THERE HASN'T BEEN A better time to begin developing applications for handhelds. In the last four years, we have seen a tremendous leap in the functional capabili ties offered by handheld computing platforms, which has culminated in the rich interfaces we see in the current crop of Windows CE-embedded systems. The Pocket PC platform is particularly compelling because it is truly portable, and it has a great color interface and solid application integration with its desktop counterparts. In addition, most of these devices have sufficient processing power to incorporate advanced handheld appliance technologies-GPS, cellular communi cations, and so on. These advantages coupled with the new eMbedded Visual Tools suite from Microsoft make the Pocket PC a solid choice for mobile systems development in the next few years. Whether these Windows CE devices are used to extend the reach of enterprise applications or as stand-alone information-gathering devices, eMbedded Visual Basic will be the logical choice for the legions of Visual Basic developers seeking to add mobile development expertise to their skill sets. At the heart of eMbedded Visual Basic's appeal is its support for ActiveX Data Objects for Windows CE (ADOCE). The combination of eMbedded Visual Basic and ADOCE significantly reduces the learning curve by enabling developers to manipulate databases objects in a manner similar to the desktop version of ADO.