short for: palmtop computer a.k.a. handheld device, tablet

An old, generic name for a PC that fits in the palm of a user's hand.

Palmtops can connect to a desktop or a laptop to exchange information; this is called "synchronizing," and it is done with a hardware device called a "cradle" (or via an infrared port).

Early palmtops served as high-tech message pads and personal telephone books, such as the Palm Pilot. They evolved to include handwriting recognition software (graffiti) that made them easier to use than earlier versions. Palmtops continued to morph and began to include word processing programs, games, and eventually modems and/or wireless connections for sending and receiving e-mail and browsing the Web. It is now commonly called a handheld (as in "a handheld device"), but in Europe and parts of Asia, where it has converged with cell phone technology to become an all-around mobile PDA, it is known as a handy.

Historical perspective: Palmtops evolved to include built-in keyboards; Microsoft released a product known as the Pocket PC, there was also the Visor by Handspring, and newer versions of the Palm Pilot that made use of the Palm OS or Windows CE.

See also : handheld device  PDA  tablet  
NetLingo Classification: Net Hardware