Feb 212011

The best PDA I ever had was Palm V. Period. I got it after owning several previous models of the venerable PalmPilot starting with Professional, which still had the USRobotics written on it.

Years went by and with my friends constantly joking about my belt being full of devices, I finally decided to consolidate. I persuaded my boss to buy me a Blackberry instead of the Palm/cell phone combination and I migrated. I was ambivalent towards the Blackberry – although my belt was much lighter and life was far more convenient with one device to carry and one less to forget in the morning, I lost the tasks and moreover the Palm desktop software which was a great executive tool. Having migrated from Palm to Blackberries, then to iPhones and recently to Android, I still have the numerous meeting notes and tasks that I used to take on my laptop and synchronize with my Palm.

On Blackberry (I believe my first one was 7520) I was most frustrated with lack of its desktop manager. In addition, I was very frustrated with the lack of a good task manager with 5 priorities (highest, high, medium, low, lowest). An ex. Andersen consultant once told me that 5 levels are too many and that they were using only 4 and that’s how it should be. (I wanted to say “Well, Mr. accountant, where’s your ex employer now?” but I didn’t) I’m still looking for the holy grail of task management and miss my Palm V even today.

Years went by and I changed several Blackberries in the process. Then, all of the sudden, Apple came up with the iPhone. My coworker and I used to bash each other’s PDA, and I used to tease him that he was carrying the Newton around instead of a brick as a defense when he’s returning home at night, but although too big, Apple Newton was a fine machine, ahead of its time. So, I expected iPhone to be as great. My big boss, the CEO kept telling me that he’d like to move to iPhone so I bought one to be prepared, but managed to talk him out of it in the process after I learned its shortfalls (during those days using iPhone for enterprise features was like fighting big guns with a pocket knife). Moving to iPhone was a painful process, even from me. I lost the Blackberry notebook as iPhone’s notes application was not syncing to anything at the time (not even to iTunes). Then it took me months to do the research before I decided to buy Appigo’s notebook and integrate it with Toodledo. It worked almost perfect and with Toodledo I got the 5 priorities again, but the priority levels are now called highest, high, medium, low, and negative (!?). Why isn’t it lowest? (well, I’m just joining the club of many people who wonder why is tall = small and grande = medium).

Oh what a blissful feeling when I learned that Palm Pre was coming. I immediately wanted to move back from Blackberry, but what a world, they decided to abandon the standard Palm Desktop. Dude, WTH? They killed the best part and this is why I chose to stay away from that route.

So although Palm was the best PDA, back then it wasn’t a phone. Blackberry was a great email/phone machine with bad task manager and horrible and slow browser. Iphone was a great iPod/browser with a phone. Android? Don’t know yet, it is fast and promising, but that’s not it yet. Meanwhile, I’m still missing Graffiti, and just when I got used to mini keyboards, I had to learn everything all over with touchscreen and I’m still not as fast and relaxed as I used to be writing on my Palm’s screen and not as efficient with task management as on Palm and Palm Desktop. I hope HP gets Palm technology resurrected and more competitive than ever.

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