Let's talk Smartphones

Here’s me:

  • I have a Blackberry (7290) that I like but am not totally thrilled with (would love to have a WiFi phone)

  • I use an iMac

  • I blog on Typepad

  • I have a website set-up on Google Pages

  • I use Gmail and Google calender and am pretty much married to whatever else Google spits out as I find their applications intuitive and slick

So my question is: to what sort of PDA should I switch?

The iPhone looks extremely sexy but super pricey. The Q from T-Mobile looks nice (and it carries WiFi) but I have Cingular. I have heard good things about the Treo and the Blackjack but I don’t know if I want to sink that kind of money and time into an unknown.

Any anecdotal advice?


I don’t think Treos have WiFi yet. Models 650 and above have bluetooth.

I have an HTC 8125 from cingular. I love it.


Are you looking for a smartphone or a pda/phone? Huge difference.

I have the Blackjack, and use it only for demos as for me, I need to have a pda. A lot of my buddies swear by this smartphone.

If you get a PDA, do you want a virtual keyboard or a thumb keyboard? Again, I personally like the virtual keyboard and have no desire for a thumb board.

Do you have any specialized apps that you need? Some may work only on one platform and not another.

I have the Imate Jamin (an HTC device). There’s a new one with GPS that I’ll probably get for work.

If you get a Windows Mobile device, make sure it runs the recently released Windows Mobile 6.

I guess I’m unclear on the difference, I thought a smartphone was one with the ability to read pdfs, excel, Word, and used an actual web browser (not the lame browser that blackberry uses)

T-Mobile Dash. 200 Mhz processor running Windows Mobile 5, with a free upgrade to 6 planned this spring. IE onboard, runs Opera as well. WiFi, Edge (easier than WiFi and often faster!), Bluetooth, 1.3 megapixel camera, full QWERTY keypad, MP3 player (ships with crappy Windows Media Player, but CORE media player is much better so we installed that instead) supports up to a 2gb Micro SD, buttloads of third party apps available, small, sexy, feels great in the hand, easy to use and thin. No touch screen, but that’s a bonus AFAIC. Jog bar for sound is useless, but there are better volume controllers out there and some people like remapping the jog bar to the browser–I think it’s chunky, so I just disabled it. Fairly inexpensive, too, I think it’s running 200 bucks after rebate w/new activation right now. I and the SO both upgraded to these little darlings and absolutely swear by them. Everybody I know has either gotten one or is scheming to get one. Best selling phone TMobile’s ever come up with. Kicks ass.

I really need a phone with a pretty robust built-in voice recorder I’m a journalist and I do a lot of interviews. I’m talking several hours of recording time and the ability to transfer the sound files to a laptop or desktop. I’ve been looking at the T Mobile Dash, but I have a couple of questions. First, what is security like? Are there Windows Mobile viruses in the wild? Will I have to pay for antivirus subscriptions? What do you think about the interface? Is it easy and intuitive to use? What about reception? This is going to be my only phone, so it has to work everywhere.

Do any of the various Blackberry incarnations have a good voice recorder app?

Blackberry/RIM products are glorified text-messaging devices - from what I have read you should be leaning toward a Treo or, the T-Mobile Dash.

As **vibrotronica **said, the T-Dash is pretty sweet. I’m thinking of getting one - this guy I work with has one and he treats it like his only daughter.

smart phone is basically a phone that can access the internet. It usually has a bigger screen but only a regular phone keypad. The screen is not a touch screen. You can read email, word, pdf files and browse the internet.

A lot of people I know that use smart phones basically read and delete email, call back on important emails, or send a short text like email reply. Many people really like the smart phone and are not attracted to the PDA.

PDA/Phone/Internet combo is a PDA that’s also a phone. It will have a touch screen and may or may not have a qwerty keyboard. So it has full PDA functionality.

I often take short business trips with only my PDA phone and leave the laptop at home. For the way I work, I live on my smart PDA. Usually take both custoemr and internal meeting notes on it. Do a ton of email on it, including real replies. I’m often on the subway, in a taxi or waiting at the airport, so it’s really useful way for me to stay connected.

It’s really changed the way I work. reading email on the pda is much less intrusive than firing up the laptop. You can reply to those critical emails or schedule time to do it. No longer do I fly somewhere, have a day of meetings, do customer dinners, and then get back to the hotel and download a crisis and have to be up half the night. I know what’s urgent and what isn’t, and if there is a crisis, well I know about it during business hours and can often delegate it to someone else. :cool:

I surf and reply to the dope a lot on my pda. So, if you see replies without capitalizations, I’m probably on the PDA. I read all my wire story news on the PDA too, and prefer it even over my desktop.

For me, there are two killer apps. One is Microsoft OneNote, which I do 90% of all work on the laptop, and there is a mobile version (mobile version isn’t great but it’s still really valuable for me). Second, is that I have a chinese english disctionary and it has a flashcard function, so I’m able to review my Chinese characters during the odd free moments of the day.

Smart Phone versus PDA really depends on your profile and what you will actually use it for.

For recording interviews, you need to have an SD card with a lot of memory. I’m not sure how much would be required for several hours of interviews.

Again, make sure you get a windows mobile 6 device if you’re going down this route.

I have something very similar, and love it too.

I have a pretty darned good voice recorder third party (Vito Recorder) on my Dash–records to the storage card, will record as WAV or MP3 and the quality settings are pretty sensitive. It also has the option of autorecord for calls, but I keep that turned off.

There are antivirus programs for Windows Mobile–we’re using Airscanner 3.0 and Spybot Search and Destroy as a just in case. Airscanner’s not too spendy, Spybot is free. Another way of protecting the phone is that there’s a good backup program (Sprite Backup 5.2) which will take a perfect snapshot of the state of the phone that can be used as a comprehensive restore point–if something nasty gets your phone you can reset it back to original ROM then run the backup and Bob’s your uncle.

The interface is natively a buncha icons, but there are all kinds of reg hacks and tweaks that allow you to custom fit the interface to whatever you want. The SO has cobbled together a perfect Mac OSX dock simulator that’s cute as hell. He’s also got a Vista desktop emulator and I’ve played around with a home screen tweaker to make up my own truly bilious wallpaper/interface color combos. Check howardforums and modeco for lengthy discussions on how-to’s and tips/tricks.

As for easy to use and intuitive, we’ve handed these things over to a ten year old and he had no problem figuring it all out in like five seconds–I’ll grant you he’s smart as a whip and computer savvy, but it was instant bonding. My daughter is a bit of a technophobe and she’s trying to figure out how to justify buying one, she likes it so much.

I’m not kidding, this is the coolest toy EVAR! The SO does onsite computer repair and optimization and he uses the Dash as a diagnostic tool and also as a toolkit–he keeps commonly needed items on the thing all the time and also has the home system set up as an FTP site so he can fetch anything he needs remotely. I dig the media apps and like to listen to mp3s and watch movies we rip down to a small enough size to keep on the SD card. It browses great and I can surf the Dope anywhere I can make a call, and have posted from my phone successfully. I also get ebooks and keep them on the phone for incidental amusement as well.

Blackberries, along with every other smartphone that has to run from a proprietary server, suck. I’m all about wide open, nonproprietary, uncontrolled, do whatcha want systems so it’s all about the Dash–if there were a Linux SmartPhone edition we’d be all over it… :wink: