Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Why my next PDA will be an iPod

Today, at the Macworld expo, Apple announced a software update for the iPod Touch. This adds several key applications, giving it almost all of the capabilities that I have in my Palm PDA. Given the fact that Palm will soon stop making PDAs (focusing entirely on smartphones), this is very good news for me.

Today's announcement adds the following software apps to the iPod touch:

  • Mail (E-mail, including HTML formatting and some common attachment types (including PDF, Word and Excel)
  • Maps (interface to Google Maps)
  • Notes (a text-based note pad)
  • Stocks
  • Weather

With these additions, the suite is now very close to what I have on my Palm PDA (plus several extras I don't have). Here's a quick comparison (and yes, I'm aware that modern Palm OS devices have features my m515 doesn't.)

iPod Touch feature Palm m515 feature
Calculator Calc
Calendar Date Book
Clock Clock
Contacts Address
Mail (With HTML and attachments) Mail (Without HTML or attachments)
Notes Memo Pad
Settings Prefs
iTunes Store N/A
Maps N/A
Music N/A
Photos N/A
Safari (web browser) N/A
Stocks N/A
Videos N/A
Weather N/A
YouTube N/A
N/A Card Info
N/A Expense
N/A HotSync
N/A Note Pad (a simple paint app)
N/A To Do List
N/A Tutorials (Graffiti and Welcome)

Plus, I've installed a few third-party apps on my Palm:

  • A bridge game
  • A hexadecimal calculator
  • Mobipocket (an e-book reader)
  • PalmReader (another e-book reader)
  • A scientific calculator
  • A vector-drawing app
  • A solitaire card game

You will notice that the iPod Touch now includes equivalents to almost everything of importance on the Palm. The big exceptions to this are the Expense, Note Pad and To Do List, for which Apple has not (yet?) released their own equivalents. Plus the third-party apps.

Next month, however, Apple will be releasing their iPhone/iPod Touch SDK. With that, it will be possible for developers to write their own apps. I fully expect to see third-party software (hopefully not too expensive) to fill in this gap. When that happens, the iPod Touch will have become my ideal PDA.

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