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Old 10-26-09, 05:03 AM   #1
Juha
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PDA suggestions?

I'm looking for a replacement for my old Palm Tungsten T3. I've been very happy with it and a small Nokia phone. I can carry one or the other or both with me, as needed. With the external foldable keyboard I've been able to type away when travelling, with a fraction of weight, space and price of a small laptop. Synchronizing calendar and documents to/from it has been a breeze.

But it seems the PDAs are going the way of dinosaurs. Palm only offers smartphones (and some OLD PDAs for limited markets). Other manufacturers that I've looked into, likewise. I would prefer to keep my phone small and simple. I take it with me to a lot of places the PDA will never see, such as kayaking and xc skiing trips. A fancy device with a relatively large screen would not like bumps, drops, humidity and various other things that make outdoors so great.
  • What I need: seamless Office integration when at workplace. Ability to edit Office files and sync edited files back to work computer. Ability to read pdfs. Near full size keyboard (can be external as with Palm). One calendar.
  • What I want: wifi would be nice, but not a necessity (I have enough work I can do completely off line).
  • What I don't need: real time / wireless office sync. If the device syncs when in cradle at workplace, it's good enough.
With that, it seems I have a couple of choices:

- Use a small, basic phone with calendar, keep work Outlook's calendar in sync with it. Get a small laptop for everything else. Calendar use and flexibility will suck compared to Palm, as will hauling the laptop around.
- Give up and get a freakin smartphone already. Best calendar ever, be in touch with your work 24/7, buy an ankle holster to haul the brick around. If absolutely needed, buy a cheap small phone to use when enjoying quality time with mosquitoes in the tent.
- something else, what?

Any ideas or experiences are warmly welcome.

--J
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Old 10-26-09, 05:06 AM   #2
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I dropped my palm in the pool this summer. I have since been wandering about lost. I cant help but I did post this to follow this thread. I started a thread on this back in june I think it was.
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Old 10-26-09, 05:19 AM   #3
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I got a Nokia N810 back in March of this year. Great for things like surfing the internet and listening to music, but probably not the best device for doing work on, as it doesn't come with mobile Office or any other good office-like programs.
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Old 10-26-09, 05:57 AM   #4
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This is totally a different direction than I was hoping this thread was going (PDA = Public Display of Affection).

That said I have 2 blackberries, and I manage to use at least one of them almost strictly for work and accomplish some things with it.
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Old 10-26-09, 11:00 AM   #5
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I'm looking for a replacement for my old Palm Tungsten T3. I've been very happy with it and a small Nokia phone. I can carry one or the other or both with me, as needed. With the external foldable keyboard I've been able to type away when travelling, with a fraction of weight, space and price of a small laptop. Synchronizing calendar and documents to/from it has been a breeze.

But it seems the PDAs are going the way of dinosaurs. Palm only offers smartphones (and some OLD PDAs for limited markets). Other manufacturers that I've looked into, likewise. I would prefer to keep my phone small and simple. I take it with me to a lot of places the PDA will never see, such as kayaking and xc skiing trips. A fancy device with a relatively large screen would not like bumps, drops, humidity and various other things that make outdoors so great.
  • What I need: seamless Office integration when at workplace. Ability to edit Office files and sync edited files back to work computer. Ability to read pdfs. Near full size keyboard (can be external as with Palm). One calendar.
  • What I want: wifi would be nice, but not a necessity (I have enough work I can do completely off line).
  • What I don't need: real time / wireless office sync. If the device syncs when in cradle at workplace, it's good enough.
With that, it seems I have a couple of choices:

- Use a small, basic phone with calendar, keep work Outlook's calendar in sync with it. Get a small laptop for everything else. Calendar use and flexibility will suck compared to Palm, as will hauling the laptop around.
- Give up and get a freakin smartphone already. Best calendar ever, be in touch with your work 24/7, buy an ankle holster to haul the brick around. If absolutely needed, buy a cheap small phone to use when enjoying quality time with mosquitoes in the tent.
- something else, what?

Any ideas or experiences are warmly welcome.

--J
PDAs have become quite antiquated ever since smartphones really took off. I highly doubt that trend will reverse itself with the ever-increasing popularity of iPhone and Android devices.

Nonetheless, if you're looking for a simple, no-frills PDA, I actually recommend getting a Windows Mobile device (not their smartphones). Their OS is well suited for PDAs and satisfies all of your requirements. You'll also find that it's more capable than most Palm devices were previously.

The stuff that you need is not that demanding, so you could probably get away with a Dell Axim on eBay, which can probably be found for very little. I think you can hook it up to a Bluetooth keyboard to get that typing action, but don't hold me to that.

Hope that helps!
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Old 10-26-09, 11:09 AM   #6
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I think HP is still putting out a couple of actual non-smartphone PDAs that run WinMo.

And I feel your pain. I have a Palm TX that I will really have to keep until the end of time now.
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Old 10-26-09, 02:42 PM   #7
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I used to use a Palm V until the nonreplacable battery died, and there is no real way to pop the case without bending a number of prongs and having them snap off due to metal fatigue.

Instead, I highly recommend a Windows Mobile PocketPC (Not a smartphone, PocketPCs have a touch screen, smartphones don't, and a lot of cellphone companies lock down their smartphones, but don't cripple their PocketPCs. HTC is a good OEM brand for these, but there are likely others. All cellphone makers in the US have models available. T-Mobile and Sprint have the HTC Touch Pro 2 which is good, and does extremely well with Exchange.

Of course, you can go with an iPhone. Its main advantage is popularity, so you can find almost anything you want, app-wise for it. Assuming you don't mind one task at a time, as opposed to the other smartphone operating systems which can run multiple programs with ease.
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Old 10-26-09, 03:31 PM   #8
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HP has exactly two models left.

iPaq 111

iPaq 211

But a WinMo handheld would never sync to my Linux box, so I won't get one.
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Old 10-26-09, 04:29 PM   #9
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My roommate just got an Asus A626. Comes with Windows Mobile, and seems to be pretty fast with a decent amount of memory.
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Old 10-26-09, 07:13 PM   #10
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I think you can install a Palm emulator onto the Nokia N810. Then you can run Dataviz DTG. See http://forum.brighthand.com/ I almost bough an N810 but was able to find a TX last year for $200. DTG is available for the iPhone and Touch but they just added the ability to edit Excel files. Have you thought of getting a Netbook? I have been looking at one to take on trips. ASUS or HP. Also look at DTG for a high end Blackberry.
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Old 10-26-09, 07:20 PM   #11
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I may have my old T3 laying around somewhere -- although I know I just pitched the dock this weekend.

For new, how about an iPod Touch?
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Old 10-26-09, 07:34 PM   #12
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I may have my old T3 laying around somewhere -- although I know I just pitched the dock this weekend.

For new, how about an iPod Touch?
It sucks for handling mail seriously, and its calendaring and contacts applications are somewhat limited. You can read PDFs, but might not enjoy editing documents and spreadsheets on it (is that even possible yet???)

However, if you're not looking for anything sophisticated, I highly recommend it. Fantastic battery life, and it syncs with Outlook (through iTunes, ewwwww)
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Old 10-26-09, 08:41 PM   #13
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I'm a palm addict. I just bought the Palm Centro. My only complaint is the keyboard is very small.
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Old 10-26-09, 08:57 PM   #14
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It sucks for handling mail seriously, and its calendaring and contacts applications are somewhat limited. You can read PDFs, but might not enjoy editing documents and spreadsheets on it (is that even possible yet???)

However, if you're not looking for anything sophisticated, I highly recommend it. Fantastic battery life, and it syncs with Outlook (through iTunes, ewwwww)
Initial disclosure: I have an iPhone, not a Touch, but I assume they work the same

1. Re handling mail, the only real problem that I have with it is that there is no unified mailbox which means a bunch of taps to change accounts. But in a single-account set-up it wouldn't be a problem at all. Also, I assume that the Touch will sync with exchange over wi-fi allowing you to bypass iTunes/Outlook sync altogether (assuming the OP has an exchange server).

2. You can edit docs and spreadsheets on the phone, but its tedious. Although I never did it much on my T3 with attached keyboard either.
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Old 10-27-09, 09:14 AM   #15
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Thanks all for the suggestions. Blackberries are pretty much nonexistant around here. It seems I'll have to bite the bullet and get a smartphone (Nokia N97 is a likely candidate), maybe add a simple small phone for my own use in outdoors.

I have a netbook at home (eeePC), but they're not on our office's supported computers list. Ditto with some of the phones suggested. Palms are not on laptop or phone lists either, but they're not really laptops or phones. Also, I don't use mine for VPN connections and needed zero support from Business Prevention Unit (aka IT support) so I've managed to sneak in through the backdoor with it until now.

In the last 6 years or so I've had two Palm models (Vx and T3), both with external keyboards. I can safely say I am an addict. I'm not looking forward to the withdrawal symptoms.

--J
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Old 10-27-09, 01:23 PM   #16
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I like the idea of having a full featured smartphone for day to day use, then having a basic barebones phone such as a Motorola C139. Something that can take and respond to calls and text messages, and that is it. This is the phone I take with me on renfaires and leave off, checking every few hours to see if anyone left any critical voice or text messages. Of course, the number for the basic phone is only known to family and close friends. This separataion is for sanity reasons. Everyone needs to take a break from the usual stuff, no matter how much they like technology.
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Old 10-27-09, 01:31 PM   #17
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I read PDA as 'Public Displays of Affection"
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Old 10-27-09, 01:32 PM   #18
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Wow....you're old school man!
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I read PDA as 'Public Displays of Affection"
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Old 10-27-09, 01:36 PM   #19
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Initial disclosure: I have an iPhone, not a Touch, but I assume they work the same

1. Re handling mail, the only real problem that I have with it is that there is no unified mailbox which means a bunch of taps to change accounts. But in a single-account set-up it wouldn't be a problem at all. Also, I assume that the Touch will sync with exchange over wi-fi allowing you to bypass iTunes/Outlook sync altogether (assuming the OP has an exchange server).

2. You can edit docs and spreadsheets on the phone, but its tedious. Although I never did it much on my T3 with attached keyboard either.
I also own an iPhone (3G), and previously owned an iPod Touch and the previous iPhone. I've personally found other operating systems to be much more capable in handling email, especially when "tethered" to an Exchange account. iPhones do not support flagging or bulk marking/bulk deletion, which I use extensively (flagging helps me prioritize important messages over the "noise"). I also can't cancel sending any message (e-mail, SMS or MMS) unless I disconnect the data connection during transmission (quite tedious, though a lot simpler with SBSettings, which opens with the swipe of the top bar). It also does not support tasks without the tedious and/or bulky solutions provided by applications in the App Store (I tried ToodleDo and some others; not good enough). I'm glad that Exchange support is "good enough" to use for my day-to-day operations, but it's nowhere near as intuitive as my experiences on Windows Mobile or BlackberryOS.

I'm not saying that the alternatives are better, though. There are several critical areas where the iPhone completely outshines anything out there, namely when it comes to mobile entertainment (music, web browsing and games). You give some to get some.

As for editing documents and spreadsheets, the tediousness in doing so on the iPhone are more general, as the screens on phones are smaller and people are normally used to creating and editing documents on much larger (and, thus, more useful) virtual real estate. Almost all platforms which I've tried editing documents on were difficult at best, with Blackberry being the worst (in the age of the trackwheel; might be different with the trackball).

Regardless, I'm not sure if you've made a decision, Juha, but if you're requirements aren't that stringent, I would highly look into getting an iPod Touch or an iPhone. Since you're in Helsinki, you're probably on GSM, which means that you can get unlocked 2G or 3G devices rather cheaply.
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Old 10-27-09, 01:41 PM   #20
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I like the idea of having a full featured smartphone for day to day use, then having a basic barebones phone such as a Motorola C139. Something that can take and respond to calls and text messages, and that is it. This is the phone I take with me on renfaires and leave off, checking every few hours to see if anyone left any critical voice or text messages. Of course, the number for the basic phone is only known to family and close friends. This separataion is for sanity reasons. Everyone needs to take a break from the usual stuff, no matter how much they like technology.
I haven't talked to you in a while! How are things?

I tried your approach earlier this year, using a simple Nokia phone for calls (and only calls) and an iPod Touch for my PDA and other mobile needs. To make a long story short, it took sifting through several devices to realize that singularity (not the word I'm looking for, but I'll take it) is much more efficient.

The iPhone frustrates me sometimes (especially now, with the battery life going to crap recently), but it's a very solid device overall.
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Old 10-27-09, 01:41 PM   #21
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Wow....you're old school man!
inorite???
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Old 10-27-09, 01:43 PM   #22
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inorite???
You must be REALLY old school. I have no clue what you even said there.
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Old 10-27-09, 01:49 PM   #23
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You must be REALLY old school. I have no clue what you even said there.
I know, right?
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Old 10-27-09, 01:50 PM   #24
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I know, right?
Zackly!
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Old 10-27-09, 02:06 PM   #25
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I haven't talked to you in a while! How are things?

I tried your approach earlier this year, using a simple Nokia phone for calls (and only calls) and an iPod Touch for my PDA and other mobile needs. To make a long story short, it took sifting through several devices to realize that singularity (not the word I'm looking for, but I'll take it) is much more efficient.

The iPhone frustrates me sometimes (especially now, with the battery life going to crap recently), but it's a very solid device overall.
I agree that having things in one unit is the best matter of course for the majority of the time. However, having just a bare bones phone is always nice just for the ability to get away from the same old, same old once in a while.

Also, it might not hurt to have a PDA only if you have a lot of passwords and other sensitive information. For example, I have a really cheap PDA that has no way of syncing to a computer (much less a net connection) whose sole purpose in life is to store passwords for websites. I'm sure an accomplished intruder could pop the caps off the RAM chips and access the contents, but for most activities, it is as good security as one needs.
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