The life and death of PDAs

All I ever wanted from my PDA is to keep my contacts, calendar and music synced up with one device (but I’ll live with having a seperate iPod for music for now). But as I use a Mac and Windows based PC, I also needed something that was cross compatible and would do any contact and calendar syncing between the two.

You’d think that’s simple, no? Well, you’d be wrong. As I use both a Mac and a PC, this rules out any Microsoft Windows based PDA. And there are a lot of good ones too, such as the HP iPAQ hw6940. The leaves me with Palm’s offerings, and if you’re a long time reader, you’ll know what I think about new Palm products.

However, I still have a Palm Tungsten T2 PDA from the good ol’ days as my contact and calendar PDA, but I got bored of using HotSync to manually sync calendars between my Mac and PC (could someone make a less integrated piece of software?), the dated interface, and the fact that Palm never updated their older models to support new phones so I couldn’t get GPRS on my Sony Ericsson W800i working with it. It’s now in it’s box and hasn’t been touched for months.

If you’ve ever used a PDA calendar before, you’ll find that although it’s easy to look up information, entering information using Graffiti, handwriting recognition or a miniscule keyboard is not the most enjoyable of tasks. Thats why using a full blown calendar application such as iCal or Outlook and then syncing the PDA with it is a much better solution.

I used to use Outlook as my calendar and e-mail client for Windows, but Outlook comes with too much bloat for just basic e-mail and calendaring. That leaves me with precious few options for calendaring on Windows. There’s the Mozilla Sunbird project, which was going very well until they reached version 0.3. I couldn’t get 0.3 alpha 1 to work on my PC, and they also moved to a proprietary file format and other crap and kinda lost energy after that. I hear it’s getting a big reshaping into a Thunderbird extension, so I think I’ll leave it one out until it becomes a bit more stable. So again, there doesn’t seem to be a Windows calendar that PDAs will sync with, so I guess I’ll wait until the appropriatly named Windows Calendar ships with Windows Vista. Until then, it’s iCal all the way.

Now, I need something thats able to sync with iCal and Windows calendar once Vista comes out (basically, something thats both PC and Mac compatible), and will keep those two calendars synchronised too. I’d also like it to be a phone too, but not something slab like. Any suggestions my readership would have will be greatly appreciated!

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