For three years I have had a Palm Treo 650, which is one of the PalmOS based phones. That followed on from a succession of Palm Pilots I used from 2001 onwards. I liked the Palm platform – it did some nice things, and most importantly it was easy for people to develop software for so there was lots of it available. As an example, when I went to South America, I went with a Spanish-English dictionary embedded in my telephone.
And my Treo was nice. I liked the full QWERTY keyboard, the integration of the contacts list and calendar with the ones on my computer, the way an SMS conversation was laid out in a chat, and the external ‘silent’ switch. Email was possible if rudimentary, and web surfing – well, you had to squint at the screen. Sometimes the phone crashed which was very annoying, but I forgave the instability for years because the phone was just so useful. Then I broke it.
I was sitting on a chair lift in France a couple of weeks ago, and I was slightly in the wrong place on the seat. When the safety bar came down, it and half a dozen burly skiers wound up resting on the screen of my Treo. And that was it for the phone. I wound up borrowing a phone in Switzerland – a small Nokia with menus in German. Then a Sony Ericson P990i in England – theoretically a smart phone, but everything I wanted to do with it was either not possible or just too hard to figure out. Then, back in New Zealand, another tiny Nokia loaner. I didn’t find it liberating trying to do without my contact list in a phone – just frustrating.
That brings me to my new phone. What to get? The Palm platform is looking pretty sick these days. I’d tried a Symbian phone (the P990i), although perhaps not the best example of one, and I was tempted by the Nokia E91i with its QWERTY keyboard and easy syncing to my Mac. But the E91i doesn’t have the SMS as chat feature that Treos have, or the external silent switch. Vodafone sent me a new Treo as my old one was insured with them, but it runs Windows mobile not PalmOS, and won’t play with my Mac at all. So that’s on Trademe. As you’ve gathered if you are still with me, I care deeply about my technology. Call me finicky.
I have settled on an iPhone. It arrived less than a week ago so it’s early days yet, but I think we are going to get on just fine. It syncs beautifully with my Mac (of course!), has an increasing number of applications available for it, is easy to use, has the SMS chat feature and an external silent switch, and a full QWERTY virtual keyboard. Also, because it’s an iPod as well, that cuts down the number of machines I tote around on a daily basis. And it’s drop-dead gorgeous.
Here’s hoping for a long relationship!