PDA replacement in 2009?
November 22, 2009 6:34 AM   Subscribe

Need to replace a PalmOS PDA used primarily as an address book. Key requirements: cheap(ish), easy to use, sane desktop software, not a phone.
posted by ConstantineXVI to Computers & Internet (14 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
iPod Touch. Looks to be cheaper than a new Palm Pilot, based on a quick scan of Amazon.com. Syncs with iTunes for Windows or Mac. Lots and lots of apps, including a Contacts app. Not a phone.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:43 AM on November 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

Why do you want to replace it? There are still old palms available if it's a hardware failure. If not, let us know what your requirements are.

Regardless, an iPod touch is a very suitable and nice device.
posted by oxit at 6:45 AM on November 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

I'd also suggest an iPod Touch. It is a great address book, has wifi, and has lots of amazing apps on the app store.
posted by avex at 6:46 AM on November 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

Buy an old Palm off eBay.
posted by grouse at 7:45 AM on November 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

I'd give a qualified recommendation to the iPod Touch, but what are your requirements?

- Cost
- Desktop OS
- Desktop software sync requirements (Mac Address Book? Outlook?)
posted by mkultra at 9:42 AM on November 22, 2009

I have a few color palm units kicking around. Send me a note if you want one for shipping costs. I think they are one of the last gen's before the smart phones came out.
posted by SirStan at 12:17 PM on November 22, 2009

What desktop OS are you using? The iPod Touch is nice, but as far as I know it will only sync with MS Outlook, which is not what I would call "sane." The second reason I dumped my iPhone besides AT&T sucking, is the superiority of the Palm calendar and contacts manager over the Apple/Outlook combination.

I would pick up a Palm Tungsten series. I used to have a T3 which was great.
posted by exogenous at 12:26 PM on November 22, 2009

I'd use Google Contacts to actually maintain your address book.

A number of cellphones will sync with Google Contacts, as will several email clients.

In my case, I'm using a Palm Pre cellphone, and Mozilla Thunderbird on my computers with plugins to sync with both Google Calendar and Google Contacts.

The experience is excellent, and seamless. I enter my contact/calendar data once, and it's synchronized everywhere without any effort on my part.

Furthermore, getting data to a new device is trivial, provided Google support exists.
posted by swngnmonk at 12:39 PM on November 22, 2009

(ok, I missed the "not a phone" bit. My recommendation stands however, there must be a PDA device that can sync).
posted by swngnmonk at 12:40 PM on November 22, 2009

I just bought an iPod Touch to replace my high-end Sony PDA (Palm OS) which is 7 or 8 year-old technology. It falls short of my old PDA in many ways. It's a great entertainment device but it sucks as a productivity tool. And unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be a lot of good alternatives unless you want to pay for expensive monthly cell phone service.

There are some decent apps available for it, but most of them don't back-up to a desktop like I would like. Typing on the screen is very slow and inefficient compared to using Graffiti. I also haven't found a calendar program that will remind me of appointments as effectively as my old Palm, is as easy to use, and which can be backed up to a desktop.

It's also pretty much useless unless Wi-Fi is available, and the battery life is terrible unless you just want to listen to music or watch videos.

I kind of wish now that I'd looked at Blackberries, even if you do have to pay a monthly fee for the service. Oh, and iTunes is a major annoyance if you're a PC user.

If you are going to buy one, then consider getting one refurbished by Apple (search for Apple Refurbished Store). I paid $200 for a 16GB unit and I couldn't tell that it wasn't brand new. Actually, it might have been since Apple has stopped selling the 16 GB Touch and maybe I got one they were trying to get rid of.

Please let us (me) know if you find a good alternative to you Palm PDA, because I might want to buy one.
posted by 14580 at 12:51 PM on November 22, 2009

I'm using a PalmOS Sony Clie which as 14580 points out is old tech, but when it dies I'll get a re-furb of the same from EBay -- decent ones go for $50 and up. Nothing newer seems to me to fit the bill as nicely, for PDA and ebook reader functionality.
posted by anadem at 1:07 PM on November 22, 2009

Wow, my experience of the Touch has been almost the exact opposite of 14580, but YMMV. I bought it primarily as a PDA, and it's been phenomenal, once I got everything sussed out the way I wanted it. The key for me was getting everything to sync with my Gmail account; once that was done, backups of data are done, offsite is done, calendars/contacts sync'd everywhere, and my battery lasts for days.

Mail is still a bit of a struggle, because I have a *lot* of archived mail, but I don't particularly need access to all of it from my handheld, so I haven't worried about that too much.

16GB has been lots for me, too. Good luck!
posted by liquado at 4:44 PM on November 22, 2009

My wife and I have both replaced Palms with iPod Touches in the last six months or so, both with great success. It works quite capably as a PDA, provided you don't mind syncing most of your data to web rather than desktop apps. (Some apps do sync to the desktop, but typically via wi-fi rather than cable.)
posted by Lazlo at 8:34 PM on November 22, 2009

nthing the ipod Touch. I had the same problem although my Sony Clie TH55 was not at death's door. I worried about contacts and calendar. Mail on the clie was a non-issue, I never got it to work. Its browser (Netfront or whatever) was lousy.

I bought a 32 gig touch. I use Google Calendar and Gmail (with contacts) to handle all my calendar and contacts stuff. Works well, and syncs wirelessly (internet). Any internet connected machine becomes my desktop application. If you go to Gmail you will find instructions about syncing the caldendar and contacts. Gmail works well with the ipod Touch mail application, again with Google's instructions.

I used Strip on the clie for passwords...no desktop application, so I was never really happy with it.
On the ipod, I use mSecure which is beautiful, and has a Windows and a Mac desktop application. It syncs wirelessly over my local network.

I am much happier with the ipod than I was with the TH55, which I am preparing to get rid of.

I haven't looked too hard, but I would like to find a notes application that has a desktop counterpart, as the Palm Desktop has.

In short, my jump to the ipod Touch has been a pleasant one. The web is great on it (compared to Netfront, which I found unusable, and un-upgradeable). And there are lots of interesting applications.
posted by mbarryf at 5:53 AM on November 23, 2009

« Older shredding shreds   |   Wireless internet and wireless printing on two... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.