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Clearly, memory and processor are important, but, what about software? What about connectivity with desktop systems?
Is it worth waiting for bluetooth to start making an impact?
I think all PDAs (I know Palm OS models do) come with a basic application suite that includes a desktop application for backing up data and working with your PDA data on your desktop machine.
Of course, a WindowsCE PDA will have more memory, a faster processor... along with increased compatibility with Windows/MS applications, but they're a lot more expensive than basic Palm models... (And the reason they have so much more memory and processing power is because their software requires it.)
I don't see any reason to wait for Bluetooth though... unless that sort of wireless connectivity is the primary reason you want the PDA to begin with.
I went basic with mine: Handspring Visor Edge, 8mb, Palm OS, 16 grey screen, because I wanted an organizer/checkbook/alternative to the teeny scraps of note paper cluttering my life, and I've found more uses for the little thing since then. With 62 applications/documents/extensions/etc., on it, I still have almost 6MB of memory free... So a little goes a LONG way for Palm OS machines. (And there are TONS of free apps available for the Palm platform!)
Xoc, at the other end of the spectrum, has his pair of iPaq monsters, and I'm sure he'll be along shortly to tell you all about them. ;)
But really, just get a good idea what you *want* to do with a PDA, and choose a model from there...
I have a PalmVx (mono, 8mg) and was a little concerned at first that it might be a toy rather than a tool. Nothing could be further from the truth and now I would be lost without it. I even got myself a keyboard which despite sounding like defeating the purpose af having a non-type device in the first place is actually more usefull than you would imagine.
As Mivox says, the Palm stuff comes with a desktop application, Win or Mac, and will even sync with Outlook, Act2000, and so on with the appropriate counduits.
Tons of software available, free and cheap, from shopping lists to project management and beyond.
My vote is Palm, but then I am biased.
>What do you want to use it for?
Day to day planner, alarm, contact database, etc. are the essential basics. E-mail capability is the next main consideration, along with PC compatible programs.
I used to own one of the early handheld devices (large hand required) but its limitaton was the memory, display, data entry and, importantly, the connectivity to the office server - it just wasn't compatible.
There is plenty of infomration on the hardware, but, it's the software that is the key issue to me. Are packages readilly available? Is the a price premium?
The email is the only part I haven't done yet, but Palm OS comes with a built-in Mail program, and you can get a wide variety of modems (wireless and plug-in) for Handspring and Palm PDAs. Then there's the new Palm i705 (I think?), which has wireless internet connectivity built-in, and was designed as an email monster... But that's well out of the "cheapo" price range.
PC compatibility/translation software usually isn't free, in my experience... except for the included Palm Desktop software, which isn't exactly user friendly, but can export most files from the Palm format to something you can open with standard software. Also, some software like ThinkDB (WELL worth buying!) will export data files into MemoPad files, which you can then export out of your Palm Desktop software... ThinkDB also has a variety of "add-on" software available in bundles, enabling it to interact even more directly with your desktop machine.
I kept the most recent BarConference registrants' names, nicks and other info in a custom ThinkDB database on my Visor Edge, and then exported the data through MemoPad and put together the nametags in AppleWorks. Worked like a charm. :)