Palm Vx & cell phone combo
April 10, 2001 8:28 AM   Subscribe

Palm Vx & cell phone combo has swept the streets of New York ... the Verizon stores sell out of them within hours of each shipment's arrival. I was one of the first, and I am, by and large, extremely satisfied ... more within.
posted by MattD (22 comments total)
 
Yes, it rocks. Again.
posted by darren at 8:37 AM on April 10, 2001


Only Verizon now, rolling out to Sprint within a few months, I believe. My conclusions after a month of use--

Great features:

* total Palm functionality (including syncing, infrared) with no material loss of free-standing Palm advantages. The screen is somewhat smaller but this is noticeable in terms of user experience only if you are looking at a standalone Palm side-by-side.

* integration with phone allows you to use your Palm address book as your speed-dial (i.e., thousands of numbers instead of 99), with a nice auxillary ap to quickly access the address with the flip closed (i.e., the way you access a standalone phone's speedial list.)

* integration with phone and Verizon mobile internet service allows you to use a ruidmentary HTML browser, a WAP browser, POP mail, faxing, and, best of all, ANY of the thousands of Palm VII ("web-clipping") applications, many of which work very, very well.

* lots of extras on the phone -- speakerphone, regular (as upposed to custom) headset jack, HUGE battery life, 10X my old PDQ-860 thinphone, voice memo, etc.

Drawbacks:

* Wireless internet access counts as regular minutes on your cell-phone plan, which can add up really quickly. By contrast, the "Palm.net" service for PalmVII and the OmniSky and eYada services which use a clip-on modem to your Palm Vx are $40/mo all you can eat.

* Palm computing engine compromise the usability of the phone a bit -- a freestanding phone has 100% uptime, whereas a crash of the Palm computer (happened once in the past month) requires an on-off reboot to get the phone working.

* opening the flip to the use the Palm features is a bit awkward, and the screen for doing Grafitti and other stylus work doesn't seem quite as sturdy -- makes one suspect that the lifespan of the handset maybe limited to 1 or 2 years, although I have the $2/mo service plan which replaces the phone, so not a big worry for me.

* a little heavy for a phone, although still far lighter than the phone and Palm separately.
posted by MattD at 8:40 AM on April 10, 2001


Not sure this totally a repost offense, as I meant to provide a sense of what's happening after the launch (i.e., popularity, user experience) ... but point still taken.
posted by MattD at 8:42 AM on April 10, 2001


what was your cost just for the phone, if you don't mind sharing.
posted by bliss322 at 10:06 AM on April 10, 2001


$500. Which is pricy on its face, but when you consider a (non-wireless) PalmVx is $400, it doesn't seem so bad.
posted by MattD at 11:30 AM on April 10, 2001


considering my palm IIIxe was about $350 including accessories, and my nokia 8260 was $200 (bought it when it was first released, grrrr), that's not bad at all. and it'll definitely be easier than having palm in back pocket, phone in change pocket.

that's the worst part about personal data accessories: they make your ass look just awful.
posted by patricking at 11:36 AM on April 10, 2001


$500!?!?

Jesus creeping shit! Some of you guys are serious gearheads. I think I'm a default Luddite--I can't imagine anything worse than walking around with a phone/computer/fax/Swiss-Army-Knife device all the time.
posted by Skot at 11:49 AM on April 10, 2001


Skot, I'm with you. Although we need a term other than Luddite to describe geeks who don't have a few pounds of toys hanging off their belts by choice.

(those that can't have/afford the gear yet are called "jealous". :-)
posted by cCranium at 11:51 AM on April 10, 2001


Whenever I see someone walking around with their cellphone snapped to their belt, I am reminder of Schneider from One Dat At A Time.
posted by Tacodog at 12:03 PM on April 10, 2001


Jargon Scout calls that beltware.
posted by rodii at 12:04 PM on April 10, 2001


If any of you already have a Handspring Visor then just get yourself a Visor Phone for $299.
posted by radio_mookie at 1:33 PM on April 10, 2001


Everyone should know by now that Skot is a cranky bastard and his gripes shoudl be taken with a grain of salt.
posted by daveadams at 2:20 PM on April 10, 2001


If I needed to carry a phone, a palm, and wireless access on my person at all times, I'd buy this phone.
posted by jragon at 3:12 PM on April 10, 2001


The Palm OS crashes? I've never seen it.... Anyone??
posted by fooljay at 3:31 PM on April 10, 2001


The price will come down in time, won't it? Especially when there are more alternatives.

I still probably wouldn't have one, though. I sort of look at things in terms of money spent per unit of volume. Less is more. This philosophy is based mainly on my propensity to lose things. My car's pretty big (compared to a cell phone anyway), so it's unlikely that I'll misplace it. And it's not worth that much money anymore, so it's unlikely anyone would bother to steal it. Similarly, a house costs a lot of money, but when you come back home at the end of the day (in your car that was big enough for you to find again), the house is pretty much always still there. It's tough to walk off with.

Now a palm/phone is $500 for maybe 10 cubic inches? And the number of opportunities for me to sit it down somewhere and not remember to pick it up is unlimited. Plus, someone could steal it pretty easily. Or the dog could bury it. I could just spend that $500 on an old pickup, put it up on cinderblocks and know that it's not going anywhere.
posted by anapestic at 4:26 PM on April 10, 2001


Ok, so is the flip active for answering calls and hanging up? The active "flip" which a) doesn't obscure the display and b) locks the keypad is the reason they'll get my QCP-1900 when they pry it from my cold, dead fingers; none of those three items is really negotiable, and, alas, they put the keypad on the outside, again, so they really have no choice, that I can see.

Note: SdB; please, let's not lock heads again, shall we?
posted by baylink at 4:40 PM on April 10, 2001


"The Palm OS crashes? I've never seen it.... Anyone??"

Yup, I've seen it a few times. Basically what happens is a box half the height of the screen pops up with an error message (like "Fatal error!"), and a "Reset" button that almost never works.
posted by CrayDrygu at 5:10 PM on April 10, 2001


That's pretty nice, but it's CDMA. I want a visor phone because its GSM and GSM is used in pretty much every country that isn't the US. And GSM rocks -- anything having to do with a smartcard rocks in my world. :) Also, GSM has SMS text messaging which is pretty damned handy and is cheaper than making a regular call in most instances.

Conclusion: yay for convergence, boo for crappy networks.
posted by benbrown at 5:14 PM on April 10, 2001


Yeah, I've had my PalmIIIse crash on me before- Sometimes, I've had to do a hard reboot. Once I had to send the palm back because the the flash ROM got corrupted or something.
Usually just a hard reboot will fix it. I've had the most crashes when the battery gets low and it seems that the processor skips.
posted by SpecialK at 6:30 PM on April 10, 2001


Special to BenBrown:

GSM is crackable and clonable (and in fact, both have been done). Poor system architecture.

CDMA, OTOH, is damned near to theoretically uncrackable, if not in *fact* that, and is very unlikely ever to succumb to cloning, either. Not to mention the fact that it's damned hard to DF, too.

CDMA has SMS-style message, or at least can, and *could* have been designed with SIM card ESN's, had they wanted to -- it still could FTM.
posted by baylink at 12:25 PM on April 11, 2001


I am on the phone with SprintPCS right now ordering my 6035. Today's the first day that Sprint is selling the Kyocera PalmPhone. They're not in stores yet- not on the website yet either. I didn't go with Verizon because imo, Sprint's service is the best in NYC.
posted by gen at 1:33 PM on April 12, 2001


An "active flip" is covered by a Motorola patent. I don't believe Kyocera is a licensee. (There's some bad blood, for reasons too complicated to go into.)

The vast majority of GSM phones sold in the US can't be used in most of the world. GSM is fairly common but the frequencies are different. Europe, for instance, uses 900 and 1800 MHz. Those bands aren't available in the US -- 1800 MHz is military -- and the US GSM uses 1900 MHz. It is possible to take a US GSM SIM and move it into another phone when you travel, but you do have to get a local phone -- assuming your service provider has a roaming agreement with the local provider. About the only benefit (if a roaming agreement exists) is retention of your original phone number plus retention of your phone book. GSM phones do exist which support 1900 and at least one other frequency but they're not commonly sold and they cost more. The "GSM is universal" argument is more propaganda than reality. In fact, a US CDMA phone (especially a tri-mode like the 6035) will work in a lot of places where a US GSM phone will not, such as parts of Brazil.

Just in passing, I might mention that GSM 3G will not be backward compatible with the current generation of GSM phones anywhere in the world, because the GSM committee is tossing their existing TDMA air interface and switching to a CDMA air interface, though not the one used by CDMAOne or CDMA2000. On the other hand, CDMA2000 (the 3G successor to IS-95) will be backward compatible with CDMAOne (IS-95) handsets.

All CDMA phones accept incoming SMS messages. Newer phones have the ability to originate SMS. But not all CDMA systems support mobile-originated SMS. The trend here seems to be to use Wireless Web to compose normal email messages, which are not limited to 200 characters, and can also be delivered to anyone on the Internet and not just to other phones. SMS is yesterday's technology; I seriously doubt anyone will put much work into adopting it now that Wireless Web is here. (It's true that WW uses air-minutes, but from the point of view of the service providers this is an advantage. "SMS is cheap" is a bug, not a feature.) Also, when you're using something like the QCP-6035, you can compose your email offline and connect to send it. Even at 14.4 Kbps, mail goes out pretty fast. The expense is negligible, and the advantages are significant. (The silicon in the 6035 is capable of greater than 64 Kbps but right not that is not widely deployed by service providers.)

It's not true that CDMA is theoretically impossible to clone (nothing is), but cloning it is very difficult and well beyond the means of most hackers. So far it hasn't been a problem anywhere. The security used in CDMA is conceptually different than the security used in GSM. By far the biggest target of cloning and other abuses in the US has been AMPS; all other standards pale by comparison. I don't believe that hacking of GSM has been much of a problem here, either.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 5:01 PM on April 12, 2001


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