As announced, long time ago, the HTC Himalaya also features the backpack concept - something similar to the previous iPAQ Jacket concept. The first - and maybe the only Backpack we will ever see is HTC's own CF card and presentation Backpack.
I've tested this 3-in-1 Backpack with an additional battery, Type II CF slot and VGA output for projection to projector during the past weeks with my PPCW.Net i-Mate (which is an HTC Himalaya).
- Support normal CF Type I and II expansion cards.
- Support VGA/TV output.
It allows you to play video and presentations stored on your device through a PC monitor/Projector via VGA jack, TV via video or s-video jack.
- Additional 600mAh Li-ion battery.
As you can see below, the Backpack replaces the Himalaya battery cover and attaching it to the device takes seconds only.
However, and from my point of view, this is one of the most important issues, the Backpack isn't half that stylish as the device is. The black plastic isn't the problem at all (even if it looks ugly) but the problem is the shape. It's pretty square-edged which doesn't feels nice in your hand, not to say holding it longer hurts.
The SD card slot is located on the bottom while the VGA output is located on the side. The good point is that the Backpack doesn't covers camera lens.
The CF slot supports CF I and the thicker II cards. As soon as you plugged in the CF card, the Pocket PC platform recognizes it as a new storage card and it can be used immediately.
The VGA output plug is on the left side of the Backpack and requires the included cable. The cable is long enough to be used in public environments to connect it to video projectors or even monitors.
The Backpack supports standard VGA out but also Video out as well as S-Video out to be used with TVs. For monitor use it supports a screen resolution of 800x600 and 640x480 pixel while 640x480 pixel is used for TV (which supports both - NTSC and PAL)
To show your presentation from your Pocket PC, the Backpack comes with two applications: ClearVue Presentation and Screen Mirror.
ClearVue PDF is already well known - after it's opened and the presentation was selected the external video adapter can be selected (in this case it is HTC External VGA):
That's it and from now the selected presentation can be watched on the wall, through a connected video projector.
Screen Mirror, which is developed from the previously acquired IA Style copy's the Himalaya screen 1:1 to show the current Pocket PC display on an external video projector or TV.
These two programs are all you need to use the Backpack professional.
To be honest, I've used the Backpack mostly for this review since I don't like the it at all. It makes a "beast" out of this "beauty" Pocket PC! It makes it heavy and hard to hold as well as it looks ugly. For sure the added features like an additional CF slot and the second battery adds a real value to the Himalaya. However I thought HTC learned more from their previous iPAQ Jackets which fits nicer.
In my tests, the second battery almost doubled the standby time of the device - for sure since the battery also powers the Pocket PC itself but everybody have to decide if this added value is worth the money. If you are a real road warrior and the standard standby time of the Himalaya isn't good enough, you might should consider buying a second battery instead of the Backpack. If you want to replace your Notebook to hold your presentations from your Pocket PC the Backpack might be the best solution. If you need a solution to use CF cards with your device, the Backpack is the only solution.
The HTC Backpack for the Himalaya platform (which includes the o2 Xda II, T-Mobile MDA II as well as the i-mate Phone Edition) is available from several sources like expansys for around 160 US$.
Cheers ~ Arne
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