Experiment in moving from a HP200lx to a Nokia 9290 - Running DOS on the Communicator

Background: As a long-time HP200lx fan (I purchased my first in 1995) I've strayed from the platform a couple of times and tried other handhelds - first a Palm III and later a HP Jornada 568. Each time I came back to the HP200lx, first because I vastly prefer the 'clam-shell with keyboard' form factor, and because neither of those handhelds could do as well the utilitarian things that I could do with the 200lx. I'm obviously not putting color screens, playing movies and music, etc. into the "utilitarian" category... others may disagree... Now, I've purchased a Nokia 9290 Communicator and am going to see if I can switch over and put my trusty HP200lx into mothballs. Very brief and quick first impressions:

Running DOS on the 9290:   As I noted above this is an experiment to see if I can switch over. To ease the transition I downloaded the XTM DOS emulator from NB Info. This allows you to run DOS programs and also supports HP200lx Int5h. Installation was a snap following their instructions. I loaded XTM on the 9290 (see desktop screen shot below), then launched the program.

Ah, the familiar DOS prompt. Directory A is your DOS image, C is the Communicator's memory and your MMC card is the D drive.

Having already copied over the necessary files to the Nokia's MMC (using a Targus USB reader) I tried to fire up App Manager. No luck. However a quick visit to the NB Info web site told me to delete cg.com from the app200.bat file, and after doing that App Manager fired right up. You can run the DOS emulator either via the typical 9290 way, or full screen if you prefer. See below:

From the first screen shot you see that NB Info has compensated for the missing function keys. You press the Fn key and it brings up 'virtual' keyboard, allowing you to choose which one you want (so that the F10 Save on the HP200lx is replaced by Fn key followed by the zero.)

The following screenshots are of various App Manager and DOS programs. They run just fine, though the speed seems a shade slower than a DS HP200lx. Of the programs I have tried thus far the CPACK Appointment program launches fine but then produces an "XTM KERN-EXEC Reason number 3" (??) error, which closes XTM, and HDM will run but produces a "missing command.com" error message if you try and launch another program from it.

When running these programs Chr + M often (but not always) brings up the menus. When it doesn't Chr + F usually does. Note: Don't forget to make a _DAT directory on the Communicator for all the programs that generate env files.   So, the bottom line is that so far the DOS emulator works really well. Now that I have some of my HP200lx programs with me the experiment is not going to be entirely "cold turkey." I can start up the DOS emulator and AppManager and leave them running, and switch back and forth between XTM and the other 9290 applications.

Will I make the switch this time or go back to my trusty HP200lx?? Please stand by...
© SNi 08/09/02

The experiment is now over - I've mothballed my 32MB DS HP200lx, and am using the 9290 Communicator.
See here for a review of the 9290 Communicator

© SNi 11/30/02