The iPAQ expansion pack, also known as “sleeves” or “jackets”, greatly enhances the usability and functionality of iPAQ PDAs, a brand that was launched by Compaq but later became an HP brand following the acquisition of Compaq by HP.
The advantage of an expansion pack is that you can add several new features to your iPAQ with it. These features include wireless capability, extra battery life, CompactFlash cards, PC Cards, Digital Cameras, GPS etc. The possibilities are limitless.
Given their popularity, Compaq/HP has released a range of expansion packs. These include iPAQ CompactFlash Jacket, iPAQ PC Card Jacket, iPAQ Dual PC Card Jacket, iPAQ Wireless Pack for GSM/GPRS and the iPAQ Bluetooth Wireless Pack with CompactFlash slot. As is evident from the branding, the expansion packs perform the same function as their name suggests. Besides this, HP has recently launched an iPAQ Slim Thumb Keyboard Expansion Pack too to make data entry easier and faster.
Several third part vendors too provide expansion packs for iPAq PDAs. These include the FlyJacket released by Automation Technologies for use by executives and businessmen to display their presentations using a NTSC out port. This jacket provides additional remote support and includes a video-in port that allows the user to capture live video.
Denali iT has launched its own jacket for viewing TV on an iPAQ. This is called Mobilian TV. The battery lasts for 5 hours in TV mode. The display format is NTSC with a maximum resolution of 320x240 in color.
For Bluetooth capabilities, iPAQ users need to buy the Bluei jackets. Bluei430 offers a SmartCard reader as well as Bluetooth support. This added functionality helps it overshadow the Bluei420 which has only Bluetooth support. The Bluei630 is even more useful. It supports a camera with video capabilities at 15 frames per second at a resolution of 325x288.
The Compaq Bluetooth plus CF Type II Card Expansion Sleeve also provides Bluetooth capabilities. In this expansion pack, the user can load CF memory cards, the IBM Microdrive, CF network cards and modems to network wirelessly.
The Nexian expansion pack brings digital and video camera capabilities to iPAQs. The quality of NexiCam is outstanding, and users can generate 800x600 pixel pictures. Although there is no optical zoom, digital zoom of upto 2x is possible. The NexiPak has two CompactFlash slots which can be added onto the iPAQ.
With so many expansion packs available in the market, it for the user to decide the one he needs to buy.