Gone To The Other Side – Switching From Palm To Windows Mobile

As you know I’ve been itching for a new PDA, and had been tempted and then spurned by the Lifedrive. I am now an iPAQ 4700 owner. Yup, I’ve gone to the “dark side” and moved to Windows Mobile 2003, aka “Pocket PC”.

I’m kind of surprised myself. Like my turn around on Linux, my switch from Palm to PPC happened with a bit of subtlety. I like Palm, and it is in many ways an extremely impressive system. The problem is that these days I’m using my PDA more and more as a laptop replacement. When I travel I really don’t want to take the laptop. I no longer need it to offload pictures from the digicam now that memory’s so cheap, but I do need something to do email and the odd blog post with. The Palm does this fairly well, but it’s a stretch on my T3, and given the growing commonality of Wi-Fi I really wanted to have that built in. I realized that while I’d used my PDA for mostly meetings and phone numbers in the past, my usage had changed.

So while I was checking out the Lifedrive, I checked out the iPAQ and fell in love. Mostly with the screen – it’s awesome, and in most cases better than paper for me. I’d thought that the screen on the T3 was good, but this is twice the dpi. Not only is a bit more info on the screen to be seen (the screen is larger than the T3) but it’s so much sharper. eReader is as good as the book itself.

Another pleasant surprise was Egress – a “blogreader” or RSS reader that connects to Bloglines. Since Bloglines is how I read the blogs that are work related at work, it’s nice to have things kept in sync, although I haven’t tested this yet. On the Palm Quicknews is probably the most competent blogreader, but it’s designed to really be a stand alone reader.

All is not perfect, and the reports that PPC isn’t as crisp as Palm are mostly correct. I’ve had to reset, at least I got impatient and did reset, while I was getting my email (all 80mb worth) downloaded and sorted out. That’s ok, soft resets where becoming a daily occurrence with the T3 anytime I switched between bluetooth and Wi-Fi. WebIS Mail is doing nicely for that so far. The internal messaging is pretty competent, but I’ve got several accounts but prefer to keep everything in one IMAP account because that keeps it portable. The built-in messaging doesn’t allow one to move a message from one account to another. 

Physically the unit is larger than the T3, although it still fits the required shirt pocket with no trouble. It is not heavy enough to cause any notice, although I think it’s heavier than the T3. I put my 1Gb Microdrive in it which adds to the weight.

I haven’t gone through a work week with it yet, not even a day, so it’s possible I might turn back yet. But I doubt it. So far I’m finding a lot of things to like about the iPAQ.


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