The Tungsten T2 is out. I’m not terribly impressed with the specs, but it’s a step in the right direction. The Tungsten T is still a great product and you can probably get them for quite a bargain now.
After playing around with menus for a mere minute I was able to send the entire contents of my T68 address book (which has been my organizer in the interim) to my T|T over Bluetooth without a hitch. I’m amazed it worked at all, but furthermore if this had been over infrared I would have hold them just right in line of sight and hope that some random movement didn’t cause them to lose contact.
Interested in doing this? Phone Book > 8 Advanced > 6 Send All > 2 Via Bluetooth > and then find or choose the necessary device. Like everything Bluetooth it works a lot better if the devices are paired before hand.
I just dialed in to my dialup ISP using my Tungsten and T68 using Bluetooth as the connection. It worked on the first try. Next step is GPRS but since I have a “bootleg” phone not set up by T-Mobile the settings aren’t right on the phone itself. Some first impressions:
- The springy stylus is great.
- I need a SD card (256MB for ~ $60).
- I’m really looking forward to trying out all the web browsers.
- So far I’ve used WebPro:
- It does some interesting content-negotiation stuff, unfortunately it does it badly, causing many things to break.
- Can’t find technical documentation of its capabilites or methods.
- From a user point of view though, it works pretty well.
- Supports some basic CSS.
- It looks like it may support gzipped content.
- The size is perfect for me.
- The directional pad is very useful.
- With Jot installed I almost never need to open the slider. (Try the demo out.)
- A lot of Palm software websites really suck.
- The sound is really good, the speaker can get really loud. It can fill a quiet room.
- Whoever designed the font on here did a good job. Much better than the one on the Sonys.
The PalmOS news world has changed quite a bit in the past several years: you have the corporate, the fallen star, the amazingly thorough, the good but dying, and the current star. And then there’s Brighthand. The history behind the site is scandalous but unimportant, and instead let’s focus on their latest feature article, titled “The Zen Done Gone.” (Which brings to mind Brad’s comment at SxSW to the effect of “Grammarians around the world shuddered.”)
In this article Trotter Hardy decides to take to task the “Zen of Palm” by comparing its stated goals with the design of the Tungsten T. This could have been a very interesting article, especially if it had focused on Palm’s inclusion of numerous multimedia features while not making any significant improvements to the built-in PIM functions. What we get instead is a heavily biased presentation of one person’s difficulty, which to me is the very worst kind of review. (I remember a review of the Treo which spent half of the article complaining about T-Mobile service and saying nothing about the device itself.)
It starts out with a rant about the sliding bottom that covers the graffiti area. Hardy misses the point completely, which is as much a usage issue as it is a size issue. Palm did research and found that most handheld usage is data retrieval. That’s not a revelation if you’ve used a handheld for any period of time, but it’s nice to see that real usage affected the design of the unit. Some of my friends who have Tungstens have told me that they seldom ‘open’ the unit at all because all common tasks can be done with the unit closed (and a lot with the cover on!). It’s true that closing it only makes it .8″ smaller, but when the whole thing is just 4.8″ tall that’s a good fifth of the height. Also does adding the movable component really add that much to the production cost? It was my impression that manufacturers had been doing the moving parts thing for a while now, and the unit seems to be priced very competitively with its non-moving-part competitors.
Five paragraphs later, we have more complaints about the size. Apparently the Sony SJ33, which has been available for 10 days in America so in terms of context means very little to most people, just “feels good in your hand, like it wants to be there. Not so the Tungsten T.” A little research reveals there is a whopping .1 inch difference in width between the two. Perhaps that tenth of an inch makes a big difference to him, but his impression is most likely the result of another bias. As an added note the Tungsten T is lighter in weight than the SJ33 as well. The second part of this section says the unit is too slippery, which if true for the Tungsten is true for most handhelds out there. The third section describes what I can surmise is difficulty with holding the unit due to it having buttons on the side but it’s really hard to see through the incoherent writing and pick out what specifically is being criticized here, and what the author would consider a better solution to be. Should there be no buttons on the side? How does the bottom “collapsing” cause one to drop it? The last criticism of the cover is probably the most valid, as it’s compared to known units, but I’m surprised the reviewer didn’t know the cover clipped on the back, as this has been standard for detachable covers, most notably on the Visor series. I’m more surprised that the reviewer wasn’t familiar with the side flip cover on the V and 500 series, the V series being the most common Palms in the world. (May not be still be the most common, but for at least 3–4 years it was. I haven’t seen any data recently of this sort.)
If you’re going to talk about size and comfort when discussing a PalmOS unit, at the very least compare it to the units everyone knows, like the V/500 series, the III series, or maybe a Visor. To be truthful though these comparisons are of limited real-world use unless the unit is deformed. If you’re considering buying a handheld, online or otherwise, go into the store and lift it up, put your hands around it, turn it around. Best Buy is not good for this because they have their units in little cages, someplace like CompUSA or Circuit City is usually better because they have everything attached with a little security string, which while annoying is much less intrusive. Best of all, find a friend or colleague who has one: hold it in your hands sans restraints; most of all, put it in your pocket or wherever you plan to carry it. In a perfect world there would be a high-class store that would allow you to do the above, and such a thing has been discussed in Houston, but it’s probably not economically viable.
I’m going to skip over the part about bundled applications being too complicated; they’re optional and if you don’t like it don’t install it or find something better. Documents to Go is a great thing to include because it’s not just something consumers have been asking for, it’s something they’re demanding. It’s a powerful program that does a lot, but the basic interface is pretty elegant and doesn’t present too many complicated options. I still like Wordsmith, and the fact that I have that option is a testament to PalmSource’s commitment to the Palm Economy that they don’t develop their own program and bundle it by default with every unit they sell; competition is a good thing. Additionally, it’s a big selling point that on PalmOS you can do more with Office documents than you can on the PocketPC platform.
The final rant about not being able to access files off a SD card, as it stands, is just filler. If the author had dug deeper and discovered the cause of the problem, he could have reported accurately whether it was the result of human error (something at this point in the article I’m inclined to believe) or whether it is actually a failing in Palm’s product. The process of putting the files on the card is so vague almost nothing can be concluded from it.
One doesn’t have to look far to find plenty of glowing reviews of the Tungsten T, and more importantly I’ve been quite impressed with it when I’ve dealt with it in person, which is why I’m confident about the product and getting one this weekend.
Of course I didn’t expect much from a site whose design is a remarkably similar to Glassdog/Lance Arthur, but don’t take the mere uncanny resemblance as damning evidence, as Brighthand enhances the design with garish ads, mediocre writing, and gaudy graphics.