13 July 2005

Evaluation of PDAs-1

I'm interested in the economics and technological implications of intimate computing, which of course compells me to learn about the devices themselves. But in the process of writing about the subject, I have to make do with the experiences of others, much like the Kinsey Institute must. There's little likelihood that Alfred Kinsey could ever have had enough personal experience with sex to make statistically valid observations about it. I have almost no personal experiences with PDAs or cell phones, and my encounters with them are typically frustrating. I'm afraid of losing them or forgetting them; the bills for PCS are invariably appalling, and I harbor an intense dislike for the companies themselves. The devices are a dangerous source of toxic residue and responsible for endemic environmental illness in places like China.

Still, it's not for me to sit at my VDT and tell people what they ought to do, and indeed, I make a point of using the word "should" very sparingly (and then, as the correct form of the English subjective, as in, "I should like a cup of coffee very much"). I am, therefore, interested in how people decide how well-designed a PDA is, and I noticed this article on poorly-designed ones in CNet (via PocketPCThoughts).

This is a fairly conventional tech-mag article (long on clich├ęs, short on analysis). However, this is a comprehensive survey of what's out there. What I noticed is that reviewers are mcuh more likely to accept a product for what it is: the Palm One Tungsten T5, for example, is readily acknowledged as missing Wi-Fi and being a "stand-alone" PDA (i.e., a PDA lacking cell capabilities). It's perhaps the last "pure" PDA that PalmOne will ever introduce. The reviewer accepts this, and goes on to praise the elegant design, the feel of the stylus, the powerful memory, and splendid graphics: the T5 is a splendid specimen of a "pure" PDA.

Readers lamented the device's propensity to crash, its lack of WiFi, its plastic case, its lack of a voice recorder... Others thought the bundle of features made it an especially refined version of the PDA (hey, Ferraris don't have space for hauling sacks of gravel, either). The HP iPaq PocketPC RZ1710, with a similar bundle, got hammered in much the same way.
(Part 2)

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home