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This is more of a long-term opinion, as I've had my little PIII for about three years now. I originally bought this to replace a Psion 3, and because I liked the 'pocketability' of the Palm over the Psion. In all that time, it's only let me down once, and that was because I managed to replace the batteries the wrong way round and wiped the memory. Oops! It does all that I ask, and I use it for entertainment, as a storage for little bits of info, and - most usefully - as a store for various technical documents. The screen is relatively easy to read, the battery life is long, (41-150 days on one pair of AAA batteries) and replacements easy to get, it's light weight and reliable. What more could I want? Well, more memory. 2MB is no where near enough. Especially if you use AvantGo, (which I don't anymore). A better clip for the stylus would be good as well, since I've had to store the stylus in the carrying case, since it keeps falling out if left in the socket in the machine itself. Being able to use USB, rather than serial connection, would be convenient, but not essential. I'll get round to getting a new cradle for it someday, when they're on special offer. The new ones have better (colour) screens and more memory, but correspondingly dire battery life. And worse still, the use of only rechargable packs, means you can't just nip into Tesco's and pick up a new pack of batteries.
The Palm III is a small lightweight device which can be used for a multitude of tasks. As well as the standard built in functions such as eMail, Memo Pad, Diary and expense logger there is a large amount of other applications available, whether from 3Com or from third party vendors including some which is freeware or shareware. It is not perfect however, if you dont require the standard applications you will find it is not possible to remove all of them to free up some of the limited amount of memory on the machine and unless you are carefull it will insist on reinstalling applications when you next hotsynch. No file manager is provided with it and so basic housekeeping is extremely difficult. Should the batteries failsome applications and data may be lost and so regular hotsynchs are essential and you do have to ensure applicatios you want to remain are located in the correct place on the PC and those you do not are removed from both there and from the Palm or you will find your configuration will have changed.
I got my 3Com palm top about a year ago now and I'm not too sure how I'd survive without it. If you are sick of carrying a paper (yes paper, some people still use it you know) diary and then having to transfer all the data to your PC calender, or taking notes at a meeting then having to type them up then the Palm III might just be the tool you need. However, if you want the functionality of a laptop without the size then you're probably better off looking at a revo or maybe even the samsung izzipro, but if your primary use is going to be as a diary, contacts store and notepad then look to the PalmIII as a more affordable alternitive. There are loads of addins and accessories you can get for your 3com PDA (many downloaded from the internet as shareware)including a dictaphone that replaces the usual cover, map applications, drawing software, games, translators you name it you can probably get it, even different alert tunes to annoy all in your office. The main drawbacks with this PDA however are the poor resolution screen, spend a bit more money and there are much better (colour) quality alternatives. Also writing on the screen takes a little while to get used to, as it only recognises letters when written it's way. You can access the internet through it, but this is only really for text based information, if you don't have a modem then you can use AvantGo to upload pages when you syncronise with your PC. All in all though, for a simple affordable solution to automate your working life I would highly recommend the 3com PalmIII.
Where would I be without my Palm III? It's functionality and excellent adaptability make it one of the best lightweights on the market. For those who are concerned that software may be expensive you can download many free programs from the web. If necessary, it can be turned into a mini PC with mirror applications like Word and Excel, it makes great use of the HotSync funtction. For an extra price you can buy a modem and send e-mails and browse the internet on the go. Very handy. The only drawback of the three series is that the batteries can cause problems. For example, on mine, when I remove the batteries, sometimes it freezes when rebboting. This causes me to lose all my data. Some companies, however, will convert your palm so that it can be recharged.
There is a programme for the Palm Os Computing Platform called avantgo. It is a fantastic programme. This programme can be downloaded from www.avantgo.com. What avantgo does is that it saves webpages onto your Palm. There are over 2000 pre loaded websites for you to put on your Palmtop. You can also programme in your own. When you hotsync the websites are updated ONLY IF YOU ARE ONLINE. This is the best programme around on the Palm and I highly recommend you to download it for free.
The Palm III is a compact, shirt pocket sized PDA that instead of a keyboard uses a unique handwriting recognition system called graffiti. This uses a simplified alphabet that can be picked up quickly, the alphabet and basic punctuation marks can usually be learnt in about half an hour. Although a keyboard may be a more popular option with some users, the handwriting system is a very good alternative, which you may grow to prefer. Obviously having no keyboard also helps to keep the size of the unit down, as it is the perfect size to fit the hand and pocket, whereas some keyboard based PDAs can sometimes be slightly too big. The Palm III runs on a standard pair of AAA batteries, which should last for a month or so with standard use, although use of the backlight will significantly reduce this lifetime. 3Com could do well to learn from Philips, whose Nino runs on a rechargeable battery that is recharged when placed in its docking station. The pilot has been on the market for a few years now in three incarnations. First there was the Pilot launched in 1996, which a year later evolved into the PalmPilot, and now we have the Palm III. But the name is not the only alteration, the first thing you will notice is that it has been given a subtle makeover in respect to both its OS and it's exterior design, which now features subtle curves to aid ergonomics. It also now features a flip-up cover which unfortunately has the inability to be folded 360° around the Palm III against its back, although it can be removed if desired. Another significant improvement to the Palm III is the introduction of more memory, as it now comes with 2MB of RAM; enough to store 6000 addresses, and should be sufficient even if you choose to install plenty of the quality third party software available. The Palm III is now capable of infrared data transmission between Palm IIIs. A feature introduced by Psion long ago with the 3c. This means that the Palm III can now by simply holding down the address book button, transmit the user's address details to another unit that simply needs to be switched on. Virtually all other information such as memo files or programs can also be transmitted with ease. The standard software is as good as ever, featuring an address book, calculator, expenses function, date book, memo pad, to do list, and an off-line mail application, which allows you to read and write email on your Palm III and then synchronise it with your PC's mail program so that emails are instantly sent. There is also an abundance of quality third party software available ranging from games to language translation software. There is also a variety of extra hardware available for the Palm III, such as a wireless modem and a GPS receiver. PC connectivity was always a major selling point of the Pilot, and the Palm III is no different. Synchronisation is a piece of cake when using the supplied docking station, and software. The press of one button is all that is needed to synchronise all data. The docking station is connected to the PC via the serial port, unfortunately there is currently no option to have a USB connection. The display is a monochrome LCD screen measuring 55 x 55 mm, which although we are assured is highly scratch resistant, is very reflective, which often hinders visibility. To aid readability you can now change between three predefined font sizes. Another new function for the Palm III is the addition of a bright backlight. Overall the 3Com Palm III is a reliable and very competent PDA, and if you can live without a keyboard or Windows CE the Palm III may be perfect companion for you.
Really sad, I know, but my Palm 3 was a Valentine present. Having received several boxes of chocolate at Christmas, I was fully chocolated out. It's great - I store most of my banking details on it - not as unsecure as it sounds as I use a combination of several languages and inferrals known only to me, with critical info omitted. This is very useful as I can now readily access all my telephone banking and share dealing info, which wouldn't be the case with a more bulky organiser. It's not quite the thing for recording a meeting with, but I have a team of six and it's useful for storing information meant for each individual under their own category. It has "shorthand" alternative keystrokes for certain letters - well worth checking out the crib sheet in the booklet and memorising. The battery life is good. They should normally last a month. However, I have been known to wipe them out in a few days when I chance upon a particularly compelling game! All in all, I consider it to be a good price for the right combination of power, usability and portability. After all, if it's not portable enough, it won't always be with you when you need it.
The little palm may not be able to compete with the pocket pcs in terms of features, but for simplicity used to perfection we have a winner. The best advantage of this palm is the cost. You should be able to pick it up for around about £100 and it looks better than the tacky IIIe. The palm OS is very simple and easy for a beginner like i was when i bought mine. The screen is monochrome with a powerful backlight. Who cares about colour, is it really essential to have colour to organise your life and play a few games? And it saves on battery life. However, i like to use the backlight all the time, and i don't get very much battery life with it on, only about 10 hours max. I don't like using it without the backlight as the screen isn't great. It isn't viewable in sunlight either. The input methods aren't the best point of the III either. Palm's rather tacky grafitti is hard to adjust to and after using microsoft transcriber you are left to think what might be. The mini on screen keyboard is very good. This palm only has a measly 2MB space. However most of the applications for the device are very small. There are a lot of applications available for the palm. This is because of the simplicity of the OS, enabling programmers to write to the OS easily as oppose to the rather clumsy windows CE. The OS is also upgradeable, just an easy download from the internet. That is a great feature. Don't expect anything in the sound department other than a few beeps. The palm isn't a great supermodel, just a boring black shell really. Overall this palm isn't a groundbreaking powerhorse such as the compaq ipaq, but it is a great little companion that is cheap and cheerful but certainly not tacky!
I've had my Palm for a a year and a hlaf now and I don't think I'd go back to paper organisers again. It provides me with my diary, my address book, the occasional game, I can download web pages too it, and probably most importantly I can store all my passwords on it. The Palm OS is easy to use an intuitive, learning to input text with the pen doesn't take long at all. The Palm's alphabet is similar enough to our own that it should really be a matter of minutes. Once you've got the hand of that, there are a number of standard applications preinstalled. So you can immeadiatly set up your address book and diary. There are hundreds of third party applications out there too. Sun has even ported Java to the machine, though on the Palm 3 it's a little. You won't have problems getting the software you want for the system, and there are also harware addons available, including keyboards if you find the pen too awkward. The inclusion of an IR port allows communication with other IR devices, such as laptops and mobile phones. It's also an easy way to share information and programs with others. In addtiion to this you get a cradle which connects to the serial port of your PC. There's software for Windows, Mac and Linux now has it's own software too. You can use this software to back your Palm up, and to install new programs. I'd recommend backing up regularly, or you could end up in a situation where an application hangs your Palm, you have to reset the machine and clear the memory to free it and you lose 6 months of data. That's not nice I promise (and to be fair it wasn't the Palms fault, just I trusted badly written code and was foolish enough to neglect backing up). I highly recommend getting a Palm organiser, they're far better than paper organisers. I suspect that the Palm 3 is looking a bit old now though, there are newer Palms with more memory or faster chipsets. There's also th e Palm clones to consider which generally offer cheaper prices.
I have not had a Palm III for very long - just over 5 /6 months, but I can't imagine doing without it. Not, as you may imagine, for the multiple business and practical uses that one could use such a thing for, but for playing with and browsing the Internet with an IR equipped mobile phone. I got mine second-hand for 70 quid and have used it daily since. It stores all my phone numbers, I keep notes reminding me of important things and it reminds me of birthdays before I forget. But the main use is to play games. Now don't get me wrong, if you want colour and fast action, get a Gameboy. but if you want hundreds of freely-available good quality games (mostly mind games, not action) and you want to have a nice small PDA to play them on, get a Palm. Things like Dope Wars where you buy and sell drugs (yes, I know it's simple, but highly addictive), hundreds of card and casino games, minehunt, pool, tetris and plenty of others. The memory of 2 MB may sound small by today's standards, but it's plenty big enough for hundreds of notes and addresses / phone numbers, tens of games and even some 'proper' applications for when work is necessary. The input system is either by a pop-up keyboard on the screen or a simple to master graffiti and is plenty fast enough for my normal use, although a seperate keyboard would easily beat it for speed. But the Palm is lovely and I would say to anyone thinking about getting an organiser - try one. You may be surprised by how much you like it.
The Osaris by Oregon Scientific is a Palm computer that to me represents very good value for money. It may not be as small as a Palm Pilot, but is very sturdy with a good responsive keyboard. I like the full range of features: Backlight, Zoom in and out, large side touch screen menus, alarm settings, battery and disc capacity availability on screen. You can set it to shut down if not used for a period of time and when the lid is closed. I have had mine for over a month and have only just changed the 2xAA batteries. I have even droped it on a stone floor and it is still in one piece. Conecting to the PC is very straightforward with the disc and cable supplied, and you can do a complete back up in one easy stage. I had a complex spreadsheet that I started on my PC then downloaded to my Osaris and then when I had finished backed back to my PC with no loss of data or functuality. The software includes EPOC spreadsheet, word, diary, contact list, games, sketch, notepad, and e-mail. All software is fully compatible to Microsoft Office and you can add extra if you need to. It comes in 2 versions 8mb and 16mb and is ideal for the first time user.
I'm not going to write about the 'real' uses of my Palm III, the diary functions, memopad, todo list and address book have already been exhausted by people all over the WWW. What I'm going to write about is THE GAMES! Everyone knows that the only purpose of a computer whether it be hand-held, desktop size or even bigger, is to play games. Yeh, yeh, they're useful for spreadsheets, word-processing and other such mundane tasks, but you can only see a computer in its true light is to use it for a completely time-wasting (but ultimately enjoyable) game. The Palm III (and all the other Palm OS machines) is no different. I'm going to point you to some web-sites where the standard of games for the little Palm series machines is second to none. I am not affiliated with any of these sites - I'm only pointing you there so you may get as much enjoyment out of them as I have. So off we go . . . First of all some of my old time arcade favourites: Space Invaders, Pacman and Missile Command (Invaders, Gobble and Tyranny on the site) http://www.mobilegeneration.com/products/view_freeware.htm Galaxians and Frogger: http://www.pilotfan.com/ Battlezone - the original vector tank game: http://home.att.ne.jp/sky/giles/games.html (there's even an Elite clone here - take a look at Void) Scramble and Lunar Lander (and others): http://www.seimitsu.demon.co.uk/pilotprogs.htm Asteroids (and more!): http://www.astraware.com/palm/ And to finish off my little favourites list is iRogue - an ascii RPG game. It doesn't look much, but I dare you to play and not get hooked! http://www.geocities.com/Area51/Jupiter/2162/hdse/index.html There's plenty more games out there for the Palm series, and obviously, some are better than others. Try looking in http://www.palmgear.com or http://www.eurocool.com for more May your Pa lm days be full of aliens and asteroids and not just work!
I have had my Palm3 for a year now, and find it extremely useful. Its main use for me is the daily schedule, and to do list. To carry a paper schedule in similar detail, for a similar period of time, would require a couple of suitcases of diaries and a seperate book for cross-referencing them. As a very busy person this is an absolute essential. There are no frills to the Palm3. It is not in colour, there are no games. But the OS is intuitive, and the thing does exactly what you need from a planner/diary/financial record. Why pay for more than functionality. The only slight niggle is that the touch sensitive screen can be slightly temperamental. Sometimes it is hyper-sensitive, navigating round windows without me actualy touching it, which is particularly annoying when I'm half way through dialling a telephone number and the thing flips to my To Do list. Sometimes the screen won't respond at all. I'm fairly sure these anomalies are temperature-dependent, and I don't know that other planners don't suffer from the same problem, but you might be advised to check out some others first.
I have had mine now for 18 months having moved from a Psion Siena. The Siena suffered from poor build quality and was returned to Psion for repairs on two occasions. I have had no problems at all with my Palmpilot - it is a superb organiser and links to a PC for backups are very easy indeed. There is a wealth of freeware and shareware available for loading onto the Pilot from the internet and this process is very easy to do. I would definitely feel lost without the Pilot now (I am hoping that I might lose it at some point to justify buying one of the newer models now available.
I've had one of these for 2 years now, and although it has been outdated by new handsprings and the like, it still comes in useful. Not really sold on the handwriting system - my main use for it is synchronising my office PC running Outlook. This means I can take all my contacts wherever I go. Of course, then the practicality comes in. If I'm walking down the high street and suddenly remember I have to ring Susie, and her number isn't on my mobile, I have to dig out the Palm Pilot, find the number, then key it into my Nokia. The solution is obvious - either a PDA that has a phone integrated, or a mobile that has more advanced contact management features. Then you have the choice on size - a PDA is always going to be bigger than the smallest mobile, because it can do other things, like surf the web or check email. But some people like to have the smallest phone possible, meaning they will probably continue lugging round a PDA as well. One thing I predict will happen is the abolition of keys on the mobile - instead you'll just get a touch-screen similar to the current Palm Pilot, but also with voice activation.