Laptops are great tools. They've allowed security administrators to take their tools on the road and freed them from relying on access to a storage server. For some security consultants, it might be nearly impossible to get any work done without a laptop.
One downside of laptops is that sometimes they can be bulky to carry around. Plus when you need to use a laptop, you must take it out of the bag, find a place to set it (on your lap if necessary), and start it up. Then when you're done, you must reverse the whole process. A task that will take you 5 minutes on the computer winds up taking 10 minutes overall.
Now, new mobile devices are poised to improve our situation once again. New handheld devices are powerful, flexible, and relatively easy to use. They can run a full-blown OS (as opposed to a scaled down, limited version), provide plenty of storage, are lightweight, and are ready to use almost instantly nearly any time and any place.
New devices are coming to market. One that you might have already heard about is Microsoft's Ultra-Mobile PC (UMPC), code-named The Origami Project.
UMPC runs Windows XP Tablet PC Edition, has a 7-inch display with a minimum of 800 x 480 dpi resolution, includes network connectivity, has a 40GB hard drive, and weighs about 2 pounds. UMPC won't fit in your pocket, but it would fit in some purses, and you'll be able to hold it in your hand to get work done when necessary. Microsoft's UMPC will cost under $1000.
Some might think that UMPC is just another tablet PC. While that might be true in the most basic sense, tablet PCs have significant advantages over laptops, most notably the ease of use. One thing missing from UMPC is a keyboard. I must have a keyboard, even though I like handhelds' touch screens. A demo at Intel's site (first URL below) shows an ultra-mobile device that does have a keyboard (second URL below). I want this one!
Another new device is the DualCor cPC. This device weighs only 1.1 pounds and features two processors and two OSs: Windows XP Tablet PC Edition and Windows Mobile. The device also has a 40GB hard drive and 5-inch display with 800 x 480 dpi resolution. The price is $1500 retail, with discounts for volume purchases.
Another handheld computer comes from OQO. The OQO model 01+ has a 30GB drive, weighs only 14 ounces, and is small enough to put in your pocket. The screen size is 5 inches. The model 01+ has a mini-keyboard that slides out from under the display. Hold on to your hats for the price: the Windows Tablet PC Edition sells for $2099 retail!
For a decent comparison of several handheld computers, including some that I didn't have room to mention here and some that don't run Windows Tablet PC Edition, visit the handtops.com Web site at the URL below.