Fast Forward Live: Microsoft’s Pocket PC 2003 OS

Microsoft’s new Pocket PC 2003 operating system would have been more accurately named Pocket PC 20023/4, or Pocket PC September 2002. This software (formally named Windows Mobile 2003 software for Pocket PC) adds a few features that will please people with the right hardware and the right wireless lifestyle. But it doesn’t address the weaknesses of its predecessor, making it a poor fit for most consumer use. I spent the past week and a half trying out one of the first handhelds to feature PPC 2003, Hewlett-Packard’s compact (4 inches by 31/2 inches by five-eighths of an inch) but pricey ($400) iPaq 2215. This operating system is also available on new handhelds from Dell, Toshiba, JVC and other vendors, and a handful of wireless “smart phones” carry a similar version. Upgrades for Pocket PC 2002 models will only be available through manufacturers and for a fee — for instance, $30 for most recent iPaqs.