Home :: Palm to Windows Mobile: Going to the Dark Side

Summary: I’m moving over to the Dark Side. After using Palms for the last few years, and really enjoying them, I’m making the jump to Windows Mobile (/Pocket PC/Whatever). Why? So nice of you to ask. Read on…


Long ago, I used to have Psion devices. I had an Organiser II, then a Series 3, then a Series 3a 512k, then a Series 3a 2Mb, and finally a Series 5. The Series 5 was nice, but it failed on a couple of points to me. It was a bit big and heavy, and it just felt too breakable. I didn’t feel like I dared carry it around everywhere.

One day, we were in Staples, and they had Palm M105s cheap. So we bought a couple of them – one each for Sam and I. They were cheap and cheerful compared with the Series 5, but we liked them. I upgraded to a Handspring Visor Edge, then later moved up to a Tungsten T, and finally a Tungsten T3. Sam used my Tungsten T when I was done with it, and now has a Zire 72.

The Problem

We have both enjoyed all of our Palm machines, and I like the PalmOS. The problem now is the hardware. My T3’s digitizer started playing up – it got the stylus position wrong in the bottom left corner. Since that’s where the home, find, and menu buttons are, it was a bit of a problem. I contacted palmOne, and they fairly quickly gave me an RMA number, and details of how to return my T3 for a replacement with a reconditioned machine.

The parcel was delivered and signed for, but the repair company denied ever receiving the machine. To cut a long story short (if it’s not too late ;), it took two months of emails (no-one will talk to you by phone) to get the machine replaced. To make up, though, they made the replacement a brand new machine, so I was happy again.


Now the digitizer is playing up again. Exactly the same problem. Arse.

The Options

I decided to just replace the machine, then send it away for repair. The only problem was what to replace it with. I was replacing it because I was unhappy with palmOne’s build quality, so they weren’t an option, even with the T5 due out any day now. Sony have pulled out of the market, otherwise one of the Clies could have been an option. That left me with either Windows Mobile devices, or a high-end Nokia running Symbian (back to Psion, in a way).

One of the main things I use my PDA for is reading books. I read books in eReader (Palm Reader, as it used to be called). eReader is available for Windows, Mac, PalmOS, and Windows Mobile, but not for Symbian. That left me with Windows Mobile.

Less Options

Screens. I had got nicely used to the screen on my Palm – 320×480 resolution. The idea of going to a Windows Mobile machine with a 240×320 screen didn’t appeal too much. It’s not much of a problem for the basic organisery bits – todo lists, calendar and such – but reading books needs a good screen. That narrowed things down a bit.

VGA Screens

Quite a while ago, Toshiba came up with a machine with a VGA screen – 640×480 resolution. Nice. Double what I was used to, so it would feel like a step up. The only problem with it was that if I was going to spend quite a lot on a machine, I really wanted it to have WiFi wireless networking and bluetooth. The Tosh only had bluetooth. They had another model coming up, but not for a little while yet.

Down to Two Options

This left me with two options. The HP iPaq hx4700, and the Fujitsu Siemens PocketLoox 720. Both had VGA screens, but the similarities end pretty much there. After that, each has it’s advantages and disadvantages. The iPaq has better software, the Loox has a camera in it. The iPaq has tough metal casing and a 4-inch screen, the Loox is smaller and lighter, but only has a 3.6-inch screen (same resolution, but in a smaller space).

The Final Decision

I went back and forth between the two choices for a few days, then finally decided I’d never be able to choose, so I’d just buy whichever one was available first. My iPaq is now ordered with Dabs, and should be with me in a day or two.

Will I Like It?

The big question. I don’t know. I like PalmOS, so it’s going to be a bit of a jump into the unknown. I hope I’ll got on well with it, but if I don’t, at least it’ll be a good learning experience whilst I save up for the T5 😉

I’ll post my thoughts on it when it arrives and I have a chance to play. If I’m lucky, it’ll meet me at work on Friday. If I’m unlucky, it could be Monday. If I’m very unlucky, Dabs may not get them when they’re expecting. If you want to be the first to know, you can use the magic of RSS feeds.