Technology PDA recommendations?

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Dr McSteamy

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I know a good crapload about computer hardware to meet my needs,
but when it comes to PDA, I dunno crap.


Help me buy a PDA.

which model do most people use?
 

AmoryBlaine

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Just a general comment:

I got an El Cheapo Palm model that doesn't have internet or Windows or any of the really fancy stuff.

I still use it extensively, mostly for Epocrates and the Notepad free-writing feature. The calculator is also nice.

Some of my friends bo't top of the line PDAs and now just use them for Epocrates which is a waste of several hundred dollars.

Other people basically made the decision to combine their PDA/cell phone and now have a pretty sweet (if heavy) toy in their pockets.
 

Pianoboe01

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Pretty much everyone I know bought the Palm TX.
 

DOctorJay

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just search this tech forum and you will find plenty of recommendations
 

msl2007

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I love my Treo.

I like having one heavy thing to put in my tiny white coat pocket and one thing to remember to charge (a big problem for me, sadly. I hate relaoding my PDA over and over!) I also like always having my PDA on me.

I had a sony clie but the screen was too dim and the processor was slow so it was a pain to use epocrates. I preferred -gasp- a paper book!

I know that they are $$ but so is med school!

I have the Palm version, and like it, but will go with windows for my next one, jsut because I hate Palm sync software and everything seems to be moving to windows mobile.
 

kingtz

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Check out this site:
http://reviews.cnet.com/Handhelds/2001-3127_7-0.html?tag=cnetfd.dir

You can read their reviews, and then pick out the one with the highest rating that's within your price range. You should, of course, also look at other review sites for their opinions but the CNET site is a good start.

I, personally, use the Palm Tungsten E|2. It costs $199 and is a mid-range business PDA. While it lacks the wireless and video capabilities of the more expensive ones, it can handle word documents, spread sheets, text files, power points, and software like Epocrates, as well as organize your schedule effectively. This is a solid performer, and I'm really happy with it.

My other advice is that you should NOT get something that is too cheap. They have very small screens, which are not very bright, and responsive when you use your little pen. They are also not very well-made and break easily. In addition, they simply LOOK cheap and have bad design features (liek buttons not laid out intuitively). $199 was a little over my budget (as I was going for the entry level PDA), but I decided to "splurge" the extra $100 and get something that was mid-range and performed better and was more reliable.
 

DOctorJay

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just fyi here,

PDAs may not be around much longer as the boom of smartphones continues. Dell for example will no longer be making their version of PPC PDAs. I realize many people still aren't big fans of the smartphones just yet but they are really catching on and are extremely handy once you get into the hospital (i loved being able to carry around my treo on surgery because I just had to keep looking stuff up in my PDA version of Schwartz (cough cough), i mean text my buddies to meet up for lunch).
 

msl2007

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just fyi here,
(i loved being able to carry around my treo on surgery because I just had to keep looking stuff up in my PDA version of Schwartz (cough cough), i mean text my buddies to meet up for lunch).

I also found it helpful to be able to consult Schwartz on my PDA during detailed conferences. ;)
 

meehawl

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Dell for example will no longer be making their version of PPC PDAs.

With the OQO and others, it's now possible to shoehorn Windows XP/Vista into a very small notebook (ie, large PDA) size. So Microsoft is pushing this. HTC (which makes pretty much every PPC smartphone/pda out there, ie, Dash, 8125/8525, Dopod, etc etc etc) is shifting from PPC to Vista PDAs. PPC will stick around for a while on lower end, but the thinking is for the higher end, if you're going to get people to spend $500+ for a handheld, why not make it Vista? Dell has more extpertise with full Windows, so I expect it will be re-branding HTC or another CHinese company's mini-PC as its new high-end PDA...
 

Heeed!

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I also found it helpful to be able to consult Schwartz on my PDA during detailed conferences. ;)

Wow! I'd love to read Schwartz over and over and over again! Does it come in Palm format???
 

BlondeCookie

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just fyi here,

PDAs may not be around much longer as the boom of smartphones continues. Dell for example will no longer be making their version of PPC PDAs. I realize many people still aren't big fans of the smartphones just yet but they are really catching on and are extremely handy once you get into the hospital (i loved being able to carry around my treo on surgery because I just had to keep looking stuff up in my PDA version of Schwartz (cough cough), i mean text my buddies to meet up for lunch).


It would be really bad for me if pure PDAs went extinct in place of the PDA/smartphone. I really don't like the added bulk of a phone built into my PDA. I prefer to keep the phone separate from the PDA when I actually have a life away from school and the hospital.
 
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With the OQO and others, it's now possible to shoehorn Windows XP/Vista into a very small notebook (ie, large PDA) size. So Microsoft is pushing this. HTC (which makes pretty much every PPC smartphone/pda out there, ie, Dash, 8125/8525, Dopod, etc etc etc) is shifting from PPC to Vista PDAs. PPC will stick around for a while on lower end, but the thinking is for the higher end, if you're going to get people to spend $500+ for a handheld, why not make it Vista? Dell has more extpertise with full Windows, so I expect it will be re-branding HTC or another CHinese company's mini-PC as its new high-end PDA...
This is absolutely not true as far as I am aware.

Windows Mobile (PPC) v6 is just starting to come out and Codename "Photon" (the next version after v6) is already in alpha and scheduled to come out next year. Both of these are based on the Windows CE core just like every other version before it. I don't see this changing anytime soon. If they moved to a cut down Vista core all the programs currently on the market would cease to run since it is completely different from the Windows CE core. They could build a legacy emulator into this cut down Vista (WiW/Windows in Windows) but that would be a major performance hit.

The Windows crew isn't stupid, they won't even think about porting the Vista core until it actually works. Vista can barely run a laptop without crashing, they aren't about to try and shunt it to a totally different architecture with a whole new set of issues, that would be suicide.

Bottom line, there isn't any reasonable possibility of this happening until at least 2009, at the very earliest.

What you might be thinking of is the UMPC (Ultra Mobile PC) initiative but this has so far fallen flat on it's face.
 
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It would be really bad for me if pure PDAs went extinct in place of the PDA/smartphone. I really don't like the added bulk of a phone built into my PDA. I prefer to keep the phone separate from the PDA when I actually have a life away from school and the hospital.
Sorry to tell you, but this is most likely where things are headed.
 

meehawl

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What you might be thinking of is the UMPC (Ultra Mobile PC) initiative but this has so far fallen flat on it's face.

That's what they said about Windows Mobile for the first few years...

From a production perspective, supporting a different codebase is expensive, and a logistics headache. Windows XP Embedded (and now Vista Embedded) is really beginning to come into its own, especially now that there are so many ultra-low voltage x86 chip variants.

Windows CE (the basis for Smartphone and PPC) made sense in the late-90s and early noughties because small-size hardware was low-powered and didn't have enough wellie to run XP. That's not true any more. Also, 2000's real-time thread handling sucked, whereas XP/Vista has a bunch of new modes that work pretty well and can accomplish a good imitation of a real-time OS.

In the long-run, this won't mean very much change for end-users. Because it's based on a subset of the older Win32 API, Windows CE applications can be easily re-compiled to run under XP/Vista. Also, the PPC/Mobile/SmartPhone functionality is enabled as a set of dependency templates, so as you mention, deploying an emulator layer that's simply a bag of interrupt handlers is pretty trivial. Most CE apps spend most of their time executing Win32 calls anyway, and these are abstracted from the hardware, so performance on a newer x86 clone chip would be as fast if not faster.

In the global scheme of things, MS has around 6% of the smartphone market (compared to Symbian with 73% and Palm at 2%). Therefore, switching over is not a huge headache, especially considering growth rates. Within a year or two, the older CE-based devices would be about as ubiquitous as Windows ME machines.

it may not make sense from a user perspective, but the extraordinary economies of scale available in the x86 market is driving this change. The same economies forced Apple to switch from Motorola/IBM to x86 - do you really think smaller companies with less budgets (such as HTC) would resist this for long?
 
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