image

Well I might be a little behind the times here but after a shaky start I’ve finally caught up with the smart phone revolution and I’m loving it.

It’s not that this is the first gadget like this I’ve owned, its just the first one that’s this good! A few years back I had a Palm Tungsten E. It was a brilliant little PDA. By today standards it had very few features and functions. However what it did do – it did extremely well. The interface was intuitive and easy to use, it was fast and reliable. I found I was using it more and more in day to day life: scribbling notes, storing contacts, scheduling events etc. Best of all the information was easy to organise and retrieve. I guess you could say it was a mature product or technology.

Eventually I wore it out the much loved Tungsten E and it required replacement. I was lured to the dark side (Windows Mobile) in the guise of an iPaq 212. On paper it was so much better than my humble Palm. It had a bigger screen that was higher resolution, had built in WiFi and Bluetooth which meant I could even make it talk to a gps if I so desired. Oh the possibilities! But I’m afraid to say that’s all it was – possibilities. The interface was far too clumsy to be of any use for quick data entry or retrieval. It was unstable and buggy. After the hefty purchase price (compared to the Palm) I ended up shelling out more for a third party calendar app in the hope of getting something as powerful yet simple as the Palm had. With the Palm I could easily tell what I had planned in which categories with just a glance at the month view. Something I never truly achieved with the iPaq. Nowadays it lives next to the bed and gets used for watching YouTube videos of good English comedies before going to sleep.

I also made a dud purchasing decision when we got our Samsung F480’s. The whole touch screen phone thing was taking off and I wanted in on the action. All I can say is I don’t think the technology had matured enough yet. Or at least the software hadn’t anyway. Most of all the keyboard was sooo painful. Texting was an exercise in patience and extreme accuracy.

I wanted the simplicity and ease of use of the Palm, the features of the iPaq and a phone that I didn’t want to use as a hammer or wheel chock instead. I knew that the PDA category had all but been swallowed up by the Smartphone category so I suppose that’s where I should be looking. The iPhone seemed to be well liked and it seems the touch screen had developed to the point of being fast and easy to use – without a stylus too. I liked the idea of the Android OS and after a quick play on someone’s HTC Legend I was  sold.

After a lot of screwing around with Tel$tra (the staff were brilliant as always but their ‘system’ is a crock of s#!t) I had secured two new HTC Desires. This thing is awesome, the more I use it the better it gets. The option to use WiFi or mobile data, built in GPS, ability to browse our LAN for files (eg MP3’s from the Ubuntu media centre), seamless integration with Google’s services (which I already use), an interface that is clean and intuitive, a wide range of apps that are easily accessible and all in a package that has been stable and reliable thus far, the list just keeps going. I use my HTC Desire for emails and social networking, taking happy snaps, GPS navigation (including Geocaching), playing silly games, browsing the ‘net and texting. I’m back to having a calendar that is quick and easy to use. Best of all I can share calendars (through Google) with my bride so we can easily see everything we’ve each got planned. No more “I told you about such and such last week” from either of us! I even found an app that integrates / syncs with my blog and allows me to write posts about my phone, from my phone at 1am (that last coffee wasn’t clever). Finally a device with technology that has matured like the Palm’s had years ago. As an example: I’ve miss-hit at least one letter in almost every word in this post – but I’m not frustrated, ninety something percent of the time it knows what I really wanted to type.

Oh and it makes phone calls too.