They range in price from $150 to $500, but many students who have invested in handheld computers most commonly referred to as “PalmPilots,” admit the machines” organizational capabilities are worth much more than the cost.
The two leading manufacturers of handheld computers, Pilot and Handspring, both run on the same operating system a program called Palm. And both are eagerly targeting universities across the country in hopes that students will have an interest in Palm”s organizational capabilities.
Julie Staska, Public Relations manager of Handspring Inc., said handheld computers are a growing trend among college students.
“Handheld computers are cropping up across the board. They are not so expensive that every student can”t have one and they are fun and easy to use,” Staska said.
“Handheld computers are primarily organizers. The Palm operating system usually includes a date book, to-do list, address book and memo pad. Handspring computers, called Visors, can be expanded to include cameras, modems, a translation dictionary and mp3 players,” Staska added.
In fact, both PalmPilots and Visors have expansion capabilities but at a price. The electronics chain Best Buy sells the most popular PalmPilot, the 3C, for about $329, and the most popular Visor for about $250. As more and more handheld computers are being used across campus, it appears students are willing to pay these prices for technologically advanced convenience.
LSA sophomore John Schoolmeester said he got his handheld computer for Christmas. He says he uses his Palm mostly for planning long-term events.
“It is useful, but not in the short term,” Schoolmeester said.
Schoolmeester said he believes handheld computers are a growing trend.
“I definitely think more students are getting them. But I don”t think they are using them to their full capacity. I know I am not,” Schoolmeester said.
Rackham first-year student George Golliday said he sees handheld computers all over campus.
“Every time I go to the library I see someone open their PalmPilot to check appointments,” Golliday said.
Like Schoolmeester, Gollidy said he uses his handheld computer mostly for scheduling assignments and interviews.
LSA sophomore Dhiren Mewada, who owns a Handspring Visor, said he does not take advantage of the capabilities of his handheld computer. But he said he likes using a Visor computer better than a typical planner.
“It is more convenient and easier to keep track of ongoing events. It takes up less space than most planners, and there are always those features I don”t use plus, it”s cool,” Mewada said.