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Thinking of buying a HANDHELD ORGANIZER - suggestions?


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#1 of 31 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted March 25 2002 - 01:04 AM

Could really use your opinions.

I bought a Handspring Visor nearly
two years ago. It's the basic model, B&W display.

I don't use it anymore because ever since
I got WindowsXP, it refuses to sync with my
computer. I have the latest PALM software, but
alas, the synch just doesn't work.

Besides that, Handheld technology has vastly
improved over the past two years.

I have a STAPLES catalog in front of
me and I am looking at THREE different
Handheld organizers.

* Palm i705 Streamlined Handheld ($499)
* Compaq Ipaq 3765 ($499)
* HP Jornado 568 ($649)

I like the PALM OS only because I have lots
of software for it. However, if members here
feel the Microsoft PC OS is vastly better
than the PALM, I'd like to know why.

I'd think about using the handheld to access the
internet, pending on how well it browses. That may
reflect on my buying decision. If you guys could
give me some insight on how that works,
I would be appreciative.

I guess I am just in the thinking stages and
hoping that members here could talk me into a
new PALM device. I don't want something I'll
use for a little bit and then sit on a shelve.
I want something exciting that will truly interact
with my day.

Thanks in advance

Ronald J Epstein
Home Theater Forum co-owner

 

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#2 of 31 OFFLINE   Steven K

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Posted March 25 2002 - 01:29 AM

Go with a Win CE device, in my opinion. The OS is very stable and easy to develop on (which means that lots of people will be making software for it). I have an iPAQ 3650, which you should be able to get for around $300 now (maybe even cheaper). I love it, wouldn't part it with for anything (except maybe a model more memory).

#3 of 31 OFFLINE   Camp

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Posted March 25 2002 - 01:49 AM

The newest PocketPC (formerly WinCE) devices are really cool.

However, I needed a PDA to be on my person 10 hours a day. I needed long battery life and a small form factor. None of the PocketPC devices can touch the PalmOS devices in either category.

My Palm m505 can go a full week on a charge and is small enough you'd never know I had it on me.

That said, if battery life and portability hadn't been a concern I would have gotten one of the new iPaqs.

Now I'm just waiting for the rumored Apple PDA to hit the market.

#4 of 31 OFFLINE   Steven K

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Posted March 25 2002 - 02:18 AM

I'll add a bit to why I think WinCE is better than Palm OS:

- WinCE is a true 32-bit OS, Palm OS is 16-bit
- WinCE has full unicode support, built from the groud up - Palm OS does not
- WinCE has far superior sound capabilities than Palm OS

This might not seem important right now, but it is. As I mentioned earlier, WinCE is very easy to program for. The reason is that the WinCE libraries are all based off of the Microsoft Platform SDK (Windows API + additional libraries). Basically, this means that any developer who knows how to program on a Windows environment, can learn how to program under CE with very little effort. Not true with Palm OS.

When looking at a device, be sure to also look at the CPU. I would stick with a StrongARM chip; stay away from MIPS and SH3.

I'm no Microsoft lackey, but I really do like CE. Also you might want to check out a device that runs Linux (either on an x86 or StrongARM chip).

#5 of 31 OFFLINE   JasenP

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Posted March 25 2002 - 02:56 AM

Ron, you might want to make a list of what you actually used your Handspring for and then make a list of how you anticipate using your next PDA. I have found that many people (like myself) have really over bought when it comes to PDAs. Do you need the Mercedes when all you really need is a Buick?

I have several friends who bought the latest and greatest iPaq and only store phone numbers on it. I have another friend who only plays games on his, a $50 Gameboy would have covered his needs.

Just something to chew on....

You know, Fred, if you keep your sense of humor like you do, you just might make it.

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#6 of 31 OFFLINE   Steve J

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Posted March 25 2002 - 03:16 AM

Go with a Palm.

--Palm has more applications-by FAR-than PocketPC.
--Palm OS devices still make up well over 80% of the market in the US---and that's driving new applications.
--Palm can do pretty much anything a PocketPC device can...list a few things you want to do, and I can tell you how it's done on a Palm.
xciteboy

#7 of 31 OFFLINE   SteveA

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Posted March 25 2002 - 03:22 AM

Ron - I just got a Compaq IPAQ 3875 last week and couldn't be happier with it. Like you, I plan to use it to connect to the internet.

There's a couple different ways you can connect to the internet with it:

1. Compaq (through a partner, I think) offers unlimited wireless Internet access in all major cities for $39.95 a month. I'm not sure how fast this connection will be. It requires some extra hardware for the IPAQ, but will allow you to access the internet anywhere, anytime.

2. If you plan to use the internet in the vicinity of an existing LAN with wireless access points, you can get a 802.11b card and access the internet through the LAN. This is the option I'm looking into. From what I hear, some airports and even coffee shops are starting to install 802.11b access points, enabling you to have internet access there as well.

#8 of 31 OFFLINE   rajiv

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Posted March 25 2002 - 08:37 AM

Ron,

SteveA is right on the mark. Wireless Internet and Bluetooth capability is the way of the future. The Compaq IPAQ 3875 is the way to go. Imagine wireless Internet and your cell phone integrated with voice recognition. Thats what the IPAQ 3875 offers. Unfortunately, cost is an issue at $600 without accessories. Palm OS is dying and will soon be dead, its just a matter of time. Palm itself is a financially sick company and is ripe for takeover by someone like Sony or it will die. Windows Pocket PC OS has quickly come up to 25% market share and is catching up fast. The Windows OS is ubiquitous and converges with your desktop. If you can wait, Intel is going to introduce a new 'Strong Arm' processor this summer for the Windows Pocket PC OS. Its slated to be VERY powerful. The models coming out this fall should have the new Intel Strong Arm processor.

Check out Pocket PC magazine. The Pocket PC applications are incredible and Palm can't hold a candle to them.

http://www.pocketpcm...y02/default.asp

#9 of 31 OFFLINE   DonRoeber

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Posted March 25 2002 - 08:55 AM

rajiv.... I'd hardly call Compaq a healthy company. If they weren't in the process of merging with HP, they'd be going the way of the dodo within two years.
Luckily, right at that moment, an unconscious Argentinean fell through my roof.

He was quickly joined by a dwarf dressed as a nun.

#10 of 31 OFFLINE   Kimmo Jaskari

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Posted March 25 2002 - 09:24 AM

I'm also going to throw my 2 (european!) cents in and place a vote of confidence in Pocket PC's vs Palm.

It does, however, depend much on what use is planned for it, but provided you want a color screen of any kind on your new PDA - and since you mention browsing, I'm sure you'd prefer one - then you want a Pocket PC.

For leisure use, I use mine for e-books (from http://www.baen.com/library among other places) and MP3 playing. Handy since I carry it everywhere anyway, and the CompactFlash memory slot lets me store up to 1GB of data if need be.

For more productive stuff I use the to-do, calendar and notes functionality quite a bit. It also has some games on it, but mainly more boring stuff like chess and puzzle games that rarely see use... if I have spare time and have the machine with me, I usually just choose to read instead. The color screen makes that quite easy on the eyes too.

You can do all that on a Palm too, but if you want a color screen you'll be paying just about the same amounts of money as you do for a Pocket PC, you'll have similar battery usage times before needing to recharge and you'll have an operating system that simply does not multitask... so the Pocket PC becomes, in my opinion, a no-brainer choice.

Wait a month or two though and get the new Fujitsu Siemens Pocket LOOX. It has a new 400mhz xscale cpu, a GPRS option so you can stay connected 24/7 (of course, assuming you have access to a GPRS mobile network, which is not necessarily the case in the US), it has built in bluetooth and both SD and Compactflash card slots (so you can use one for a wireless network card and the other for memory expansion, for example).

I'm trading my trusty old Casio in for one of these as soon as I can lay my hands on one.

Check it out here!
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#11 of 31 OFFLINE   James_A

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Posted March 25 2002 - 12:30 PM

I have a Palm 7x, and a Casio Cassiopia BE-300 (Win CE) which is a stripped down proprietary unit, but able to do most common tasks. Anyway, I'd really recommend a PocketPC for the versitility, mostly because there are a lot more tasks that can be done with it. The ease of use, Pocket Apps... all are really good.

Palms' PIM is better, but still has lots of problems, like trying to d/l all 1000+ outlook messages... sheesh

Jim

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#12 of 31 OFFLINE   DonRoeber

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Posted March 25 2002 - 01:54 PM

I've got an aging PalmV. It's served me well for the last few years (I got it on release date, so it's pretty old). It's starting to split apart due to a few drops. I had a Compaq iPaq for about a month, but I returned it. I just couldn't get into the operating system. It was trying to be a PC of its own, instead of a device to augment my PC. Also, the Palm will work on nearly any operating system, whereas a PocketPC system will only work on a Windows system.

I'm thinking about getting a Palm m515 when my PalmV finally dies. I'd like something bluetooth enabled though. I'm betting that Palm's next product releases will have Bluetooth built in.

I've found that anything bigger than the PalmV style PDA is too big for me to casually carry it around, so that rules out just about every PDA except for a few CLIEs and the Palm m515.
Luckily, right at that moment, an unconscious Argentinean fell through my roof.

He was quickly joined by a dwarf dressed as a nun.

#13 of 31 OFFLINE   Shayne Lebrun

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Posted March 25 2002 - 02:10 PM

It depends on what you're looking for. There's four 'levels' of device.
1: Electronic appointment book. This'll keep your appointments, your phone numbers, your notes. You know, the little Sharp thingies, for example. Lots of cell phones'll do this for you. Hell, my Timex DataLink watch did it.

2: PDA. Palm platform, basically. Specifically designed to fit in your shirt pocket (true story; the engineer who designed the original palm carved a piece of wood, and carried it around in his shirt pocket, pulled it out, pretended to write on it, until he found the size he liked.) and designed to COMPLIMENT your PC, not replace it. A satellite data display unit with limited entry capability.

3: Palmtop Computing Device. Basically, anything WinCE. Tries to be a bitty little computer, 16+ megs RAM, sound card, the whole kit an kaboodle.

4: Subnotebook; an honest to Gods notebook/laptop computer in a really bitty form factor; Toshiba Libretto is the classic example.

Figure out which of these you need, and go from there.

Oh, and a few points to respond to, because they're completely non-relavant (not trying to be insulting, just pointing out that they're mostly buzzwords!)

- WinCE is a true 32-bit OS, Palm OS is 16-bit
Who cares? Do you need access to 4 gigabytes of memory? Are you doing high-precision floating point calculations?
- WinCE has full unicode support, built from the groud up - Palm OS does not
Who cares? Are you using Double Byte Character Sets?
- WinCE has far superior sound capabilities than Palm OS
Who cares? Use your PDA for PDAing, and use your MP3 player to listen to MP3s.

Somebody else said it best; figure out what you're going to be using it for, and buy for that. I use a Palm V, and here's what I do with it: Teal Doc for reading, the PIM apps for PIMing, Avant Go for more reading, and I've got a whole whack of 'kewl' stuff on there that I quite frankly never use. Games, utilities. Oh, and the 'mirror' application, which simply turns the entire screen black. Makes for a great mirror right before you go into a meeting or interview to make sure you don't have anything in your teeth. :-)

#14 of 31 OFFLINE   MikeAlletto

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Posted March 25 2002 - 02:45 PM

I'd also say go with a palmOS based one. I've used a palm and a winCE device. I find the winCE to just be windows with a small screen. I mean who needs to watch movies and play windows media files on their PDA? Yeah its a cool tech demo, but thats about it. I don't know why people need that much bloat in what most people just use it for an address book and the occassional note jotting.

A lot of folks here are talking about processor in the device, sound capabilities, 32bit vs 16bit, but none of that matters. If all you want is an address book and note taker with the occassional game of solitaire then a palm will do just fine.
Michael Alletto

#15 of 31 OFFLINE   Masood Ali

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Posted March 25 2002 - 05:39 PM

It's not about the OS, it's about what you ACTUALLY need the PDA for.

For basic organization, weekly planners, to-do lists, address-book, e-mail, etc, you will appreciate a thin Palm-OS based PDA with good battery life. Sony CLIEs offer the best bang for the buck (Palm PDAs are overpriced).

If you want to basic Office productivity (Word, PP, Excel) on the go, watching video clips, playing MP3s, etc, and you don't mind the size, then get a PocketPC.

I chose a CLIE. I wanted something I could carry in my pant pocket, scribble short notes, and keep my schedule organized; that's it.

#16 of 31 OFFLINE   Steven K

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Posted March 26 2002 - 02:59 AM

Quote:
- WinCE is a true 32-bit OS, Palm OS is 16-bit
Who cares? Do you need access to 4 gigabytes of memory? Are you doing high-precision floating point calculations?
- WinCE has full unicode support, built from the groud up - Palm OS does not
Who cares? Are you using Double Byte Character Sets?
- WinCE has far superior sound capabilities than Palm OS
Who cares? Use your PDA for PDAing, and use your MP3 player to listen to MP3s.

I'd like to respond:

1. 32 bit vs 16 bit
Um, the simple answer is "yes." While this might not be a factor right now, just wait a few years.

2. Unicode support
Um, the simple answer is "yes." If you want to run any kind of application that uses anything outside of the 127255 UTF-8 character set, ie, anything that uses any character sets outside of traditional western characters. There is a reason that Windows NT is completely unicode under the hood; the same reason that CE supports it natively.

3. Sound capabilities are perhaps the greatest aspect of handheld PCs. And, I am NOT referring to use as an MP3 player. However, wouldn't you like an application that read your emails for you? Or, an application that you could "talk" to? Perhaps, while you are driving? Believe me, I work with speech and language software all day long. You simply cannot do this on Palm OS

The straight up answer is: Palm OS is the past, Win CE is the future.

#17 of 31 OFFLINE   Shayne Lebrun

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Posted March 26 2002 - 03:14 AM

Right back at you. :-)
Quote:
1. 32 bit vs 16 bit
Um, the simple answer is "yes." While this might not be a factor right now, just wait a few years.
And when hand held devices can support that level of RAM, it'll be important. For now, it simply isn't.

Quote:
2. Unicode support
Um, the simple answer is "yes." If you want to run any kind of application that uses anything outside of the 127255 UTF-8 character set, ie, anything that uses any character sets outside of traditional western characters. There is a reason that Windows NT is completely unicode under the hood; the same reason that CE supports it natively.
In general, you're correct. A handheld writing input device designed for use by English speakers, however, Unicode is simply a waste of memory and processing power.

Quote:
3. Sound capabilities are perhaps the greatest aspect of handheld PCs. And, I am NOT referring to use as an MP3 player. However, wouldn't you like an application that read your emails for you? Or, an application that you could "talk" to? Perhaps, while you are driving? Believe me, I work with speech and language software all day long. You simply cannot do this on Palm OS
No, actually, I hate the idea of vocal input and output in public. For one, I can read and write faster than spoken speeds. For another, nobody needs to hear my email. And I don't need to hear somebody mumbling 'page down...PAGE down...page DOWN....PAGE...DOWN!' at their palm. I'm reminded of the book Headcrash, where the main character mentions that he password protects the shutdown of his PDA, not the startup. Why? Well, he saw the results of frat pledges running up and down study halls yelling "SHUT DOWN!" the night before term papers were due.

All of the things you mentioned are perfectly good examples of requirements for computers. PDAs, however, are a completely separate and distinct beast. I have a laptop computer for mobile computing, and I have a PalmOS device for mobile data retrieval. The right tool for the right job. If you prefer different tools, fine. But if you're looking for a PIM and text reader, 16 vs 32 bit has ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with anything. At that point, I can say 'Well, why not 64 bit?' and throw all of your arguments right back at you. Yes, I might just need those 16 terabytes of RAM to run Mobile Oracle with my DVD data warehouse. Unicode? Only a feature if you need it's functionality. Otherwise, it's a liability. Sound? Up for debate. But sound hardware is another battery drain. Same reason I never bothered with the colour palm devices; it's superfluous for my needs.

#18 of 31 OFFLINE   Jake Gove

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Posted March 26 2002 - 04:51 AM

I recommend an IPAQ, I've had the 3670 for quite a while now and have been extremely happy with it. It does depend on what you want to do with it. I mostly use mine for reading AvantGo versions of news websites, calendar, eBooks, jotting down notes, tracking my dvd collection, and audiobooks when traveling. I love the color backlit screen. I have an 802.11b card for it and a wireless network in my house, so sometimes I use it to browse the web in bed in the dark.
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#19 of 31 OFFLINE   Matt Stryker

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Posted March 26 2002 - 07:25 AM

Quote:
sometimes I use it to browse the web in bed in the dark.

Too much information....

A real key with the wireless access is coverage and cost. If you do not live in a major metro area (suburbs don't count) you may not be able to get any service at all. Check the coverage map: http://www.palm.com/...coveragemap.cgi Coverage in the Northeast is particularly spotty, especially in smaller townships.

Unlimited access will run you about $34 a month. If you don't need internet access, you should strongly consider the Palm 505 or 515 (I think someone is selling a 515 in the Hardware forum for cheap right now) which has the excellent Palm V form factor. I really liked it when I tried it out.

#20 of 31 OFFLINE   Steven K

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Posted March 26 2002 - 07:49 AM

Shayne,

I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree Posted Image As a software developer (yes, I also develop on CE as well) and an avid PDA user, I think it's important to have these features, especially Unicode and Sound support.

Face it, Unicode is the future. And while the simple answer might be "well, I speak English, so I have no need for Unicode" this just simply isnt true. More and more "special characters" are becoming used (currency, etc...) For developers, developing for other languages in ANSIMBCS is a nightmare (all the different codepages). With Unicode, it's a snap.

As for sound, believe me, this aspect of PDAs is taking off. We are developing tons of software for PDAs (including PDSay, which is a totally voice-enabled way of controlling your PDA). For automotive, especially, this is huge.

While you personally might not have any use for it, a large percentage of PDA users do.

My suggestion: if you want something that is cheap and has minimal functionality (address book, etc...) then go with a Palm m100 or something similar. However, if you are looking for something powerful (in the $300+ range), go with WinCE. Palm will be dead soon, and CE is the future of PDAs.


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