Poll: Are you considering some alternative device or setup?

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  1. #1
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    BLASPHEMY: Alternatives to the 7135

    Three things happened this past week which have cause me to consider an alternative solution other than the much-drooled-over 7135, or even another convergence device. Before you flame, read on...

    FIRST: More setbacks on the 7135 release by my particular carrier, Sprint. Nothing new about that, really, and I probably would not have let it phase me a jot, except that...

    TWO: I got to play with a Tungsten T for about 40 minutes, and I REALLY like it. The whole "grafitti area slide out" scheme bugs me a bit, but I could obviate the need to ever open the slider by using Jot or RecoEcho and some hack to give the the functionality of the silkscreen buttons. Put that aside, and the unit is dead sexy.

    THREE: An article I read in, I think, PenComputing, related the ability to have the TT talk to a BT enabled cel and tell it to dial an AdressBook entry. the Jabra BT headset was also part of this mix.

    Mind you, I just said to someone last weekend that I would NEVER go back to a dumbphone and/or a non-telephonic palm device. I LIVE out of my 6035. After the experiences of this week, though, I began to ponder, "hmm... maybe a separate palm/cel setup COULD have advantages..."

    So, I'm starting this thread to express and gather opinions. Here are some areas to figure pro's and con's for:
    • Convenience
      Finances
      Power
      Flexibility
      Software
      Upgrades
      Service

    Have I left anything out?

    Assuming I'm not banned from posting after this, I'll be putting my own $.02 in at various future moments.

    --Waffling Mac
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    Convenience...

    Ok, obviously the convergence device is more convenient than a separate palm/cel setup. You're adding another gadget you have to carry around and recharge. Obviously, carrying out tasks with the two is more of a hassle than with just a 7135 or other convergence device.

    However, the difference may not be as huge as first expected... Consider the basic tasks:
    • Updating contacts
      Making a call
      Receiving a call
      Working on Palm during call
      Working on Palm using wireless connection

    Updating contacts should be the same. In both cases, it's a Palm-side only operation. Given the BT connection between Palm and cel, you should never have to frig around with the phone's contact list.

    Making a call involves a couple extra steps, but most of these are transparent. Click on your AddressBook contact and issue the dial command as before. Then, the Palm tells the phone to dial the number, which it does,. That part is no different for the user. What IS different is that you then have to switch from using the Palm to using the phone. However, if you have the Jabra BT headset, this switching would be minimal--just put the thing on before you get your Tungsten out.

    Receiving a call shoud be no different--get out the phone (one device, same count as with the convergence) and press an accept button. Unless...

    Working on Palm DURING call. Ok, here's a major headache. Trying to converse on the phone AND work on the Palm would be a pain. Me personally, though, I never use the speaker phone for this kind of operation unless absolutely necessary. I almost always converse via headset while palming, which again, if you have the Jabra, should be no different. Plus, given the Tungsten's improved sound capabilities, I wouldn't be surprised to see an app that allows the T to function as a speaker phone when BT connected.

    Working wirelessly should have zero difference. Palm connects to phone via BT, calls yer ISP, and data moves between them while the cel stays in your pocket or bag. One snag MIGHT be a slowdown in speed. I have no idea what the specs on BT are, but it's conceivable that the data transfer could suffer a bottleneck at the junction between the two devices.

    So, the 7135 wins the convenience factor, but the T + cel comes in a close enough second to keep it in the running.

    --Convenient Mac

  3. #3
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    Sounds like you've already made up your mind?

    Here's what I factor in:

    -unlimited data- I like it, sprint has it, but no bt phones

    -pockets- I generally carry wallet, keys/lighter, marlboro, smartphone. Don't want equipment to dictate what clothes I can wear. When its 250 degrees outside (texas) I generally will wear shorts and a t-shirt. Adding on two more items would be a minus for me

    -hands- only got two of them. Many times I looked like a bumbling fool in front of my boss who would scream at me to "call so and so" and "tell them to fix such and such". Out came the star tac and palm 3e. Stylus out to search and I'm already about to drop the startac. Much easier now with treo. Whip it out, open lid one handed with thumb, press contacts button, type "first initial" "last initial", scroll to desired number, press space bar, and it's dialing.

    I've played with tt too. It's cool, but I'm now ready to wait till a high resolution OS5 smartphone appears.
    David

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    Originally posted by David Westman
    Sounds like you've already made up your mind?

    Nope, just as I said, I merely opened it to other possibilities, and am looking for others' opinions.


    unlimited data- I like it, sprint has it, but no bt phones

    Oh yes, oh yes... I'd love it myself, but it's not a dealbreaker either way for me.


    -pockets-
    Adding on two more items would be a minus for me

    I'd only be adding one, since I generally have a headset nearby anyway. But yes, increasing the crap-to-room ratio is always bad.


    -hands- only got two of them.

    Yep, and this is a BIG factor. My current thinking is that the cel would, I hope, live in a holster or something and all the wrangling would be done from my TT via BT, with a zippy little Jabra BT headset whipped out when actual calls were happening (see "Convenience" above...)


    Much easier now with treo.

    Treo looks nice--but if I stay with Sprint AND with convergence, I'll probably end up with I500 (unless they actually end up with 7135's on the menu...) Thing is, I HATE the Treo's thumb-board. Maybe I'm some kind of big-thumbed mutant freak, but I can't get any practical use out of it. What are your experiences w/ text entry?


    but I'm now ready to wait till a high resolution OS5 smartphone appears.
    b/c you have your Treo, yes? Would you still be willing to wait if you were spending that time waiting with your trusty 6035?


    --Pondering Mac

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    Treo looks nice--but if I stay with Sprint AND with convergence, I'll probably end up with I500 (unless they actually end up with 7135's on the menu...) Thing is, I HATE the Treo's thumb-board. Maybe I'm some kind of big-thumbed mutant freak, but I can't get any practical use out of it. What are your experiences w/ text entry?
    Yes, that's going to be a personal preference issue. As for me, if I had a $ for every time I heard "David, when you go to Sams Club, get me some (blah blah)". Even before the graffiti recognition started crapping out on my 6035, still it was a matter of backspacing every time a letter didn't come out right. I don't think my handwriting is that bad since I have better recognition on expensive palmOS pda's (tt's, clies) I play with at best buy, compusa, etc. So adding those requests for (blah blah)'s to my shopping list via thumbpad is a snap. Also comes in handy entering http urls. My thumb covers four buttons, but knowing how to touch type (well, the letters at least) gives one intuitive knowledge that the "s" for example, is between the "a" and "d". Even when my mission was to find things wrong with the treo, still I had to admit the thumbpad was handy, but that's just a personal preference.

    b/c you have your Treo, yes? Would you still be willing to wait if you were spending that time waiting with your trusty 6035?
    No way. 6035 got to be heavy, bulky, and life became too short to stare at monochrome. The 7135, i500, treo300 are hopefully just another 12-18 month transitional device till we get an ARM os5 powered smartphone. I gave my 6035 to my 67yr old mom. It's still a solid phone with excellent battery life and she knows enough to dial contacts with the jog dial.
    David

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    Pondering Mac,

    You’re barking up the right tree here. I eventually bought a 7135 and love it, but I tested a Sony/Ericcsen (Bluetooth) on both AT&T and T-Mobile for my company before making up my mind. I looked at the Tungsten and played with it. Here’s what I discovered. Remember that most of the good Bluetooth phones require good GSM coverage.

    Carriers:

    1) AT&T’s GSM coverage in Boston, and while traveling down 95 to NY was horrendous. I know they just started switching towers over, but I honestly could not keep a call when driving for more than a minute (I’m not kidding). So I ruled this out and returned the phone. It will probably be usable in a year.

    2) I then bought the same phone with T-Mobile. It worked great, and the coverage was just as good as Verizon except where I needed it most in my office. Their price plans are so much better than Verizon, that I would have switched all our companies phones over if we had coverage in the office (we’re in a bad location).

    3) Verizon: they have good coverage, but not that great in our office. I am negotiating with them now, and it looks like they will install a cell phone repeater on top of our building to solve the problems.

    4) Sprint is not an acceptable option for our business users. Nationwide they get the lowest ratings for coverage and customer support. Based on this I ruled them out. We have also tested Sprint a number of times in the past and found the coverage to be below acceptable levels.

    5) Cingular, like AT&T is converting from TDMA to GSM. On TDMA they have no data options, and it will be a year or two before they are ready to go.

    Phones:

    1) The Sony/Ericcsen T68i is a wonderful phone. Though it is not a PDA, it has tons of PDA like features and Synchronization with Outlook. It supports Bluetooth data and headsets. The battery life is amazing – you can use it for days without a recharge. Blows away anything on CDMA. It’s also smaller than any CDMA handset out there. With a Bluetooth Palm, this is a great option.

    2) 7135 is heavy, but the form factor is great. No Bluetooth, but it’s a Palm, Mp3, and high speed data accessory all in one.

    Data:

    1) The GPRS connections with the SE T68i works great. It’s not nearly as quick as Verizon’s Express Network, and the pricing by the packet is about the same. There are no by minute plans – all GSM providers charge by the mega-byte. I think this is OK for phone/PDA use, but for supporting a mobile workforce with laptop connectivity – it will get real expensive.

    2) Sprint’s $9 unlimited data is a great bargain, but it really applies to only phone/PDA use. You can get around this and connect a Treo using a hack to your laptop – but the $9/unlimited does not really apply to general laptop users. Sprints crappy service, dropped calls, and limited network are a problem.

    Summary:
    1) I think that T-Mobile and a Bluetooth handset and Palm are very viable alternatives to the 7135 if coverage works for you. The price plans for voice blow Verizon away.

    2) I think that Verizon will soon lower their data rates for Express Network. If they don’t I will be very disappointed.

    3) The 7135 is a great phone on Verizon, but it’s not the only answer. If T-Mobiles coverage works for you I would go for it using a Bluetooth phone and Palm.

    4) 7135's battery life will be a problem for you if you use the phone / PDA for more than a conbined 1 hour a day. This for me has been very dissapointing.

    Glenn

  7. #7
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    If you go the bluetooth route and need extra pockets, JC Penny has a sale on Dockers Mobile Pants for $14.73 (regularly $52). I picked up 5 pairs today. Here is a review of the pants.
    David

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    Originally posted by glenn_butler
    You’re barking up the right tree here. < HUGE snip...>
    Glenn you :angel , thank you SO MUCH. This is exactly the sort of thing I was hoping people would share, only to the Nth degree. Will definitely help me, and hopefully some future "other" reading this thread, in making my decision.

    (not to say I'm not thankful for everyone else's posts of course, but... wow...)

    --Grateful Mac

  9. #9
    Billy Bo Bob Brain BrerLapn's Avatar
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    Thought I'd weigh in for what it's worth. Although I would love to have a Tungsten with the better screen and processor, I really want to stick with a convergence device. I will probably order my 7135 later today so I'll get it this week. HOWEVER, I work with some partners who are strong advocates of the GSM route. Part of their reasoning is that they do a decent amount of international travel, so they can use their phones overseas pretty easily. The t68i I believe can be used internationally.

    One of them has a t68/Tungsten setup and he is quite happy with it. He uses the bluetooth connection to get email from the VPN, which is his main use for the data connection. He also has the ultra-slim foldaway keyboard, which I think is better than the Stowaway for the 7135 both in size and in that the Tungsten sits directly on the keyboard instead of by itself connected via cable. We have compared sizes, as well, and the volume of having a tungsten and phone is about the same as the 6035 (except that it's two devices, but they would take up the same amount of space). If you don't mind juggling the two devices, I think you would be quite happy with the GSM/Tungsten route.

    Sorry I can't offer the same in-depth analysis as Glenn, but thought I'd give you a second opinion based on folks who have used the combo that they do, indeed, find it satisfactory.
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  10. #10
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    If I couldn't have a 7135, my next choice would probably be the new Samsung. But until it actually comes out, that's vaporware too, so what can you do?

  11. #11
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    Originally posted by David Westman
    If you go the bluetooth route and need extra pockets, JC Penny has a sale on Dockers Mobile Pants for $14.73 (regularly $52). I picked up 5 pairs today. Here is a review of the pants.
    Totally off topic but thanks for the heads-up! Went there today looking for the pants you mentioned (they only had one pair in my size ) but could not believe how cheap some of the clothes were.

    Wayne

  12. #12
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    Hey chyd, welcome back you Cuckoo! Haven't seen you around these parts lately.
    ~'kito
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    Originally posted by Markito
    Hey chyd, welcome back you Cuckoo! Haven't seen you around these parts lately.
    Thanks! I've been busy playing with my Sidekick until Verizon releases the 7135. I gotta say I will miss the Sidekick keyboard. For what it was meant to be, it's a great little gadget (exept of course for the bug that prevents the phone from ringing when it's in keyguard mode )

    Wayne

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    What is the Tungsten T? I am fed up with the waiting. I have a Sprint account that averages 3000 minutes. I sleep nights and weekends so my bill gets up there. I like the 7135. I am willing to go to Verizon if they have the 7135 first. (Sprint customer service is a joke) It seems like the release of the 7135 release is slipping for both Sprint and Verizon. I hate my Sanyo 6200 so I am ready to jump. Someone (careful) tell me where to go. I am in Dallas.

  15. #15
    Billy Bo Bob Brain BrerLapn's Avatar
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    Tungsten T

    The Tungsten is the new Palm device. It's got a much faster processor (there is very little delay when moving between apps), and 320X320 display resolution. The gadget-form involves a sliding piece that moves up to cover the graffiti silkscreen area when the phone is not in use, thus shortening the device by an inch from previous palm incarnations. It also has a built-in Bluetooth capability, so that you can make a wireless connection to a Bluetooth phone (such as the Sony Ericsson t68i) for an internet connection for the Tungsten (or to use the Tungsten to dial your phone for you, although I think that's adding too many steps personally). Costs upwards of $400, though. A pretty impressive little device, if you don't need the convergence. Good luck with the switch to Verizon, I think I am about to do the same unless Sprint tells me they're releasing it post-haste.
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  16. #16
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    Originally posted by glenn_butler
    Pondering Mac,

    I tested a Sony/Ericcsen (Bluetooth) on both AT&T and T-Mobile...Remember that most of the good Bluetooth phones require good GSM coverage.
    Just a quick note to anyone considering this option (which I have constantly pondered with back and forth for what- months now?). All the reviews I've heard about the sony-ericcson T68i have been very good, and it's exactly the type of BT device I'd look to if I had to go the way of the separate mobile&pda option. Sprint is actually looking to put out a model named the T608i, which is in essence the T68i from AT&T and T-Mobile, only capable of handling the CDMA 1xRTT network.
    So now I find myself waiting for probably whichever comes out first... that Sony Peg NZ90 is looking pretty fine (not the price though), and the Palm TT is always an option...although I've never looked completely past the Dell Axim and other ppc options.

  17. #17
    Fut
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    Sorry- I guess I could've posted links to the above hardware:
    Sony Ericsson T608 (@ phonescoop.com)
    Sony Clie Peg-NZ90
    and of course, you've all seen the Palm Tungsten T, which everyone here seems to already be informed about enough to make their own decisions.
    I was reading up on sprintusers.com forums and although they haven't had any new updates on the T608, they seem to be convinced it will come out shortly. Just a heads-up

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    Flexibility...

    Originally posted by BrerLapn
    The Tungsten is the new Palm device. <SNIP> A pretty impressive little device, if you don't need the convergence. Good luck with the switch to Verizon, I think I am about to do the same unless Sprint tells me they're releasing it post-haste.

    Ok, seems to be a good time to bring up flexibility. The combination of a cel phone and palm pilot is one of the few "combo" devices I've ever endorsed. in general, I find multi-function boxes to have a number of drawbacks. Considering going back to a two-device arrangement has made me apply some of those standards to convergence devices, and here's what I'm thinking...

    While having a one-brick-does-all is sweet on "in the moment" convenience, it loses hands down in the flexibility department to a cel/Palm combo, and this can bring up secondary convenience issues as well.

    The basic problem with convergence devices is this: everything is tied to everything else. Take an example from another realm. If you have a "bookshelf" stereo, you have the convenience of having all the bits (CD, Casette, Tuner, Amp) in one thing. However, you lose the flexibility of replacing any one component at anytime. If the amp breaks, it makes no difference that the other components are in perfect order--the whole thing has to go to the shop (or the junkpile). Also, if you wanted to, say, replace the old casette player with a new DAT deck, guess what? Time to replace the whole stereo...

    Now, apply this to the subject at hand. One of the reasons SO MANY of us are looking forward to the 7135, I imagine, is that we each have some magic feature that we really, REALLY want. For some of us that's on the Palm side--color, hi res, higher OS, SD slot--for others, it's on the phone side--1xRTT, BT headset, MP3... whatever.

    By going back to two devices, you open up a lot more flexibility in your choices. If I had always followed this path, I could have updated to a color OS 4.x device long ago...

    Now consider the impact of this flexibility on larger convenience issues. How many of us have stuck it out this long because we love (or at least have a contractual obligation to) our current carrier? How many HATE our current carrier and have wanted to switch for AGES, but have stood pat because our beloved 6035 was tied to that carier? If you split the phone off from the Palm, your choices open waaaaay up. Sure, it's less convenient to have two devices. How convenient is it to pretend to live in Arizona to get a 7135 AND switch carriers to get someone to activate it AND not be eligible for service on it once you have? And what if Kyo introduces the whiz-bang 9235 OS 5 smartphone and the list of carriers who do or don't support THAT model changes AGAIN???

    Oh, so convenient... not.


    Just a couple more points to ponder...

    --Flexible Mac

  19. #19
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    Kyocera is the only company that understands that the primary application is still voice, so the thing needs to be a PHONE with a PHONE form factor. The whole point of a Smartphone is to carry it around all the time, so my schedule and contact information is always with me, and I can always receive calls - so it needs to fit in my pocket. (Men in this society don't carry purses.) I don't understand why anyone would buy a bulky Pocket PC, unless they have very limited needs and can use it instead of a laptop.

    If the thing doesn't have an expansion card, forget it. I'm not hassling with the 16 MB memory limitation anymore. No tri-mode analog failover? Forget it - even here in Dallas, I often can't get a digital signal. Also, after frustration with the 6035, I am not buying anything that requires a stick-on screen protector, or anything that has buttons on the outside. Kyocera made these important corrections with the design of the 7135.

    There are other interesting devices out there, but only the 7135 meets my needs.

  20. #20
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    Originally posted by rrhea
    Kyocera is the only company that understands that the primary application is still voice, so the thing needs to be a PHONE with a PHONE form factor. The whole point of a Smartphone is to carry it around all the time, so my schedule and contact information is always with me <SNIP>
    Not saying I disagree with you, but if that's the case, why not just get any old phone with a "calendar feature" in addition to a "phone list feature"?

    In general, I think most 6035-er's want more than either separate device can offer. I think the Kyo designs are brilliant BECAUSE they are careful to hit the narrow target BETWEEN something that is phone-driven and something that is Palm-driven. For example, we want it as small as possible without sacrificing the Palm screen entirely--thus the split screen/grafitti area on the 7135. It's just a shame that these great designs are so long getting to practical usability...

    --Demanding Mac

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