NEC MobilePro 900C Handheld PC

most people today are aware of what a netbook is it is a small laptop computer usually quite inexpensive for people who just need a computer for basic tasks my Lenovo ThinkPad x1 30 II is one of the larger and more expensive netbooks of its time but uh the netbook as you may know is quite a recent invention netbooks have only been around for three or four years well before the netbook came along if you needed a small computer for basic tasks you bought a device called a handheld PC well today for your viewing pleasure I have such a device and here it is this is an NEC mobile pro 900 C this is a so-called handheld PC and it was made in 2004 this is a very small laptop style computer that meets all the hardware requirements to be called an official handheld PC like the Ultrabook of today the term handheld PC was a trademark I’m not sure who it was held by it might have been by a group of companies but it was a trademark that could only be applied to computers that met all the specific hardware and software requirements to earn the title well this unit the NEC mobile pro 900 C was the last the most powerful and one of the largest handheld PCs but you can see it is small enough for me to comfortably pick it up with one hand and I do have small hands I’ve been wanting a handheld PC for at least a couple of years I first heard of them a couple of years ago and for a boat is long I’ve been reading a wonderful website definitely the best website on the planet for people who want to read about handheld PCs and a cup and their older cousins called palm top pcs it’s the best website and the place to go it’s called HPC factor com and I’ve always wanted one of these but I’ve never been able to have on because the price that perfect working units go for was always prohibitive perfect working units like this one usually go for around a hundred dollars well I got this one including shipping for a total of about forty dollars unfortunately what the seller didn’t mention and what they’re very crappy photos failed to show was that cosmetically you can see this unit is very strange-looking someone has painted it in a very crappy silver gray paint it’s supposed to say the name of the product right here and although it doesn’t look like the blue parts here were painted they are still covered in a very weird substance but at the inside of the unit is immaculate which I’ll show you in a couple of moments and the underside is fine and this works absolutely perfect so the seller might have not been entirely truthful about this thing but uh for the price I got it for I’m happy anyway so first we’ll go over the outside of the unit we have the latched open the display we have a compact flash card slot we have a headphone jack we have a built-in microphone battery status and alarm LEDs we go over to the right side we have a PCMCIA card slot a USB port a mini USB port to hook it to a desktop computer we have an infrared port and on the left side we have a modem we have the power jack we have a proprietary external display port and we have a proprietary serial port and now I’ll open the device up there’s what it looks like we have a keyboard here it’s a 92% size keyboard so it is actually quite comfortable to type on there it says handheld PC and you can see here what is this well if we pull it out it’s a stylus why because this thing has a touchscreen that was one of the hardware requirements for a handheld PC is that they have a touchscreen and they use that as a mode of user input instead of a built-in trackpad or other pointing device

this was the pointing device although if you want to you can use a USB mouse on this thing now handheld PCs in terms of hardware and software are not like desktop computers at all I’ll give you the hardware specifications of this thing to start with this device has an intel xscale px a 255 processor this is an arm compatible processor that runs at 400 megahertz it has 64 megabytes of RAM and it has 32 megabytes of internal flash storage there is no hard drives and the only mode of using either internal or external storage on these things is via the compact flash slot the PCMCIA slot and the USB port the operating system on this saying is not like what you’d find on a desktop PC and it does not operate like one you’d find on a desktop PC either this thing runs an operating system called windows ce e and you might have heard of it before Windows CE II is a sort of mini version of Windows that runs its own subset of software and is compatible with its own subset of certain hardware the first version of Windows CE EK mode in 1994 and it’s still being developed today i do believe it’s not called window c ii anymore a couple of years ago the name was changed to Windows Embedded compact which is kind of strange because now it’s Windows EC but anyhow window see II was written for a bunch of architectures it runs on arm it runs on MIPS it runs on SH 3 it does run on the x86 platform and I do believe a couple of others so this thing runs Windows CE net version 4.2 was just kind of a special name Microsoft gave because it was with Windows CE e-version for that Microsoft had started implementing a mobile version of framework bla bla bla there’s nothing really special about it it’s windows ce e 4.2 on the current version of Windows CE II is I believe 7 I believe 7 but you can actually still buy very cheap netbooks from China that are actually running a Windows EE 5 or 6 so this runs Windows EE 4.2 what’s very interesting and I think ingenious is how the operating system actually works the operating system in this thing is stored in ROM I believe something like 16 megabytes of ROM and when you boot up the device for the very first time ever the operating system loads itself out of ROM and into Ram I’m talking the entire operating system copies itself from ROM into Ram it’s only like it’s less than 16 megabytes the entire operating system and it loads itself completely into Ram and from that point on it never accesses ROM again from that point on the device completely and always resides in random access memory and the only time it’ll ever have to touch its permanent copy in ROM ever again is if you need to do a hard reset of the device they’re there by clearing Ram and it has to copy itself into Ram again and of course if that happens everything that has been changed in the operating system any programs you’ve installed or anything are on because usually it’s actually not very good practice but by default you install programs into RAM just like the operating systems in RAM so if you do a hard reset it’s just like starting all over again from scratch now because the operating system in theory always and only always is used in RAM and everything stored in RAM you can actually choose in the operating system how much RAM you want to dedicate to storage storage of the operating system and any programs and files you put there and how much RAM you want to dedicate to acting as actual RAM in which to run programs it’s very interesting and I’ll demonstrate it later so yes this thing is 64 megabytes of RAM and the entire operating system lives in it so what I want to do before I built this thing up I just want to show you the underside and oops oh yeah that should be locked as you can see there’s a backup battery door here inside here lives a cr2032 battery and that keeps the RAM alive when the device is turned off which

obviously you need so yeah because the operating system and all your programs live in RAM if the backup battery were to ever die or something like that and the device were to completely lose electricity then better hope you have a backup saved because you’re losing everything so we’ll look at the stickers here there’s a speaker there’s a reset button that’s to do a soft reset which isn’t like a hard reset with a soft reset the RAM is still intact so you don’t lose anything you have to do a soft reset once in a while in case the device freezes up so what I’ve done is I took the main battery out this is the main battery which has also been nicely painted I took the main battery oh and the backup battery oh so the device is completely clean now when I turn it on it’s going to be just like turning it on for the first time I do have a backup saved on the desk pro that all load back onto the sink so you can see the programs and other stuff I’ve done with this but for now let’s turn it on for theoretically the very first time so now there’s a startup screen the device is currently loading the operating system from wrong into RAM and it’s going to go through the whole startup sequence and there we go you might have heard little thing there and it’s asking us to calibrate the screen so let me take out the stylus here and we’ll calibrate the screen better to do with when you have both hands so one can hold on the device and all right we’ll press ENTER and it says before using your mobile pro machine for the first time is strongly yet it wants to format the the internal 32 megabytes flash memory but I don’t want to do that because I have something stored there proceed with setup no and there we go so we’re here now before I get into other stuff I just want to mention um handheld pcs the first handheld pcs were introduced in 1996 and of course this machine was the very last of them manufactured from 2003 to 2005 and this one was made in 2004 if you haven’t figured it out by now handheld pcs are related to the much more popular and much more successful pocket pcs handheld pcs are in the form factor of a laptop and they have a physical keyboard pocket PCs are in the form of a PDA and they usually don’t have a physical keyboard pocket pcs are devices such as the Compaq iPAQ and the Dell Aksum and they run the same software they also run Windows EE just like handheld PCs and in the end they proved more popular and pocket pcs continue to be developed in terms of hardware and software improvements and handheld PCs just kind of died out which is unfortunate because I think in terms of actual utility use handheld PCs are much more useful they have a physical keyboard very much better for typing stuff with a Pocket PC you’d have to buy an outboard keyboard that you’d hook up to it handheld PCs and pocket pcs while they run the same underlying operating system Windows EE they run different flavors of Windows CE e on all the early handheld pcs not this one but pretty much every handheld PC that preceded this one ran a flavor of window see II called handheld PC the last version being handheld PC mm pocket pcs they ran their own flavor of window see II called Pocket PC and the last version of that was I believe Pocket PC 2002 on the Pocket PC flavor of window see II was succeeded by Windows Mobile and of course Windows Mobile was succeeded by Windows Phone so obviously pocket pcs had a much larger impact in the world of window seee than handheld pcs did I guess it went to sleep yeah without a doubt the

most popular handheld pcs ever made we’re the ones made by hewlett-packard called the giornata and if you search handheld PC you’re going to find either HP giornata x’ or NEC Mobile pros the NEC mobile Pro line was the second most popular handheld PCs and they were also the largest I believe all of the NEC mobile pro handheld PCs were large like this one making it possible to have a nearly full size keyboard that was very easy to type on the HP giornata x’ they are much smaller and as such they have a smaller keyboard something like three-quarters of full size and so they’re not really that good for touch typing on but other small size does make them quite attractive the mobile pro is also much more powerful than the journos this is the quintessential mobile pro when you search any see mobile pro the 900 C is going to be the unit you hear of most and it of course has a 400 megahertz intel xscale processor the quintessential giornata the giornata 720 it has a 200 megahertz I want to say a 200 megahertz MIPS processor no you know the giornata 720 has a 206 megahertz intel sa-11 one zero or something like that and it runs at 200 megahertz on the giornata also lacks a USB port and a couple other features that this thing has but uh the giornata 720 is a voted the most popular handheld PCs the mobile pro 900 and it’s brother this unit the 900 C they are the second most popular the 900 and the 900 C are exactly the same unit this is the 900 CE the only difference is the software in ROM the 900 runs handheld PC 2000 which is based on Windows C III point oh and this unit the 900 CE has Windows CE e 4.2 they both have their merits but as a rule this unit which has the newer version of C II is compatible with more software and more hardware devices so I’m going to quit my blabbing let’s take a look at this thing now as you’ve probably already seen one of the merits of Windows CE II is that it’s able to start up instantly you close it and it goes to sleep and when you open it there’s no delay for start-up time it turns on automatically and such is the same when I hit the power button now is to sleep now it’s awake and there is no such thing as turning one of these off this is as off as you’re going to get the only way you’re going to get it to completely turn off is if you remove the main battery in the backup battery and after that well the RAM is going to be clear and you’re going to have to start over from scratch because the operating system is stored in RAM now let’s see what we have here change my white balance here it’s uh as you can see it doesn’t doesn’t really keep its balance on this bed very good but there’s a right contact you can see it looks quite a bit like Windows XP it does have internet explorer it’s a mobile version of Internet Explorer 6 so it doesn’t work that well anymore but there’s a mobile version of Outlook Excel viewer a picture viewer Windows Media Player 9 WordPad you can connect to a desktop computer PowerPoint Viewer a PDF viewer and word viewer and of course these are all mobile versions of their respective desktop counterparts Wow it’s really quick time out there annoys me um one of the things one of the merits the handheld PC mm does have over C II 4.2 is that it came with a suite of applications called pocket office where is C e 4.2 does not have pocket office it just has the office viewers but not the full office applications that was fixed someone from HPC factor actually ripped the pocket office applications so 900 C owners like me could throw them on here and they can have the full pocket office programs so let’s take a look at some more stuff with flea open the Start menu it’s not it’s a it’s not too far it’s not a very much unlike desktop Windows so there’s a suite of applications it comes with from the start ink writer is a kind of like paint but it’s fur so you can write stuff and it works horribly the touch screen is not

meant for writing but I can say hello my dad writing doesn’t help either 2 X plus 4 equals 8 so it means 2 X equals 4 x equals 2 I know my math can also put a text box hello anyway I wish it was better for writing or I’d actually try make some use of it but it’s just horrible like the display is oops I’m on the text the display is not meant for writing stuff as much as it is just pointing and clicking okay do you want to save god no all right this is hard to do on the video because this thing keeps tipping over I’ll be right back I couldn’t flip over so much now so it’s going to programs and we do have a command problem but it’s not like da style at least I don’t believe it works much like DOS if we try a command here cannot I see you I believe directory works oh yeah there’s a directory of the contents and look it some more yeah Explorer media player WordPad show you what WordPad looks like like I said they’re scaled-down versions of the of their desktop counterparts I’m going to increase the contrast a bit those buttons here to increase the contrast we can go way up or way down actually good there’s also brightness controls like that and we can type and I can type my name but uh it might seem like these aren’t very useful but in reality there’s a ton of software people have written for these things including today with the open source movement there are people writing open source software for these things these things have a huge suite of software for them we have solitaire which I have played a game on and one before works quite well you just drag the cards around by the way um I should have mentioned before I noticed the very wide display on these things most handheld PCs were based on what is called HVGA meaning half VGA the resolution is 640 by 240 pixels and 90% of handheld pcs we’re HVGA based units on the there were ones based on full vga displays calculator and oh we do have a voice recorder so later what I’ll do is I’ll make a voice recording and I’ll play it back through the olympus ls7 so you’ll see what the voice recording quality on this is like it’s actually really good now if we go into the control panel there it is blah blah blah to go to display it actually comes with like three actually to our icons it comes with one background window so we click OK which is up here we go to the desktop and hey we got a background now so if we go to power there’s our batteries this thing actually is a really good battery on it new these were advertised to have I believe three to eight hours of battery life um I get just about that out of this battery so this thing actually is a really good battery Hey look at that now it won’t turn off on us all the time our volume control I wish they had these things in the system tray the power and volume icons but they don’t but there are applications you can install to get them here’s our volume you can turn off the sounds for the screen taps and you can put your own sounds if you want load them on and the system so those are

system dialog says X scale px a 255 there’s our rap and just to reiterate what I said before the sing has both RAM and flash storage 64 megabytes of RAM and two megabytes of flash storage the flash storage is purely for data storage like a hard drive but the RAM can be used for storage or actual RAM to run programs in and that’s where we go to the memory tab where you can allocate sections of the RAM as either storage or program memory and as it sets by default we have 16 megabytes allocated for storage and the rest 48 megabytes for use as RAM and you can change yours on the fly to wherever you want so if you have really big programs that you don’t need a lot of memory to run you can throw it over to the left side if you only run small programs but you want to store them all in RAM which isn’t recommended by the HPC community you can throw it over towards the right side so I’ll throw that over there but they do recommend to allocate it all as Ram and store as much as possible on the internal storage or on a compact flash card so that’s it so what I’ll do now is I’ll make it recording and you get to hear how the recording quality of this thing is I am now recording using the built-in microphone on the NEC mobile pro 900 C handheld PC I’m recording in the highest quality which is 22 kilohertz PCM 16-bit mono sound I get to keep this recording short because it’s being stored in RAM so as you heard it doesn’t sound too terribly bad um I’ll go into my computer here just to show you what all is in there so we have the folder called internal disk which is the 32 megabyte flash storage there’s my backup file that’s in there which is the reason I don’t want to format the RAM what it asked me we have where your programs are installed to program files some programs also up to install in Windows and if I were to plug a USB flash drive into the USB port which Windows CE e 4.2 does support it would show up here as well and it would be called hard disk if I were to plug in a compact flash card it would be cold storage card and as a matter of fact I bought a compact flash card for this thing and it’s on the way here and it’s coming back it’s coming to my mailbox at university so whether it’s arrived or not I don’t know I won’t know until I go back after March break so what I’m going to do is I’m going to hook this thing up to the desk pro so I can show you the syncing features because one of the things about these handheld pcs is that they were really meant to be used as a companion to a regular desktop PC and as such it was very important that you hook these up to a desktop PC in order to synchronize data between them data such as emails and documents and to keep a backup of the device itself so in case you had to do a hard reset or something else happened and you lost everything in RAM you could hook it up to your desktop PC and restore it so I have a backup stored on the desk row so I’m going to hook this thing up to the desk Pro and show you the backup and restore features and then we’ll go over some of the software that I’ve installed on this thing so I have the NEC sitting on top of the desk pro here on my wonderful shelf can’t really see the screen there but it’ll work and so this is now a dual purpose computer it reads the video from this camcorder and it synchronizes with this thing unfortunately handheld pcs do not support Windows Vista or 7 you have to be you have to be running between Windows 95 and Windows XP so I just all you needs a regular USB cable plug into the mini USB port um there it recognized it we get an icon beside the clock there and because I reset it the desk pro thinks it’s a brand new device so I don’t want to set up a new partnership

so what we do is we go to tools backup restore go to the restore tab and restore now and I believe this this one blah blah blah your device will be returned to the state it was when it was backed up proceed with restore yes please and it’ll take a couple of minutes to do the restore and doesn’t say anything on the screen but what it’s going to do is now it’s going to write to the RAM everything that was stored in the backup and it’s going to make note of what should be removed from RAM in order for the device to be like it was when it was backed up so it’s going to write everything to ram then tell me to soft reset to the device and when I do that it will be back to the way it was when I backed up and I’ve installed a bunch of pretty cool programs to the thing so once this restore is done I’ll be able to show you those programs okay it’s a few days later I’ve been pretty busy I got this thing restored back to the way I had it with all the programs I installed on it this thing’s been acting pretty lethargic it must be something I installed but I I’ll clean it out and actually just delete my restore and redo it all over once I get the compact flash card I got so I can upgrade the bootloader and the ROM but it’s working right now and I’ll show you some of the programs I’ve installed on here I get a pretty cool background here this came from HPC factor so first of all I’ll show you Microsoft Pocket word there it is and it’s got a few different fonts it’s got the spell checker a separate program does the word count and there it is it does have the ability to display graphics although you have to in order to add graphics to a document it’s it’s a pretty complicated process it’s not very straightforward but there’s that and I’ll choose the keyboard here show you excel pocket excel there it is it’s pretty sweet and it doesn’t I believe a handheld PC mm does come with full pocket PowerPoint but for some reason the person who ripped the applications didn’t include it they just included the PowerPoint Viewer so maybe the pocket PowerPoint doesn’t work right on C II 4.2 but there you go and allows you to open a PowerPoint now I have a flash drive hooked up to the USB port this does have full support for a flash drive very good support and I have on this flash drive a whack of programs that were on a CD that the guy who sold me this thing included so I have the shortcut to the flash drive right here so we’ll open it up and go here see a little animated logo there go to this folder sometimes it takes a little bit to load there we go good games now much of the software on this is a Pocket PC and windows mobile software which while some of it will run on this thing it doesn’t display right it displays on the left side of the screen and the bottom is cut off so it’s pretty much unusable and right now it’s doing something that it does quite often it’s frozen up trying to load all the icons so it might be a minute but I once it loads I’ll open a couple of programs for you okay now here’s a game I think’s pretty fun it’s called 5 cross it’s like a tic-tac-toe on steroids you have this huge grid here and on the X I’ll just place it an X wherever and you win the game if you get 5 across either way diagonal straight whatever and you have to block your opponent too so I’ll go here until somebody wins um looks like the computer is going to win and you have it’s a fun game I’ve played it quite a bit so we’ll get out of line ah here’s a pocket PC version of battleship as you can see the graphics

are kind of screwed up I can’t see the bottom half of the opponents play field there’s probably some program I can install so that I can see the bottom half of Pocket PC software and now it’s not there we go but let’s that’s another one that works right on the handheld PC so we’ll open a new game and point of this one is you got a any two or more bubbles that are directly adjacent to each other you can tap on them to delete them and that makes a the rest of them on the left shift over and basically the object is to get rid of as many bubbles as possible sounds pretty cool and anyway yeah there’s a whole bunch of crap on here minesweeper unfortunately that doesn’t even open not a valid window seee application that means uh it’s probably for Pocket PC or Windows Mobile and I’m missing a DLL needed to run it the custom ROM that someone made for these things includes all the DLLs you need to run Pocket PC and Windows Mobile software so that’s really great so uh once I get back to University where hopefully my compact flash card is in my mailbox that I’ll be able to upgrade to that custom ROM and that’ll make things a lot better so um what I think I’ll do now I forget if I mentioned before but the seller of this thing also included a PCMCIA wireless card so I can actually get on the internet on this thing the wireless card is only compatible with 802 11 B but our network here ernet works a G network so it’s directly backwards compatible with B so at least here at home I can use this thing on the Internet and so I’ll grab the card and show you that right now so here’s the card it’s a Linksys WPC 11 version three and it’s an 802 11 card from I believe the late 1990s and it works well and because this is not a card bus card this is only a 16-bit PCMCIA card since this things are compatible with card bus if I ever get a really old you know a really old regular laptop that has a PCMCIA slot this will be pretty great to get on the Internet presuming it’s running Windows 95 or something compatible wireless internet but I will wake this up and put this in there we go and you get this morning’s I’m running on the batteries no matter and you can see the card is alive we got our network icon there that should change in a minute or so there we go and we’re on the network now I’ll open up Internet Explorer it’s a mobile version of Internet Explorer 6 and it really doesn’t do jack crap on the internet at all I go to a really basic website for handheld PCs it’s called HP seaman X dot net and it’s a text-only website all that’s in it is text so it should load right up Internet Explorer is very slow I have another web browser installed that works so well that you can actually browse the modern Internet with it with no problem at all so uh I’ll just prove that Internet Explorer somewhat works but then we’ll switch to that other web browser well two minutes later it decided to load and I get this box which I don’t get why Microsoft didn’t correct this look at the bottom of the box is cut off and this is a handheld PC program so I don’t know why Microsoft just overlooked this Carlton here but I do know if I press tab two times and then press ENTER it gets rid of it and hey here’s the website so we can go down all it is is text this site has a lot of great software and the custom ROM for handheld PCs especially the NEC mobile pro 900 series and uh yeah it works barely this this web browser doesn’t even load Google now I’ve never seen a web browser that couldn’t load Google I the 16-bit version of Internet Explorer 5.5 I believe this 5.5 that runs on Windows 3.1 even that will low Google that this one so we’ll get out of that because it sucks and we’ll open a much better web browser once my desktop loads here and it is right here and it’s opera upper

mini five this is the last version to run on handhelds PCs it was released in 2010 it has a bug where the taskbar is completely unusable and it covers up the buttons on the bottom of the browser but I can still barely press them and bring it up and this web browser works absolutely amazing for example I’ll go to slash the very time and enter there we go and we’re on the mobile version of YouTube there’s my page 92% of my views were lost when YouTube decided that a non viewable videos didn’t count anymore but I we can take the pen and scroll like this here’s my latest videos at the time of making this here’s some silent shadows for everybody and we can also just use the arrow keys go down and the desktop version also works we’ll click desktop and I’m going to change my white balance and there’s the desktop version of the page which seems to more or less render somewhat correctly this does support Adobe Flash although only up to version 7 back when it was Macromedia flash the yeah we can scroll side to side here now here’s where you can see the DST end display at its finest it takes so long for the pixels to change color so you get a lot of ghosting it makes watching videos um kind of weird to do on this thing Hey look at that I hit fourteen hundred subscribers even cool I almost forgot this little guy down here this little microchip that’s another program I installed you can actually overclock these things the stock speeds 400 megahertz I can bump it up to 472 and now we’re running at 472 megahertz where things do run quite a bit faster now I want to close that the desktop refreshes faster now likewise I can under clock it as you may have seen all the way down to 100 megahertz when that happens things slow to a crawl watch the USB Drive open it’s pretty slow now we’ll close it good for save and battery life we’ll go back to 472 you can go faster than that you can go to 5:30 but a mo for most people including myself it’s not successful it just causes everything to crash so we won’t go to 5:30 well that’s about all there is to show for now of the NEC mobile pro 900 CE and held PC from 2004 it’s definitely a bit rough around the edges right now just where I’m still learning how to do everything and use it properly I’m still figuring out what applications work and don’t work I’ve installed some applications that don’t work the way they’re supposed to and that’s kind of screwed some stuff up but uh once I get back to University and get my compact flash drive I’ll be able to upgrade the firmware in the bootloader and that’ll include all the software needed to run a lot of the programs because I think the reason a lot of the programs that I’m trying on this aren’t running is simply because I don’t have the required dll’s and stuff installed so once I get all that stuff done and get this thing working a bit more fully I’ll make an update video and show you some more stuff so until then I hope you enjoyed this video and I’ll see you guys next time