OK, here’s the deal: I refuse compromise. If I’m going to get a cross between a palmtop computer and a phone, I’m going to insist that it has all the benefits of a really good palmtop and a really good phone, or else I might as well continue to use what I got, which is a low-end but perfectly functional phone and an old, but near-perfect and hierto unsurpassed palmtop (Psion 5mx).
I’ve owned a Psion 5mx since ’99 or so, and I’ve tried a few models in between, but this is the only palmtop I could ever actually use. it has the bare necessities – good clones of Word and Excell, a notetaking app that simply rock the ass off everything everywhere, and a reasonably open SDK and architecture. There’s lots of great freeware etx for the Psion, and I could probably make my own if I needed to. The drawbacks of the Psion are mostly related to its aging standards, rather than its still very great internals. It can only communicate with a PC through an ancient COM-port (or, very shakily, through IR), for instance. No USB or Wifi here. It has one expansion port, only capable of accepting CompactFlash cards. The built-in dictaphone has no OGG or MP3 support.
So, I’ve found myself on the constant lookout for anything that could possibly replace my trusty 5mx. If that gadget also happens to be able to double as a phone and, perhaps, even tripple as a party-mode camera… So much the better.
The problems are many. Most machines are either too large to fit in a pocket, or have too small (or no) keyboard. And no, on-screen keyobard doesn’t count, you Apple-cunts. Psion 5mx has by far the most perfect palmtop keyboard I’ve ever seen. It’s perfect in size, and the hinges and the slide function that makes the machine perfectly balanced when opened up are simply perfect. Also, the 5mx boots in absolutely no time, which is very important, since it enables me to wake up at 3 AM and jot down a dream or an idea that came to me in my sleep without it escaping me, and I can also just take it out during long walks and instantly begin writing stuff. So many palmtops etc fail there. Other problems include short battery life (the 5mx has a classic green LCD screen which draws next to no power from the two AA-batteries included), lack of an SDK (the Iphone once again comes to mind) and a hundred other little nagging things…
But really, if anyone has found a machine with the following specs, please don’t hesitate:
- 8 hours+ battery life. Active usage, not passive.
- QWERTY-keybard, preferably with characters å ä and ö, nordic style. The keyboard must be small enough to write on using thumbs only while the unit is held in both hands, but must also be big enough to let each key be usable without extra tools.
- Word- Excell- and notetaking apps. And, preferably, a solid SDK and a bunch of third-party apps.
- No DRM.
- Support for OGG and MP3.
- Wifi and USB connection. Bluetooth support a plus, but no must.
- Touchscreen is great for when you want to draw something, especially if there’s a stylus hidden somewhere inside the unit.
- Fast boot times. I mean seriously fast.
- If it includes a camera, please let it include at least basic settings like zoom, depths etc. I don’t know half the words in english, but those of you who know anything about photography probably know what I mean.
- If it includes a phone… Well, I just call and text, no need for any spectacular phone features. It just needs to work.
- Preferrably some kind of good expansion port. Think external USB drives as well as Sony Memory Sticks. Whatever, as long as it’s usable.
- I’d like a dictaphone feature that I don’t need to fiddle with. Ideally, just a button somewhere on the outside of the device that I just press and it records. The 5mx has a great one in theory, but lack of mp3 supoort and buttons that are a pain to press (seriously, they hurt) has, together with an absolutely horrible microphone, made this one of the least-used feature of my machine.
Anyways, I don’t seriously expect this dream-machine to exist in the real world. They all have flaws – most have no qwerty-keyboard at all, those that do either have too large or too small or have some other flaw, like short battery life etc etc.
But dreaming is nice… =)