"Handheld PC" is yet another jargon phrase for a sub-notebook mobile computing device.

The main difference between a Handheld PC and a Pocket PC (according to Microsoft) is that a Handheld PC has a half-VGA (640x240 pixels) or full VGA screen (640x480 or 800x600 pixels), whereas a "Pocket PC" only has a quarter-VGA screen (320x240 pixels).

Handheld PCs are probably designed more to be used as single purpose laptops rather than simply being a souped-up PDA. In summary, the spectrum of mobile computing devices is as follows:

  • Organiser - Stores phone numbers, diary events, and small notes. Cannot be programmed. May or may not have simple facility to upload/download to/from a PC for backup.
  • PDA (Personal Digital/Data Assistant) - Similar to an organiser, although will have more document editing features and usually has tighter integration to PC applications such as MS Outlook. May or may not have e-mail and/or WWW access. Usually cannot be programmed.
  • Pocket PC Like a PDA, but has a half-VGA (320x240 pixel) screen and can be programmed. May have GSM mobile phone access, network access, USB ports, wireless gear (Bluetooth) etc.
  • Handheld PC like a Pocket PC but a bit bigger with a half- or full-sized VGA screen. Almost certainly has network access, wireless networking etc.
  • Picturebook Newest jargon to be added by Sony to describe their Vaio C1, a tiny laptop guaranteed to keep chiropractors employed for years fixing the spines of people turned hunchbacked from using it. A fully featured PC, capable of running PC software.
  • Notebook The original jargon word used to distinguish a smaller generation of laptops. Usually has a built in pointing device like a touch pad or a rubber button that feels like a cat's tongue. A fully featured PC, capable of running PC software.
  • Laptop Nowadays a term indistinguishable from notebook, but originally a laptop didn't necessarily have an internal battery and usually had an external mouse. A fully featured PC, capable of running PC software.
Missing from the above list is the kick-arse mobile phone, like the Nokia 9210 which is probably around the Pocket PC level of functionality.

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