Palm Phones


The other day, during a meeting about an entirely different topic, I ran across an old acquaintance who carried a great-looking Palm-based GSM phone. The thing ran Palm OS 4 (my guess was that was the Samsung/SPH-i500 or a variant) but was utterly amazing - it's what I would have given my right pinky for before getting my 7650.

While searching for the same model, I came across this overview of Samsung phones, and the (oh, so damnably US-centric) list of PalmSource smartphones.

Here's a round-up of the Samsung stuff:

The 2210 - One Month Later

Regular readers will remember I ended up buying a Pocket PC after spending some time pondering things, and after nearly a month of use, some sort of feedback is in order.

So far, I am very pleased with the thing. It can be clunky at times, but it has definetly made a difference.

Pluses

  • The new Sandisk drivers for my Connect Wi-Fi Card work great, and let me take advantage of the new XP-like Wi-Fi configuration dialogs.
  • Bluetooth connectivity works almost flawlessly:
    • ActiveSync is fast (almost as fast as USB, with most of the delay on Outlook's side) and completely transparent.
    • LAN Access via my 100m Bluetooth dongle works great, well enough for me to leave my Wi-Fi card in my briefcase while at home.
    • Swapping things around with my Macs (photos, documents, etc.) works fine (I have felt no need to get PocketMac to sync my data yet, since I don't use iCal that much)
    • There are apparently more issues with Bluetooth support on phones than on the 2210's stack, since setting up a GPRS call takes twice as long on my 7650 than on a T610.
  • The e-mail client is excellent, letting me access my IMAP mailboxes over SSL without any problems (even considering my amazingly deep folder tree). It also supports Exchange-style meeting requests, which is a very nice bonus.
  • The bundled Office viewers (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) are excellent - more than good enough to let me review simple documents and presentations on it with nearly perfect formatting (at least better than the Palm viewers I've seen so far), although I can't edit them. PDFs (after installing Acrobat) are also easily viewable.
  • The browser (an updated build of Pocket IE, with better formatting and CSS support) is excellent, and using a tabbed wrapper like ftxPBrowser, I have fast tabbed browsing (yes, even over GPRS).

Minuses

  • The 2210 has no vibrating alert feature, something I find absurd on a PDA designed to fit a suit pocket (you don't want your pocket to chime in meetings).
  • The screen is definetly not very readable in sunlight (something I already knew, but which people should be aware of).
  • The casing still feels a bit cheap compared to the metal Tungstens.
  • Battery life is two to three days at the most with light Bluetooth usage, around 15 minutes a day of GPRS connections to check e-mail and the occasional ActiveSync. Using Wi-Fi cuts it down to one and a half (if you're lucky).
  • It's a Pocket PC. It has all the cruft associated with it.
  • I can't get Python to run properly on it yet (minor issue, but something I was rather keen on).

Fire logs in to MSN again

Fire was bumped to 0.32.g, allowing it to log in to MSN again. I must confess that I've been making rather heavy use of the native MSN client on both Windows and Mac OS X, and that I haven't missed Fire all that much - except when trying to use the Yahoo Mac OS X client, which I still rate as somewhat short of hideous.

Fire does give me back a lot of screen real estate, though - all the branded IM clients are full of user interface cruft I can well do without.