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Question about PDAs/Pocket PCs

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
Basically, would it be worthwhile for me to get one?

I spend two hours a day on the train, and another hour or so taking Jamie for a walk every day. I average between 50 and 100 emails a day, and check out headlines and stories from a number of newspapers, not to mention IMO here. I have a notebook, but find it too heavy to drag back and forth to work every day, just to use it on the train. I'm wondering if I could make better use of my time commuting with one of these things? And perhaps save money, because I'm constantly buying books, magazines, and newspapers to read on the train?

I can get an ugly plastic eyeglass-case-sized Pocket PC for nothing, dual band (so it unfortunately won't work when I'm in the U.S.), GSM/GPRS, with RSS feeds. An Internet/email flat rate would run €9.99 ($14.72) a month, with a 20% reduction for the first 3 months. IM/ICQ would be extra, but I don't use it. I would have to have a 24-month contract, and the offer is only good for another week.

Am I right in thinking that the speed is comparable to dial-up?

An iPhone, Blackberry, or the like is of no interest to me. This is a question of wanting, rather than needing, portable Internet access, and nothing more.
post #2 of 22
I'm a total addict of my PDA, but for exactly the opposite reasons to yours. I couldn't care less about portable internet access on the whole, and find the odd time I do use it, that it's too much like work, and I'd really rather watch paint dry.

FWIW, my PDA is my brain. As Rob is wont to say, "Silicon memory is much more reliable than carbon memory." If any of the organizational properties were of interest to you, I'd have more to contribute to this discussion. And if they ever become interesting, let me know and I'll be glad to sing their praises.
post #3 of 22
Thread Starter 
I actually have no need of "organizational properties", because I've spent over half my life having a different teaching schedule every day, so it only takes me a day or so to get my timetable for a new semester down pat, and appointments are magneted to our fridge, and entered in my trusty little pocket calendar. My (pre-paid) cell phone is also programmable for such stuff, though I normally don't bother.

What I'm really looking for is email access at any time, and the ability to read news stories, or to check out dictionary/encyclopedia sites while doing school work during my commute or Jamie's "let's sit under a bush and hope a fat juicy bird gets too close" walks. I might have to harness train Miezi, which will add another hour of "wasted time" to my day.
post #4 of 22
Some people love them, some hate them.From what your saying your use is, a blackberry would be more use over all then a pocket PC. EVen though you said you dont want that. Would also remove the need to carry 2 items.

lol i would love to send you my black berry but i bet work would get annoyed since it belongs to them. I have a pocket PC but hmm i dont even know where it is. How i have accessed the internet by my phone, hmm i am not impressed. how ever it is good for checking mails and Such. of course i dont know about internet on phones in germany. But in my area, i have found the speed to very painful. But The US lags far behind in that tech.

As with any of these types of things, What it really comes down to is, How much would you use that item.
post #5 of 22
Yes the speed is very comparible to dial-up. Like Bruce said though, the speed may be a little better in Europe then it is here.

Are you strictly using it for internet/email only or are you look for games, word documents, spreadsheets, etc? Often times you have to purchase the additional software if you need it. Othertimes a Pocket PC will come with its own version.

If you carry a mobile/cel phone, definitely look into a smartphone. again like Bruce said its one less thing to carry. Believe me...I like to think I'm an organized person, but heck, I have trouble finding my keys in a purse no bigger than my hand. So the less I have to worry about the better.

One last thing to consider: if you accidentally leave it on the train, will you miss it?
post #6 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lunasmom View Post
Yes the speed is very comparible to dial-up. Like Bruce said though, the speed may be a little better in Europe then it is here.

Are you strictly using it for internet/email only or are you look for games, word documents, spreadsheets, etc? Often times you have to purchase the additional software if you need it. Othertimes a Pocket PC will come with its own version.

If you carry a mobile/cel phone, definitely look into a smartphone. again like Bruce said its one less thing to carry. Believe me...I like to think I'm an organized person, but heck, I have trouble finding my keys in a purse no bigger than my hand. So the less I have to worry about the better.

One last thing to consider: if you accidentally leave it on the train, will you miss it?
I want it strictly for Internet/emails. When I need to do actual work, I'll have my notebook at home and the PCs at school. You can make calls with the Pocket PC, but I so rarely even use my cell phone except when I'm traveling that I probably wouldn't use that feature.
post #7 of 22
I think it's worthy to get a PDA
post #8 of 22
Thread Starter 
I've found a great German-language forum with loads of info on providers, rates, devices, personal experiences, etc., and have decided to go with the Pocket PC for now, with the email/Internet flatrate and RSS feeds.

ETA: I probably should have mentioned that I use our home phone about 4 times a month, and my cell phone less than that, and in a "busy" month send about 5 text messages. I'm hearing-impaired, so I hate phoning, and need gadgetry support to actually use a phone. Give me emails any day! Our cat makes more phone calls than I do (that's a particular hobby of his).
post #9 of 22
Thread Starter 
I got my new "toy" today, and it's smaller and a lot faster than I thought it would be. The news sites for mobiles/PDAs load almost instantly, and, a big plus, I have quick access to my favorite online dictionaries. It'll be nice to be able to read my emails in the train every morning.

TCS loads fairly fast as long as I don't show siggies, gifts, and avatars, so I'll have to remember to change the settings for those days I might want to check out the site while in transit.

Hubby is very hopeful that this will save us some money, because I go through magazines, newspapers and books at "an alarming rate", as he puts it.
post #10 of 22
but you forgot to say , what you got :P
hehe glad you like it.
post #11 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by theimp98 View Post
but you forgot to say , what you got :P
hehe glad you like it.
I got a Pocket PC, an Ogo (discontinued by AT&T, apparently):

http://www.phonearea.net/2007-03-30/...cation-device/

I decided to take the "freebie", because it's easy to operate, and I can always upgrade to a smart phone later (when they're cheaper and can do more).

It was so nice to be able to access my emails and read various news sites during my commute today - it has exactly the features I was looking for, and the price was right. I just have to be careful that it doesn't get dropped or sat on, as it's plastic.
post #12 of 22
Thread Starter 
Just thought I'd give an update, in case anybody else is wondering whether a pocket PC/ smart phone/PDA is worthwhile. I've had my pocket pc for two weeks now, and am thrilled with it (especially since my commute is going to go from 2 hours daily to 4 or 5 till mid-October, due to work on our rail line).

I'm already addicted. During my morning commute, I read/reply to my emails, check out the newsfeeds, and then read Spiegel online (German news magazine) and/or ntv (the German equivalent of CNN). On the way home, I read the mobile/PDA versions of CNN, BBC, or the Washington Post, and again check my emails. I sometimes use the gadget during or between classes to quickly check something out using Wikipedia (all language versions available), LEO (multi-language dictionary created by Munich University) or Merriam-Webster's. On weekends, I use it to quickly access my emails in the morning, as it's much faster than booting up my notebook.

It's not an iPhone or Blackberry, but definitely delivers a lot more than I'd expected, at a very reasonable price.
post #13 of 22
Thread Starter 
I just had to dredge up this thread, because of a major disappointment. I have a Pocket PC (Vodafone/Germany), which I'm quite pleased with, but just spent the past month in the U.S. (Nebraska/Omaha metropolitan area). In order to avoid the tremendous roaming costs, I got a smart phone, (prepaid) Boost/Sprint network, which only costs 35 cents a day for Internet access. It's the pits. While I managed to read posts here, with tremendous delays, I couldn't make any posts, and it took forever to even access TCS. I tried with various other cell phones belonging to family members, including an Apple iPhone and a Samsung Instinct, and was just as frustrated.

I had better luck sending text messages and making calls with my German t-mobile cellphone than with the U.S. piece of What's the matter with the U.S. services? Consumers should try a boycott, because such aggravation isn't called for, given the exorbitant prices!
post #14 of 22
don't know the answer to that... i do know that i NEVER attempt to access the net on the phone - just not worth the wait! i can do whatever much faster if i just wait until i'm home...
post #15 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by laureen227 View Post
don't know the answer to that... i do know that i NEVER attempt to access the net on the phone - just not worth the wait! i can do whatever much faster if i just wait until i'm home...
I use my German Pocket PC all the time, i.e., every day during my commute, or when I'm taking Jamie for a walk, to read email and TCS, and can post with it. I thought service would be better in the U.S. than here. Wrong!

My niece and her fiance just moved into a new house in Omaha proper, and their cell phones (AT&T and Verizon) won't even work in the house. So much for the "no black holes" commercials.

I figured it might just be Nebraska, but I didn't have any better luck in Atlanta.
post #16 of 22
did you think i was kidding when i said "The US lags far behind in that tech. " lol.

its really simple, the north america;s cell phone tech lags so far behind, due to to cost of upgrading all the towers. US went to cdma. a little later gsm came along. GSM was better, but the US systemn already had all those cdma systems in place.

also it took forever before SMS messaging seemed to catch on here.

heck indo has a more up to date cell phone system then most of the US. I been telling people since moved back to the US that are cell phones.

by the way, sprint in my area is the worse, drops calls all the time,
Verzion is ok ,but most of there stuff in this area is still CDMA, so alot of stuff does not work that well. Been using T-moblie, there calling area here is small, but i dont get dropped calls (at least when i can find my phone)
post #17 of 22
It's not lack of technology that causes this. it's geography and population. Nebrasks isn't exactly a huge metropolis and the smaller the population, and the more spread out it is the worse the service is going to be.

None of the cdma, g3 etc have anything to do with the problem> They all provide satisfactory browsing speeds. It's the coverage area which can only be resolved by either getting service with a company that has cell sites in the area you're in, or suffering the outages.

In fact, I have a cellular broadband card for my laptop. I had a 90 mile round trip ride to take, and I used the web, posted here and browsed all sorts of sites during the trip
post #18 of 22
going to have to disagree, older cdma(which is most of this area) is good for voice, but for other stuff, it lacks the compression and speed the gsm offers.

I was used to the GSM systems, when i came back to Ohio, the older systems just did not have the same quality and speeds that i was used to in Asia. They have just now started to put in the newer version of cdma & gsm here, which as helped.

the US is far behind in cell phone tech, nor do we get the cool phones.
post #19 of 22
Think you're missing the point. it wouldn't matter if she had 100megabit pipes. without coverage you have nothing, and in a rural area, where she's already specifically said they don't get service at the house, my guess is the coverage is the problem. not the technology.

Nothing about cool phones or better speeds makes any difference if you can't even contact the service.

Also, not to cloud the issues but CDMA is traditionally faster than GSM but both are very close to each other.

EVDO is even faster with 2 megabit downloads. EDGE is also much better. They both offer 3G speeds. Both of which are clearly fast enough for browsing, and even downloading. It's comparible to the entry level DSL packages.

but again, this isn't about technology, it's about coverage.
post #20 of 22
"I didn't have any better luck in Atlanta"

i dont think Atlanta is rural area, The only person i know that gets good speed is a friend who brought the whole data package with sprint which is about 100 bucks a month.

you are right about the coverage thing, of course,
but i still disagree, the US cell phone tech and towers, are way behind many parts of the word, and jcat is right also about it being over priced.
post #21 of 22
CDMA is faster than gsm, that's all I said. the whole technology difference makes it superior. It spreads the signal out over the whole channel after it's digitized and allows multiple calls to be placed on top of each other. it uses sequence codes to keep each call 'distinct'

It's also got the capability to use analog or digital which GSM does not.

Eroupe is ALL GSM. CDMA is in the US North and South Korea.

CDMA is also more efficient, better at re-using frequencies, improves battery life, reduces dropped calls and more.

As for Atlanta? I didn't say anything about that. there are dead spots in every city in every carrier. there's a huge difference in Europe vs the US and it's called (what I mentined previously) geography. Total the square mileage of Europe then do the US

I said nebrasks is rural and most of it is.
post #22 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by theimp98 View Post
did you think i was kidding when i said "The US lags far behind in that tech. " lol.

its really simple, the north america;s cell phone tech lags so far behind, due to to cost of upgrading all the towers. US went to cdma. a little later gsm came along. GSM was better, but the US systemn already had all those cdma systems in place.

also it took forever before SMS messaging seemed to catch on here.

heck indo has a more up to date cell phone system then most of the US. I been telling people since moved back to the US that are cell phones.

by the way, sprint in my area is the worse, drops calls all the time,
Verzion is ok ,but most of there stuff in this area is still CDMA, so alot of stuff does not work that well. Been using T-moblie, there calling area here is small, but i dont get dropped calls (at least when i can find my phone)
I heeded your advice - I left my German PDA at home, and got a cheap prepaid smartphone for use in the U.S.. I initially figured that the cheap phone/service charges were the problem, but I was really appalled when I used family members' smart phones for comparison, particularly after I found out how much they were paying per month!

I've got two prepaid cell phones, and two smart phones (one prepaid) now, and my charges for roughly six months equal what my U.S. relatives pay every month! I assume that population density plays a big role, but ... my impression is that Asia and Europe are way ahead as far as technology is concerned.
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