Forward to the Past; My Palm Centro

When last I left off, the Treo 700P I used for work had to be  turned in for a Blackberry 8830WE. I still use the BB but my personal phone was out of contract and it was time for me to upgrade. As an avid Mac user, I thought long and hard about going over to AT&T for an iPhone. After doing some due diligence work, I couldn’t find an easy solution to port my calendar and contacts on our office enterprise email and time management software (Lotus Notes on  a Domino server) over to an iPhone. So I went back to the old reliable Palm OS, this time a Palm Centro on Verizon Wireless. After about a week or so, here are my impressions.

The Centro is small. Really small. The qwerty keyboard is also small. I have small hands and have always been a ‘fingernail’ typer, even on the larger Treo and BB. I have no problem using the keyboard but I can see how it could be problematic for some. Personally, I love the small form factor. I can manipulate it very easy with a single hand. Something I can’t do with the much wider BB and the Treo. The screen is also small but the resolution and quality is very clear and legible. Then again, I have pretty good eyesight so I can also understand how it could be another problem for some.

One of my beefs with the Palm OS was not having Voice Dialing out of the box. Well, the Centro has it except it doesn’t seem to work for me over a BT headset. Since I live in a hands-free driving state, I really need to have Voice Dialing over bluetooth. The Centro also doesn’t support Mass Storage mode for the microSD card. I was used to both of these shortcomings with my Treo but it doesn’t make it any better that the Palm OS still doesn’t support these issues. I understand the OS is quite old now and Palm’s moving to the Pre but I’ll have the Centro for another couple of years having to work around this stuff.

Now the good stuff. Web browsing is so much faster than my BB. It could be the hardware or it could be the different 3G provider (Sprint for the BB) but I really prefer Blazer on the Centro to the BB browser. Versamail is an excellent little app for email and renders html which my BB still doesn’t do. The best part of the Centro is the outstanding PIM apps, specifically Datebk6. I never look at my BB anymore for my calendar if the Centro’s within arm’s reach.

I understand the Palm is running on a 4 year old operating system but I still prefer it to the RIM OS. As a personal organizer and for light surfing, texting and email, I think the Centro’s terrific.

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Blackberry 8830WE – A short honeymoon

The warts on my BB 8830WE are starting to show. The agenda view of my calendar chooses some random date in the past if I do not have a scheduled appointment today. One of my key handheld programs, Splash ID runs like syrup and features an awful UI. There’s no way to keep my screen lit (even dimly) when it sits in it’s power cradle.
The lack of html email on a platform which is really an email client is a real deficiency. I suppose the next RIM OS will fix the html email issue. We’ll see.

I wish VZW would get the Palm Centro into their lineup. I’d jump on that with two feet for my personal use.

More on the Blackberry 8830WE

A reader pointed out the inability of the Blackberry to edit Office documents. I should have mentioned that in my review. The Treo comes bundled with Documents to Go which makes use of the SD Card, reads Office documents natively and allows you to edit the documents. All you can do right now with the Blackberry is view the documents and only when they are attachments to email. You can’t put the documents on the SD card and view them. The Documents to Go web site indicates they are working on a Blackberry version of their software but need for RIM to update the OS to 4.5 before Docs to Go will be released. +1 to the Treo.

The other point I should have mentioned is the keyboard. The rounded keys on the Treo seemed much easier for me to work with. I like the small gap between the keys. The Blackberry’s keys are sculpted and don’t have a gap. I’m getting used to it but I think I still prefer the Treo.

Treo 700P to Blackberry 8830 WE

I received an email from my boss last month confirming the inevitable. I would be receiving a configured Blackberry shortly and I was expected to use it. As with many long time Mac users, my organizer of choice had been a Palm. I used a Palm III something or other and then moved to a Tungsten T which I really liked. I was able to keep my calendar at work (Outlook and then Lotus Notes on a pc) synced with my macs at home. Last year, I got the Treo 700P (Sprint) and ditched the Tungsten as I plunged into a smartphone for the first time. Now this shiny black Blackberry 8830WE shows up and since I won’t be cowed by technology (at least phone based technology), I dove in. After a month of fairly heavy use, I can provide a comparison between the two. Continue reading