My Worst Windows Mobile Device Experience

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As much as I would enjoy bashing my first Cassiopeia with its low-res monochrome screen and endless appetite for AAA batteries, I would have to say that the most pathetic device I bought and tried to use was the Fujitsu PenCentra tablet PC with Windows CE 2000.

The PenCentra was a niche device that ran a special version of Windows CE for tablet based devices and had some real promise as a functional device--at least on paper. Don't get me wrong, the PenCentra had some generous specifications and snappy performance with some really neat items such as a charging/sync base, a USB port for thumb drives and 2 PCMCIA slots.

The real killer that absolutely hobbled the device was the color reflective DSTN LCD with a paltry 256 bit color depth. I suppose Fujitsu thought it was special or maybe just wanted to cut corners but the screen was nearly unreadable in any indoor lighting situation. That was the real curious part, if you went into direct sunlight you could read the screen but go inside and you felt like you were trying to read through dirty glass. The backlight had three brightness settings you could try; Low, lower, barely glowing and you could turn it off completely. Oddly enough, turning the backlight off usually produced a clearer image than when it was on. The LCD glass was so thick it felt like you were never right on where you wanted to be and it was very unresponsive to anything other than full force pressure so freehand writing was almost impossible.

I had hoped to use it for business so as to impress customers with my technical wizardry and cool electronic notepad but I quickly realized that this was not so cool after all. It now resides in my gadget graveyard, probably having endless conversations with my Apple Newton on who works better.

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