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Portable

From Academic Kids

Portable communications devices refer to hand-held or wearable devices. For example, the Walkie Talkie is a device that is hand-held when in use, and wearable when not in use. Most walkie talkies have a belt clip or a housing, such as a leather holder, that allows them to be worn on a belt.

Portable telephones (cellular telephones) are also carried, or worn, on a belt, or in a pocket.

More recently, portable devices have also become usable when worn. For example, most walkie talkies come with a VOX (Voice Operated Xmit) capability so that they will work hands-free, when used with a wearable microphone. Many telephones such as the Motorola Star Tac also feature an earpiece that allows the phone to be worn and used hands-free. The Star Tac was the first wearable cellular telephone, in the sense that it was the first that could be used while being worn.

The word portable derives from the French word porter ("to wear", as in "pret a porter" = "ready to wear", but also "to carry").

Portable computers are computers that can be hand-held, used on a lap, or worn in a pocket, belt, or the like, such as Personal digital assistants (PDAs). PDAs are almost always worn (pocket or belt) when not in use, but more recently there has been a trend to having them be usable when worn (e.g. with eyeglass-based displays as well as electric seeing aids such as eyetap devices).

The Portable class of device exists at one end of a continuum:

  • Portable: hand-held or wearable;
  • Mobile: vehicular mounted (e.g. an automobile radiotelephone);
  • Base station or desktop units: building-mounted.

See also

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