I got a lot of comments about the PDA issue, and it seems there is still a strong contingent of folks out there who carry PDAs. The reasons are pretty simple: longer battery life, nice-sized screen, great—if not superb—PIM functionality, and, most importantly, the cost of convergence devices like Treos et al.
I have a Sony Ericsson P910a that I use as a PIM and phone and whatever else. I originally enjoyed loading it up with games and stuff, but I haven't really found anything compelling recently. I may try some eBook stuff if anyone has any suggestions. Otherwise, my PDA love has waned over the years. However, I'm almost positive I'd carry a PDA if the P910a didn't have a touchscreen, even if I had some sort of smartphone with a keypad. Anyway, I still foresee the death of the PDA in its current form and the rise of PMPs. But then again, PMPs are really just dumbed down PDAs.
More of your excellent comments after the jump. Thanks for the input. It was fun reading your responses/rants/maudlin blubberings.
UPDATES - Megan is offended by the suggestion that handbags are a good place to store things.
It's an iPaq rx3715 and my old company bought it for me on the benefits scheme about a month before I left there (a coincidence *cough*). It's pretty cute, and it does all the Pocket PC stuff, but I mainly use it for listening to MP3s on my walk into work. I've got the server in my house set up so that it downloads fresh podcasts to an SD card which I just plug in and listen to on the way in.
Now I have the Qtek S100 phone/organizer. Its stunning couldn t live without it. The only unit I know that is the right size to serve as both phone and organizer, Is a better organizer than the Palm units I have had. Syncs better with the PC, charges from the USB port when syncing. Copies files back and forth with drag and drop efficiency. Supports USB2 and Bluetooth and infrared come to that.
Because when my cellphone dies I don't want everything else to go with it, so I separate a smart phone into the three pieces it's made of so they can all die independently of one another. Sure, my pocket's bulky as hell, but until they make something like quintuplet-stacked lithium polymer batteries to keep my device alive for a week I'll stay away from the ubergizmo.
Sean misses the point, but still writes:
Does a smartphone count? If I didn't have my Treo, I'd still be carrying a straight PDA, but the idea of two devices that duplicate much of the same functionality (particularly in the address book/contact list area) vexed me. The Treo is the best of both worlds - not only is everything contained in one device (removing the frustration of trying to keep multiple address lists synchronized) but it does everything I need in miniature. I just got back from a weekend trip to New Orleans on which my wife banned me from bringing my laptop, but bringing my Treo allowed me to discretely check my email .
While thinking about your PDA post over lunch, I thought up a few reasons why I'd be lost without my iPaq. Granted the development and future of the pure PDA industry looks bleek, the units are still incredibly useful in everyday life. As a college student I use my PDA to keep track of when I have papers due and when I have exams and whatnot. However, the idea of the PDA as a PIM wasn't the main reason why I originally bought the unit. I live in Philadelphia, and as you know by now, they are attempting to make the entire city wireless. Being the gadget geek I am, I had to try a piece of the pie. I now carry around my PDA wherever I go in the city. Who knows when I'm going to stumble into the depths of North Philly need to pull up Microsoft Streets *cringe*. Also, with the advant of Skype mobile, whenever I leave my phone back at my apartment I'm not S.O.L. when it's necessary to get in touch with someone. Now, if they made something like the Nokia 770 internet table! t that's less clunky, I'd surely give up the PDA in a heartbeat, but for right now, the iPaq is the only device that will fit in my pocket and not make me look like I took an overdose of viagra.
I used to have a PDA, a PALM III SE(it was translucent!) back in the day and after it stopped working(and I realized that I was taking more time entering information into it than I was spending getting things done) I tossed it. Recently,y my life having become slightly more complicated, and my brain slightly less useful, I tried a Treo 650. I found to my horror that the PIM apps had changed very very little in the intervening handful of years, also the palm software mostly sucked and the additional software available was only slightly better. I gave it up pretty quick and now I use a SE s700i and Backpack(www.backpackit.com).
So basically my PDA is a word processor and eBook reader, and that suits me right down to the ground. Maybe I'll be able to replace it if I ever get a smartphone with a large, kick-ass screen and a Bluetooth keyboard, but I don't see that happening at an acceptable price point anytime soon.
P.S.: I'd never buy a Sony PDA again, even if they hadn't dropped out of the race. Dealing with Memory Sticks seemed like a minor issue at first, but expensive, uncommon media is a pain in the ass that just continues to worsen.
Matt the Nursing Student writes:
Absolutely I use a PDA. I'm a nursing student and rather than carry around several textbooks, I can conveniently carry them all around on my PDA.\
I've lusted after a Treo 600/650 but can't justify the price of that either, mostly the monthly fee for a service I don't need, but also the purchase price. But stubbornly, I also just don't want the bulk of that thing in my pocket! Not to mention the small screen which would make ebooking more of a chore. So that's why I still have a pda. If somebody would make a smartphone this thin, I'd really consider it. But otherwise I'll use until it dies or until the OS requirements and synch software compatibility eclipse it. I want thin, damn it.
I was a heavy PDA user right until I got my Blackberry.
The Blackberry is far superior in that it synchronizes over the cell network.
So, any interest in an older Palm?
A short while ago, you asked provocatively why anyone would carry around a PDA anymore. I will now disabuse you of your insipid misconceptions. First off, a lot of people(myself included) prefer not to walk around with a huge all-round device in their linen trouser pocket. Much better to have a small, stylish and dedicated mobile phone with you for those occasions when you are on the beach, at a black/white tie party or something of similar nature. Sure, if you re a girl you can always carry a handbag. That solves the problem. So maybe you should start carrying a manbag, like Joey. It s not at all feminine, I promise! Or maybe a shoulder holster, in case anyone challenges you to a duel at your local geek-a-thon. Secondly, the best of the hybrid models don t even come close to the specs of one of the latest VGA devices. I mean, most of them don t even have WLAN, for god s sake! And as soon as you ve watched two entire DVD-quality movies on that brilliant VGA screen on the flight, your eyes would start to bleed at the mere glimpse of QVGA device. Sure, if you re the type of person who buys a new, expensive laptop only to use it for word processing and playing hearts, then I get why you wouldn t see the reason to have the most powerful and function-filled of mobile computing products. But then the question is, what the hell are you doing at Gizmodo? To round it all off, hybrid products are still light years away from the latest PDAs. (Even though it seems like the new HTC Universal might bridge the gap a bit, for all of its comparative unwieldiness.) I can do things with my PDA you couldn t even imagine! And with that arrogant and un-nuanced statement, I sign off.
Anyways, one of your commenters wrote "Sure, if you re a girl you can always carry a handbag. That solves the problem." This says one thing for sure: you don't understand a thing about handbags because, believe me, they don't mean you can automatically start lugging bricks around. Personally, I try to carry as little as humanly possible (okay, not really, but I do try to minimize) because the thing gets *heavy*. Seriously, next time you're out in public, take a look at the women carrying purses and see how many of them are listing to one side. If I could reliably find womens clothing (that didn't look hideous) with the kind of pockets mens clothing has, I'd be more than happy to ditch my purse. But that purse doesn't deal with the same problem brought up by several others: current technology keeps tempting us with smaller and smaller products, but they're never quite thin enough.