Thursday, February 06, 2003

NYT: Pocket PC's for Smaller Pocketbooks

Pocket PC's for Smaller Pocketbooks "The point of all this is that it's no longer safe to generalize about the relative sizes, features and prices of Palms versus Pocket PC's. The deciding factor should be your preference in the operating system: Palm OS or Microsoft Pocket PC.
If you can't manage to spend a few minutes with each palmtop type to decide for yourself (in a store, for example), here's a summary:
The Palm OS is simple to navigate, clean to behold and effortless to use. To record "Lunch with Chris," for example, you just write it directly onto your calendar screen; to do the same on a Pocket PC, you have to open a dialog box and tap your way through some menus. As a Palm bonus, there's a library of about 10,000 add-on programs and games that run on the Palm - many times more than what you'll find for Pocket PC. And Palms sync with both Macs and PC's.
The Pocket PC operating system is vast and complex. Computer professionals adore its seething power and the way it effortlessly synchronizes with your copy of Microsoft Outlook whenever it's connected to the PC (you don't even have to push a button). Mere mortals, though, are likely to operate as they do in Windows: they'll master only the features they need to get their work done, uncomfortably aware that they're ignoring the rest.
Either way, the closing of the feature, price and size gaps between the Palm and Pocket PC worlds is welcome. In fact, there's only one disadvantage to all this progress. Now, when people at parties ask, "Which palmtop should I buy?," the answer is, "How much time do you have?"
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