Palm PDAs: Better than a Smartphone?
Palm PDAs and Pocket PCs are being replaced by Smartphones, but Why?
Smartphones (e.g. Apple iPhone) and tablet PCs (iPad) are all the rage at the moment, but do they really fully replace the PDA? Pocket computers have been with us for decades, but the Palm PDA (Personal Digital Assistant) has been around for a little over a decade now and was a revolution in pocket computing, that has gradually evolved into the modern Smartphone (Cellphones also gradually gained PDA functionality and the two met somewhere in the middle)
Apple have realised that something is needed to fill the gap between the laptop and smartphone and have launched the new iPad touch-screen tablet mobile device (i.e. like a big smartphone) but this is perhaps too big to have with you at all times. RIM Blackberry also make a medium sized tablet PC called the Playbook (nicknamed the "BlackPad" before its launch)
The early Palm PDAs ("Palm Pilots") had everything you could need to organize your life, but no internet or phone connectivity. A huge number of applications were written for these Palms and most will still work on any modern Palm OS device. The latest Palm PDA and Pocket PCs are actually powerful pocket computers with internet access (via a cellphone, blutooth or WiFi) useful additional functionality such as editable spreadsheets (still not available on most modern smartphones) and other office software and big high resolution touch screens have been available long before the iPhone came along.
This article looks at some of the useful pocket devices that may actually be better than a smartphone for many applications and also you don't need an expensive cell-phone contract.
The Latest Smartphones Are Not Quite There Yet... - The Palm Pre is a nice looking device, but can't do what I need... yet
I had many Palm PDAs over the last decade or more but I always had to carry a separate mobile phone (i.e. cellphone) to allow internet access via the PDA. I eventually "upgraded" to a Palm Treo 680: The best of both worlds; a PalmOS PDA and a phone all in one, but with a much smaller screen, worse battery life and not as much computing power. At least I could still edit my spreadsheets, use all of my old PalmOS Apps and sync all of the data to my Apple Macs
I recently went to an O2 shop to try out a Palm Pre. This is what I have been waiting for... Except the keyboard is not as nice or easy to use as the Palm Treo 680 and although the screen is bigger and better I cannot use it to edit my business documents (Spreadsheets etc.) and the salesperson insisted that the only phone for me was a blackberry... (or stick with my old Palm Treo 680 until someone comes out with a decent application for the Palm Pre)
My Palm T5 is perhaps still the best smartphone/PDA I have ever had, although I do need to have a small cellphone with BlueTooth about my person to allow phone and internet functionality, while on the move. Internet access via Bluetooth is however possible by sharing internet access with a Bluetooth enabled computer and WiFi internet access is possible with a (fairly expensive) card that fits in the SD slot.