PDA-phone Calling

Published Date
01 - Aug - 2005
| Last Updated
01 - Aug - 2005
PDA-phone Calling
Of late, keeping up with the hectic schedule of being Agent 001 has been taking its toll. My daily chores include hunting for the right hardware, replying to the hundreds of e-mails you guys send me, at times helping colleagues in the Test Centre-and lots more. That kind of workload is enough to induce mild amnesia in most people, and I'm not among those who've been spared.

I tried using sticky notes on my PC, but that didn't help much. Also, my old faithful Palm m105 PDA has given up on me completely-it needs frequent battery changes, and the touch screen seems to have developed a snag. I nearly lost my job once for having relied on this piece of junk (OK, call me fickle)-it failed to notify me of a meeting with our CEO!

The full QWERTY keyboard on the Treo 650 is a big plus for quick data entry

Even my Nokia 6600 is useless-synchronising it with my PC is a real pain. It could just be that I'm hooked to the good old 'Palm way' of doing things.

I needed something that would help me organise my daily work. A good PDA was my choice. However, that would entail carrying around both-a cell phone and a PDA. So why not a PDA-phone?

Now that was a good idea...  worth a try at least. I quickly decided to look for a good PDA-phone that would help me stay organised, and at the same time, connected.  

The best place in Mumbai for such stuff is Lamington Road, right? You're wrong; Heera-Panna (Haji Ali) and Alfa (Vile Parle) are the best places to get cell phones, PDAs and other fancy electronics.

I decided to visit Heera-Panna to get a feel of things. First visit: a shop choc-a-bloc with cell phones. I put up my requirements-a good PDA-phone, no more, no less.

A salesman urged, "Sir, try Nokia's new 7710-it's good." Quite a departure from the traditional design Nokia employs, the 7710 has a horizontal screen layout. The vendor told me it was based around Symbian's new Series 90 OS, and had some good features.

I test-drove it for a while. The phone indeed felt good, but the data input was not as slick as Palm's Graffiti, and was also sluggish at times. Priced at around Rs 21K, this is a good phone for beginners though. I was also shown the Communicator series of phones, but they're just too big and slow for my liking.

Being a Palm faithful, I wanted to try out the Treo series of PDA-phones. They even had the older Treo 600. Wow! The full QWERTY keyboard makes a huge difference. But the 600 doesn't have Bluetooth-a must-have feature, in my opinion. Also, it's relatively old. I then thought about the new Treo 650, but the shop didn't have it readily available.

In the next shop, I found a Treo 650. Nothing much had changed since the 600. I test-drove this baby, and found myself at ease- thanks to my familiarity with the m105. I was offered a best-price of Rs 35K for this one. Just as I was mulling over that figure, the salesguy offered to show me some new maal that had recently arrived from Dubai.

I wondered what it would be-a Motorola? Perhaps a Siemens? But out came an Xda II mini. This cute little thing is based around Microsoft's Pocket PC OS, and offers great integration with a standard PC. The device has a small form factor and is cute. I tried the data input and found it was as good as that on the Palm, in fact, even better at times. But the lack of a keyboard was a bit of a deterrent.

The salesperson sensed this and presented the new Xda IIs. Wow, another great device! But what about the price? It turned out to be Rs 40K. OK, I got the idea. I would rather get myself a flesh-and-blood personal secretary for that kind of money.

So eventually, what I had to decide between was the Treo 650 and the O2 Xda II mini. As far as specifications go, these devices are on par with each other. The O2 mini looks much better than the Treo 650, but then I don't give a hoot about looks. The full QWERTY keyboard on the Treo 650 is a big plus, and the Treo 650 also happened to be a little easier on my pocket.

So, in keeping with my Palm tradition, I opted for the 650-the latest Palm in the market. 

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