Can a Laptop act like a Blackberry???

  Mjones68 10:01 19 May 2006

I’d really appreciate some advice if anyone can help.

I run a small sales business from home and virtually live on my PC. I’ve developed quite a sophisticated Database using Microsoft Outlook (I also use Word and quicken) to keep track of my clients and when I travel, I normally take a laptop with me, however I then have all of the issues of only picking up Emails with a dial up connection. I’ve thought about a Blackberry, but feel that this probably wouldn’t be powerful enough for my Outlook application and wondered if there was anyway that I could buy a very small Laptop that would take a Blackberry type Sim card. I thought that the best way of synchronising each laptop would be, to just keep a small separate file on my portable laptop that I could then send back to my main laptop when I returned to my office and then each time I was planning to leave my office with the portable laptop, I could just completely backup my main laptop drive across to the portable machine. So my questions are:

1) Can a laptop act like Blackberry
2) What would be the most cost effective way of ‘data’ roaming (I mainly work between UK, Belgium, Germany and Portugal)
3) Can anyone recommend a very, small lightweight portable (I thought something with a 8-10 inch screen would be about right)

Thanks in advance

  Diodorus Siculus 10:54 19 May 2006

I'd go down a different route - get a PDA that will connect via wifi or with a SIM card and it will collect your mail and sync with Outlook on your laptop. That way you will have all your contacts, appointments etc within easy reach.

I've got the O2 XDA Exec and it's a wonderful little beast. It cam unlocked so I put in my Orange SIM card when away from a wi-fi source.

O2 Xda microsite : Xda Exec
click here

Having said all that, I like what you suggest above... I look forward to seeing some positive replies.

  Forum Editor 19:06 19 May 2006

which is one of God's gifts to the corporate traveller as far as I'm concerned.

I also travel with a (very neat) laptop, because I need access to hundreds of files, and software applications, but that's the way I have to work - I wouldn't take the laptop if email was all I needed, because the Blackberry handles that superbly.

  Diodorus Siculus 19:32 19 May 2006

So can the two be combinedas Mikey T asks?


  The Regster 17:31 20 May 2006

The Flybook click here has a SIM card slot, so can connect to GSM mobile networks. You can then connect your laptop like a mobile phone. It says it supports GPRS so it should be quicker than dial-up (but not 3G).

To get email instantaneously (like a Blackberry) you would have to fork out for an MS Exchange Server hosting service if you don't have MS Exchange Server yourself (here as an example) click here

This runs your email and with the right version (usually a small charge on top of the mail hosting) will 'push' your email to your laptop as it arrives, just like a Blackberry receives email. You would then receive mobile email whenever your laptop is connected a mobile network.

The latest pda's using Windows Mobile 5.0 also support this type of application, so depending on your mobile provider, your emails will arrive with you as soon as they are sent. These pda's run a stripped down version of Outlook, so it may or may not support your database. Orange have lots of stuff on their website about this type of service. I have not searched the other networks, but this is a start.

click here

The big disadvantage of all this is roaming costs for data (I have been charged £10 per MB in Italy). If someone sends you a chunky attachment, it could cost you dear. Costs should drop as the networks are being forced to reduce roaming charges, but it may still be prohibitive for a while yet.

As you operate in so many countries, I cannot see a cost effective solution other than buying a SIM for each country and swapping each time. This would be a hassle, but the real problem could be entering all the necessary settings - and in four/ five languages!!!

As for the laptop, if you don't fancy a Flybook, go for a datacard option like this one click here), just make sure the laptop has a PCMCIA slot - not all mini notebooks do.

Hope that helps.

The Regster

  Forum Editor 10:55 21 May 2006

with Outlook on my laptop, but to be honest I don't bother. The Blackberry polls up to 10 POP3 mailboxes every 15 minutes (I only use two), so I see all inbound mail very regularly. It's really a very good device, everything works perfectly, it's easy to operate, and I can even access all the mail via my own BlackBerry homepage if I need to. The big advantage is that I can send and receive email wherever there's a GPRS-enabled network, which is pretty much anywhere on the planet these days. I don't have to bother with wireless networks, and the BlackBerry slips into a shirt pocket.

I have attachments disabled, so I don't get charged whacking great amounts if I'm roaming.

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