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PDAs/Handheld PCs and Linux

Differences between Mobile Computers

The borders between different types of portables, laptops/notebooks, sub/mini-notebooks, palmtops, PDAs/HPCs are rapidly changing. Weight is becoming less. Storage capacity increases.


Weight greater than 4.0 kg (9 lbs). Features like a PC, but in a smaller box and with LCD display. Examples: lunchbox or ruggedized laptops (e.g., BSI)


Weight between 1.7 and 4.0 kg (4 to 9 lbs). Features custom hardware and usually a special CPU. Examples: HP OmniBook 3100, COMPAQ Armada 1592DT. The terms laptop and notebook seem equivalent to me.


Weight between 1.3 and 1.7 kg (3 to 4 lbs). Features: external floppy drive, external CD drive. Examples: HP OmniBook 800CT, Toshiba Libretto 100, COMPAQ Aero, SONY VAIO 505.


Weight between 0.7 and 1.3 kg (1.5 to 3 lbs). Features: proprietary commercial operating systems. Examples: HP200LX.

Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs)/Handheld PCs (HPCs)

Weight below 0.7 kg (1.5 lbs). Features: proprietary commercial operating systems and often non-Intel CPU with commercial operating systems like PalmOS, EPOC32, GEOS, Windows CE. Examples: Newton Message Pad, Palm III (former Pilot), Psion Series 3 and 5, CASIO Z-7000.

Cellular Phones, Pagers, Calculators, Digital Cameras, Wearable Computing

Though in my opinion related to the topic, these devices are not covered in this text, yet. For general information about Embedded Systems, see http://www.embedded.com . For Linux information, see ELKS and the uCLinux project. And my page about Linux with Infrared Devices.

CPU Types

see iX 7/1999 p. 63, Code Warrior

Commercial Operating Systems

  • Windows CE
  • Pocket PC 2002
  • PalmOS
  • EPOC32/Symbian
  • GEOS

Resources Dedicated to Linux

CodeWarrior Newgroups

  • codewarrior.embedded
  • codewarrior.games
  • codewarrior.linux
  • codewarrior.mac
  • codewarrior.palm
  • codewarrior.unix
  • codewarrior.windows

Other Resources


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© Werner Heuser 1997-2015 · http://tuxmobil.org/pda_linux_general.html · last change Fri Oct 16 2009