I'm trying to decide whether I need a Palm Treo. These gadgets are amazing devices that let you take photos, listen to music, talk to friends and family, send e-mails, surf the net, play old-school Game Boy and even some DOS games, ... yes, the list does go on. But with a subscription rate of $600+ a year, it's a rather large cost to factor in to my budget. There are plenty of areas in my life where I could use such a device.
Safe, secure computing in hostile environments. I seem to do a lot of extensive travel by transit, and as much as I'd love to work on my laptop, there are plenty of creeps on the bus and trains that make me want to avoid this route. Even my Zodiac attracts much attention because it looks like a Playstation Portable. Phones are more discreet.
Traveling long distances. I spend a lot of time on the train or the bus. My current PDA has no replaceable battery, so after two hours of usage, it dies. It takes, at worst, 3 or 4 hours to get from my apartment to my sweetie and my friends in Berkeley. And sometimes, I'm on long walking trips around San Francisco, and carrying a laptop can get pretty heavy (not to mention, unsafe).
Traveling light. Here's a math equation: Treo = iPod + laptop/PDA + digital camera + cell phone. With a Treo, I can travel light without carrying four bricks in my pants pockets.
In the bookstore. I'd love to be able to check up Amazon's reviews before I purchase a book at Half Price Bookstore or a used bookstore, to make sure I get a quality book. Or, checking prices on the Internet at any store.
Keeping in touch with clients. I'm seriously contemplating starting my own graphic design studio; since I'm always running around (or am in meetings), this is a great way to read and send mail to and from my customers to keep them happy!
Finding my way through medical school tours. This fall is med school interview/application season, and I'll have the chance to claw my way through new, foreign cities. A Treo would help me figure out where to go.
Capturing ideas anywhere, whether visual or aural.
Looking professional. Seriously, taking out my Playstation Portable-looking PDA makes me look like a doofus in work meetings.
It's a great conversation piece.
Now, for the downsides:
The data subscription is expensive. Could I do without it? Yes. On the other hand, that's like saying I could do without a computer or an Internet connection by using a calculator and my imagination, and make cell phone calls on pay phones.
Palm OS is antiquated. Although still amazingly popular, it's still a difficult platform for development and hobby programming, and the lack of POSIX-related libraries means that it's tough to do things for. But the alternative, Windows Mobile, isn't exactly a work of art. And no one has produced any compelling Linux smartphones or PDAs.
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Work is treating me very well. It's a great environment without the office politics. The work is becoming interesting, since I (w00t!) know how to do things. VoiceXML is within my grasp. Eric, Andrew, Hoshi, John, Kyle, Joseph, countless others I have met ... they are all awesome, positive people.