I NEED a small, portable electronic device that is relatively simple to understand (it's a gift for someone who is less than computer literate) and can be used for word processing and email. I don't care about calendars and address books and all that - just word processing and email. And as inexpensive as possible.
You don't want to do to much word processing on any handheld mobile device. They're fine for reading documents and perhaps making small edits, but for wholesale document creation, no way.
That said, I'd recommend a Windows Mobile device. It comes with Pocket Word & Excel as well as a PDF viewer. You can also find tons of apps to do all sorts of things.
You might look for a refurbed Dell Axim or HP iPAQ. If they really want Windows Mobile functionality without carrying an extra device, you might look into one of the HTC-based phone/PDA models, like the Cingular/AT&T 8125/8525/8925. They are full WM devices that includes phone and WiFi. I have the 8125 and hope to soon upgrade it to the new 8925/Tilt.