The old Palm IIIxe I got last Christmas has been running quite well, but there’s a small problem: its USB cradle is 9-pin serial, and the iBook has only USB and Firewire ports. It took some searching, but I eventually found the Belkin Serial-to-USB PDA adapter at Circuit City. Major shortcoming: it needs drivers to run properly, and Belkin provides none for OS X. So, for some months now, I’ve had to reboot into OS 9 to infrequently Hot Sync my Palm: an inconvenience I was willing to tolerate at the time. But now I want a change.
I had initially considered replacing both my Palm and cellphone with a Treo 180, especially after reading Dan Bricklin’s review, but it turns out that the Treo is only relatively affordable when purchased with an accompanying GPRS plan — which, though tempting, is well beyond my financial capacity to endure. (The only other alternative for “wireless internet” on the Treo is to have it dial in to your existing ISP — which is slow and costs minutes.) Considering that, plus the lack of any bundled IM software (for the moblog!), and the lack of an SD expansion slot, the Treo doesn’t seem right for me just yet.
Martin wowed me at his wedding with beautiful hi-res color photos on his Clié. That would be nice for my photography, if only the Clié had a slot for SD cards rather than just the proprietary Sony Memory Sticks. That, plus the prohibitive price, made the Clié a non-viable option.
Dell Axim X5? Uh, no.
As far as I can tell, the lower-end Palm m130 is the only decent compromise for me on price and features. It’s not tiny, and it’s not a PDA-phone, but it does have an SD expansion slot, good color screen, and long battery life. Plus, it’s relatively new and well-supported, unlike my current IIIxe, which was already antiquated when I got it.
All things considered, it looks like the m130 is gonna be it, unless some extra cash falls out of the sky. Maybe I can go for a better, cheaper PDA-phone sometime next year, after Palm buys Handspring and telcos let me keep my number.
Any other recommendations? Most important to me is either or both of these feature combinations: (1) GSM PDA-phone with instant messaging and SMS, or (2) color-screen with SD card slot. MP3 would be nice, too, but not required. Oh, and all for below $200. With free flying pigs.