, one cannot argue that it is very easy to navigate around. I would have liked to see individual full version product information spread out in more detail in a dedicated page structure (giving emphasise as a showcase), particularly with the inclusion of the information (which I somewhat painstakingly provide below) on precisely which product builds are included on the customised CD content redistributable's.

Figure 2: The CD Interface Homepage

The content of the CD is subjectively organised into three categories: ‘Software’, ‘Resources’ and ‘Help’.

 

Software

The CD bundle offers Handheld PC users the chance to get hold of some of the most popular and most expensive H/PC applications at a heavily discounted price and in a single transaction – useful if currency conversions are involved in buying.

The software section is divided into three areas, the ‘Full Versions’ bundle, a set of recommended on-line software resources and a listing of good freeware links.

The meat of the section, and indeed the product itself comes in the form of the fifteen full versions of popular H/PC retail application. It is here that for the first time in a long while that UsedHandhelds excelled themselves in successfully bringing on board some of the most prestigious names in Windows CE software development - specifically for the creation of this bundle.
The developer names include (in alphabetical order):

  • DVD Catalyst
  • Laridian, Inc.
  • Odyssey Computing, Inc.
  • PhatWare Corp.
  • PocketDOS
  • Pocketkai
  • Revolutionary Software Front
  • SoftMaker
  • ValkSoft

Between the offerings from these developers you get full versions of (in alphabetical order):

BizCalc 4.07 – An RPN Logic calculator based upon the continually popular Hewlett-Packard HP-12C. BizCalc is particularly useful in the business, retail, finance, banking and real estate fields (RRP: $14.95)

Full Review: Click to Read
Compatibility: H/PC Pro or higher
Processors(s): MIPS, StrongArm/XScale, SH3, SH4

dBExplorer 1.6 – Windows CE devices store your PIM information in a database region called the POOM Store. dBExplorer allows you to view, manipulate and back-up/restore these databases individually or collectively (including the system registry) without requiring you to perform full system backup/restores in order to make changes (RRP: $17.95)

Compatibility: Windows CE 2.0 or higher
Processors(s): MIPS, StrongArm/XScale, SH3, SH4

DeInstaller HPC – DeInstaller reclaims your devices precious internal memory by performing cleaning and optimisation techniques to remove files left by uninstall routines and other such waste (RRP: $8.00)

Compatibility: HPC2000 or higher
Processors(s): MIPS, StrongArm/XScale

DVD Catalyst GT – If you have been a HPC:Factor visitor for any length of time, it wont have escaped your attention that we here at the site simply adore DVD Catalyst. Take any DVD or video file (no matter what the codex or region) and optimally convert it into a format that your Handheld PC can support – giving you the best possible playback experience, despite the hardware limitations. DVD Catalyst GT is the latest edition of the program, with a new stream-lined user interface, and significant changes beneath the bonnet! (RRP: $19.95)

Compatibility: Windows 2000 SP4, Windows XP or higher
Processors(s): x86 (Desktop)

HPC Notes 4.3d Pro – The excellent HPC Notes finally allows H/PC users to restore the missing Note’s Synchronisation capabilities to the Handheld PC (available through newer Pocket PC devices). Notes Pro is the highest edition of H/PC Notes and includes host application viewer, synchronisation and Handheld PC Viewer / editors (RRP: $39.95)

Full Review: Click to Read
Compatibility: H/PC Pro or higher
Processors(s): MIPS, StrongArm/XScale, SH3, SH4

HPC Spell 2.6 – A 90,000 word English (American) dictionary for Handheld PC devices. (RRP: $17.95)

Compatibility: Windows CE 2.0 or higher
Processors(s): MIPS, StrongArm/XScale, SH3, SH4

Kai's Access Manager – Microsoft Access (MDB), Pocket Access (CDB) compatible database management system (RRP: $20.00)

Compatibility: HPC2000 or higher
Processor(s): MIPS, StrongArm/XScale

Lextionary – Advanced English Language dictionary and thesaurus based upon semantic organisation, aiding in the discovery of a definition and allowing you to explore the English language (RRP: $14.99)

Compatibility: H/PC Pro or higher
Processor(s): StrongArm/XScale

MBA-Calc – A fully featured Algebraic calculator based upon the Texas Instruments BA-II Plus unit (RRP: $14.95)

Compatibility: H/PC Pro or Higher
Processors(s): MIPS, StrongArm/XScale

PlanMaker 2004 – Forget Pocket Excel, PlanMaker doesn’t just substitute Pocket Excel, it gives Microsoft Excel on your PC/Mac a run for its money! (RRP: $49.95)

Full Review: Click to Read
Compatibility: H/PC Pro or higher
Processors(s): StrongArm/XScale

PocketBible 2.0.0.31 – Laridian’s multi-award winning Bible Reader application. The bundle comes with “Easton’s Bible Dictionary”, “King James Bible” and “Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on the whole Bible” (RRP: $10.00)

Full Review: Click to Read
Compatibility: HPC2000 or higher
Processors(s): MIPS, StrongArm/XScale

PocketDOS 1.11 – PocketDOS in my opinion is a phenomenal piece of software design, and one that is often under-appreciated. Particularly when you consider that the PocketDOS team have been releasing consistent editions of the program, enabling you to run REAL DOS applications on the Handheld PC since Windows CE 1.0 was released in 1996! Proof that if software is well written it can be powerful no matter what the platform (RRP: $20.00)

Compatibility: Windows CE 2.0 or higher
Processors(s): MIPS, StrongArm/XScale, SH3, SH4

Pocket On-Schedule 6.0 – The premiere Pocket Outlook replacement. Acclaimed and award-winning, on-schedule takes Personal Information Management (PIM) to new levels on the H/PC. Complete with host synchronisation support (RRP: $69.00)

Compatibility: HPC2000 or higher
Processors(s): MIPS, StrongArm/XScale, (x86: CE4 only)

ScreenCapture Utility – Take and store images of your Handheld PC’s display in the absence of the legendary “Print Screen” key. ScreenCapture Utility includes Hot-key support for one touch screen capture (RRP: $4.95)

Compatibility: HPC2000
Processor(s): StrongArm

TextMaker 2002 – The application which plunged SoftMaker into the hearts and minds of PDA users everywhere. Surpassing all expectations at the time of its release, and still innovating and surprising, SoftMaker’s TextMaker provides Microsoft Word functionality on the H/PC (RRP: $39.95)

Full Review: Click to Read
Compatibility: H/PC Pro or higher
Processors(s): StrongArm/XScale

As you will see from my breakdown, the majority of the applications revolve around use on the StrongArm/XScale processor – that of the respective Jornada 700 and MobilePro 900 series devices.
Eight of the applications offer some degree of support for Handheld PC Professional (CE 2.11) devices with three of the fifteen shipping with Windows CE 2.00 compatible builds.

For the full software products, installation codes are provided in the main body of the ‘Full Versions’ section of the CD. In addition to product installation/registration codes, each copy of the CD ships with a registered and unique serial number. The serial number ties your purchase into the licenses, and is used specifically in the registration process of PocketDOS as well as identifying your license to UsedHandheld’s support.

The UsedHandheld's CD was originally compiled at the same time as SoftMaker were undergoing pre-release testing of their 2006 versions of TextMaker and PlanMaker. Unfortunately, the 2006 versions have not been included on the CD, and only the StrongArm/XScale version of TextMaker 2002 is bundled - the last release in the line to formally support a MIPS platform. In reality this shouldn't hinder purchasers, as both editions of TextMaker and PlanMaker are by no means poor substitutes to their 2006 counterparts and are over-powered for the needs of most users (saying something exceptional about SoftMaker's products). For users who desire only the latest and greatest, the discount opportunities from SoftMaker are at your disposal as a registered UsedHandheld's CD owner; and factoring in the cost savings with the discount still make for an excellent investment decision.

 

Resources

The resources section contains a short directory to some of the Internets best web resources for Handheld PC users including HPCNEC, The Handheld PC Newsletter and us here at HPC:Factor who all had a part in the creation of the CD.

Compendiums of the Handheld PC Newsletter can also be found on the CD, covering the first two years of editorial at the publication.

 

Help

UsedHandheld’s originally designed The Great Handheld PC Software & Resource CD to compliment their recent entry into the MobilePro 900/900C market. As such the CD contains suggestions, hints, tips and tricks for enabling new MobilePro users to get the most from their purchase. The CD also contains useful and relevant information for Jornada users and is designed to help them find their feet and get through some of the most common problems experienced by new users.

The guides have been written in part with the help of HPCNEC and through CESD’s here at HPC:Factor. While they will not form a key selling point for existing Handheld PC users, the guides are concise and well written, and will be especially useful for their intended audience; brand new users. The Wireless Network guide which gives detailed instructions on using UsedHandheld’s Linksys WPC11 adapters straight from the box is particularly useful, as it applies to not only the UsedHandheld’s adapter, but a wide range of Prism based cards.

 

As I mentioned before, a potential blessing for International users is the opportunity not only to save money, but to purchase licenses for so many applications in a single transaction. UsedHandheld’s have an excellent reputation in dealing with overseas customers and will ship anywhere in the world.

The CD was sent via priority mail, with delivery from the USA to the UK in exactly 7 days, including clearing through customs. The disc comes well wrapped to survive the journey and is immediately identifiable with the familiar SmartPhone & Pocket PC Magazine logo adorning the address label.

Significantly, the CD is covered by UsedHandheld’s no-quibble 30-day money back guarantee (so long as the software licenses have not been activated) so in the event that there is a problem you can rest assured of a speedy resolution. UsedHandheld’s have always had fast response times to technical and sales requests, and in our experience have always put their customers at the forefront of their business activities.

It is important to note however that UsedHandheld’s are not offering a technical support commitment on the software applications found on the CD. Users who are experiencing difficulties with individual applications are encouraged to make use of peer support through the SmartPhone & Pocket PC Magazine or HPC:Factor forums - or contact the application vendor directly.

 

Seal the deal

The Great Handheld PC Software & Resource CD comes with some excellent applications with which you can enhance your Handheld PC, but price is key. In this regard UsedHandheld’s have pulled a rabbit out of the proverbial hat.

UsedHandhelds Logo

By my calculations (made just before publishing), the cumulative software package - if purchased from the respective developers - would set a Handheld PC user back some $362.54 USD (£191.00 GBP, €273.13 EUD, ¥38,200 JPY est.).

UsedHandheld’s are selling the same software bundle as a retail package for $99.90 (£52.60 GBP, €75.22 EUD, ¥10,520 JPY est.); a saving of more than 3.5 times the application list prices.

In addition, if you are in the market for your first Handheld PC, or are looking to update to a newer model, UsedHandheld’s are offering the resource CD for free with any MobilePro 900/900C purchase, or for a discounted price of $39.00 USD with any Jornada 720 purchase.

 

Conclusion

Clearly the CD is going to be of specific interest to users of the Jornada 700 series and MobilePro 900/900C users. The two devices sum up a broad area of the Handheld PC market, which I dare say is by far the largest market segment. Although some HPC2000 MIPS users may feel a little disappointed because a number of the applications lack compatible binaries for their equipment, the bundle still represents a cost-saving. Other Handheld PC and Windows CE device owners who have access to a StrongArm/XScale devices will be able to make use of the bundle (for example devices of the SimPAD or SmartBook lineage), and given the current buyers market situation in the second-hand device market, the timely availability of the CD only seeks to add to the affordability of the Handheld PC in 2007 – particularly the PIM defunct CE .net platform.

UsedHandheld’s have created a stunning product which demonstrates that like us, they have confidence in the continued productivity benefits and freedom offered by the H/PC. The CD makes some of the top applications, designed by the Windows CE world’s most skilled developers affordable and within the budgetary grasp of users entering the H/PC through the second hand market.

The clear, concise and well presented package outlines the best of what is still achievable from a Handheld PC making the disc an opportunity that any H/PC user would be mad to pass over; even if you are only interested in one or two of the applications on the billing.

If you are a CE .net (4.0-4.2) user then this is an opportunity to get excited about. The CD will allow you to recover all of the missing functionality from HPC2000 – and more, hopefully rediscovering the convenience of your device in the process!

Quite simply this is one offer you simply cannot afford to miss.

 

System Requirements:

ActiveSync 3.1 or higher for host installation. An internet connection and email address is required to register PocketDOS.

Rating

 

 

Cost:

5 Star Rating: Exceptional

Pros: Unrivalled software bundle, irresistible price, backed by UsedHandhelds customer service and satisfaction guarantee.

Cons: TextMaker/PlanMaker bundle includes 2002/4 versions instead of latest 2006. Limited use for users of Handheld PC's below HPC2000. No help section on disc use for true beginners.

Usability:

5 Star Rating: Exceptional

Built-In helps:

4 Star Rating: Recommended

Customer Service:

5 Star Rating: Exceptional

Overall:

5 Star Rating: Exceptional

 

 

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