View Full Version : PDAs

Tyler Howell
01-07-2005, 11:34 AM
Another OT question for my esteemed SMC colleagues. Haven't steered me wrong yet. Though I'm surfing the slippery Neander slope, I'd like to come into the new millennium with a PDA Personal Digital Assistant.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/search-handle-url/store-name=electronics&index=electronics&search-type=ss&field-manufacturer=PalmOne/102-3775269-7865751 (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/search-handle-url/store-name=electronics&index=electronics&search-type=ss&field-manufacturer=PalmOne/102-3775269-7865751)

After 8 years, 1 class, and 2 "How-To" videos I still cant get the Franklin planner to work for me.

Palm seems to be the front runner. Don't need a phone or camera. Internet access isn't a requirement but I am open to suggestions.

Ph#s, dates, conversations, driving instructions, appointments, Easy-In, Easy-Out is what I'm after. Do any have a MP3 feature. What are your experiences.

Thanks Again.

Rich Konopka
01-07-2005, 12:22 PM

What do you use for email, contacts, and calendar? If you use Outlook you may be better served with a PocketPC(Ipaq, Del Axim). I use outlook and have an Ipaq which is okay. I would love to get away from Outlook and user Thunderbird ( Freeware email) But I need a good calendar software and the Open Source is not there just yet. My Ipaq will not sync with Thunderbird and I spent a lot for that muffler.:D

I have used the Palm based PDA'a in the past and I find them better than the PocketPC's. The syncronization with Outlook was a nightmare in the past but I hear it has improved.


Jim Becker
01-07-2005, 1:39 PM
I've always used Palm products. Honestly, mine pretty much acts as a "backup", primarily for my Outlook calendar. My V600 phone pretty much is the core of my phone number listing and I have it with me 100% of the time. Not so for the PDA. Now, Dr. SWMBO got me a new application for the PDA for the holidays...a program to help with wine buying... :D That should get me to carry the PDA a little more often outside of my briefcase/computer bag!

Dan Mages
01-07-2005, 1:46 PM
Palm based PDAs are the best on the market right now. Most of them will do everything that you have mentioned. Too bad this phone/pda is not available in the US http://direct.motorola.com/eng/ProductFullSpec.asp?country=GBR&language=ENG&productid=29249.


Bruce Page
01-07-2005, 2:04 PM

I'll give up my Palm when you pry it from my cold dead fingers! :eek: :D :eek:

Matthew Poeller
01-07-2005, 2:05 PM
I know that you are opposed to the phone idea but I just wanted to tell you what I have and I love it.

I have sprintpcs service with a Samsung i500 phone. They have this thing called vision service and that allows me to have unlimited access to the web when I am in sprintpcs service area which is almost all the time. The means that I can check my e-mail (using a program called snappermail) check stocks, get into my scottrade account and do everything that I need to do right from my phone.

Oh I almost forgot the phone is a PDA to. It operates on the Palm OS system. This phone is completely expandable and you can download just about any program, to do anything that you need.

All in all there is only one thing on my belt that is small and does everything (e-mail, phone book, reminders, to do, fax, microsoft word, with sprint I can even sync up to my work e-mail and network drive, everything I tell you). Just thought it might be something that you wanted to look into.

Ernie Hobbs
01-07-2005, 2:30 PM
I have had a Smart Phone in the past (older model) and I found it to be a little too small to be an effective Palm and a little too big for a cell phone. I still like my separate cell phone and Palm Tungsten E.

I like the Palm Tungsten E because it has all the functionality of business applications and not all the games and multimedia stuff that I don't need. Plus, you can find it cheaper than a lot of other similar devices.

Matt Meiser
01-07-2005, 2:59 PM
I have an iPAQ because we occasionally develop applications for handheld barcode scanners that run PocketPC and this lets me use my PDA as a test platform. I've never had anything else. My boss went from a PalmOS PDA to a Dell running PocketPC and likes it better.

There is a version of Windows Media Player for PocketPC.

Glenn Clabo
01-07-2005, 3:00 PM
DrLOML has a PalmOne...Treo and loves it. It's a phone/PDA/GPS that she even uses for PowerPoint presentations. I'm fighting the want bug. Just for you...a picture.

Steve Inniss
01-07-2005, 3:19 PM
Like everything else, a lot depends on you. Palm garnered market share due to the elegant simplicity of it's operating system, it was and is still primarily a PDA, but wonderfully simple and therefore effective.
Pocket PC's can do quite a bit more than Palm o/s devices; a subset of outlook tasks, to do's notes calendar etc. as well as mobile versions of Word and Excel. Also plays MP3 files - even converted DVD's and I use an old one for a remote control in a sort of home theater context.
On PPC's, outlook is not flexible enough to customize, if you manage your day following the practices of Franklin, Covey, Time Text or your own thing. In that case you want to check Pocket PC's running Pocket Informant -brilliant www.pocketinformant.com

There are also Blackberrys of course which give you secure "push" email, pda functions (not as robust as palm and ppc), and are the only device really trusted behind corporate and government firewalls.

My disclaimers:
1. I own a company involved with business continuity/disaster recovery on Blackberrys - so I use a Blackberry
2. I started using a Franklin-like system years ago - so I use a Pocket PC with Pocket Informant
3. I still have my original US Robotics Palm Pilot from 1996

Ken Fitzgerald
01-07-2005, 3:33 PM

I use the Samsung i500 and it's been pretty reliable. It's a cell phone but I can access the internet too. It syncs with my Outlook calendar; I can take notes; it has an address book; it's Palm based. You can do expense reporting, email, it has a calculator, speed dial, voice dial, voice memo and uses MobileDB Lt, a limited data base. In short, it's provided by my employer to make me more mobile and it does that. We use the MobileDB Lt (mini-data base) to store a telephone and address data for about 80 persons working in the Pacific Northwest. It's relatively easy to use and understand.

Brian Austin
01-07-2005, 6:09 PM
Like Steve, I'm very impressed with Pocket Informant. I've been using it for about six months. I actually reach for it faster than Outlook on my laptop.

I've got a Dell Axim X30 running MS Mobile 2003 Second Edition (ie PocketPC stuff). I've owned three Palms and tested a new Palm Tungsten. I'll take the PocketPC at this point. I've got 802.11b WiFi + Bluetooth built-in, giving me just about any type of connectivity I need. Lots of apps, including Pocket Informant, Pocket Weather, Mini-Stumbler (for wireless ah..searching), and a bunch of other stuff I keep playing with. I also store MP3's on it and listen when my laptop isn't available.

The only irritating thing is battery life. It's rather short, especially when an alarm goes off and I don't catch it for a few hours (I haven't set it to go back to 'sleep'). It doesn't lose data, though, so it just requires a quick battery change. Turning on the wireless sucks it down fairly fast, too. I use it only when I need it, then turn it off.

Erin Stringer
01-07-2005, 7:41 PM
I'll stand in the Pocket PC camp. I have an iPAQ 2215 and use Pocket Informant. I am also able to use my SD card from my digital camera to store MP3's and other stuff, the 1GB card I just got holds LOTS of music and or pictures.

Scott Coffelt
01-07-2005, 7:50 PM
I had a Palm III and then went to an IPAQ. The battery on the IPAQ is now shot. I have to send in to get fixed and that ain't cheap, so I have been without for quite some time. What I found was the IPAQ running Windows CE is a battery hog. It's that way with the phones and PDA both.

I too have been drooling over the Treo 650, right now it would cost me about $500. So I have been doing without and choosing to use the old phone and spend my money on tools.

If you just want the calendar, contact, etc features then you can get a Palm fairly cheap and it will work with Outlook just fine. Personally, I will go back to Palm some day. Sounds as if you do not wnat a Smart Phone right now anyways.

Jim Tobias
01-08-2005, 2:11 AM
Had 3 different palms over 5 years. Liked them at the time. I now I have a Dell Axim (wireless, Bluetooth, etc.) and would never go back. It has ,in my opinion, better features and more capability.

Brian Buckley
01-08-2005, 9:04 AM

Let em start by admitting I am a 55 year old gadget freak. I have owned a half dozen or so PDA's in the last 5 years. The Palm devices are the easiest to use in my opinion. You can sync them with Outlook easely with a software called LAP LINK. Do not sell the phone combo short. It is nice to have "one" unit to keep up with instead of two. I am currently useing the TRIO connected to the Sprint network.
With all of that said I have an ace in the hole concerning my ability to keep up with this constantly changing (and often confuseing) technology. The "ace" is a 26 year old graphic designer who works for me. When I am challenged useing the Trio (this is the case on most days) he is available to help me out. This should be interpreted as he fixes my screw ups.
Without this young mans ability, I would be back to a Big Chief Tablet and a crayon.


Chris DiCiaccio
01-08-2005, 10:33 PM
I have had the Palm, the Sony Palm, and now have the Dell Axim 3i. Moving from the Palm to the Pocket PC in my Dell is the best move I have made. I won't go back to the Palm OS after using the Pocket PC. My son is a computer tech and has the Dell as well. We both are very satisfied with them.

Ken Robb
01-09-2005, 10:20 AM

I've used a Palm for years starting with the IIIx. My current Palm is actually a Kyocera 7135 combo phone/Palm on the Verizon network. Being in sales I use this device everyday to connect with customers. I use a third party contact manager called ACT to maintain all my data. The phone/Palm has an SD slot for additional storage. You can download MP3's with the included software. The feature I like best is that this is a flip phone and is only slightly larger the Motorola Startac I used to carry.


Pat Kearney
01-09-2005, 10:42 AM
In the past I have had three Palms, a Pocket PC, and now I use a Blackberry. I work as a Telecom Business Sales account manager and wireless products are part of my portfolio. I agree with a couple of others in that it really depends on the requirements of each individual person. The palms were great when I was using them but then I traded up to the IPAQ because I wanted more functionality like being able to listen to MP3s and view MPEG video. The IPAQ was a battery hog and I also found it was not very robust. I cracked the screen on it within the first month versus I never had a problem with any of the Palms or the Blackberry physically breaking. IPAQ did replace it under warranty but only after some bickering and threating to go back to Palm. I now use the Blackberry and I must say it is an unbelieveable piece of technology. I have been using it now for almost 2 years and even though it does not have all of the bells and whistles of the Windows environment the ability to have one unit that provides my contact list, email, phone, calendar, and internet access is extremely convenient. The simplicity of the Blackberry is what I really like. I discovered the things I wanted the IPAQ for example to play MP3 and MPEGs was just a passing fancy and I really never used them.

On another note I am not sure how many people use 802.11 wireless in their homes for wireless internet access but if you have a laptop and enjoy surfing the web I would strongly suggest you look in to it. I have it in my home and for under $100 it is one of the best investments I have ever made - I am using it right now while I drink my morning coffee at the kitchen table. If anyone is interested just send me a note and I would be more than happy to give you my thoughts and lessons learned.

Dean Baumgartner
01-09-2005, 11:37 PM

Another vote for the PocketPc format. I'v had an HP Jornada now discontinued in favor of the Ipaq for almost 3 years. One of the reasons I picked the one I did is that it has a removable battery. I think that one or more of the newer Ipaq's has that feature. That being said I've used mine to listen to MP3's and play games on the flight to Eurpoe and after 7+ hours still had half of the battery available.

The connectivity if you use MicroSoft products is pretty much a no brainer.

I use a lot of speciality spreadsheets and the one big change was to go to SpreadCe in place of pocket Excel. SpreadCe has pretty much all the functions of regular Excel.


Tyler Howell
01-10-2005, 5:56 PM
Thank you all.

I can see making this selection is going to be as hard as picking a cabinet saw. :o

Steve Wargo
01-10-2005, 11:14 PM
But mostly because I'm so anti-MicroS@#t. I have the T3 and purchased strictly for business use. I like the fact that I can create a spread sheet and then use it to work out rough price quotes for perspective jobs. Also, THe display on it is top notch. I actually have my entire portfolio loaded on it, so I'm never caught off guard if someone asks me to build them something. I've used the Blue-Tooth to connect to my home internet, and it works...acceptable. On the other hand I've not ever heard anything bad about the Dells, but Palm has so many custimized features and software that it's hard to beat. FOr those wondering yes my primary machine is a Linux box. Just a darn shame I have to run AutoCAD on occassion.

Matt Meiser
01-11-2005, 7:57 AM
Thank you all.

I can see making this selection is going to be as hard as picking a cabinet saw. :o

And just like picking a saw, everyone with brand "a" will tell you its the _only_ choice while everyone with brand "b" will tell you IT is the only choice!

Mitchell Garnett
01-11-2005, 11:39 PM
I started out with Palm then moved to iPaq and stopped using anything until I switched to a Pocket PC phone from T-mobile a couple of years ago. I recently upgraded the first unit (by Siemens) to the HP h6315. I couldn't work as effectively without this device or a similar one. It was the integration of PDA functionality into the phone that made the difference for me because I didn't like carrying 2 things.

But it isn't perfect - and just like it's bigger brother, Windows, it has to be rebooted every few days because some application has hung.

About 3 weeks ago, my wife got a Treo 600. Based on her short usage, I'd go with the Treo if I had to make a new selection.

I think these kind of devices are highly personal so my perferences may not mean a lot to you in the end.

Good luck in your selection.


full disclosure: I've got almost 35 years technical experience in the computer industry so I'm a bit more comfortable with difficult technology than the average guy.

Harish C. Mathur
01-12-2005, 12:19 AM
I second the TREO 650. I'm planning to pick up it as soon as the GSM version is released. Is Palm based with a phone, Bluetooth, Internet access and a great display. A friend just picked up the CDMA version with Sprint. Do a google search and you will find lots of info. The Bluetooth will be fun. You can enable your car (so the phone uses the car speakers), cordless headsets, GPS software etc.

My second choice would be the HP phone (on the T-mobile site)... But I'm not a real big fan of msoft PDAs.

Good luck!