Can't afford a PDA? Read all about it!

Review of "The ATT&T EO Travel Guide"

by Alan Zisman (c) 1994. First published in Our Computer Player, March 18, 1994

"The ATT&T EO Travel Guide"
by Ken Maki
published by John Wiley & Sons

PDAs (Personal Digital Assistants) are hot. These little, mobile
computers, such as the Apple Newton (also out in a version by
Sharp), and the Tandy/Casio competitors, are hyped to go anywhere,
reading your handwritten notes.

Of course, as a new technology, reality comes crashing down. Their
limitations have been widely noted, even by the comics'
Doonesbury. And have you actually seen anyone using one?

Less well known in the PDA media hype, is the EO from AT&T. Bigger
and more expensive than the better-known models, it's being
marketed as a 'Personal Communicator'. It can provide people on
the go with fax and e-mail, for prices starting at $1999 (US list)
and rising from there.

You get a pen interface, 8 meg of ROM (!), and a PCMCIA slot
allowing you to add a harddrive, along with a 7.5 inch LCD panel

Heavier than the other units at about a kilogram, the EO sports
two Mickey Mouse ears, which provide a speaker and a microphone
for voice annotation. The batteries are rated as lasting for 4
hours, though use of the cell-phone option drains them much more
rapidly-- one plus of the EO is its built in phone support, by
both standard phone line or cellular links.

For your money, you get 9 applications including: Pensoft, a personal
information manager, a fax manager, an AT&T Mail account, MiniNote
for quick text and sketches, and GoWrite, to recognize your
handwriting. All applications support fax and E-mail.

There are two models... the basic EO 440 and the pricier (by $
1000) EO 880, which adds size and weight, along with a second
PCMCIA slot, a 64meg hard disk, a SCSI II port, and a second 4
megs of RAM.

Despite some limitations, this will be the dream machine for many
mobile workers.

I don't have one, and don't expect to. But I can dream.

And that's where Ken Maki's "AT&T EO Travel Guide" comes in for
me. Describing itself as a "complete guide to mobile computing
with the AT&T EO Personal Communicator", it's got two main

If you're one of the lucky ones who has an EO, this book will get
you up to speed with your new acquisition quickly and easily. From
operating system to applications, to fax, e-mail, and other
communications features, you'll be at work in no time.

And for those of us who can't justify the $2000-4000 for a fully-
equiped EO, the $30 or so for this book will give us something to
day-dream about.

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Alan Zisman is a Vancouver educator, writer, and computer specialist. He can be reached at E-mail Alan