Which Wireless Devices Can Access the Internet?

Handheld electronic devices have become even more popular than personal computers. And now a variety of handheld devices including cell phones, personal digital assistants (PDAs), and pagers include wireless Internet access. These devices allow you to surf the Web, check e-mail, and perform other tasks, all in one convenient, portable package.

Cell Phones

All cell phone vendors now offer models with minibrowsers that let you surf the Web and check your e-mail. When you choose a cell phone with Web access, weigh its features against the cost and make sure you’re satisfied with the phone’s weight and keypad layout. When you choose a service plan, always ask about special deals: Competitive service providers will often throw in some free features to entice you to sign up. You should also check back periodically to compare rates; your own provider might be offering new customers a better deal than the one you already have!

Two-Way Pagers

If you prefer something smaller than a mobile phone, you might want to consider an Internet-ready two-way pager (though many phones are now as small as pagers). Pagers have very small keys, making it tough to type out extensive messages, but they’re perfect for short, standard responses. If you want a more complete set of features, though, you’ll want to consider a PDA.

Personal Digital Assistants

The advent of cellular data connections and wireless technology means many PDAs come Internet-ready. Tiny black-and-white screens are now a thing of the past, as all but the cheapest PDAs now feature full-color screens.

Again, wireless service is extra, so don’t forget to factor that cost into your projections.

Which Device Is Right for You?

Can’t decide between a PDA, cell phone, or two-way pager? Well, you may not have to.

Smartphones, which run on Palm OS, Symbian, or Windows Mobile, combine a compact mobile phone with e-mail, a PDA, text messaging, Web access, and multimedia applications into a single device.