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In 2001 I bought a Palm Vx which I had to resurrect twice (I smashed the display once, and it started getting flakey more recently). I think it's dead for good now (frequent hangs and crashes meaning maybe the RAM has gone bad somehow.) I have liked the utility of having an address book, calendar, and notebook in my pocket all the time, and that I can synchronize it with my Macintosh computer (alas lately through an iBook G3 since newer Palm Desktop software doesn't recognize the old unit).

Whenever I look at reviews of potential replacements, the focus is on all the apps, its WiFi, and media playing capabilities. One would assume that the basic features are all equivalent and work fine, but I have learned that is an unequivocal bad assumption. A key problem for me is synching with OS X as that seems to be frequently an afterthought, so it is often the most limiting factor. I have looked at replacing my cell phone (Vigrin Mobile pay-as-you-go — another limiting factor) but cell phone companies are the most prolific liars about their products (especially when it comes to nuances of features).

I should be able to enter address book, calendar, and notebook data on either the computer or the PDA. Synchronization should take place over USB or BlueTooth. From the home computer, the data should either sync to Apple's suite (Address Book, iCal, and preferably notes as files) or be able to be imported and exported in text (comma- or tab-separated) or at least XML. The PDA should support complete searches (e.g. on my Palm, I can search for a phone number and find its owner, or search on any field). The data should be protectable by password on an item-by-item basis (I had been using TealLock which supposedly encrypted my Palm data when locked).

The PDA should truly be pocket-sized, and although I'm not overly concerned about price, things in one's pockets are prone to breakage and loss, so cost is an issue for those reasons. An iPhone, therefore, is plausible, but I wouldn't be using the phone features (I don't think it'll work on Virgin Mobile née Sprint) and without a plan, it's one of the most expensive options. I also saw this LG Android which apparently works pretty good without a plan (per one reviewer's comments).

asked Jan 20 '12 at 11:42

jolshefsky's gravatar image


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I'd second the mention of an iPod touch. If you really only want PDA functionality then an entry level model or even a 2nd hand 3rd generation one should be fine. It seems as though the 3rd gen units are selling at bizarrely high prices on ebay, so a new 8GB model would probably be the best deal. It will sync over usb or bluetooth, or wifi, and will also (optionally) sync automatically via iCloud.

The most notable feature you list that isn't built-in is the per-item encryption, although there is likely to be an app that will do that with notes. The device does have strong whole-disk encryption that protects it while locked (with remote-wipe or automatic wipe after 10 failed logins as user preferences), but when unlocked all items are visible.

Items in the built-in apps are globally searchable, but if you bought an app for per-item encryption, these would only be searchable thorugh whatever interface the app itself provided.


answered Jan 24 '12 at 10:39

robin's gravatar image


When my Clié (PalmOS) started crashing on me too often I replaced it with an iPod Touch (aka iTouch), which is essentially an iPhone without the phone—virtually all iPhone and most iPad applications will work fine on the iTouch.

I chose to set it up to sync with Google's Exchange service so my contacts (addressbook) and calendar were easily accessible from the iTouch or from any computer with a 'net connection and a web browser. For notes, I use PlainText which is Dropbox aware. It's not as convenient as the automatic sync through Google's Exchange service, but it does work.

The hardest part of the transition was extracting the data from the Clié's various .pdb files and converting them to something that Google could import, but my situation there was slightly unusual; I suspect that if you still have access to your data through any kind of desktop software you will be able to export the data easily.

Overall, the iTouch has worked out better for me than the Clié did even when it was working well.


answered Jan 24 '12 at 10:37

Heptite's gravatar image


IPod Touch!! There is a week/multi-day view, turn device landscape. You get WAY more out of a iPod touch or IPhone than any PDA. Just the standard features would but with apps, it can e whatever you wish


answered Jan 24 '12 at 10:29

Moomba's gravatar image


Essentially any iphone/ipod touch or android smartphone will give you the basic pda capabilities. I am currently using an iphone 3gs for this, and while it has some gaps in functionality (such as no week view in calendar, no repeating events per day of week, etc'), these can be worked around. Both will sync with outlook and/or google calendar/notes.


answered Jan 23 '12 at 01:49

Aryeh%20A's gravatar image

Aryeh A

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Asked: Jan 20 '12 at 11:42

Seen: 8,331 times

Last updated: Jan 26 '12 at 10:11

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