The last time I owned a Palm device was in 2000. Since then I have used a variety of Pocket PC devices, and for the last few years I’ve tried one Pocket PC Phone and owned two Smartphones. My friends laugh at me cause the most important function of my phone is not to make calls, but to do email and sms. That sort of works out well because my experience with all Windows Mobile devices is that they suffer from enough problems and idiosyncrasies that at least a few times a week I get the dreaded “Unable to answer call” or I can’t dial numbers. I assume that these are just core architectural problems with the platform, or buggy hardware firmwares that I can’t do anything about. Geting bug fixes for these devices requires you to buy a new device running the new OS, and well, that happens infrequently and you are still at the mercy of the wireless carrier.
My wife has used the Treo 270 and now owns a Treo 600. I’ve always loved the form factors of the device but loathe the Palm OS as a PDA and Email platform. For one thing, the Contacts application was limited to the same schema that existed on the Palm Pilot 1000 (which I was a proud owner of). Most of my contacts have more than one address, and more than 5 email addresses/phone numbers. Additionally, the Palm was incapable of connecting to my work email server over the air. This is the killer app of the Windows Mobile Platform, but alas, it now exists in the Treo 650. Palm also updated the new OS to support the same contact schema as Outlook. Finally! Plus having a hardware keyboard and square screen is a new requirement of any device I plan on getting. T9 just sucks.
I was browsing around in the AT&T Wireless store today and found myself quickly getting the device itch. The Treo 650 is much sexier than the Treo 600. The screen is beautiful, the keyboard is even better, the camera takes great pics, and best of all, the email and calendar can sync to Exchange over the air. Sadly, it will not synchronize contacts, but that’s ok as my Inbox and Calendar change with greater frequency then my Contacts.
So here is the thing. I could get this device now or I could wait an indefinite amount of time for the iPaq Mobile Messenger. The Treo has a better screen with more resolution (I can see more of the email), is smaller, and likely does not have the issues making and receiving phone calls that the Windows devices do. My wife’s Treo has never said “Unable to answer call”. I can’t believe that there is even an error string in the Windows Mobile OS for that. For a while now I was thinking the Motorola MPX was going to solve all my needs, but that device is vaporware. If it does ever ship it won’t matter cause it’s a joke. Motorola never should have announced it.
Am I crazy for thinking of getting a Palm device? I won’t be able to write .NET Compact Framework apps, but that’s fine, cause the only one I ever wrote silly. Unlike Scoble, I have no intention of ever carrying around a PDA that cannot make and receive phone calls or check email wirelessly. If I am going to carry around a device it sure as heck better do it all. The last thing I need is a PDA, that was soooo 2002.