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Does Anyone Actually Use a "Smartphone"?

Cliff posted more than 9 years ago | from the seeking-other-user's-comments dept.

Communications 101

jm2morri asks: "I am currently in the market for a new cell phone and while I'm at it I'd really like to combine my PalmOS based PDA into my new cell phone. I'd really like to keep PalmOS based so that I can sync with my wife who has a PalmOS based PDA as well. However I don't want a camera since there are new security laws being written, as I type this, to restrict the use of camera-phones. Has anyone used one of the smartphones on the market? What is the voice quality like? How often does it crash? Do you have any other observations?"

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101 comments

Sony Ericsson P800 (4, Informative)

Purzel (207497) | more than 9 years ago | (#9124719)

I own a Sony Ericsson P800 and if a could afford it i would buy me another phone. With the last firmware the uptime increased to 2 weeks, but for the most you have to reboot because bluetooth did not work anymore.

I like the pen based input and with some extra software the "smartphone" features like calendar, todo list, etc. are okay.

I can't say about the P900, but when bluetooth and the OS is more stable i would give it a try.

Re:Sony Ericsson P800 (4, Insightful)

mpmansell (118934) | more than 9 years ago | (#9124747)

This raises some of my concerns about the newer more complex smart phones. The firmware ismore complex and there is a higher likelyhood of something going wrong. I also have a 3650, which is sort of a halfway house and the damned thing constantly reboots, leaks memory and generally incites me to buying large blunt objects!

I assume that the software developed in these devices is to the same standard as most of the rest of the industry. To much rush and too little testing. There is a lot to be said for a bog std phone that is just a phone :)

Re:Sony Ericsson P800 (2, Interesting)

kunudo (773239) | more than 9 years ago | (#9126655)

And some time in the future, this will be solved by porting linux or making a new phone OS from scratch, when enough people invest in flashers and download whitepapers and service manuals for the phones. I'd love to install my own OS on the phone just for the hack value, and I'd love to have full control over the phone.

My observation? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9124723)

My anus is sweaty.

Smartphones (4, Informative)

mpmansell (118934) | more than 9 years ago | (#9124727)

For the last year and a half, I have been using a Motorola A008 which is a simple smartphone. While I didn't expect to find it so useful (I bought it because it was a special offer for 99ukp for a sim free GPRS - ideal spare phone).

The notepad and enhanced contacts are invaluable, as is the keyboard for sms.

Sadly, it recently developed a really weird fault (works when roaming, just not at home!) and to save time I just upgraded to the Treo 600.

Just my first impressions, but it looks like it will prove just as useful, though not always as convenient, but I can put multilingual dictionaries on it which is a great use for me. mobile email is also a consideration.

All in all, so long as the phone side isn't made too difficult, some of us can make good use of smart phones. However, if all you want is a nice decent phone, there are many simpler and more convenient devices on the market.

sph-i300 (2, Informative)

Loualbano2 (98133) | more than 9 years ago | (#9124756)

I have an sph-i300 from Samsung. It's a standard Palm phone with the keypad on the screen. It's not much bigger than a regular palm, but the screen is a bit smaller.

I like it a lot, as I have all my numbers, appointments and little notes on my phone, which is hard to forget at home. And syncing it with my PC is the #1 reason I bought it, as I won't have to worry about syncing my phone and palm together and if I do lose my phone, I still have all the numbers. I just get any new Palm OS phone and sync it and I'm golden.

There are tons of programs for Palm including an SSH client, IRC client, a ping util and a couple of browsers that are good in a pinch (and only in a pinch, really).

I have two compliants about this phone though. This particlular phone is not compatible with Sprint's vision service, so my phone tops out at 14.4k. The i330 is vision capable, so I imagine I will get that next. Also, the screen is hard to see in the sun, which is a minor inconvienence.

I say if you can deal with carrying something of that size all the time, go for it.

ft

Re:sph-i300 (1)

kentborg (12732) | more than 9 years ago | (#9132043)

I have a Samsung i330, and I like it. The downside is that the bundling of phone with Palm means that either aspect having a problem likely brings down the other. That said, it *is* neat to be able to do real e-mail on my phone. Running Palm software is cool too.

Recently I even figured out how to use this phone as an internet connection for my Linux notebook. It has a lot of latency, which is nasty for terminal-type interaction, but for web browsing it is pretty good. (Note: Sprint officially frowns on this use of my current plan, but I haven't downloaded any CDs and they haven't shut me off.)

For more down side, this phone turns itself on every few minutes and makes a mysterious 10-second data call.

First, this is annoying because it means that any bumping of the screen can dial numbers, etc., so I keep my idle phone in Citytime, which can't do much with only random taps.

Second, it reminds me that I don't trust the Palm OS nor how it is installed in this phone. As a result I recently bought another Palm (Zire 31) that I keep in my bag instead of on my belt. I don't trust this OS any more than the i330, but I can control who this device talks to. I keep more sensitive data on this new Palm.

The i330 might be for you, but I don't think they make it anymore. I will say it is cool to be able to ssh from my notebook into my home machine with my i330 as a modem.

-kb

I have one... (3, Informative)

noelp (524550) | more than 9 years ago | (#9124766)

I have an SPV E200 - from Orange in the UK. Previously I had the E100. The new revision is pretty similar in form, but does have a built in camera (which I don't use), bluetooth (which I do use) and Smartphone 2003 as opposed to 2002.

The first one had its problems - it was a little unresponsive (as compared to a stock Nokia etc) and its battery life sucked a bit (I got about 3 days standby out of it). The mail/sms client behaved a little oddly at times as well. I stuck with the Smartphone for the simple reason of Outlook integration, which was excellent.

The E200 fixes most of the problems and has some nice additional features (multiple POP3 accounts etc etc). The battery life is a little better and generally the phone is a lot more responsive. The best bit is that I can now sync it over the air (GPRS) with Exchange 2002 automatically. I always have my latest mail/contacts/calendar even when I haven't been at my desktop for a while. This, for me, is the silver bullet. Any other idiosyncracies I can handle.

My only other complaint would be its size - it is a touch bulky, but Motoral do a flip version I think which solves that problem (although it doesn't have bluetooth in its current form I think).

Hope that helps

Motorola A920 (3, Interesting)

obeythefist (719316) | more than 9 years ago | (#9124783)

I use a 3G Motorola A920. Great phone. Sucky company (Hutchinson/3)

I've hacked mine a bit (replaced some of the UIQ components with third party ones) to allow me to install software (3 lock thier phones down to ensure that you can't install fun software on your phone, bollocks to that I say).

There are some stability issues (opening a 2MB e-book in html on the opera browser will cause it to lose connection with 3's network sometimes). A quick reboot fixes those of course. What price we must pay for our toys.

Also, battery life becomes more of an issue because you're dealing with a 266MHz CPU in your pocket, not just a flimsy phone-call appliance.

What's the good?

- Internet access on my phone
- Games games games
- MP3 playback
- Camera and video recording/playback
- Reading e-books wherever I go
- Phone takes 128MB SDcards for storing more MP3's
- Using MP3's as a ringtone
- Awesome address book/calendaring
- Email from your phone
- All the other neat PDA stuff

I love PDA functionality. I would own a PDA, but I would never take it with me anywhere, always leave it at home because I don't need it (like any other gadget). I have to carry my phone for work purposes, and it's useful to have with me. It also happens to do all these other amazing things. And all I need when I go out is my phone, my wallet, and my keys, and I'm set with all those capabilities listed above. It's much better than carrying phone, keys, wallet, pda, mp3 player, camera, video camera... forget that. You'd buy the camera and leave it at home and never get to take that nice picture when you get the chance. Likewise you never know when you'll get bored and just pop open one of your ebooks and have a read, or browse over to bash.org and see what people are being quoted for saying.

Re:Motorola A920 (3, Insightful)

monopole (44023) | more than 9 years ago | (#9127772)

The bit about loving PDA functionality but always leaving the PDA home is telling. One of the critical aspects of PDA utility is omnipresence. When you always have your PDA at hand it suddenly becomes indispensable. If tacking on a phone makes this happen all the better.

P900 (3, Informative)

DiSKiLLeR (17651) | more than 9 years ago | (#9124784)

I have a Sony Ericsson P900, and absolutely love it.

It does just about everything, and is the perfect compromise for a PDA/Phone (ie, not to big and not too small).

The sound quality is fantastic! The persons voice sounds more realistic, not high pitched and tinny like it did on my Sony Ericsson T610.

The reception is also excellent. I live in a dead zone and the T610 would never work (nor would any other mobile) but the P900 works fine! Maybe it has a bigger internal antenna since its physically bigger.

The phone is superb. I would definitely recommend it, or the P1000 (or whatever it will be called) when its released later in the year. Apparently this one will have a keyboard on the back of the flip.

Unfortunately the phone has a camera, as all new phones and PDA/Smartphones do these days :(

I'm not sure what you can do about that... pretty much every phone has a camera these days, so you're pretty much stuck using an old phone + PDA combo or just get a camera phone/smartphone/etc.

Everyone is gonna have them, so places will just need to learn to deal with it.

D.

Re:P900 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9149512)

Agreed - the p900 is excellent. More stable than p800 and various tweaks have been done to the interface - and downloadable OS updates.

One gripe is that it uses MemoryStickDuo - which is limited to 128MB - as opposed to SD or MSDuoPro or something. This limits the amount of OGG (http://symbianoggplay.sourceforge.net/) files I can get on one card.

Another is that Palm is better supported in Linux - but it is possible to connect the p900 up if you work at it!

I don't use one myself... (2, Informative)

byolinux (535260) | more than 9 years ago | (#9124806)

But, I have a friend [darrenosborne.co.uk] who does. He doesn't read Slashdot though, but he really knows his stuff about Smartphones. Drop him a line [darrenosborne.co.uk]

Re:I don't use one myself... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9126488)

Sig: There is no "Linux Operating System" - it's GNU/Linux, or even GNU.

The name of something is simply what the greater majority choose to call it.
If you started calling oranges by their proper name of "citrus sinensis" and insisting that the local supermarket change their signage people would think you're nuts!
99.999% of the world has no clue what "GNU" is.
Just to pull a number out of my ass, I would say a third of them have at least heard of Linux and perhaps 10% of those grok that it is an OS as opposed to a new brand of tuna.
Even if I'm off by orders of magnitude, the fact remains that "Linux" is here to stay.
If I were you I'd focus my efforts on helping to promote Linux in general rather than quibbling over petty details.

Just my $2-CDN

(Posting AC as this will instantly get modded flamebait. :)

Nokia 6600 (2, Informative)

trajano (220061) | more than 9 years ago | (#9124844)

I use a Nokia 6600 and synchronize it with MS Outlook and my Clie.

The OS is not too stable and I get sporadic crashes. Though it is mostly fixed in the latest firmware upgrade. Unfortunately the firmware is not user upgradable and you have to go to a service center which charges you for the service of upgrading your cellphone firmware.

The cellphone will eventually replace my PDA, but not at the moment, since it still has some useful apps which are not available in the cellphone (SecondScreen TV, HandyShopper and Mapopolis). What would eventually end up is my PDA will end up as a secondary device but no longer something I carry around all the time. If any I would be getting a GBA SP to replace my PDA because primarily I use it to play a few games on the road, the cellphone has a few games but the phone UI is not too friendly for games.

Also Nokia beats the pants off any other cellphone I have tried so far for text messaging with the keypad. For text messaging I prefer to use the standard keypad with the T9 dictionary, YMMV and most people would prefer an easily misplaced stylus and a bulkier cellphone to support stylus input. The Nokia 6600 is pretty bulky as it is, unfortunately it was the only 6000 series Nokia that had all the features I wanted at the time.

Nokia 3650 (1)

LeftOfCentre (539344) | more than 9 years ago | (#9124889)

I have a Nokia 3650 which is considered a "smart phone". It runs Symbian and appears to have very versatile APIs in C++ to access nearly every feature of the phone. It's started to crash about once in ten times when I boot it up. Not quite sure why. Overall I'm pleased, there are some cool apps available for it and the voice quality is good also. However, dust has settled under the display glass and it's not even a year old yet. It feels as though the older "classic" cell phones like 3110 were of much better quality in that sense.

Re:Nokia 3650 (1)

undef24 (159451) | more than 9 years ago | (#9128017)

I love this phone. My visor is now in the trash. Syncs with iSync / Outlook etc, holds contacts, todo items, calendar, etc.

Don't buy a pda AND a phone!

Re:Nokia 3650 (1)

dcocos (128532) | more than 9 years ago | (#9141213)

You can open the device pretty easily (and it won't void the warranty) b/c it is how you put on the express covers. You can then use an air duster to clean the screen.

Conventional Wisdom (5, Insightful)

haunebu (16326) | more than 9 years ago | (#9124905)

Working for Nokia I've participated in several internal product testing (beta) programs over the last four years. The best advice I can give to someone considering a smartphone is this: Wait until the device has been on the market for a few months before you buy it.

Internal testing is pretty good at finding major bugs, but some always slip through and find their way into the hands of the consumer. Most of these become obvious after the device has been on the market for just a few weeks - the sheer volume of people using the devices means bugs are found quickly. Nokia is pretty good at taking that feedback and rolling out updated firmware - usually less than two months after the product's been on the market. (Gotta keep that field failure rate down!)

People looking for stability should avoid devices that use the initial firmware version, unless they mind taking their device in for an update a few months later.

It was the same with my Sony Ericsson P900. The initial firmware release (R1A) had some annoying problems which are well documented on enthusiast sites, but four revisions later (R4B) it's turned out to be a fantastic device.

Kyocera 7135 Smartphone (2, Informative)

Sierran (155611) | more than 9 years ago | (#9124926)

I have used the 7135 since it was first available. It does everything I ask of it, and does it well. My only complaint is that it is PalmOS 4 on a DragonBall processor (sleaux!) but that doesn't bother me much. There's no camera, but no Bluetooth either (which would be nice). I've had the same unit the whole time, and it has survived countless gravity-testings onto concrete. I use iSync on a Mac as well as sync to Evolution on Ximian Desktop; both work reasonably well once you get used to some foibles (the Palm sync protocol kinda-sorta-sucks, AFAICT). iSync is great.


Mine has crashed in the single-digit numbers of times since I got it. I have found that letting it run out of battery while roaming tends to drive it nuts, and that situation got me both my two data-loss crashes...since then, i've carried a live backup on the 256MB SD card I keep in the unit with my 'critical MP3s' and 64MB worth of files. I use it as a backup MP3 player as well. Battery life is presently around 2.5 days, but that's on the original battery - when new, it lasted around 4, with moderate talktime. This one is on Verizon, btw.


I'd recommend it wholeheartedly for one reason: I no longer need carry a Palm and a phone. This one does the job of both. It's a *slightly* compromised phone (big, battery hungry) and a more compromised Palm (OS4, lousy processor) but its advantages (for me) more than outweigh those issues. I like it quite a bit, and consider it the first real 'phone that science fiction promised me as a kid.'

Re:Kyocera 7135 Smartphone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9125561)

I also use the 7135 and find it much more useful than I expected. My first PDA was a Newton, then a Palm and I cared not a bit for either. Having the phone and Palm together give higher value to both.

Re:Kyocera 7135 Smartphone (2, Informative)

p4ul13 (560810) | more than 9 years ago | (#9126137)

I also use the 7135, and I'd second your assesment of it. Verizon is my carrier and I'm quite happy with my coverage. The software is noticably slower than some of the regular Palm devices I've tried, but the convenience outweighs that. The phone/palm integration are pretty well thought out, and it's great to be able to send and recieve POP/IMAP mail from my phone if I need to send something out in a hurry.

Re:Kyocera 7135 Smartphone (1)

Nomad7674 (453223) | more than 9 years ago | (#9147084)

I have been using my Kyo7135 for over a year now and it is GREAT. I bought a Palm Tungsten C recently figuring that the 802.11b and faster processor would be superior to the Smartphone and would lead me to replace the Kyo7135. But the convenience of having the phone and PDA in the same package keep me coming back to the SmartPhone and I will probably be reselling the Tungsten C instead... even tho I love the design of the newer Palm as well. Until we see a PalmOS 5 SmartPhone with a decent battery life, I am sticking with this little miracle.

nokia n-gage (1)

fabio (78385) | more than 9 years ago | (#9124943)

i got the n-gage, and its just like the 6600 but without the camera, so if you can survive the bad talk thats been around this phone, its a great buy

it runs on symbian and it can run the opora browser, been reading /. with mine

nokia recently released the QD, but its only got like half the functions of the original

Re:nokia n-gage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9126698)

i got the n-gage [...] so if you can survive the bad talk thats been around this phone


You mean, if you can survive looking like a TOTAL TOOL using it as a phone...

Heavy user here (1)

samjam (256347) | more than 9 years ago | (#9124960)

I've used the Microsoft SPV1, E200,
and Sony Ericsson P800 and P900, currently using the P900.

(You might want to read my CV, brief and full)

I have to say smartphones are the bees knees.

After all why wouldn't you want your PDA to also be a phone with internet connectivity?

My P900 is my ebook reader and offline browser [mobipocket.com] , and my portable games machine [my-symbian.com]

It has a camera to take photos at a moments notice (better than no photo at all) and even short movie clips with sound.

I user opera for web browsing with the nice PDA layout so I dont have to keep scrolling horizontally, and I use the email client for those times when I need mobile email.

Then there is the standard PDA calendar and phone book.

If the P900 were any smaller, the screen would me smaller, and I wouldn't want that!

The only thing that hurts are GPRS data prices at the moment, so I have to really justify "online" use.

There are always more smartphones coming out.

I preder the larger screen touch-screen mainly-PDA style smartphone, but there are plenty of more robust-screen mainly-phone style smartphones too.

I think Orange are the leaders in releasing smartphones, and I don't think thats my bias.

Sam

Camera phone security laws? (1)

JeffHunt (129508) | more than 9 years ago | (#9125037)

I apologize for being off-topic or being ignorant, but what legislature has been proposed to restrict the usage of cell phones with cameras?

Re:Camera phone security laws? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9125224)

I apologize for being off-topic or being ignorant, but what legislature has been proposed to restrict the usage of cell phones with cameras?

Perhaps not "laws", but definitely rules forbidding their use. We're not allowed to have them at work. Many gyms and other places with locker rooms are also starting to ban them because stupid assholes are actually taking candid shots of people while they're changing while pretending to talk on their phones. Basically combining a camera and a phone was the stupidest idea someone ever could have come up with. There are many places cameras simply aren't allowed (concerts usually for instance, theaters, etc.) that are now offlimits for your phone now as well. I'd go out of my way to find a nice phone that DOESN'T have a camera, but it's becoming harder and harder for Sprint customers if you want a flip phone. There are still a few though.

Re:Camera phone security laws? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9126036)

I don't know about the author's region. But even if there are no laws, some places will restrict cameras. Where I live, several major corporations do this. I am having the same problem with PDAs, many of which now sport useless cameras. I wish the manufacturers would use that space for extra battery power instead.

What good is a pda/phone if I have to leave it at the gate??

Re:Camera phone security laws? (1)

p4ul13 (560810) | more than 9 years ago | (#9126092)

I don't think you're off-topic at all. While I don't know of specific state or federal legislation, I do know that some businesses are restricting them from being allowed in the building due to security. For that matter, my gym prohibits you from bringing in a camera phone because they don't want to deal with the potential privacy problems in the locker rooms.

Re:Camera phone security laws? (1)

Scorchio (177053) | more than 9 years ago | (#9126966)

Just heard this on the radio this morning.

The bill before Congress would make it illegal to videotape, photograph, film, broadcast or record a naked person or someone in underwear anyplace where a "reasonable person would believe that he or she could disrobe in privacy."

The legislation also would make it illegal to sneak photos of a person's "private parts" when "their private parts would not be visible to the public, regardless of whether that person is in a public or private area."

A person convicted under the law could face a fine and as much as a year in jail.
(Source [katu.com] )

Camera equipped mobiles phones are seen as the weapon of choice here. Still, it's no reason not to get one, it just reinforces the fact you shouldn't be using it to take pictures up your co-worker's skirt.

No camera+palmOS narrows it down (1)

biglig2 (89374) | more than 9 years ago | (#9125038)

General concensus is that the Sony Ericsson P900 (running Symbian) is the best of the current crop of smart phones.

However, not wanting a camera is going to restrict your choices... Perhaps something like an old Treo 270? Or if you want something newer one of the Samsungs.

By co-incidence (1)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 9 years ago | (#9125170)

I've just written a write-up on the Nokia 9290 in my journal [slashdot.org] . The major concern I have for that system is the build quality and certain (probably marketing-lead) design flaws, if Nokia doesn't change the way they do things I probably will not be buying Nokia again.

There are some very PalmOS systems out there, such as the Treo range, and if it's what you're used to and happy with, you can't go far wrong.

If you're in the US, I sincerely recommend steering clear of Sprint PCS and Verizon and chosing one of the GSM operators (T-Mobile, Cingular, AT&T). The reason for this is the SIM card. Even though CDMA2000, the system SPCS and Verizon are moving to, theoretically supports them, neither operator allow you to use SIM cards with their service. This becomes important because you do NOT want to have your phone service tied to a single cellphone if you plan to use a PDA phone. PDA phones are large, expensive, and excel in certain areas and are never quite perfect in other. You're going to want, occasionally, to use another phone in its place from time to time. With GSM, this is just a matter of taking out the SIM and putting it in the other phone. With CDMA2000, as currently implemented by the US operators who use it, this is a matter of ringing up their customer service, waiting on hold for half an hour, persuading them to switch over the service, and then waiting for "up to" 24 hours (normally much quicker but it does happen) for the service to start on the other phone.

It's kind of silly. Qualcomm fixed this major issue with IS-95, and then made the "fix" optional, and the operators have never cared enough about their customers to implement it. Gah. Apparently some overseas operators do implement the feature, indeed China had a cdmaOne service with SIM cards.

Re:By co-incidence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9141059)

Take T-Mobile OFF that list at your earliest convenience, if you actually like using your phone as a phone.

Samsung SPH-I500 (2, Insightful)

mchawi (468120) | more than 9 years ago | (#9125199)

I have the Samsung SPH-i500 via Sprint. This is the size of a normal phone, and was designed for being a phone first. I really like the fact that if I wanted it only for use as a phone - it is still a great phone.

If you open it up it has a screen on top that has your phone menus (like address book etc) or Palm OS menus. On the bottom it has your keypad and a small area to write - just like the Palm. So the PDA functionality is also pretty good.

I also like that this particular phone does not have a camera. It has a color screen, multiple ringtones, etc. It doesn't send SMS to other sprint phones natively (although it can receive them), but there is a 3rd party app you can download for this.

My service (quality/coverage) with Sprint has been excellent. My experience with customer service with Sprint - not so much.

I think when you ask this question you have to ask if you want something that was designed to be a good phone first, or a good PDA first. I think, out of all the phones I have seen, this is the best combination.

Hope this helps.

Re:Samsung SPH-I500 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9136567)

I have the SPH-i500 also and I LOVE IT! A lots included in the box, too: two LiIon batteries, extended and regular, a cradle that can charge the phone and either battery simultaneously, a great-looking leather belt case, car charger, etc.

It works great under Linux! Just load visor.o and point your pilot app at /dev/ttyUSB1. You might need to press the sync button on the cradle a second before pressing Hotsync on your desktop application, but both Jpilot and Kpilot don't need that step -- it just works..

(Note! tried it under Gentoo and couldn't figure out what was going on for weeks. Finally realized that devfs seemed to be screwing things up. Switched to Knoppix/Debian unstable and everything was fine.)

Runs SSH, etc. The downside, of course, is that there's no keyboard, and the upside, of course, is that there's no keyboard. Coming from a Treo 300 (which is flimsy and broke), this is a solid, hefty, well-made phone that I've never had trouble with. It's TINY! Smaller than my old Motorola StarTAC flip phone! Fits in the same plastic holster, in fact.

The aluminum-looking case is scratch resistant, too! Can't say enough good things about this phone! Even works great as a modem for my laptop! (Although I haven't gotten that feature working in Linux yet -- works great in XP though.)

-Jamie

No Smartphone (1)

Tux2000 (523259) | more than 9 years ago | (#9125220)

I do not use a smartphone and I think I will never use one - for a simple reason: My "ancient" Nokia 5130 (modified 5110 for 1800 MHz) works, works, works.

There are no crashes because of a bug in some "smart" component I do not need. It does not support ringtones, logos or other kiddie nonsense. It is a telephone I can simply carry around and use it whenever I need it. It shows the caller's number (and name if it is in the phone book). Nice to have, but not really needed. It has a simple calculator. Nice to have, but not really needed. It can send and receive SMS. Nice to have. It has two or three stupid games. Definitely not needed.

Why should I want to use a smartphone? Taking notes? I prefer pen and paper, or I call my own answering machine if I can't get a piece of paper. Photos? That's why I own a good digital camera and a cheap analog camera. Writing letters and documentations? I own several PCs, thank you. Navigation? Installed in my car (PDA-based).

I really can't see any use for a smart phone. ("Nanana I have a smartphone and you don't!" and "My smartphone is much smarter than your smartphone." are no reasons for buying a smartphone.)

Tux2000

Re:No Smartphone (1)

Nonesuch (90847) | more than 9 years ago | (#9132683)

It does not support ringtones, logos or other kiddie nonsense.
Actually, I find distinctive ring to have real business utility, particularly combined with profiles, I can know from the moment the phone first chirps if a call is from a major customer or from a friend who wants to know if I want to grab a pint after work.

Depending on the time of day, I ignore either one or the other.

I really can't see any use for a smart phone.

Prior to getting a Treo 600, I carried my personal cell phone, my work cell phone, my work pager, and a PDA. Now I carry one device that does the work of all four.

For somebody who wouldn't use a PDA if you had one, you probably don't want a smartphone. For myself, being able to check my email, pull up a web page, ssh into a server and fix a problem without having to ditch my friends and go find a PC, makes it more than worth the cost.

Treo 600 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9125255)

I've had one of these for about three months now and I think it's just great. Works with most Palm software, fast processor, reasonable memory, good bundled apps, great sync with PC. Can barely find fault with it. Only down side is probably the lack of blue tooth but you can get a card for that.

Treo 600/Sprintcapsule review. (3, Informative)

hey! (33014) | more than 9 years ago | (#9125267)

It crashes about once a month with no serious side effects (reboot in under a minute). It runs most Palm software well.

The battery life very good for a PDA, comparable to other digital phones. Talking is the most power hungry activity. I never run out of juice, but YMMV depending on how much you talk. Handset gets uncomfortably hot if you talk a long time at maximum transmit power.

The screenvery good in most lghting conditions, and is at least usable in bright direct sunlight. The keyboard's OK, but a little cramped; the Blackberry layout is superior if you are doing lots of keying, but more awkward as a phone. You can do without stylus, but I miss graffiti sometimes.

The browser works suprising well. I can browse the non-PDA version of slashdot adequately. Naturally flash and ActiveX dependent sites don't work. You cannot use the phone as a modem for your laptop, a limitation designed for SPrint to avoid clashing with their PC card modems. However inexpensive third party software can turn it into a modem for your laptop.

THe camera is a complete piece of shit; it's basically a pinhole camera. Resolution is poor it has a serious problem except with very/strong. brightly lit scenes with low contrast. Basically, it's enough of a camera to get you into trouble in places where cameras are forbidden, but not enough to be useful for anything.

The phone has no bluetooth, but it does have a SDIO slot that may support an (as yet unreleased) third party bluetooth card. I understand there is a header on the PC board for the bluetooth chip, but it is not populated because Sprint doesn't want bluetooth on this beast.

Generally I'd rate it fine as a phone and about 80% as good as a Tungsten as a PDA. I'd prefer a Tungson and a small digital phone connected by bluetooth, but overall very good.

Re:Treo 600/Sprintcapsule review. (1)

lbjay (34118) | more than 9 years ago | (#9130015)

For what it's worth, I agree pretty completely with this assessment. I've had a Treo600 for about a month now. Good screen, good battery life, camera stinks, I sometimes miss graffiti, etc. Now that more smartphone options are out there, I don't know why anyone would choose to lug around two separate gadgets.

Re:Treo 600/Sprintcapsule review. (1)

VisorGuy (548245) | more than 9 years ago | (#9132037)

I recently bought a Palm Tungsten|T3 and a Sony Ericsson T68m to replace my Handspring Visor Prism w/VisorPhone.

I now happily "lug around two separate gadgets" as you said. I'm happy about it because there's far more functionality and far less weight (the Visor Prism + VisorPhone was a BRICK).

Also, the price was about the same... I bought the Visor Prism for $300 and the VisorPhone for $100.
The Tungsten|T3 was $295 and the T68m was $71.

Re:Treo 600/Sprintcapsule review. (1)

pfelipe (26188) | more than 9 years ago | (#9136792)

Another agreement for this review. Great phone, all palm advantages, usable web browsing, ssh, vnc, pptp based vpn with split-tunnel, pop/imap email, IM, games, ebooks, mp3s (even net streamed)... on and on. The camera really does suck but can be fun on a bright day
I was worried about the larger size and candybar-ness after 3 years of the mot v60 but it is still pretty compact... even works in the front pocket of 501's.

Treo 600 (1)

Pascal Sartoretti (454385) | more than 9 years ago | (#9125323)

I really like my Treo 600, it is a great replacement for my previous Palm + cell phone.

However, it is true that the "phone" side is not (yet?) perfect, I anxiously await the software update expected later this week.

It also true that the phone sometimes reboots (approx. once a week), but it boots as fast as Palm (and not as a PC!), and never lost any data. I can live with this...

3650 (1)

GR|MLOCK (203716) | more than 9 years ago | (#9125451)

My 3650 can browse the web, take bad pictures and video, interfaces with my company's Exchange server so I can read work email on the phone, plays games, etc. I love it.

Treo 600 (4, Informative)

$exyNerdie (683214) | more than 9 years ago | (#9125502)


I had Kyocera 6035 for a couple of years. Then I switched to Handspring (now PalmOne) Treo 600. I have been using it for over 6 months (since the week it came out in stores).

Treo 600 is the best smart phone on the market. I have sprint as my provider and also have their vision professional pack for $15 per month extra that allows me UNLIMITED web access. I have not used the SMS much but I mainly use my phone for voice calls which are of great quality, it has an awesome speaker phone, it does have a decent camera (cameraless versions to be available soon), included keyboard is the best. I also use my phone to check work email using Sprint's Business Connection software (don't need to buy extra VPN software), you can even log into your VPN using this phone, it also has POP and SMTP mail access, Calendar function is great and I use it greatly, Hotsynching is amazingly easy to do, you can install Palm applications over the air, included web browser is a full featured web browser and you can view just about any website. I also have an additional proxy based browser called Reqwireless WebViewer (a java based AMAZINGLY FAST browser, costs $20 one time, worth every penny).
This phone is amazing if you are a true computer user. I use it sometimes with VNC to access my Windows XP desktop!
There is so much you can do with this phone. There is tons of palm OS freeware and paid software. If you need answers to anything regarding this phone, check out Treocentral Discussion Forum [treocentral.com] . Great site with tons of useful info, people reviews, experiences and software links.

Re:Treo 600 (1)

betasam (713798) | more than 9 years ago | (#9126056)

The Treo600 is definitely _the_ PDA phone in many ways. I use it with 'kontact', using kpilot to do the synching and things seem to be working really well. I am yet to try running palm applications on the phone. It looks like it's got an OMAP variant on it (based on an ARM9). I'll be trying to build custom palm apps for the phone with a arm-elf toolchain over the weekend. That should make it amazing. The one problem is that it's got really poor resolution (8-bit) :P, I wish it had more.

Re:Treo 600 (comment about the treo 300) (1)

wlp (135753) | more than 9 years ago | (#9126592)

I completely agree about the treo 600. I currently use a treo 300 running PalmOS 3.5.1 and I will upgrade to the treo 600 when I have the funds. The treo 300 has great flexibility for phone use, work use, and entertainment. I can even PPP through vision with a producted called pdanet which treats the phone as a digital modem (up to 4 x 56K speeds).

There are rebates available through Sprint and other online sources where you can get a treo 300 for less than $100.

The only draw backs of the treo 300 is that the clam shell on the phone can break and calls are hard to hear, even if you adjust the volume. There aren't many GOOD accesories for the treo 300. The two phone clips I had with it either broke the clip or the phone's clam shell. I currently just put it in my pocket opposed to my belt. The phone locks up about once every one or two months and needs to be reset/rebooted.

I recommend looking at your needs and you budget and deciding between the treo 300 or 600. I'm not a big fan of sprint either, but they have been giving me consistant service.

Good luck searching.

Re:Treo 600 (1)

wfeick (591200) | more than 9 years ago | (#9128231)

I'm also a Treo 600 user, and I really like it. I'm using AT&T, and although their customer service has pretty consistantly underwhelmed me, their coverage seems to be decent (San Francisco Bay Area). I've been using AT&T for many years, and switching from TDMA to GSM when I bought the Treo definitely reduced my coverage. Still, between the Cingular merger and migrating the TDMA cells to GSM, the service is getting better and should continue to improve.

Okay, back to the phone. The big selling point for me is merging the phone and organizer into a single unit. I had a Palm V before, but had stopped using it because I hated dragging it along with me everywhere. I'd invariably be out somewhere and friends would want to schedule another get together, but I'd left the Palm at home.

The todo list is really useful as well. For work, it's the list of all the things I need to get done, and whenever I think up something new, it goes into the phone so I won't forget. This is a huge help when you need to prepare for your yearly review or update your resume, because all those todo items remind you of all the things you forgot you'd done over the year. Similarly, my personal todo list keeps track of all the things I need to do around the house once the weekend comes.

Something else it's great for is attaching notes to people's address book entries. There are people I see only once every year or so, and putting directions into the phone is really handy since I can never remember them a year later. Once they're in the organizer, you'll never forget.

I'm still undecided on the value of the wireless access. Yes, there are lots of useful things you can do with it, but is it really worth $30/month for 10M? I use it for stuff like checking the train schedule, retrieving recipes so I know what to buy at the grocery store, googling phone numbers, checking weather forecasts, but there are less expensive ways of doing all those things.

Anyway, I see that I have a todo item that says "Stop reading slashdot, and get back to work" so I better take care of that.

Re:Treo 600 (1)

$exyNerdie (683214) | more than 9 years ago | (#9135721)

I'm still undecided on the value of the wireless access. Yes, there are lots of useful things you can do with it, but is it really worth $30/month for 10M?

I get unlimited wireless web access with my $15 per month sprint vision professional pack. In the first 2 weeks of getting the phone, I downloaded about 95MB (web pages/sites/images) since I was moving and had my main computers packed up. Sprint's software has a code that you can use to see how much data you have downloaded since buying the phone. I had used the Sprint Treo 600 phone for hours at a stretch to browse the internet. I still use it extensively. And never worry about watching download MB's at half the price of $30 per 10MB that you mention.... That's the only reason I am with sprint but I never got any dropped calls either and no issues with signal in my area either....

HipTop, aka T-Mobile Sidekick (1)

mewyn (663989) | more than 9 years ago | (#9125510)

I have a HipTop as my cell phone, and it's useful. The phone portion is a bit akward, but the AIM, web browsing, and SSH are very useful, so is the keyboard.

I'm still waiting for the missing sync for it so I can get my contacts synced up with my laptop. I don't use many of the other features, as I have a Zire 72 for all that. Two other things I wish the HipTop had was longer battery life (if I forget to charge it at night, I'm screwed) and the ability to be used as a modem.

Blackberry 7280 (1)

elliotj (519297) | more than 9 years ago | (#9125532)

I was a major skeptic for a long time, but since I switched to a Blackberry 7280 (small screen, color, blue casing) last month, I've never been happier.

The Blackberry doesn't have the wealth of apps that Palm OS can offer, but what it does do, it does VERY well. Getting email pushed to the device is a great feature. It also does SMS texting (for you Europeans out there...you know you're addicted). The cell phone quality is just as good as any Nokia cell phone I've had in the past.

All this, plus Outlook sync'ing basically means my phone and my calendar/contacts/memos/todo and email all travel with me anywhere.

The built in web browser is surprisingly good on the color model. And you're not limited to sites built for handhelds, nor is the handheld figuring out the display - the server fetches the page and formats it for your device before delivering it to you...it is fast, and the layout on most sites is very good.

Anyway, I've been a long time Blackberry skeptic (I've had every model they've offered up to now - it's a work thing), but with this device, they've really nailed the functionality, form factor trade off.

Oh, and the battery lasts about 10 days on a single charge with heavy use.

Re:Blackberry 7280 (1)

TrebleJunkie (208060) | more than 9 years ago | (#9126858)

I'll throw my two cents in for the Blackberry as well -- I've got a 6280 that just rocks. It handles email (from 3 separate accounts), address book, calendaring and misc. notes pretty well. The phone is crystal clear. As for the lack of 3rd party applications, that's not so much a problem for me -- I just create WAP applications that I can reach with the built-in browser. All is good! :)

Blackberry as Treo application? (1)

Nonesuch (90847) | more than 9 years ago | (#9132543)

Blackberry devices can have more functionality than is immediately apparent. They come with a web browser, and an SSH client is also available, along with a few other third-party applications, but in general developers for Blackberry platform are rare, and freeware/sharware is all but nonexistent.

Research in Motion (RIM), maker of the Blackberry, licensed their keyboard design to Handspring for the Treo, and has also issued licenses for the Blackberry "push" email software for PalmOS. No software has been released, but a Treo client application for Blackberry may not be far off [treocentral.com] .

Re:Blackberry 7280 (1)

Camarones (23191) | more than 9 years ago | (#9136154)

The Nokia 6810 Also will have licensed blackberry functionality upon its release. The 6800 is Nokia's flip-open keyboard line, with the newer models supporting EDGE and bluetooth as well. 6820 has a camera, 6810 does not.

I own a samsung i300 (1)

Thatto (258697) | more than 9 years ago | (#9125756)

It works great. Aside from a few dead-spots, I have no complaints, other than the bulk.

How about just a Palm phone? (3, Informative)

curcuru (758240) | more than 9 years ago | (#9125761)

Do you specifically want a 'smartphone', or do you have a must-have feature list that's long? If not, why not get one of the simpler palm/phone combos?

I got the Samsung i500 shortly after it came out, and I love it. Form factor is great, battery life is good, color Palm 4.1 functionality works great, and the voice quality is as good as the network you're on (since basically the 'phone' software is just a Palm app that's hardcoded in - the mode switch button on the side is incredibly useful).

Signal strength is a little weak due to small antenna, and it does not have many of the funkier features bigger phones have like external speaker, enough space for MP3's, etc. Only thing I miss is not having an expandability slot of some kind: the original i500 is stuck with 16MB. Integration between Palm apps and the phone is good, but not great: most places in Address you can press Talk to dial the currently selected phone number, but you can't if you're actually editing an address record.

Other than very occasional sync problems, I've had no stability issues: the phone has never failed or had problems due to Palm apps or anything. So if stability is a concern, look for one of the less-feature-overladen Palm phones. 8-)

P.S. SprintPCS is great. But SprintPCS also sucks: no *supported* SMS exists for this phone that I know of.

I see one advantage (1)

LennyDotCom (26658) | more than 9 years ago | (#9125971)

It seems evertime I get a new cell phone my old one is useless and just gets put in a drawer and never touched again. With these new smart phones when you upgrade you still have a PDA to use. This should give them a little value after an upgrade.

Am I the first one to think of this? (1)

karnal (22275) | more than 9 years ago | (#9126188)

"I'd really like to keep PalmOS based so that I can sync with my wife..."

You know, I can't say that I've ever used my PDA to sync with my girlfriend.... :)

Re:Am I the first one to think of this? (1)

jayayeem (247877) | more than 9 years ago | (#9126919)

I've been married for 11 years, used Palm OS for 5 years, and I am still completely out of sync with my wife

The n-gage (1)

stefiroth (226857) | more than 9 years ago | (#9126350)

Has anyone tried using the nokia n-gage as a smartphone? It takes the 256mb memory cards, has bluetooth support and runs symbian. At $200 or so, it seems like a pretty good deal.

Re:The n-gage (1)

rjasmin (104868) | more than 9 years ago | (#9129859)

Hm, in my opinion ngage is too bulky, in order to change a card you have to open the phone and take the battery out, and the screen is too small. and there is that small thing about the way you have to talk when you use it as a phone.. - http://www.sidetalking.com/

Treo 600 (1)

chrisd (1457) | more than 9 years ago | (#9126351)

Is quite remarkable...and to answer your questions directly:

Crashing: It happens, usually a bad palm app will cause it to bork, but if you are careful which apps you add, you won't have a problem. Don't use AIM, use a third party IM client.

Voice Quality: Well, not so great....I use Sprint and I think that there is too much bass or something along the line, or I talk to too many poeple wiht low voices. Included headphone quality is crap.

Camera: Has one....but like was said before is utterly crappy.

Other Observations: I won mine, but it would have been worth buying. Can do everything on the road, IM, Mail, Web, VNC, SSH, you name it. The little keyboard is well designed, so you don't need a typing stick.

chrisd

I use a Tungsten W (Palm Phone/PDA) (1)

smcavoy (114157) | more than 9 years ago | (#9126356)

And it fucking sucks.
My fault entirely for not actually trying a model out first.
It's big, clunky and pig slow. It uses a 33mhz Dragon Ball processor, to power it's (beautiful) 320x320 display.
The thing tends to freeze up when attempting to open graphically intense website, I think that's probably because of the low processor with a hi res display.
And to top it off, I've had the unit replaced 3 times since I first got it in Dec 2003.

I would highly recommend staying away from such a useless tool.

Series 60 devices pretty good (3, Informative)

gagravarr (148765) | more than 9 years ago | (#9126476)

I'm quite a fan of the Series 60 [nokia.com] devices. Series 60 is a Symbian platform, and a couple of manufacturers produce phones based on it.

I've had a Nokia 3650 for about a year, and just got myself a Nokia 6600.

They're both pretty stable (occasional need to reboot due to memory leaks, but not too bad), loads of apps available for them (though quality does vary), and easy to write for yourself. Oh, and they're pretty damn good for voice calls too (nice speaker phone mode etc). Cheap too, I got both mine free when signing up for 12 months with my provider (Vodafone).

About the only downside is that input is only via the text pad. That said, you can buy a bluetooth keyboard + bluetooth keyboard software (3rd party) and you're away, so that's always an option

Re:Series 60 devices pretty good (1)

S3D (745318) | more than 9 years ago | (#9129366)

I agree about Nokia 6600 stability - I never had unintentionall reboot. I'm rebooting only while debugging (I'm writing symbian game). The only complain is I had to recharge every second day, but I'm running game on it about hour per day. Recharge pretty fast though.

PalmOS: OK, Symbian: great (1)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 9 years ago | (#9126566)

I have a work-issued Treo which works pretty well. It's flaked out on me a few times, but nothing that a soft reset wouldn't fix.

I haven't used a Symbian-based phone, but for years I've been using Psion PDAs based on earlier versions of the OS (called EPOC at the time), and can attest to it being rock-solid. If I were in the market for a high-end smartphone (with an eye towards ditching the laptop), I'd definitely consider Nokia's 9290.

Sync may be a problem on Windows (1)

Paul Carver (4555) | more than 9 years ago | (#9126581)

I have a Sony T616 which probably doesn't quite qualify as the original poster's definition of "smart phone" but I use the calendar feature extensively (as well as 2 way text messaging and the contact list)

My only complaint is that the Bluetooth sync capabilities aren't as useful to me as I would like. At work I am limited to Windows and it seems that the only two choices for Bluetooth sync are Outlook and Outlook Express.

Searching Google for PIM and Bluetooth or calendar and Bluetooth doesn't turn up much useful.

I'd like to be able to view and add appointments to my phone using my computer monitor and keyboard, but I don't want to badly enough to sync my phone to Outlook.

Searching Google for PIM and Bluetooth or calendar and Bluetooth doesn't turn up much useful.

Re:Sync may be a problem on Windows (1)

notsoclever (748131) | more than 9 years ago | (#9128716)

I agree... I have a Sony Ericsson T610 (which is the same phone except it uses the more standard GSM frequencies) and although it's not a "smartphone" it does every bit of PDA functionality I need, and it syncs beautifully with my Mac via iSync (and it comes with Outlook sync software for Windows which I haven't had an opportunity to play with).

Also, the standard T-Mobile service plan for it is $40/month with 600 anytime minutes, unlimited nights (meaning 7PM-7AM IIRC) and weekends, and comes with free WAP/GPRS access which is great when I'm travelling (the caveat being that you can only access HTTP, SMTP, POP, and IMAP, and you're NATed, so its usefulness as a full-purpose Internet connection for a laptop is somewhat limited; if you want a fully-functional connection you have to pay $10/month, or $20/month if you want a public IP address for whatever reason).

As far as using the T61[06] with other sync software, it just uses the standard iRDA transfer protocols, so it should work with anything which supports that, as long as you can coerce it into going over Bluetooth instead of iRDA (or you could just get an iRDA thing for your computer or a serial data cable or whatever, but syncing wirelessly without even taking it out of my pocket is REALLY handy).

What about viruses and such? (1)

manavendra (688020) | more than 9 years ago | (#9126797)

With more and more updates of the firmware, and most phones allowing you to connect to internet and/or download stuff, how real is the threat of viruses and trojans in the mobile world?

I imagine having your mobile infected by a malicious software would be more serious a threat - since it contains information absolutely personal and vital..

Blackberry by RIM (1)

pci (13339) | more than 9 years ago | (#9127207)

I use a blackberry from RIM and know several other people that do as well. Its a solid phone and it's great at messaging (email, sms).

Just got Treo 180g (1)

delorean (245987) | more than 9 years ago | (#9127653)

I just upgraded from my Palm IIIc and motorola 270.

I love the slimming-down of the bat belt.

I chose the 180g for several reason:
1- it's smaller than the other Treo's
2- it has the graffiti area instead of the stupid keypad

Cons:
1- it's gray scale, not color like I was used to. But I think I will adjust
2- processor is a little slow. But I think I can deal with it.

Overall, I am pretty satisfied. It cost me $100 shipped, was unlocked, and worked immediately with Cingular but will also work with T-Mobile and AT+T.

I have had some issues with crashing... but these seem to be all going back to corrupt records in my calendar or contacts. I've cleaned up and haven't had a problem in days (I had phone less than a week). It was nasty there for the first two days.

I am just now at the stage that I am starting to add my applications back to the phone.

Overall-- I'm extremely happy!

Re:Just got Treo 180g (1)

delorean (245987) | more than 9 years ago | (#9131756)

Dang!

just added DES Store over lunch. It was fine for a few hours and then I pushed the envelope a little (don't recall now exactly what I was doing) and it died on me. Totally hung.

Had to do a hard reset, lost my data, and I don't have my USB cable handy.

Sigh...
That does bring up another complaint: why don't the other reset options (soft|system) work? why does it always have to be a hard reset?

Kyocera 6035 (1)

angst_ridden_hipster (23104) | more than 9 years ago | (#9129372)

Yeah, it's old tech. Yeah, it's big. Yeah, the backlight sucks, and the data transfer rate is only 14.4.

But it's incredibly stable, and works very well as a phone and a PDA. It's digital/analog on Verizon, so I have coverage just about anywhere in the US where there is cell coverage at all. I've had maybe one crash in the last year, and I overclock it by 30%.

I keep phone numbers, calendar, to-do, tide tables, a few full e-texts, encrypted password aggregator, some personal database tools, metro maps, a handful of games, an ssh client, and some utilities on it.

(It runs Palm OS 3.1, has 8M of memory, and can be had on eBay for around $50)

I sell P900s (0, Offtopic)

Anonymouse Cownerd (754174) | more than 9 years ago | (#9129552)

If anyone is interested I sell P900s (and other phones). The P900 retails for $889 without activation. I offer it for $775 plus shipping and tax ony to NYS residents. Email is phones@os5.com if anyone is interested.

Let me re-phrase (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9131091)

Let me re-phrase your question: Am I huge nerd? The annswer is "yes".

Why "smartphones" are worth it... (2, Insightful)

dublin (31215) | more than 9 years ago | (#9131295)

Most of the comments here are focused on the merits or demerits of a particular smartphone. While I have one, the most important thing you should know is that there are real and significant benefits to an integrated smartphone that you cannot get with a separate phone and PDA. I've done both extensively, and the smartphone combo is terrifically more useful. Note the comments below are for a Palm smartphone - I don't know a single person that's tried a PocketPC smartphone (or PDA, for that matter) that's happy with it for very long.

Although it sounds simple, there is just no overstating the importance and power of having *all* your contacts with you at all times, and having that contact list integrated into your phone/dialer. No more wishing you'd put Joe's number into your phone, or trying to juggle data from the PDA to the phone. If you drive and talk, or ever want to be able to, this alone is enough reason to spring for the extra bucks for the smartphone. Bluetooth in both devices gets you closer, but it's nowhere near as transparent, and is a notorious security problem, too.

Don't worry about snazzo marketing features you'll probably never use. If you want an MP3 player, buy one, you'll probably be disappointed in your phone as one anyway - there's a lot of benefit in combining some devices, like the phone and PDA, but not much in combining those with an MP3 player or camera, for instance. The difference, of course, is that combining a PDA and phone is a win-win with few or no tradeoffs, while adding hardware to make even a decent smartphone passable as a digital camera or MP3 player is so expensive you can count on it being done only poorly.

Even 8 MB will store an enormous amount of data on a Palm device - many thousands of contacts, tons of text crunched into compact formats, and schedules forever. My phone is an older 8 MB one, and I have a LOT of contact and schedule data, plus a couple of versions of the entire Bible, and several dozen other essays, articles, and reference documents, and I still have over 2 MB left over. (I never even clean out old schedule events, I just leave them there since they're sometimes handy for future reference. I've been doing this for about 5 years with no problems at all.)

For all the benefits smartphones provide, though, the wireless carriers aren't capitalizing on the benefits of their networks or the growing intelligence at its ends - there are many enhancements that make sense, and could be supported, but aren't. For instance, rather than the relatively useless Bluetooth, why not have the ability to send contact info over the phone call itself? Use a digital connection on PCS networks, or even some clever touch-tone encoding to allow "beaming" directly over the phone line. This just makes sense, and could even be used by the carriers as a significant value-add, especially if the system works transparently across wired, wireless, and IP telephones. Here it is, the 21st century, and I'm still having phone calls saying "e-mail me you contact information, and I'll send you mine back." Why the heck can't that happen over the phone call? (Information could now justify some of their ridiculous $1.00 charges by "beaming" the number you just looked up into your contacts list, too, so you'll still have it after they've helpfully "connected you at no additional charge" - hope you wrote that number down, or it's another buck!)

Now a bit about specific phones, and picking them: Although it's really hard to find working demos of these phones, insist on using a live one *before* buying - there are often subtle things that will irritate you that you can't see until you try it. (For instance, I recently decided against upgrading to the Treo 600 because it has the camera (both useless and a liability) and also does not support Graffiti. The missing Graffiti support is not something that's obvious until you hold it in your hands - some people prefer silly blackberry-ish keyboards, but the lack of Graffiti killed the Treo for me - if it's a Palm device, it needs to act like one.)

So the Treo 600 I can definitely live without. The Samsung i500 is slightly more tempting, but I'm concerned about short battery life in such a small package. I also haven't actually tried one yet. One of the things I love about my Kyocera 6035 is that it runs forever - for trips shorter than a week, I usually skip packing the charger, unless I expect to be talking a LOT. Unlike the experiences reported by owners of other phones, mine needs a "reboot" (all of five seconds) maybe about twice a year. It's also tough enough to survive the real world - mine's worn smooth on the back side from riding in my front jeans pocket and the case squeaks a bit now, but it's still going strong - I haven't abused it, but niether have I babied it.

One thing I know for sure - I never plan to own another phone that doesn't have PDA capabilities. The mix is really useful, plus you get the benefit of not having to carry, charge, keep track of, and learn to use two different gadgets.

Treo 600 works for me (1)

Nonesuch (90847) | more than 9 years ago | (#9132370)

I use a Treo 600, though I'm really just waiting for the mythical 610 to be released (adding Bluetooth, a real digital camera, and a higher resolution screen, or so the rumors say).

While the T600 does a better job of integrating wireless voice and data into a PalmOS^WHandSpring PDA, it is still an imperfect union of the two.

To really get "smart" phone behavior, you need to load third-party applications.

Unfortunately, many third-party applications make the device unstable (causing random resets), and certain types of resets cause the Treo to come back up with wireless mode disabled, disabling the phone functions until you manually re-establish communication.

Re:Treo 600 works for me (1)

bovinewasteproduct (514128) | more than 9 years ago | (#9135996)

I guess I've been lucky...

I've had my Treo 600 for about 6 weeks now and no lockups/reboots. I've got 20 or 30 third party apps, but almost all of mine are for palm 5.X and that may make the difference.

Since I had never had a palm based system prior to this, I don't miss the pen input (that was a selling point for me...:) )

BWP

Kyocera (1)

insert 3 letters (768692) | more than 9 years ago | (#9134841)

I own a kyocera 7135, which is a 1st gen smartphone. I use it all the damn time. POP Email, weborwseing, notes, games, etc. Very useful and actually quite stable.

Re:Kyocera (1)

Ophelan (55379) | more than 9 years ago | (#9136391)

Second generation, actually. The 6135 came first, and was truly one of the forerunners to the modern smartphone. That said, it was B&W, bulky, and seemed difficult to use. Though not nearly as much as the one that came before it (can't even remember the name...).

That said, I use a 7135 also, and love it. Can't wait to see what comes out next.

New laws? (1)

Thing 1 (178996) | more than 9 years ago | (#9135382)

However I don't want a camera since there are new security laws being written, as I type this, to restrict the use of camera-phones.

Perhaps I've been living under a rock, but what new laws are these (and why wasn't a link provided)?

I know many companies restrict the types of digital equipment employees and visitors can bring onto their private property, but I haven't heard anything about legislation.

Re:New laws? (1)

drew (2081) | more than 9 years ago | (#9141789)

at least in Chicago, there has been talk of passing city ordinances that would forbid the use of camera phones in public restrooms, locker rooms at public parks, etc. personally, im not sure why you would want to use your phone in the bathroom anyway, but whatever.

even aside from laws, it can still be a pain. our network administrator cant take his phone into our colocation facility when he goes to do any kind of server maintenance because cameras are not allowed in the racks.

I am a bit confused. (1)

/dev/trash (182850) | more than 9 years ago | (#9135579)

Why does the potential passing of some law, keeping you from a camera phone?

Re:I am a bit confused. (1)

jm2morri (179457) | more than 9 years ago | (#9173000)

Because if I am running a business _I_ want to choose when my phone is on or off. If I am not able to bring a camera phone into my son's hockey game (for instance) than THEY are basically telling me to turn off my phone (by leaving it in the vehicle). I completely understand this type of law and in fact I agree with it since I don't want some pervert taking pictures of my son in the change room or shower.

However, that said, I still _may_ want to take a call while at the rink and I want that flexibility. So in order to do that I have to make sure that there is no camera in the phone.

This is no problem for me since I already have a digital camera with much better resolution and don't see a need to take crappy pictures with my phone. I could see a few instances that it might be handy but I will give that up.

I use a Treo 600 daily (1)

miradu2000 (196048) | more than 9 years ago | (#9135786)

I'm not sure if this post will get read by anyone as it is so late to the discusison, but I am Senior Editor of TreoCentral.com. (One of the sites that some people have mentioned in comments). We have a very active discussion board.. some news.. just a lot of people there... yadda yadda yadda.. It's a great site, but then I'm biased.

In response to your question, yes I use a smartphone everyday. I use it more for a convergence device - I like getting my email, I like browsing the web, and I like the ease of dialing from my 400 some contacts. I used a non smartphone for quite awhile, it was a t68i so I was able to sync it with my mac. I mention this becuase all of my contacts on my palm at the time were synced onto the t68i. Navigating the address book on one of those phones when 400 contacts were loaded was disgusting. The number feature that makes me come back to the treo even when it wrongs me is the ease of use that I have in dialing my outgoing numbers.

I have yet to have a real crash on my Treo (a hard reset for those non palm people). However, different palm apps depending on the quality of the code to crash it for me at least once a week. The Treo automaticly reboots and most of the time reconnects toe the Sprint network. It is annoying, but it is not a dibilitating problem.

The Treo's keyboard is excellent, and I often find myself replying to quick emails and browsing the web. The flexibility it offers is unmatched: no other device can claim as many third party programs as a palm os smartphone can. Plus, there are MANY independent developers who are working (sometimes through our forums nonetheless) to make utilities that address many of the Treo's software shortcomings.

The age for the smartphone is still to come though... The integration is not completly there yet - my calendar is not linked to my phone call history, or my emails... I feel that the true age of the smartphone is still a few generations off software and hardwarewise. The ability to integrate everything is there, yet it is not being done.

Hardwarewise there is a fair amount of negative things to say about the Treo 600 - but PalmOne's software is superior to the competition and for me this makes up for any hardware issues. That said, this fall PalmOne should ship a massivly improved Treo that will make using the Treo much much better.

If you are hesitant about buying into the smartphone market, I would reccomend to wait until fall and get the 3rd generation of these devices.

Audiovox Thera (1)

pyrote (151588) | more than 9 years ago | (#9135866)

Everyone seems hooked on tha palmOS, I however opted for the pocketPC Audiovox Thera.

I love it. Simple as that. Yes it can be a little annoying/unstable if you load memory resident programs onto the SD chip, but with a little forethought it can be managed.

Sure they could do more, but it has sold me on smartphones for a while to come.

The convergence of a higher level computer and phone services works for me. I went from having to carry 2 pda's and a phone to one device.

not to mention on verizon I get some pretty nice wireless speeds.

sorry for the rant, but I couldn't be without the thing anymore.

Re:Audiovox Thera (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9135886)

oh ya, pyrote again, with the thera averaging around $160 on ebay, it's good bang-for-the-buck

i had very good experience w/ treo 300 & sph-i (1)

drew (2081) | more than 9 years ago | (#9142241)

I used the treo 300 (almost identical to the 270 except cdma instead of gsm) for almost 2 years and the samsung sph-i300 for about a year before that. i use a regular phone now, because i was switching carriers and i didn't like any of the new smartphones enough to put down that much money again.

based on the two phones i used, the quality is as good as any other cell phone i've used. in fact, one of my reasons for buying the i300 was because the quality and reception was better than my previous samsung phone. I don't remember either of them ever crashing except when i was trying to write one of my own programs for them. in fact, in the 4+ years that i've used a palm pilot, i think i could count the crashes that were not from testing/debugging one of my own programs on one hand. in short, my treo was just as good a palm pilot as any other palm pilot i've used, and just as good a phone as any other phone i've used.

there are two considerations that i would keep in mind. one is to consider the primary way you'll be using the device. to me, the samsung always felt like a phone that had a palm pilot added on to it. the treo, on the other hand, felt like it started life as a palm pilot and had a phone added to it. they both performed both tasks admirably, but you could still tell where the focus was in the design. so you should decide which function is more important to you (or which device you interact with better) and research the available devices based on that. one example: the treo had an internal battery that could only be charged by plugging in the treo (ala palm v), while the samsung had a battery that could be easily swapped, and a charger that could charge either the phone or a spare battery, or both. for a business traveller who uses his phone a lot, the samsung was a much better device. or if you constantly forget to charge you phone and always want to have a fresh battery handy, like me, the samsung was much more practical...

the other things i have to add are more personal preference. first, although it took me a while to get used to it, i love the keyboard on the treo 300. i highly doubt i will ever go back to a stylus based pda. second, i've always preferred flip phones to stick phones, and with smartphones this is especially true. the one thing i always hated most about the sph-i300 was that there was no cover for the buttons. it wouldn't have had to be fancy, just something like the plastic cover that came with my old visor platinum. (it did come with a leather holder/cover, but that was way too bulky to carry around in my pocket- it was about the size of a small day planner.) the lack of any kind of flip cover was what kept me from upgrading to the treo 600- that and i just didnt use the palm pilot enough anymore to justify the extra cost.

Treo 600 (1)

dragon13 (606788) | more than 9 years ago | (#9142397)

I don't use a smart phone myself but I had to setup up Treo 600s for all of the managers in the company I work for. We had 100% failure rate on the first wave of the 600s (mostly problems with the phone signal, ie difficulty hearing the other person or them having difficulty hearing you; also some problems with the screen dying), however we're now on our 2nd wave and there seem to be no problems (had them for more than a month, whereas the previous problems started less than 2 weeks after recieving the phones). Cingular (our service provider) also reports that a version of the 600 with no camera (as someone else reported the camera is pretty crappy) and a replaceable battery will be coming out soon. As to the usefulness of a smart phone the contacts linked directly to calling is handy and it's one less device to keep track of (assuming you find a PDA indispensible as I do). As for myself, I'll probably switch to a PDA phone when the no camera version of the 600 comes out.

treo 300 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9142674)

I've had a treo 300 almsot since they came out. Great phone. I wish I *had* a camera though.

The best aspect of it is the ability to be on the net anywhere, anytime, and the SMS messaging for alerts.

The biggest drawback is that particular MS Outlook records can cause it to crash. And crash. And crash until it is removed.

Also, because cell phones are used so much, they DO wear out!

XDA II (1)

duguk (589689) | more than 9 years ago | (#9142757)

I bought myself an XDA II and I love it! I'd always wanted a PDA, mainly because of the 'cool^H^H^H^Hgeekness' factor, but also because I wanted to be able to make notes and keep up with schedules and stuff, but knew if I brought a palm, I wouldn't use it all the time.

I've had my XDA II for about 6 months now, it was 300 to buy on contract, and I barely pay ~30 a month for sending up to 300 sms/month + free calls and stuff.

To be honest, I was a bit worried about the size of it; its a pretty big beast, and I wouldn't suggest one if you're likely to break them, but for being in the office and at home its great! I can check my email, look at websites (at about the same speed of my dial up!), text anyone, sign onto MSN (if I felt the need) and take phone calls.

Personally, I think its great. Obviously its not suited to everyone, but if you like the idea of a fullscreen phone with loads of software, internet access, and that runs at a suitable speed, without crashing (amazingly...) and most importantly, a linux distro [pigeond.net] is being developed, so yeah, it CAN run linux! :P

Now, it doesn't run PalmOS so probably isn't suitable for the poster, and it does have a camera - thankfully its pretty hidden so I've never had any problems in companies that don't like them.

I haven't had any problems with voice quality, apart from some minor problems with speakerphone using auto gain control whilst driving, as because I have to have it loud enough to hear safely while driving (I don't do it very often, but sometimes it is essential), the speech can be sometimes distorted, especially from people with crappy phones/people who shout on the phone/hold the phone too close - something I have discovered it is almost impossible to convince people to stop doing, especially when you can't hear a word they say (rbsfou, that means you!).

So, to summerise, I love my XDA II, haven't had (many) problems (apart from breaking the stylus! my own fault, obviously! - spares are available), the phone is good apart from the speakerphone at loud volumes, the texting is great, especially being able to use Graffiti, a keyboard, or various other input methods, and I haven't had many people comment on it :)

Plus being able to have loads of games, playing video, especially with a huge SD card - I picked up a 256mb cheap and can carry whole 30min videos. portable pr0n anyone? and record audio/video, take pictures, use it as portable storage, a scheduler, web browser, or door stop, its great, but shop around :)

Dug

Already evaluated Samsung SCH-i600 & i700 mode (1)

bandrzej (688764) | more than 9 years ago | (#9143434)

About a month after the SmartPhones were out, our company evaluated 15 qty of each of Verizon Wireless's M$ based SmartPhones for our IS department and select people: the i-600 [verizonwireless.com] and the i-700 [verizonwireless.com] . The i-600 model is the usual flip phone model while the i-700 is the PDA model with a big antenna. I was included in the tests since I do the IS purchasing for the entire company; I get to play with lots of new "toys" that way through vendors like Dell and CDW :-)

The results?

  1. Everyone that used the i-700 (including myself) hated it. It was too big to be carried around like cell phone, and didn't have much for accessories to add-onto it for a PDA. Plus their was connectivity issues and all were returned after their evaluation period to Verizon.
  2. The i-600 became one of our phone standards for some of the IS staff that are a director's level and above, but required them to give up their PDAs. The i-600 was tested some more by our IS for 2 more months before allowing some of the high end users (senior VPs and above) to use it to replace their existing cell phone and PDA.

    Ever since the last firmware update, the phones don't crash every 2-3 days like they uses to. Also, these phones can eat through batteries. One of their typical large batteries will last about a day and half. We had to buy all the SmartPhone users duel batteries so they can rotate them.

    What is even worse is Verizon doesn't make any accessories for these phones; they all are made by some 3-rd party, who has 1-2 week delays at times on simple stuff like batteries and chargers.

    Besides those quirks, my IS team loves them. However, their price keeps them reserved to the higher ups since they are under 2 year contracts.

Personally, I use a Sony Erickson T68i and sync it via bluetooth to my Outlook calendar and contacts at work. Does the same thing as the SmartPhone, without the big fancy graphical display.

Yes - I carry two (1)

LandGator (625199) | more than 9 years ago | (#9147063)

My agency bought Samsung SPH-i300s [yahoo.com] two years ago; embarrassingly slow and low-res now, they eBay for about $20. However, if you want tri-mode, dual band (analog being essential for the US West), and just want integration of phone and data functions, e-mail and light web browsing, they're great. SPCS charges $5/mo extra to use my voice minutes for data, which is reasonable.

I personally bought a PalmOne Tungsten W last year, and the 320x320 screen is head and shoulders above the i300. T-Mobile sells me all the data I can download for $30/mo, and since I never use it for voice, that's a great plan for me.

SD card memory expansion allows me to have hundreds of e-books, and with AvantGo and Plucker, I've got a whole library of publications auto-updated daily, even without using any minutes.

I even synch my schedule, and my wife's (she carries a T3 and a BT phone) across them all with WeSync , and am about to start syncing my address books that way as well.

Yes, I have _two_ PalmPhones; how many different operating systems do you need to know?

Treo 600 (1)

StormyWeather (543593) | more than 9 years ago | (#9149464)

Is the ultimate phone. Other than it's lack of a good free word processor it's fantastic for several reasons.

1. Use it as a wireless modem (linux/windows). Careful about charges mind you, but sprint is flat rate, and cheaper than buying a pcmcia setup
2. Synchs to outlook and evolution.
3. There is a great eudora client for it, so you can get your pop mail anywhere.
4. Set up a new user on your linux box via ssh!
5. Strip Dice! ;) [deluxeware.com]
6. Camera with third party software can be a soso video camera, but make sure to download qset [marketingblog.com] .
7. Support for SD memory sticks.
8. ptunes lets you listen to shoutcast streams wherever.
9. I just love the way the contacts browser works.
10. You always have a good flashlight. I know this sounds stupid but I use mine as a flashlight all the damn time.
11. Stupid phone limitations can be overcome by annoyed/enterprising developers.
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