No ‘free size’ for handheld

Special Correspondent

Bangalore: There is one typically Indian phrase that women in particular have learned to treat with scepticism. When they shop for “nighties” — which in this country is understood to mean an all-purpose house dress — they are invariably told it comes in a single ‘free size.’ This is clearly not achievable since people come in all shapes and sizes. The same ‘nightie’ will make one look like a sack of potatoes and choke the breath out of another. So you buy — and then are resigned to re-stitch to your requirement.

‘One size fits all’ is also a delusion shared till very recently by much of the industry that turns out smart hand-held gadgets. Some like Palm and Blackberry achieved iconic status in spite of fairly limited choice of models. But other major players such as Hewlett Packard seem to have decided that ‘free size’ is not a sensible option any longer.

Which is why the recent regional consumer showcase organised by the company in Singapore, featured five different models in its iPAQ range of handheld smart devices covering a breadth of applications in communication, navigation and productivity.

The iPAQ 112 Classic handheld retains its well-known look and feel — but has been jazzed up with WiFi and Bluetooth access, a large 3.5 inch screen and good music and video performance.

The new 212 Enterprise handheld, has the same connectivity, weighs more, has a better VGA class display and a full suite of Windows office applications. The 912 Business Messenger has quad band 3G phone capability in addition to the wireless Internet access. The keypad seems made to woo Blackberry users. The 612 Business Navigator also has the phone features, a 3 megapixel camera and built-in navigation using the Global Positioning System (GPS). It uses the new SmartTouch technology.

The 312 Travel Companion, lacks the phone and WiFi features and is primarily a personal navigation-cum-productivity device. Bluetooth and a USB connection will let you synchronise it with a phone or the Internet. The software provides some amazing 3-D views of street maps that few navigation packages may be able to match.

All five models will be available between November 2007 and January 2008 and no prices have been fixed.

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