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Don't expect too much of this page yet. It's a bit sparse and I've not had time to update with many new models. Please send descriptions of your units.

I will put some in here concerning the Palm Treo 600 vs. the 650.

If any of you know about the new Seimens unit, please send me some info.

Tools that may be of interest to many:

  • Software Organizers (ACT, Franklin/Covey, Outlook, others???)
  • Palm OS/cell phone combo (e.g. Samsung I300, PalmOne Treo)
  • Windows Pocket PC organizer/telephone (e.g. Samsung SPH i700)
  • Smart Phones like Blackberry and PalmOne - are the keyboards easy enough to be faster than the graffiti type entry?
  • Solutions that include desktop software and palm machines (including third party software)
  • Smaller Palm type phones... are they too small to be useful Palm machines?

SEND INFO! :-)

Table Of Contents

Things to Think About

First part of a decision might be between WindowsMobile and Palm. In my opinion, they are functionally not that far apart. Some will say that WindowsMobile is more compatible with PC data, but Palm has the larger user base, thus more software. To me, neither had a clear advantage.

Second issue was... do you want to use it for Internet access? WiFi is a nice way (it's fast). Phone Internet access (e.g. via Verizon) is slower and costlier but is available anywhere that has coverage. If you don't care about Internet access, you can find lower cost units. Unfortunately, I've not seen phone/organizer combinations that offer WiFi.

Next, you can decide of a phone/organizer or just an organizer is more suited to your needs. I hate maintaining a phone number list in my phone, AND on my computer. So for me, the combination organizer/phone is nice.

Other features to look for include (off the top of my head):

  • Infrared port - for synchronizing with notebook without cable AND for beaming contact information to MANY types of units and phones.
  • BlueTooth for synch'ing and communication with other BlueTooth units (less common than infrared, but likely will climb in popularity)
  • This is incomplete. Please send more to add here.

I bought the Treo phone so if you want to know more about that, we can talk (or email). If you're getting a 2 year contract with Verizon, the price is $450. If you're RENEWING with Verizon, the price is $350. It synchronizes nicely with Outlook, so you maintain phone numbers in only one place.

Soliciting Comments

Soliciting Comments
  • Can one use a Bluetooth enabled handheld to connect to a laptop and use the laptop's Internet connection?
  • Do you know of any good web references or reviews for handheld machines?
  • What software setups work best for keeping an organizer on your computer and handheld?
  • What are the strengths/weaknesses of the Linux OS as used in a handheld?

Links

Name
Link (URL)
Description/Notes
Hardware
Samsung mobile phones Long URL  
Samsung SPH i700 Long URL Windows Pocket PC telephone
Software
Franklin Covey www.franklincovey.com Many products for organization and time management
Franklin Covey PC Software Long URL Time management software for your computer
Franklin Covey Handheld Software Long URL Software for your handheld
Franklin Covey Handhelds Long URL Handheld machines (may be cheaper elsewhere)
Miscellaneous
  www.voscorp.com Has benchmarks and likely much more.

Software: Reviews/Thoughts/Comments

ACT 6

(Thanks to Justin for this input)

I have experience with ACT! - is is a contact mgmt software for salespeople that allows you to schedule tasks by any timeframe - minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years. You can prioritize (you'll have to be creative to get the system to recognize more than 3 levels of priority, however), set reminders.

You can synchronize databases. I do not have experience using it with handhelds. The contact mgmt end is good also - you can track all interactions with someone by taking note that is automatically dated. You can mail and email merge by groups (the grouping function is extremely useful - set your own criteria). There are also field headings for spouses' name, etc.

It also auto saves data after every keystroke and compresses to a winzip file for manual backups.

You are probably familiar with ACT - if you are not, let me know and I can email you a captured image of the interface.

Franklin-Covey Anyone have experience with this package? Please let me know.

Hardware Issues

Input (keyboards and handwriting)

To keep the machine small, it's nice to omit the keyboard. However, to enter email and URL's (web addresses) a keyboard is MUCH faster. Yes, even those tiny keyboards with which you will do thumb typing will be much faster than handwriting recognition. If you basically use the machine for reference, and only periodic data input, then I recommend a machine with only handwriting recognition so you can have the smaller size. If you want to use it for email, entering any documents or web surfing (for which you will frequently enter web addresses) you will likely want a machine with a small keyboard.

There are foldable keyboards on which a palm type machine can be mounted. These are an option for those who will have the space to unfold one, and who don't need the keyboard on the spur of the moment. They are typically in the ballpark of $100.

Screens

320x320 and color seems to be among the best offerings right now. It is what I would want. Some less expensive machines will offer lower resolution. The text will be more jagged and sometimes harder to read. But, of course, it's a tradeoff. Not only is it a tradeoff with cost, but with battery life. Lower resolution screens (and especially black and white machines) will use MUCH less current, prolonging your battery life.

Bluetooth

This is a wireless technology for a "very local" network. For example, a mouse or keyboard can be wireless using Bluetooth. There are other wireless devices that do not use Bluetooth, but Bluetooth is an emerging standard and many devices will be available with that technology. Handheld machines can use Bluetooth for small peripherals and to talk to a nearby notebook computer, allowing you to synchronize without actually connecting. Other possible uses for Bluetooth might include file sharing between handhelds, headphones for music/phone capabilities, etc.

Smart Phones - Verizon

One option is smart phones. These are telephones with a built-in Operating System (OS) like Palm or Windows Mobile. They are often bulky for a mobile phone, and often are cramped for a handheld, but since they combine the telephone functionality with an electronic handheld, you only need carry one device - a huge advantage. I will only address options at Verizon since one, that's the company with which I have service, and two, they are the only company that seems to have good reception at Fuqua's Fox Center.

First, for those who can wait and like this machine, I'm told that the Treo 600 will soon be available (possibly July or a bit later). I'm not going to buy one of the below phones until I've had a chance to consider the Treo. The Treo has a keyboard (although it's more cramped than keyboards in the units below - such as Palm's Tungstun C) and is a small enough size to feel merely a little bit clumsy as a phone. It appears to be a good tradeoff in size. Consider this to be a compact BlackBerry that does not limit you to a specific email server. I like what I see. If I buy, it will be in October. Maybe after that I can give you my impressions.

For specific smartphones offered by Verizon, see the table below and specifically look for the following four phones:

  • Kyocera 7135
  • Samsung i600
  • Samsung i700
  • Blackberry 6750
  • PalmOne Treo

Hardware: Reviews/Thoughts/Comments

Blackberry

As for the Blackberry, everyone I know says "yes, it is worth the high cost." However, I am fairly certain that you need a blackberry server to push your e-mail to you for it to work. Does Duke support that?

Bob

Mark's Comments
  • Requires that you have Blackberry server side email support. This would have to be provided by either Duke or your phone company (some of these machines are mobile phones too - Smartphones)
  • While the proprietary email of a Blackberry is certainly not for me, it is a very good email server and offers conveniences that others do not. So if you do have access to such an email server, you may want to study these machines a bit more.
  • It appears that Duke does not offer this support
  • Verizon (the one with known good reception in/near The Fox Center does not offer email service for Blackberry).
  • T-Mobile does (but I don't know how good their telephone reception is in Fox).

The Blackberry 6750 (and a color version that I'm told that they have) are seriously hampered by the requirement of having a specific Blackberry email server, or the machine does little good. If you have such service, I hear that these are excellent machines. However, you cannot load standard software for Palm or Windows Mobile, so third party applications might be weak. While Verizon could technically offer their email service, it appears that they do not. Even if they did, I do not want to be limited to using Verizon for my email service. These units, while great machines, are out for me.

Dell Axim X3i

 

Mark's Comments
(Some thoughts/comments learned from Laptop Magazine - April 2004)
  • Windows Mobile
  • Good size
  • Good typical price
  • Good wireless speed
  • Good battery life

 

HP iPAQ h4155

 

Mark's Comments
(Some thoughts/comments learned from Laptop Magazine - April 2004)
  • Windows Mobile
  • Good Wi-Fi performance
  • Bluetooth
  • Small and light
  • Battery life could be better
HP iPAQ h4355
Mark's Comments
(Some thoughts/comments learned from Laptop Magazine - April 2004)
  • Windows Mobile OS
  • Good Wi-Fi performance
  • Larger than some
  • Great keyboard
  • Bluetooth
  • Good battery life
Kyocera 7135
Mark's Comments
(A smartphone offered by Verizon)
  • Palm OS 4.1
  • I'm quite sure that this uses graffiti 1, not graffiti 2 - the drawback is that you might later use a machine with graffiti 2 and have a bit of difficulty switching. Graffiti 2 is easier if you don't know either.
  • A little larger than some as a phone, small as a handheld - to me, the size is a nice tradeoff
  • Is available with phone service from Verizon

The Kyocera 7135 has the Palm 4.1 OS (drawback - uses graffiti 1 and the new Palm machines all use graffiti 2 - graffiti is Palm's way of doing handwriting recognition). It seems to be a reasonable option in most ways. It is only somewhat bulky as a phone (as opposed to some of the much larger units) and has a nice layout for a somewhat reasonable screen with a separate pad for graffiti. Still, as a Palm machine, the screen is very small.

Palm (PalmOne) Treo 600
Mark's Comments
  • It's a phone too
  • I bought this recently. If you sign a Verizon contract, it's $450. If you renew a contract as I did, it's $350.
  • Palm OS
  • The keyboard is a bit cramped, but easier to use than expected (raised keys and logic that seems to catch only the first keystroke and ignore any second accidental stroke)
  • It's a bit large for a phone and a bit small for an organizer - a very good tradeoff size, in my opinion.
  • The screen on my 600 is lower resolution so video clips often don't look very good. I hear the 650 version has a high resolution screen. So if that's important to you, check that out.
  • Has Infrared port that syncs with my IBM notebook (includes a USB cable for sync'ing also, but I always use the infrared)
  • I haven't used more than half the battery in a day.

I really like having my entire address book and phone list sync'ed with Outlook. That is one key appeal of this phone/organizer. I maintain one set of data (the Treo and my Outlook data is synchronized). I highly recommend this unit if you can swing the price. I was needing both a phone and an organizer so it was good timing for me.

Palm Tungsten C
Mark's Comments
(Some thoughts/comments learned from Laptop Magazine - April 2004)
  • I saw this on buy.com for about $340
  • Palm OS
  • Great keyboard
  • Larger than some
  • Slow Wi-Fi performance
  • Great battery life

If you can handle the slow Wi-Fi performance and size, it's a great machine.

Palm Tungsten T2

I've recently purchased a Palm Tungsten T2 at CompUSA for $229 on sale. I've only used Palm devices before so I can't really comment on Palm vs. Pocket PC (Windows CE's new name IIRC). One advantage I can see for PPC vs. Palm is that, other than the Tungsten T3 (and maybe a few Sony Clie's), all Palms have square screens as opposed to rectangular ones on the PPC's, which display more info at once.

I find the outlook sync sufficient and don't have any complaints. Palm Tungsten T2/T3 has Bluetooth so if your computer has Bluetooth you can sync wirelessly. And if your cell phone has Bluetooth you can use your palm to dial numbers and send text messages. Of course two Bluetooth Palms [can] chat and whiteboard together. Tungsten C has a built-in keyboard, WiFi and a faster CPU, but it can only play mono sound vs. stereo for Tungsten E/T2/T3, important for the MP3 junkies. T2/T3 can take digital voice memos which I find useful at times.

What I like about my T2:

  1. Compact slider design
  2. Plays MP3 and videos
  3. Voice memos
  4. Great-looking 320x320 color screen
  5. Bluetooth

Now here's what I don't like about my T2:

  1. It comes with a stupid snap-on plastic cover, you always need to find a place to put the cover when you want to use it. You will need to buy a case for the T2. E and T3 don't have that problem.
  2. It comes with an older version of datebook comparing to E/T3, no biggie but I can't yet find a way to upgrade.
  3. I'm used to Graffiti 1 and Graffiti 2 is annoying to switch to, although I'm sure I'll get used to it.
  4. No "back" button or hardware "Home" button! This is a problem with all Palm's actually (not sure about Clie's), there is a "soft" button in the graffiti area that you tap with the stylus to get back to the main application page, but I'd much prefer it to be a hardware button that I can press when the slider is not extended.
  5. Despite of what Palm says, it's not easy to navigate through applications using the 4-way rocker buttons with just one hand.

Jack (Message #750)

Mark's Notes
  • I saw this on buy.com for about $280
  • 320x320 screen (nice resolution)
  • Bluetooth
  • No Wi-Fi (it might be available on an expansion slot)
  • Palm OS (since it has Graffiti 2, it likely has version 5 or later - please correct me if I'm wrong.)
  • NOTE: Palm Tungsten C (not this Tungsten T2) is slow with Wi-Fi connections (Laptop Magazine - April, 2004). However, this may not apply to the T2. It also may not matter to many users
Samsung i600

Mark's Notes
(A smartphone offered by Verizon)

  • Windows Mobile OS
  • Is a mobile phone also - and it's a good size for a mobile phone
  • Very small screen for a handheld
  • Is available with phone service from Verizon
  • No keyboard AND no handwriting recognition - a drawback for a handheld. Maybe you can use the number pad for letter entry, I don't know.
  • Voice recognition - maybe this is another way to enter letters - not sure.

The Samsung i600 seems very nice at first, but has one HUGE drawback for me. It has no keyboard (only the number pad like most phones have) AND has no way to do handwriting recognition. Maybe one could use the number pad to enter letters, but that is terribly inconvenient, and I don't even know if you can. Second, the number pad is comprised of keys that are relatively flat and it's very hard to tell which key you're hitting. I love the look, and the capability, but the lack of ability to quickly enter characters is way too limiting for me. I didn't bother studying this phone for very long.

Samsung
i700

Three months ago I invested in Samsung SPH i700 – PDA, based on pocket windows that has a phone and a camera in one device. I absolutely love it! And the best part is that it is powered by Verizon. I made many calls from inside the Fuqua building during BDW and it worked great.

It is the same size as your usual PDA and this is a strong drawback of having all-in-one device – if you use it as a phone it might feel a bit bulky, but it is light enough to compensate for it. The other drawback is the quality of pictures, but then I believe the camera phone's purpose is to have a camera at hand when you need to document something, not to have beautiful pictures… If these two things don't bother you – I highly recommend it! The benefit of not having to carry at least two devices was enough for me.

Oh, and the price – if you want to buy a camera phone and a good PDA, no matter how you slice it, it will cost you around $650. Check out the device at Samsung web site: [see Links Table]

Dariusz

Mark's Notes
(A smartphone offered by Verizon)
(Some thoughts/comments learned from Laptop Magazine - April 2004)

  • Windows Mobile OS
  • Is a mobile phone also
  • built-in camera
  • MP3 player
  • The large screen would allow easier editing of Microsoft Office documents - if you will do that often, this would be a tempting machine.
  • Is available with phone service from Verizon

The Samsung i700 has many things right, including a very large screen. Using as a phone feels very strange because it's so wide and tall, but it's very doable. Unfortunately, it has a fairly serious drawback in the telephone mode. There is no keyboard at all - no, not even a number pad. You have to bring up the numbers on the screen and push these "virtual" keys. That's very inconvenient. It does use voice recognition, so if you only call the people in your mobile, this may not be such a problem. If you call others very often, the virtual number pad will become very frustrating.

 

Sharp Zaurus

I have had a Sharp Zaurus for a couple of years, and I love it. Reasons in order:

  1. Slide-out keyboard. I've learned graffiti (the handwriting recognizer thing for Palm), but I am much more efficient and accurate with the keyboard. I wouldn't consider getting a new PDA without it.
  2. Bunch of slots. It has compact flash and secure digital slots. You can have extra memory and connect to the internet or use a hotspot. (I don't actually do this yet though.)
  3. Linux. My PDA comes with a telnet prompt. Do I use this? No. Will I gloat about it to anyone who will listen? Yes.
  4. There is a software development community for it since everything is open source. I have the Java virtual machine running.
  5. Syncs with my PC without issue.
  6. It looks slick.

Bob

Soliciting Comments
  • I would appreciate any comments about machines using Linux as the operating system. What are the plusses and minuses?
  • Does this have Wi-Fi?
  • Does this have Bluetooth?
Sony Clié PEG UX50
Mark's Comments
(Some thoughts/comments learned from Laptop Magazine - April 2004)
  • This machine on www.sonystyle.com
  • Shaped like a notebook computer but much smaller
  • Great keyboard
  • Larger than some
  • Bluetooth
  • 480x320 screen
  • Slow Wi-Fi performance
  • Short battery life
Toshiba Pocket PC e805
Mark's Comments
(Some thoughts/comments learned from Laptop Magazine - April 2004)
  • Windows Mobile OS
  • Great screen
  • Larger and heavier than some
  • Great Wi-Fi performance
  • Great battery life
  • Expensive
ViewSonic Pocket PC V37 I don't know much, but this machine, discussed in Laptop Magazine (April, 2004), uses it's battery power too quickly to be a viable machine for me. If you know saving graces of this machine, please let me know and I'll include them here.

Contact Info© copyright - Mark W. Rice