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.


Fighting The Livedrive Urge Just Got Easier

I had a chance to see the Lifedrive today at a local CompUSA, and while it wasn’t a real unit (I hate it when they do that!) it was presumably real-life size.

It’s huge. Not so much in the length or width area, but in thickness – it’s just way to thick. It’ s gotta be twice as thick as my T3, and while they rounded some edges in the back to make it more comfortable to hold, it’s still darned thick.

The edges of the screen are concave, which makes the unit a bit uncomfortable to hold. This is really nit-picking, but I noticed it.

I no longer want one so much. Yes, the memory and Wi-Fi would be great to have, but I look at the size and feel it’s just too thick, and it’s not going to be at home in my shirt pocket.

Then I looked around a few other models. I saw the Tapwave Zodiac – it’s pretty cool, but the demo unit wasn’t working and was locked into some kind of holder so I couldn’t really check the unit out. Then I saw the iPAQ 4700 sitting there, with it’s VGA display. That is one really gorgeous unit. I’ve often been tempted to go to the PPC side, and this unit could get me to do it. Well, the cool screen and the bugginess of my T3. I played with it for a while, and I’ve got to say it was pretty impressive. It wasn’t as slow as I expected, and the screen is just so awesome. The only problem was that because it was unfamiliar to me, it wasn’t really that easy to “play” effectively.

One thing that really struck me was the handwriting recognition was really quite effective. Not the graffiti stuff, the actual cursive-recognizing system. It was pretty accurate, and it was nice to use. I’m not sure this would get me to stop using Fitaly, but it might.

Last but not least, there’s both CF and SD slots, which given the current cards I have means 1.5gig of storage – more than enough for the moment, as I’m not a large consumer of mp3 files. Even so, that’s more than a few CD’s worth.

Awfully, awfully tempting…

Fighting The Lifedrive Urge

I want one. I’ve been reading about it everywhere, even on Todd Sadowsky’s site, where his second post is about it.

It’s kind of a stupid thing to want, because I already have a perfectly good T3 that’s working fine. The Lifedrive’s screen isn’t any bigger, and it’s not any faster (quite the contrary by many reports) and it’s not any lighter or smaller. Why do I want one?

Well, part of it is a desire from my bachelor days when general health and happiness was determined in large part by my ability to stay on the leading edge of the technology curve. This meant buying a new palm on a regular basis. The Lifedrive would be palm number six.

The other part of it is a bit more practical – there are 4 giga-reasons and 1 Wi-reason. I want the networking, and I want the memory. I want the networking because even though I have bluetooth filling the house with the T3 getting to the net via that, it’s not all that fast or reliable. Frequently, the bluetooth Internet link will just refuse to play nice, which means a reboot of my desktop. I have the wi-fi card for the T3, and it’s way better than bluetooth.

The problem is that it takes up the slot that gives me enough memory to really have RSS and email on the palm. Just like never having time and money in adequate supply at the same time, so it is with the T3, a 512mb SD card and a wi-fi card. If you have the memory in, you can’t get to the net. If you’re on the net, you can’t get your email because there’s nowhere for it to go. The Lifedrive has enough to spare for now, and even enough to have a few albums, and some documents to boot. Heck, the thing really doesn’t even need a slot except to transfer pics from my digital camera, which is also SD.

There is another dimension to this: Impending travel. I’m going to Gnomedex, where I am told there will be Wi-Fi. It sure would be cool to have a new wireless palm to be settin’ there mobloging during the conference. Of course, it’s unlikely that I wouldn’t bring my laptop as well…or would I?