1. StoneRyno's Avatar
    Once again the idea of my ideal PDA came to thought while posting in another thread so I thought I would start a thread on the subject. I've always wanted to take computing on the go. I 1st started out with a Dell Inspiron 5000e. While at the time it worked for me it was much too much to carry around for more general purpose use on the go. I don't recall how long after that I was introduced to palm PDAs. But once I had one in my hand and was shown what they could do it sparked hope in a better option. Now I had two devices to fill needs and wants and used the laptop where it worked best and my palm where it worked best.

    Then PDAs started to advance quite a bit better screens and internal hardware for extended functionality and beefing up making them capable of much more. Thats when I got the Tungsten T5. It really almost became a complete replacement for my laptop except one major functionality and that was an integrated keyboard. Along comes drivers to support a wireless keyboard. I got one for it and thought that it would work out well. It sort of did but setting up the keyboard didn't make it practical for some situations where I would like to use the keyboard but could have used it if it was attached to the T5.

    I put up with the minor downside to having two pieces and used the keyboard when I could. Sometimes I would forget to bring the keyboard with me when I could have used it. So then I had two factors to the downside. This got me to thinking is there a PDA out there that would work better for me. I started asking around some time back and 2 or 3 examples were offered as something I might want to look into but there was something just not right about each of them. What that was I don't recall. Except one of them was just way too expensive that I do remember.

    In reply to my offhand mentioning my ideal PDA in a nutshell from another thread:

    Hehe, you want a Sony UX thumb keyboard, 1200x600 screen i think, wifi, and a cell radio (sprint evdo i think?). or maybe a vulcan flipstart. One or two others but I cna't think of their names, OQO maybe?
    These are interesting devices. Unfortunately I'm not sure I like any of them. They do have a lot of functionality though. The sony ux I think is more than I would like to spend. They are definitely laptop replacement material. The Flipstart's pricing is much lower and has a nice look to it from photos I seen from a google search. It has more visual appeal overall vs the sony ux. OQO is almost a hybrid in looks between the two. I'd rate the 3 of them from best look to worst look OQO, flipstart, sony ux.

    Rather than go into specifics on each of those devices I'll begin by describing my ideal PDA. Obviously the laptop in my pocket phrase describes the form, look, feel, and not so much entirely its capability. Obviously from having used a laptop and trying to make my T5 with a keyboard have the same feel and work with how I would use it my ideal PDA would need to be something like a small laptop in form and look. I looked around to see what other devices were out there that gave this look and feel. Here is the list I came up with (I've not seen any of these in person only from images and specs on the web):

    HP Jornada 680, 690, 710, 720, 728, 820 (all might be a little big)
    NEC MobilePro (has the same concept look might be a little big)
    Palm Foleo (cancelled just before release, but its look stood out the best but perhaps may be a bit big)

    I gave some thought on what would I like the dimensions to be. My T5 is a good size but I don't mind my ideal PDA being bigger than it. For some nice round numbers my ideal PDA should not be less than 5" wide, 3" high, and can be as thin as possible. It should not be larger than about 6-7" wide, 4-5" high, and 2" thick. I'd really have to go hands on with devices to really say for sure on thickness but these dimensions work well with side pockets on cargo pants. And most definitely make it much more portable than a laptop and usable in more situations.

    I've grown accustoms to the functionality and hardware features of my palm PDAs while I like some of the hardware features and functionality of laptops as well. I don't mind using a stylus to write however for me it only works best for jotting down things rather than say for example a journal entry or taking notes of a lecture. I find typing at a keyboard to be much better suited for long sessions of typing. I like touchscreens too. Its kind of like an alternative to using a mouse. Instead of moving a pointer and performing an action the stylus performs many or all of the same tasks a mouse is used for and in some ways I like it better. So my ideal PDA can use a mouse like system or touchscreen system or both.

    Obviously a CD drive isn't practical on a small device like this which is ok as it mostly served as a method of installing software and rarely used for anything else. With mp3s and video like divx no need for a CD/DVD drive for that stuff. Memory cards make great removable storage and are ideally small and can be used virtually on a plethora of devices from PCs, macs, TVs, cameras (photo and video), etc. Definitely better than other forms of laptop and PC removable storage.

    As far as standard internal hardware such as processor etc they should be at least as good as currently market PDAs. And aren't something specific that stand out as a must have at this time. I think it would suffice to indicate what it should be capable of doing. Playing video is the most intensive task I have used my T5 for and it does a somewhat decent job of doing so. Of course the video has to be formatted in resolution and bitrates so that it can be played on it. The video looks decent on my T5 but one big factor to making video run well on it is cutting the frame rate in half. So I would like my ideal PDA to be capable of playing full frame rate video of a nice quality but not overkill.

    A quick run down of remaining important things:

    Battery life (I'd love to be able to watch 6-8 hours of video, my T5 I can watch about 4 hours. All other use I can go days even weeks without having to charge the battery [I'd guess a total of about 40-60 hours] I've not tested how long I can listen to music with it since I use an mp3 player for that).

    Instant On/Off
    Multitasking capable highly preferred.
    Plenty of internal memory for applications.
    At least one memory card slot (SD most likely)
    OS anything but microsoft

    I own some palm OS apps so it would be nice to be able to use them. Some time back palm said they would use a linux OS but build in the ability to use all palm OS software as well. this idea is kind of nice. I'd love to be able to use more than one platforms software on the same device. But as long as there are apps to do all that I want to do with the device it doesn't matter to me if it can run multiple platforms software or not. There is some PC software I own I would love to run as well but its not critical to do so. I've found that many apps for mobile devices sync with, interface with, or are built with the ability to read/edit docs from pc apps. Which basically replaces having that actual software on the mobile device.

    Well I hope if you made it this far you don't feel you have wasted your time reading my post. I know its a long one.
    06-12-08 01:49 PM