Unusually for Microsoft, its Windows CE version 1 and 2 handheld PDA devices never took off in the same way as its desktop PC software. The company had a rethink, and with version 3, redesigned the user interface, dumped the CE badge, and came up with Windows-Powered Pocket PCs. Unlike earlier versions of CE which were also sold in clamshell-keyboard designs, the new Pocket PCs are in the palm form factor only. Whatever you think about CE in its various guises, it's an immensely powerful platform, and what enthusiastic or curious users really need is a decent book to guide them through the intricacies.
Enter Frank McPherson's aptly titled How to do everything with your Pocket PC and Handheld PC. Throughout the 602 pages, McPherson literally tackles just about everything you can do with one of these devices, and sensibly covers both the brand new palm form factor PocketPCs, along with the older Windows CE Handheld PCs with keyboards and bigger screens.
The book is divided into four sections. The first gets you started with some interesting history on the platform, along with actually getting connected to PCs for synchronising information--if you thought serial cables and infra red was as clever as synchronising got, McPherson also explains how to do it over an ethernet network and remote dialup connections. The second section deals with the standard applications like Pocket Outlook, Pocket Word and Pocket Excel; it also covers the recent inclusion of Pocket Money, along with using Pocket PowerPoint, Pocket Access, and finding the best games and third party utilities to download.
Speaking of which, Section Three deals with going online and taking Web content with you on the move, while Section Four handles customisation with Control Panel tips and explanations of peripherals. The latter chapter in particular clears up some popular misconceptions: for example, the Iomega Clik! PC Card drive won't work in the Handheld PC's PC Card slot, and the only thing you can connect to a Handheld PCs USB port is a mouse. All in all, it's an invaluable book for anyone who has got either an old Windows CE Handheld PC, or one of the new Windows-Powered Pocket PCs. --Gordon Laing
This guide to Windows CE includes coverage of Win CE features for the third release of the operating system. Text boxes highlight advanced features and expand on additional concepts.