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Handhelds Hardware

PDA Sales Fall for Third Year in Row 312

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the let-me-explain-convergence dept.
oceanclub writes "Reports ZDNet on how PDA sales have slipped for a third year in a row now at a five-year low." Anyone have numbers for sales of cell phones? My cell phone has almost every piece of functionality I got from my PDA 3 years ago. Plus a crappy camera. Still no dice roller.
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PDA Sales Fall for Third Year in Row

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  • by danielrm26 (567852) * on Thursday February 03, 2005 @10:19AM (#11561603) Homepage
    This doesn't surprise me. I am selling my T3 Tungsten Palm right now, and it's because I just don't use it. I mean, I *want* to use it, or, more accurately, I want to *need* to use it, but it's just not something I keep with me constantly.

    I am torn between being geeky and liking tons of devices, but also moving toward simplification as a central theme in my life. Simplication, in the world of gadgets, unfortunately means using a single, do-it-all device. That for me equates to my Blackberry, which I am now syncing with my OS X machine (I refuse to be a M** person).

    Anyway, that's the trend I think -- single devices doing everything. Few people want to lug around multiple contraptions.
    • I've been thinking about getting one and syching it with OS X. How well have you been finding it works ? Often things are a little bumpier for OS X since people make hardware with windows in mind,

      BTW. nice highlander reference.
      • OSX (Score:2, Informative)

        by Psychofreak (17440)
        MAC is supposed to natively talk to palm devices. I do not have first had knowledge, but Mom is the Technology coordinator at her gradeschool where everything is Macintosh. She has an older Symbol scanner/palm like they use in hospitals to help keep track of hardware. I know she didn't have to load any new software to get the palm and the Mac to talk.

        I am using Windows and Linux, but I gave up trying to use a palm a while ago. I have a Garmin IQue that I really need to get working again, especially sin
      • by danielrm26 (567852) * on Thursday February 03, 2005 @10:31AM (#11561724) Homepage
        " I've been thinking about getting one and syching it with OS X. How well have you been finding it works?"

        Yes, it seems to be working quite nicely. Alarmed events from iCal don't come over with alarms in the device (unless I'm missing something), but other than that it seems pretty decent.
    • by Eric Giguere (42863) on Thursday February 03, 2005 @10:26AM (#11561670) Homepage Journal

      Note that smartphone sales [mobilizedsoftware.com] are on the rise. Standalone PDAs are suffering, but the integrated devices are taking off.

      Eric
      J2ME articles and stuff [ericgiguere.com]
    • by gstoddart (321705) on Thursday February 03, 2005 @10:27AM (#11561683) Homepage
      This doesn't surprise me. I am selling my T3 Tungsten Palm right now, and it's because I just don't use it. I mean, I *want* to use it, or, more accurately, I want to *need* to use it, but it's just not something I keep with me constantly.


      I have found this with every variation on organizers, day-planners, scheduling software, etc. They're fun to look at and play with for a few days, and you try to convince yourself this time you'll actually use it.

      The reality is, some people (like me) just don't use that kind of organizing tool and it's just a gadget. I know a lot of people who don't/won't use any such critter. I figure except for a small fraction of people, most people simply do not need this kind of thing.

      Maybe they've already sold them to everyone who cares.

      • The reality is, some people (like me) just don't use that kind of organizing tool and it's just a gadget. I know a lot of people who don't/won't use any such critter. I figure except for a small fraction of people, most people simply do not need this kind of thing.

        I like PDAs but not enough to carry one just for the organizer part. I now do carry one because I have a Tungsten that plays MP3s and RAs, and has a good enough screen that I can read books and view photos on it. Just the PDA functions weren't
      • You selectively quoted the poster, and changed the sense of their post. They don't just lose the novelty of a new toy, they don't want to carry multiple devices:

        "That for me equates to my Blackberry, which I am now syncing with my OS X machine (I refuse to be a M** person)."

        The point is that, faced with carrying two devices, one of which (a phone) they want to carry everywhere, they choose that one, and drop the other. Smartphones are neat gadgets, with all the PDA functions that don't quite justify carry
      • I've had many electronic organisers for over 10 years now, from stand alone thing with single line displays, through various Psions/Palms/iPaqs, upgrading every 18-36 months as a new shinier/fancier device came out, and I pretty much can't live without them.

        However, there's been nothing in the past few years in the PDA world that's offered any features (except size) that my second iPaq didn't have (or at least any that I would use). Instead, my last 2 organisers have both been phones (the Nokia 3650, and n
      • by mikers (137971) on Thursday February 03, 2005 @11:11AM (#11562173)
        They're fun to look at and play with for a few days, and you try to convince yourself this time you'll actually use it.

        Maybe you just never found your killer app. I did.

        The PDA for me has worked the best as a raw text entry device. I used it in any university and extension courses where there is a huge amount of text or material that doesn't involve a lot of math or derivations or drawing (like History, Economics, Marketing. I even used it in my Intro to Databases course). Occasional diagrams can be put on a paper notepad, but try doing text search through 100 pages of notes. Or cleaning up and reorganizing notes -- talk about time consuming and clunky.

        Plain text editing without all the formating crap is where its at on PDAs. Unfortunately, this required an external keyboard, something others didn't dish out for. Data entry techniques on the PDAs without a keyboard are almost impossible, and built in keyboards like the zaurus are almost useless.

        Contrast this with taking a notebook computer to class. In university, my experience has been that usually the people using them are just fiddling with fonts, or colors or text layout... Anything but actually taking notes. It seems to be more a toy than an actual tool -- something to show off. But with my pda, I had no fonts or text layout to play around with: I could just take notes. And its tiny compared to a notebook computer, 10% of the cost and liability, the battery lasts weeks (besides being easy to replace at 2 AAA batteries) and it is light and small.

        • by Java Ape (528857) <mike...briggs@@@360...net> on Thursday February 03, 2005 @01:47PM (#11564000) Homepage
          LOL! I am the laughing stock of WSU, where I'm working on an M.S. in computer science. EVERYONE has a laptop, and most of them play games or chat during lecture. I bring a $0.75 spiral notebook and a pencil, just like when I was a kid.

          It works surprisingly well -- I get highly-formatted text, including greek and cyrillic characters as needed. I can reproduce complex drawings, including simple gray-scale shading. In shorthand mode, I can capture output in near real time, and in high-quality output mode other students can generally read my notes. Pretty amazing things, these pencils.

          I watched a fellow student using both thumbs to frantically poke tic-tac sized buttons on his PDA's integrated keyboard, and offered him a piece of paper and a spare pencil. "No way", he said, "this is a $500 PDA!". Sigh.

    • I've found that I never use my Palm anymore. It sits on the cradle for months at a time whereas I got through 2 or 3 of those yellow sticky notepad things a month. If I need to write something down I find a sheet of paper with some unused space and jot down a note. Who needs a $500 PDA for that???
    • by sczimme (603413) on Thursday February 03, 2005 @10:36AM (#11561786)

      Simplication, in the world of gadgets, unfortunately means using a single, do-it-all device.

      That will simplify one's cartage/storage needs - using one device is pretty straightforward, after all - but can very easily complicate other aspects.

      I carry a laptop, a PDA (Clie), and a mobile phone. I don't need all of them all the time, so I carry what is necessary. However, if one item goes south I will still have the other two. If the all-in-one device breaks it becomes an all-are-gone. I find this unacceptable - YMMV.

      Small all-in-one devices also frequently suffer from substandard input options and user interfaces. A fair compromise might be a PDA/phone device with an optional full-size (e.g. folding) keyboard, but that still leaves the user with the risk of losing all functionality with one mishap.
    • Marketing strategy for Palm:

      Build in a damn phone already.
    • I'm thinking of selling my Zire 72. I was thinking of moving to a Tungsten C to enjoy wireless web page browsing but with the new Sony PSP available soon in the UK I've decided to wait for that.
    • by mausmalone (594185) on Thursday February 03, 2005 @10:51AM (#11561975) Homepage Journal
      I say this in all seriousness, and I will be flamed for it.... but if somebody writes a phonebook/notepad/general PDA program for the Nintendo DS that supports WiFi e-mail and AIM/Yahoo Messenger/MSN/ICQ, I would buy it in a heartbeat (and a DS for that matter). As much as I like PDA's in general, it's not as constantly useful as gaming to me.
    • I would rather have ten devices that do their jobs very well than one device that does ten jobs poorly.
    • I wonder if there is a term for "being attracted to new techonolgical devices which you have no earthly use for". If not there should be because I am suffering from it.
  • Yes but (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 2.7182 (819680) on Thursday February 03, 2005 @10:19AM (#11561606)
    It is a technology trend, noted by a study at UPenn that new technology almost always has a dip after its first big increase. So the jury is still out.
  • Logical (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mirko (198274)
    I personally had a Zaurus SL5500 which suffered from stupid autonomy problems as well as a poor ergonomy and a lack of decent performance (try to edit a decently sized Excel sheet in his spreadsheet).
    So, I swapped it for a read-only PDA : An iPod, that is.
    I think people now either get a smartphone or an iPod for such needs.
    • So... you can edit a decently sized Excel sheet on your iPod? /just sayin'
    • uh.. that's very illogical.

      you had a 'need' to edit LARGE excel spreadsheets.. so you switched to a music player with some note-reading functionality.

      more to note would be that in most countries where phones commonly come through the carrier, you'll get price-cuts on the phone (that you of course pay with your subscription ultimately but that's another thing)- you can't get them on the pda.. so the pda seems more expensive anyhow(good pda's are pretty expensive).
  • No Blackberrys? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thewldisntenuff (778302) on Thursday February 03, 2005 @10:20AM (#11561622) Homepage
    TFA states that no Blackberry or Blackberry-like devices were counted.....Could this have pulled the numbers up?

    I think the line between pda/cell phone is starting to blur....Might as well have counted the Blackberry....Hell, you can do most of what you need to on a PDA on a cell phone these days. And they come free/relatively cheap with new service

    thewldisntenuff
    • you figure a lot of people that were happy to carry a Palm Pilot may have upgraded to a Treo (or one of the other Palm OS phones) and those do not count as PDA sales either.....

      i have not carried my Palm in a few years, but if i was still willing to deal with the bulk of it i would have gotten a Treo already. my cell phone is not all that smart, but it keeps more contact info than just phone number, schedule, memo pad (to do list, shopping lists) and some other stupid things. i miss the Palm OS and the bon
    • smartphone sales are up.

      traditional pda sales are down.

    • " TFA states that no Blackberry or Blackberry-like devices were counted.....Could this have pulled the numbers up?"

      hardly insightful, really. Adding a load of sales of a DIFFERENT class of device, is not a sensible way to pull up numbers.

      Sales of steam trains are falling; could adding in sales of cars pull the numbers up?
  • by JamesD_UK (721413) on Thursday February 03, 2005 @10:22AM (#11561633) Homepage
    I've noticed that whilst maybe three years ago people would like to show off their latest PDA with all the latest features, now mobile phones appear to be the fashionable gadget that that people want to show off with all the latest wiz-bang features.

    Another thought is that modern mobile phones have more akin with PDAs (albiet in a different format package) than they do with older generation phones and that the 'phone' feature was the killer applications.

  • It has a large display, much better quality. I can put games on it (without paying Verizon for them), easy to hookup to my computer, much more memory, more functional calendar, todo list, address book.

    All around it's better.

    butcomplete lack of quality products on the market.

    If a company came out with a decent priced good PDA... it would be a whole new market. Unfortunately, there are none.

    [dream]I'm still hoping Apple will eventualy step up with a PDA, Phone, Mp3 player deal that will knock everyone'
    • What, have you not heard about the new iSockKnocker?
      ...I've got nothing. But anyway, if you have a PDA, you don't need extra functionality to make it an MP3 player. Just a good, readily available player, plenty of memory, and good battery life.
  • by antifoidulus (807088) on Thursday February 03, 2005 @10:23AM (#11561646) Homepage Journal
    that are replacing pda functionality. Hell, even the iPod has most of the functions of a basic pda sans an input method. I use it as my pda because my phone sucks, I just plug it into the cradle at night and it charges, updates my calendar, to do list, contacts etc.
    Might not be good for people who constantly have to write stuff down, but for me it does what I need to do, oh yeah and plays music.
  • by AtariAmarok (451306) on Thursday February 03, 2005 @10:25AM (#11561660)
    I took mine back when I found out that you could not point them at a settlement and see on the readout how many humanoid life forms there were in it, and that they were not capable of detecting nearby warp drive fields.
  • ?

    wtf?

    just download or code a j2me, c++, python, opl or vb program to do it..
    • Re:dice roller? (Score:2, Informative)

      by toddbert (172276)
      Well, if you're using a Palm device there is a decent dice roller called Gamer's Dice Roller. Can't remember where I downloaded it from, but the help screen says...

      http://palm.dahm.com/

      Hope this helps!
  • My cell phone has almost every piece of functionality I got from my PDA 3 years ago. Plus a crappy camera. Still no dice roller.

    Sure, but can you use it like a CB radio [pokia.com] (DJ Convoy)? Is it Shatner-compliant [ebay.com]?
  • Ebooks (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Cheesy Fool (530943)
    I only use my PDA nowadays for reading ebooks, nothing else.
  • because (Score:5, Interesting)

    by myom (642275) on Thursday February 03, 2005 @10:28AM (#11561692)
    I am currently workign on a project where PDAs would be used in the industry. I helped a student with a thesis and attached project a year ago and I've had a HP Jornada 620 since 2000.

    For every generation of the PDA the operating systems have gotten much slower, bloated, hiding necessary functions, doing the usual MS oversimplification of the interface (hiding file extensions, not actually closing the apps etc).

    Add more crashes, data loss and an abysmal battery duration and I'd say it's no wonder why the PDA sales drop, especially with phones getting more and more PDA functionality.

    PDAs never got their killer application, which could have been a few of: phone capability, superior data input method compared to phones, instant messaging, mail, cheaper packet based data transfer or porn.

    I can only see one way PDAs can go, and that is to be smaller, have a longer battery duration and have phone and instant messaging support and by that definitely Edge/GPRS/UMTS or other 3G telephony and data transfer capability, in effect becoming a lot of things at once.

    The only way this can be achieved is with a total rewrite or replacement of PocketPC/WindowsCE
    • Re:because (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Glock27 (446276) on Thursday February 03, 2005 @10:35AM (#11561768)
      The only way this can be achieved is with a total rewrite or replacement of PocketPC/WindowsCE

      It's called "PalmOS". PalmSource has announced a future version will be based on Linux, which is exciting.

      Now if someone will just build some compelling hardware... :-)

      Wearable devices are a dark horse in all this also, and might make a better base for converged comm/computer functionality (since you can comfortably carry bigger batteries that way).

      • The only way this can be achieved is with a total rewrite or replacement of PocketPC/WindowsCE
        It's called "PalmOS". PalmSource has announced a future version will be based on Linux, which is exciting.
        There used to be a thing called EPOC. I still use my Psion 5mx. I have a smartphone, but some things just require a keyboard.
    • not actually closing the apps

      This is not always a bad thing. OS X apps don't exit when they have no open documents, they stay in memory until you next click on them and then respond instantly. The first machine I had that did this was a Psion Series 3 (remember them? Great machines). Closing a document would sometimes drop you out of the application, but the app would still be memory resident unless explicitly killed. The machine only had 256K of RAM (I remember paying £30 for a 128K flash disk

      • This is actually a problem for my brittle users who use Windows at home. They complain that the computer is getting "slow" and I inevitably find four or five memory resident applications running on the thing. Even pure Mac users do this because they think that closing the last window closes the app. Telling them to use File -> Quit goes in one ear and out the other. This memory resident behaivor needs to at least be configurable. My life would be a bit easier if closing all windows killed an app.
    • Uh their are 'Smartphones' using the latest version of the Pocket PC OS that combine PDA & Cellphone capabilities... Lots of them in fact... But I have to ask you quite a few questions because some of what you say just doens't make much sense...

      "that is to be smaller"

      You realy want an even tinier screen?!? PDA's these days are pretty much teh right size to still be functional... If you'd look at smartphones you'd see their are generally two types with Palm opting for a inbetween unit (Treo 600 & 6
      • I am very much aware of the smartphones, better batteries and different apps. I am just saying that they came too late, and PDAs never found their killer app before the bloat of PocketPC and the competition from smartphones and mobile phones.

        PDAs need to be smaller if they want to compete with smartphones.

        OR

        PDAs need to be a LOT better if they are to retain their current sizes with their nice screens etc.

        They simply are not good enough, and that is why the sales drop.
    • Obviously you've not been using the devices for long enough, nor have you seen a wide enough sampling of device types.

      I've been writing software for Windows CE devices full-time since 1996 (Windows CE 1.0). I can tell you beyond any doubt that beyond a few specific devices (DELL Axim X5 Basic comes to mind) performance has improved steadily across the board. CE 3.0 brought a new kernel that was vastly superior to the versions before it. The RAM is constantly increasing, the displays are now VGA resoluti
      • I am not pointing out ONE single thing that needs to change, just giving my thoughts on why the PDAs are not cutting it. I think they are trying to be too many things at once, while not excelling at any, and not being attractive enough as they are.

        For example, I say that they need to be smaller - if they want to compete with smartphones, or be more feature-rich and have a longer battery life when it comes to communication possibilities, if they are to stand their ground in their current configuration.

        I th
    • Sort of OT, but why insist on WINCE? Linux runs on most PDA's and with java it's programmer friendly as well. I run familiar on my ipaq. It's perfect (aside from the battery life problems you mentioned). And now with phone on chip tech coming around, we're marching steadily towards a unified device. I'd love an ipaq form factor computer that I can plug my hands free set into and make a call.

      But back to the original OT question, why WINCE?
  • Modern mobile phones have proper HTTP (not WAP) browsers and sites formatted for PDA fit on their little screens quite well. Not many people are using PDAs to surf the Internet, but it's worth keeping the PDA sites going - if you had one - to cater for the new style phones. Here's the cute little Google search page [google.com] for PDAs.
    • by RailGunner (554645) on Thursday February 03, 2005 @10:37AM (#11561796) Journal
      Modern mobile phones have proper HTTP (not WAP) browsers and sites formatted for PDA fit on their little screens quite well.

      Interestingly enough, this is how Opera makes most of it's money. While their PC browser is excellent, (IMHO), it's the ability to render sites on small screen's that's making the company money.

  • I bought a Tablet PC instead of a new laptop to fill the need of both a PDA and a Laptop given circumstances. It's done that job well, and while it's not as small, it's small enough to keep nearby and weighs so little (it's a slate) that it's easy to hold with one hand.

    It's also a hell of a lot easier to work with email and web tasks than on a little 4" 640x480 (at best) display.
    • Re:Tablet PC (Score:3, Interesting)

      I was always skeptical of tablets until my business partner got one (he wasn't at the time).

      1. Impresses the hell out of potential clients, most of whom have not seen anything like it.
      2. Makes it very easy for a designer to mark up a design during a client meeting.
      3. Swivel screen is convenient when you're meeting with others and need to show them what's going on.
      4. We carry our laptops everywhere anyway... no need for a PDA, especially when it can't match up on features and usability.

      Now I want one. :)
  • by treerex (743007) on Thursday February 03, 2005 @10:30AM (#11561711) Homepage

    When the PalmPilot came out I found that it could do 90% of what I could do on my Newton in a smaller package. I was using Grafiti on my Newton anyway, so it didn't make sense to keep using it.

    Then I stopped taking notes on the Palm and just used it for calendar and contacts. One more thing to remember to take with me.

    Now I can sync my (iCal) calendars and my address book to my iPod. I take that little white gem with me pretty much everywhere anyway, and it's doing 80-90% of what my PalmPilot did. And it "just works" on my Mac OS X box.

    So it isn't a surprise that this is happening: few people really need to read and write email on the Blackberry. Can you not be disconnected for a few minutes a day?

    • Interestingly enough, you just indicated that your iPod only does 72-81% of what your Newton did...
      • Interestingly enough, you just indicated that your iPod only does 72-81% of what your Newton did...

        Yup, which means I have pretty modest needs. And my Newton didn't carry around 36G of music either.

  • Smartphone says are strong and this affects PDA sales. The only thing I ended up using my PDA for was GPS software, I have that on my phone now. I always keep my phone with me, my PDA is too bulky to be pocketable.
  • Not surprised. (Score:3, Informative)

    by Misch (158807) on Thursday February 03, 2005 @10:32AM (#11561727) Homepage
    Not surprised...

    I had a Palm Vx. Most stable piece of hardware I ever owned. But, then it got stolen from me at my workplace. (Bastards). I replaced it with a Palm Zire 71. Nice color screen. Software was slightly unstable. Sometimes it would freeze up while doing something (usually while playing a game).

    I just replaced it with a Tungsten T5. The software is total crap. It fried its own memos database during a hotsync. Luckily I had a backup of that... and, oh yeah... Palm dropping the Universal Connector platform... real smart idea there.

    Idiots. I'm not surprised.
  • I'll bet the total number of devices with PDA like functionality sold is still growing. 'People' know and understand phones so a phone with a built in PDA is a big seller.

    On the other hand, 'people' think PDAs are for geeks, so a PDA with a built in phone stays on the shelves, even if it were identical to the phone with the built in PDA.

    On most high end phones now, the actual phone probably represents less than a third of the functionality, but it's still called a phone. That's amrketing.

    If it stores my
  • by StressGuy (472374) on Thursday February 03, 2005 @10:36AM (#11561783)
    I just got a new PDA actually - a Tungsten E. I don't really need all the "bells and whistles" of some of the multi-media PDA's and converged cell-phone/PDA's out there right now. What I needed was new calculator. For a bit more than what a good calculator cost, the Tungsten E also provides the following:
    -
    A way for me to keep a material/hardware reference commonly used in my industry right on hand via SD card (FAA document MMPDS-01 in case your wondering).
    -
    A "lightweight" Octave (LyME) for more complex calculations (I use NeoCal otherwise).
    -
    An organizer that's independant of my office scheduler so I can integrate my personal and work schedules without storing personal information on my office computer.
    -
    A means to check my home e-mail without storing personal data on my work machine. (although I could use the web).
    -
    A way to securely store my ever increasing number of passwords, pin #'s, etc. (yes, my handheld is password protected).
    -
    So, for me, it works out. I thought about getting a converged phone/PDA, but I take my phone places I'd never take my PDA. A phone can be replaced, the data I have stored on my PDA would be a much more severe loss.
    -
    -
    Anyway, my 2 cents.

  • My cell phone has almost every piece of functionality I got from my PDA 3 years ago

    My cell phone goes almost everywhere with me. It is tiny and light and has all important contacts. But it isn't a complete replacement for my PDA.

    The problem is that I don't have any need to replace my PDA. I have a 5 year old Handspring Visor that still does everything I want it to do. The only really important things I use it for are playing chess (lets see a really good program for a cell phone), storing passwords and

  • But the Newton community is growing!
    • "But the Newton community is growing!"

      It's 6ood xo see that somehbv4 else is vsing a Nevvton t0 make Slabbbot entries #

      • It's 6ood xo see that somehbv4 else is vsing a Nevvton t0 make Slabbbot entries #

        yow think Yom awe so funny @
        4 have a Newtonad i + works j USt fine x OK? Much better rm MA Graffxti c -wok .
  • by Vinnie_333 (575483) on Thursday February 03, 2005 @10:42AM (#11561841)
    Not only are mutli-functional cell phones talking away from pda sales but, now that we have wireless in our building, everyone in my office just carries their laptops to our meetings. No syncing necesary; just type your notes straight on the network. I do keep mine around (mainly out of force of habit) but I'm one of the few that do.
  • No surprise (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Mr_Silver (213637) on Thursday February 03, 2005 @10:42AM (#11561854)
    I don't work in IT so it generally means that I spend more time in meetings than quite a lot of people here - as such, I heavily rely on a diary, something that syncs with Outlook, can be easily modified on the go and means that my secretary can access and modify the information on it.

    Therefore it isn't much of a surprise than standalone PDA's are dying when my current pda/phone combo [typepad.com] is nearly the same size as a Nokia 7610 [nokia.com] and comes with a decent input method (which always was the killer issue with using a standard phone pad to enter details), sends and receieves phone calls/sms/mms and works as a PocketPC with a large base of useful applications. A Nokia simply doesn't cut it and the SonyEricsson P9xx is only discounted because it's syncing with Outlook isn't particulary great (especially with the categorisation of tasks and notes).

    A friend of mine is selling his iPaq after getting a Blackberry from work. Sure it doesn't have a NES emulator, PocketScumm and a few other of the niceties - but it does everything he needs.

    I'm going to really hate having to give this back.

  • Declining Quality? (Score:5, Informative)

    by cyranoVR (518628) * <cyranoVR@ g m ail.com> on Thursday February 03, 2005 @10:43AM (#11561875) Homepage Journal
    Unfortunately, it seems that PalmOne's current strategy isn't to innovate, but to make crappy devices that need to be replaced after 9-12 months.

    I bought my Tungsten | E less than a year ago (April 2004). After less than three months, the chrome had completely chipped off the "down" button, last week its stereo jack stopped working, and the battery is on its way to dying.

    I went to the Palm website to see about at least getting my TE's stereo jack fixed. Turns out the warranty only spans 90 days(!), after which repairs cost [palmone.com] a $125 flat-fee(!!). Coincidence that this is almost as much as some new Palm handhelds? The support section of their website offers the following "advice:" [palmone.com]
    palmOne does not provide replacements for lost or out-of-warranty parts and accessories. If the warranty has expired for your accessory, we recommend you purchase a new one (palmOne Store [palmone.com]).
    Huh? Why would I spend $499 on a "new one" when I can easily obtain spare parts from a third party? [gethightech.com]. I smell the work of a MBA.

    (I ended up opening up the Tungsten myself and soldering the headphone jack connections back into place. There was barely any solder on them to begin with. Hmmmmm....)

    Now don't get me wrong, I like my TE and I use it a lot. It's just too bad that Palm designed a device that isn't meant to be used that much!

    For $200 + shipping, you'd think they could give me something a little more sturdy.

  • I still use my one and only PDA, a Palm III. I used to try out 3rd party applications, but hardly do anymore. When I rode the subway to work, I'd download the news and read it, but now, notes to self, alarms, and contact list are its purposes for me. I don't expect I'll buy a newer all-in-one PDA/Web browser/MP3 player/balance-my-checkbook device. But then again, I don't even have a cellphone (you ignorant clod!).
    • Your subject sums it up, really.

      A PDA works, does its job, and tends to last a while. People tend not to get a new one until the old one packs in, starts to fail, or simply lacks required features.
      You also tend to have to pay full unit price in most cases.

      Cellphones tend to get replaced often. Most people tend to either upgrade or replace their phones after a year or two. Personally I'm on my fourth handset since 1999 but only just (this week) bought my second PDA since 2001. (One of the buttons on my

    • That's pretty much the way I felt about my Handspring. It did everything I wanted out of a PDA and had some fun free games on it too (BlackJack, Breakout and Galaga clones, etc.).

      Now I have a Tungsten T3 provided for me by work. It has a nice big color screen, so I have stored some pics of my fiancée on it, and a few MP3's on the SD card I bought. Even though these features are nice, they still wouldn't be enough to make me want to upgrade--especially for the price. Who wants to pay $300-$400 for a d
  • It all depends where you are looking.

    If you look at the smart phone sales figures they are skyrocketing, only stand-alone PDA unit sales are dropping.

    The Register [theregister.co.uk] has an article that counts both sales figures together and has a nice table of figures at the end. Nokia alone shipped 4,949,5590 units with PDA functionality in Q4 2004.

  • No innovation (Score:3, Interesting)

    by z1d0v (789072) on Thursday February 03, 2005 @10:49AM (#11561949)
    Where's the new stuff? Every now and then we see a new PDA, with Bluetooth, WiFi, and all...

    But where is the innovation? I want a few-gigas-hardrive (those I hear from toshiba might do the trick...), a nice-to-have-640x480-screen, decent battery, GSM/GPRS or UMTS, and even an integrated projector to do some presentations... I want a real personal assistant that makes me use it, or I will (again) leave my PDA at home and just bring along my cellular.

    It seems the PDAs that come out simply don't have anything really new, besides an extra Mhz from a new Intel processor.

  • by Lao-Tzu (12740)
    The company I work for decided to call our primary software product "PDA", as an acronym for "Production Data Analysis". As I am currently working on this software right this second, the title of this article surprised me. What, huh, our software sales are slipping? Why would slashdot care?

    TLAs are far too overloaded already, but bad marketing decisions keep pushing more meanings on them.
  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Thursday February 03, 2005 @10:51AM (#11561971) Homepage Journal
    another report [mobilizedsoftware.com], from Canalys, shows that the recent trend is over 100% growth (doubling) in smartphones, while "PDAs" without phones shrank by about 5%. So clearly the trend is a transition to smartphones, rather than "PDAs are dying" - smartphones are PDAs, too. IDC's report is phrased to make Blackberry look good, without even mentioning their #1 competitor, Palm, which is the leader in the PDA/smartphone dual marketplace. #1 smartphone seller Nokia is surfing the same wave. But the real story, that PDAs, and Palm, have transitioned to smartphones, is the kind of story that the mainstream media missed when networking happened to PCs in the early 1990s. While the media was fascinated by their favorite corporate success, Microsoft's desktop rise, they all missed the Internet. Perhaps a similar benevolent neglect will help give the mobile Web the element of surprise when it delivers its own killer apps in the next couple of years.
  • that uses my Palm? My phone book is on my cell especially now that I have a phone without IR and I can't beam to it. My calendar is on Exchange/Outlook at work, but I keep my personal cal on my Palm. I use todo's and keep a lot of notes on the Palm because it replaces the 20 little scraps of paper I normally carry. If I need to remember something, I can even take a snapshot of it instead of taking the time to write it down. I read ebooks on my Palm whenever I'm waiting for a meeting, a car repair, the
  • Listen to Apple (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SamSeaborn (724276) on Thursday February 03, 2005 @10:55AM (#11562005)
    This is another example of how Apple is *so* on top of market trends.

    A couple years back (and even today!) people whined about how Apple should make a PDA -- bring back the Newton, or whatever. Steve Jobs repeatedly said Apple isn't interested in that market; now we see why.

    Sam

  • But I eventually went back to a paper based system. The Palms just seemed to be more of a pain to use. I was actually really good at Graffiti, and made fun of and put dirt in the hair of all the whiners who said it was too hard to learn. Cripes, 95% of the letters were what you'd naturally expect them to be. What pussies!.

    But I just found myself going to paper more often. I think the main problem was the need to sometimes sketch a small picture of something along with some text, and there was no easy way

  • Remember that old word "perfected?" PDAs were perfected years ago. They do everything they need to do. They do it fairly well. Almost everyone that needs one has it already, they are durable, and nobody desperately needs any spiffy new features that it doesn't already have.

    This just in: sales of pencils, shoelaces, and clothespins are not growing, either.

    Despite my warnings, my wife bought a $30 battery-powered PDA with no PC connectivity about five years ago. She loved it. It did everything she needed. T
  • Vx, P800, Qtek S100 (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Sprotch (832431)
    I had, successively, a Palm Vx, Sony-Ericsson P800 and now a Qtek S100. The latter two are not "PDAs" as such, but did not have anything to envy to any PDA. While I enjoyed the Vx a lot (probably the best Palm Pilot ever), I soon stopped carrying it around (keys + wallet + cell phone + palm = too much). It probably the best organizer ever, but there's just not enough room in my pockets... So I was overjoyed when the P800 came out. It really is a fantastic device. The form factor is ideal, and it's a real
  • Cell Phone Sales (Score:2, Informative)

    by Aeron65432 (805385)
    Cell phone sales have risen 35%, and Nokia leads with 46 million cellphones sold in the 2nd quarter alone. That means Nokia sells approximately 185million cell phones a year, and thats only one company. Just mind boggling.

    http://news.com.com/Cell%20phone%20sales%20keep%20 booming/2100-1016_3-5345047.html [com.com]
  • Please. I want a PDA with a proper integrated keyboard, just like the Psion 3c I had ages ago.

    I can't get the hang of "graffiti" and I don't like typing by stabbing at a tiny on-screen keyboard with a stick. These days, I only use my Palm T3 for Acid-Solitaire, the alarm clock and playing MP3 files.

  • by Drakonite (523948) on Thursday February 03, 2005 @11:07AM (#11562135) Homepage
    I'm sure all the geeks here have a hard time grasping the idea, but for the majority of people who need and buy PDAs they aren't looking to upgrade every other week and be forced to reenter a million pieces of information. They want to buy the one PDA that does what they need and stick with it for as long as possible.

    So how is it surprising that sales have dropped now that 99% of those people have their PDAs?

  • I'm with another poster, where my old Palm m515 is only good for a few games and e-books on flights where there isn't really room to unlimber my laptop.

    Of course it would really, really help if Verizon would 'open' the phone, so it wasn't a fee to play any games on it. C'mon, at least my old Nokia had MasterMind, Concentration and Snakes!

    But what would I really want? I've been debating to myself recently whether I'd want a 'does everything' box, or a Bluetooth (or its successor)-controlled personal netw
  • I have a Tungsten T3 from work, and usually the only thing I use it for is checking the time (I don't wear a watch), occasionally using the calendar or playing Black Jack and Solitaire. The T3 is woefully inadequate as a game device because of the button placement, and the lack of quality games.

    Now, if there was some way to combine the Palm OS with a Gameboy Advance or Nintendo DS, you'd really have something!
  • by gearmonger (672422) on Thursday February 03, 2005 @11:19AM (#11562257)
    I have several nice, expensive, capable PDAs in a drawer at home. Instead, I carry my Treo 600 -- it has a lower resolution screen, smaller keyboard, less RAM, and a slower processor than my PDAs, yet it's small, capable, and always with me.

    Smartphones will continue to get better and PDAs, like boomboxes and those camcorders you used to attach to a VCR, will be another personal electronics form-factor that just won't make much sense in a few years.

  • I've owned a lot of PDAs. I started with a Sharp ExpertPad (a rebranded Apple Newton MP100). I then moved up to a Message Pad 110, traded that for a Message Pad 120. I drooled over the backlighting on the Message Pad 130, but I couldn't afford it when it came out.

    I saved my pennies and bought a Message Pad 2000 when it came out. Then I upgraded it to the 2100 model. It was the best PDA ever despite it's unweildy size. If you wear cargo pants everywhere it might be considered a "pocket" computer.

    So

  • by gelfling (6534) on Thursday February 03, 2005 @11:53AM (#11562626) Homepage Journal
    Seriously my phone costs $0. My Palm is quite old but I could replace it for less than $200 bucks. If I want those functions in my phone I have to pay AT LEAST twice that amount. On the other hand there are already crude features like that in my phone but no way to connect them to my PC or any other service I can think of.

    I mean how many of you have a cheap candy bar or flip phone that has an obscure data port connector in the bottom that no one can describe to you what it does or sell you a cable of any kind that will connect to it? Let alone show you some software that will at least sync to a Palm desktop or something quick and dirty?

    I bet the numbers are huge.

    On the other hand I think that people are discovering that PDAs are for the most part unusable devices on their own. Everyone has struggled for years with Graffiti, T9, Fitaly and all the others. Data entry just sucks. And when you're done entering data, then what? Are you really going to trade your stock portfolio i real time with one? Are you really going to bust out that Powerpoint presentation?

    Nah, you're going to browse the sports pages, the weather report, CNN and that's about it besides some games.

    So PDS sales are decreasing because PDA function really hasn't increased in 5 years. We're still limited in the same ways doing the same halfassed things we were doing 5 years ago.

    I'll tell you what I use my PDA for: Avantgo, the address book, a DB of passwords and special calendars I need. Everything else is a waste of time.

    But - if phone companies could provide this level of functionality I'd dump my PDA in a second. Even with the smaller screen and reduced battery life.
  • Usability (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Thanatopsis (29786) <despain.brian@nosPAm.gmail.com> on Thursday February 03, 2005 @11:57AM (#11562661) Homepage
    Does anyone find the utility of a PDA somewhat limited? I mean the form factor is somewhat limited and what do you actually use it for >? Contacts? Schedule? I have owned 5 PDAs and I simply find them too muc work to effectively use.
  • by JohnnyCannuk (19863) on Thursday February 03, 2005 @01:12PM (#11563543)
    I have always loved the "idea" of a PDA, but I have never found one that meets the "idea."

    My idea was that a PDA was a portable interface to a larger, networked computing environment, not just a portable hand held version of your desktop. You use your PDA as a portable means to access applications and data residing on the network with a little compute power in you hand for other things.

    The reality is, unfortunately, this just doesn't exist. The network wasn't there and when it was, a PDA couldn't connect to it - it has only been recently that you could get 802.11x connectivity for you Palm. WinCE\WindMobile devices like the iPAQ had them but they were difficult to configure (type a 28 character WEP key in by hand with a stylus?!?!). And once you got them configured, what to use them for except surfing the net.

    And then there are the other technical issues. If I leave my iPAQ in my bag overnight or over a weekend and the battery is sucked dry, it is the equivelent of a soft-reset. I loose many of my installed programs and data as the device resets to factory settings. They aren't easily upgradable for the expense of buying one. The data storage and capabilities of some of the OS are lacking. I would love to run full JVM (or at least a stripped down version that is customizable) on a PDA.

    Just imaging an environment where your PDA can run some fairly powerful programs, can easily connect, or be configured to connect, to a network. It can display highspeed graphics, dynamically download code (via say Jini) and can connect to devices and service with say jxta - one minute it can be your remote control for the TV\DVD\Stereo, the next your VOIP soft phone, the next you are using an application to enter data at work. This PDA can be easily upgraded and wounldn't lose data unless you format the storage device.

    Until the day comes when all of this is available in a consumer device rather than a geek-hacked, one-off experiment (cuz I know ALL of the above can be done with the right tools, apis and a soldering iron), PDAs will never live up to thier promise.

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