Innocent Bystander

A little tech, a little current affairs, and my view on whatever has my attention at the moment...

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Thursday, June 30, 2005

AARRGG!!! What to Do?

So recently my trusty Ipaq 4150 PDA that I've grown to love has let me down in a big way. I've come to rely on the Bluetooth connectivity on the device, I tether it to my cell phone which I use as a wireless modem and surf the internet. Just as critical for me, I use it with a Bluetooth GPS receiver as part of my in car navigation system.

Recently the Bluetooth on my Ipaq quit working on me, even worse is that it did so on a trip when I was relying on it for navigation. It's not that the Bluetooth doesn't work at all mind you, it connects to devices but refuses to pass data. I've had my Ipaq for just about a year, and I've used it pretty hard so I've definately gotten my money's worth out of the device... The question is what to do now...

Convergence or combining two devices to create one device with greater functionality is a big thing in the handheld industry right now. Sales of traditional PDAs (like my crippled Ipaq) have been declining over the last several years, however sales of Smartphones (PDA/Cellphone hybrids like the Treo 600/650) are on the rise. With that in mind, my plan had been to ditch my cell phone and my PDA next year in exchange for a new Smartphone...

And then my Ipaq started misbehaving.

So, the dilemma I face now is do I stick to the original plan and spend $350 to buy a refurbished iPaq 4355 which is what I have now, but with a thumb keyboard attached to the bottom. It's a larger device but I know it's fully compatible with all I have.

Or, do I throw the plan out the window and get a Smartphone now? I'm really intrigued by the Eten M500 PocketPC based phone. One of my concerns about moving to a Smartphone with more of a PDA type of form factor is that its significantly larger than the cell phone I normally carry with me on a day to day basis. Based on how much I loathed my first camera phone because of how fat it was, I'm concerned that the increased size of a PDA sized phone might irritate the heck out of me. However, the M500 doesn't appear to be too big, if anything it appears to be about the same size as my current Ipaq.

The M500 has everything I'm looking for in a Smartphone, gobs of memory, bluetooth, apparently a small size, but it doesn't have wireless networking. It's something that my iPaq has, and while I don't use it often it has come in handy on a few occasions. With the additional memory that the M500 has I could probably get away with an SD card with the wireless networking for those urgent situations...

The other thing that's making me have second thoughts is just the thought of trying to figure out how to get the M500 fully working with T-Mobile, my cellular provider. My biggest concern is that it is a brand spanking new device, which means that there aren't too many people who have them yet. It should work, however I would need to figure out how to make the internet connection work as it's supposed to, and T-Mobile probably won't be of much help. I'm sure I can find the resources needed to do it, it's just that the thought of having to deal with a few hours of frustration concern me. I don't mind being on the leading edge of technology, however I'm concerned about being on the bleeding edge of technology. There is one person I know who could probably help me, but I'm loath to ask them... doing so is kind of like making a deal with the devil...

What to do?


  • At 5:54 PM, Blogger KOB said…

    Smartphone ... I dunno. I owned the early, first generation of t-mobile. I found that lugging around a smartphone was a bit of a chore and also a little risky, from the point of view of actually damaging it. But what really upset me about it was t-mobile -- there are dead zones in Dupont Circle, for goodness sake (now, that might improve since t-mobile appears up for sale). I ended up getting a cheap Nokia Verizon phone, which slides easily in the pocket (another consideration if you go the smartphone route), and bought a 3100 series HP Ipaq (i think its 3115), which I love. I run a wireless network in my house, and love streaming music (kcrw via shoutcast) and so I can set it up some place, plug in some speakers and music!. No keyboard, but you can buy one... It has bluetooth and built-in 802.11. I have to admit, however, I'd be tempted to get one of the new Verizon smartphones, only because they're coming out with the abilty to access verizon's broadband network, which means you can listen to live streaming (in theory) anywhere.
    Anyway, I just found your blog. Take it your DC. Would like to list you on my site, dcblogs. regard,

  • At 7:02 PM, Blogger Michael said…

    I've been hesitant up until now, size was a big limiting factor for me. Big heavy devices like the SV6600 on Verizon kept me away from the market for quite a while. They're big and look pretty silly held up to your ear.

    I've also had a few chunky phones over the years, and quickly came to loath them.

    One of the selling points on the M500 to me is the size, it looks to be as big as my Ipaq (and the Ipaq may actually be smaller). I'm hoping that I don't find the size too irritating.

    T-Mobile is the last big mystery... There are reports of issues with the M500 on T-Mobile, it doesn't have great reception on the frequency T-Mobile tends to rely on... However performance is supposed to be much better on the Cingular networks.

    I'll know more by Thursday, I ordered the phone and it should be here tomorrow.

    Finally, I'm near DC but outside the Beltway. I don't know if that would disqualify me from your site, but the location is temporary. I'm headed to the left coast in a few months...


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