A Pocket PC (P/PC, PPC) is also known by Microsoft as a 'Windows Mobile Classic device'. It is a hardware specification for a handheld-sized computer, personal digital assistant (PDA), that runs the Microsoft 'Windows Mobile Classic' operating system. It has some of the abilities of modern desktop PCs.
As of 2010, thousands of applications exist for handhelds adhering to the Microsoft Pocket PC specification, many of which are freeware Some of these devices are also mobile phones. Microsoft-compliant Pocket PCs can be used with many add-ons such as GPS receivers, barcode readers, RFID readers, and cameras.
In 2007, with the advent of Windows Mobile 6, Microsoft dropped the name Pocket PC in favor of a new naming scheme. Devices without an integrated phone are called Windows Mobile Classic devices instead of Pocket PCs. Devices with an integrated phone and a touch screen are called Windows Mobile Professional devices and devices without a touch screen are called Windows Mobile Standard devices.
According to Microsoft, the Pocket PC is "a handheld device that enables users to store and retrieve e-mail, contacts, appointments, tasks, play multimedia files, games, exchange text messages with Windows Live Messenger (formerly known as MSN Messenger), browse the Web, and more." (src: microsoft buyersguide)
From a technical standpoint, "Pocket PC" is a Microsoft specification that sets various hardware and software requirements for mobile devices bearing the "Pocket PC" label.
For instance, any device which is to be classified as a Pocket PC must:
- Run Microsoft's Windows Mobile, PocketPC edition
- Come bundled with a specific suite of applications in ROM
- Note: the name Windows Mobile includes both the Windows CE operating system and a suite of basic applications along with a specified user interface
- Include a touchscreen
- Include a directional pad or touchpad
- Include a set of hardware application buttons
- Be based on an ARM version 4 compatible CPU, Intel XScale CPU, MIPS CPU or SH3 CPU. (As of the Pocket PC 2002 specification, ARM-based CPUs are required.)