Coffeehouse Thread

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    There are problems with both PDAs and cell phones, that I think could be helped if both types of devices could connect to each other wirelessly. Someone else must have thought of this, so please tell me if there is actually something like this on the market or being developed.

    PocketPCs would be much more functional and a much more attractive buy if they had always-on internet access. One solution I know of is XDAs like Pocket PC Phone Edition which give PocketPCs wireless connections. But this doesn't work well, and I wouldn't be surprised if it didn't sell well. First of all, if you've ever seen someone try to talk into a PocketPC as if it were a phone, you know its very clumsy. Also, you buy your PocketPC tied to a specific wireless carrier, which I don't think people want to do. Its also much more expensive. and also makes PocketPCs bigger, fatter, and clumsier, especially with the antenna.

    Cell phones have problems themselves. They have thinsg like address books and calendars, but its impossible on all cell phones I've seen to check on someone's phonenumber or address , or add a phone number or address, or check your calendar while you are chatting on the phone with someone else. First, most cell phones disallow this, and don't let you exit the phone call screen without disconnecting the call. But its also impractical, because you would have take the phone from your ear while you look up someones phone number or try to add a phone number. Then you have to remember it between the time you are talking with the person and the time you're looking at the phone. and i dont think many people like using cell phones to browse the internet anyway

    If a PDA like a PocketPC could take advantage of the cell phone's wireless Internet capability through a wireless connection, and the cell phone could constantly synchronize data with the PocketPC or other PDA, both devices would work together beautifully. This would also get rid of the attempt to make cell phones uber-devices by making PocketPCs and PDAs in general more attractive buys that could take up the slack of cell phones.


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    Am I missing the point, or can these scenarios not already be handled with a Bluetooth enabled PDA and phone?

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    As theogray says, a bluetooth phone and PDA combo can do this today.

    However that means carrying two devices around  - three if you include your Nintendo DS Wink - and you start to fill up your pockets quite quickly.

    A combined PDA/phone would be great but the current models are just a bit too unwieldy to replace either one of them. It can only be a matter of time before someone comes up with a more comfortable design and then having either of them separate will seem incredibly awkward.

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    Have you seen the xda2? The xda2s or the xda2i (out soon). These have the antenna built inside the device, unlike the ugly xda. They are now just as compact as a HP Ipaq.

    Ive never had problems with opening things accidently while making a phone call. Add a bluetooth headset to it, and u never have to hold the thing to your ear, but can also take notes at the same time.

    The price of the devices is subsidised by the network carrier, so you get a good spec pocket pc (with phone) cheaper than by a pocket pc + a decent smartphone. The XDA2 is selling for £80 now with o2 online (12 month contract) and the xda2s for £250. And most uk carriers have the xda2, t-mobile and vodafone i believe, under a different name.

    Enough of my sales pitch Smiley I think an all in one device is great. No need to carry two devices and its cheaper than having two especially if your going to have a 12month phone contract anyway.

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    andyc, no i would want to carry around two devices anyway, because i wouldnt want to make phone calls on a PDA and i wouldnt want to browse the internet on a phone. its just very clumsy to use those ways. its much more akward than just carrying both, they don't take up that much room in a pocket. ive carried both with me even though i dont have them connected.

    so.. when phones have bluetooth do they really have all the functions i asked about, the ability to synchronize phone numbers and addresses with the pocket pc when changes are made in either? how does the transfer of the internet connection work?

    also, how common are bluetooth enabled cell phones

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    I think you make some excellent points and I felt much the same way until very recently. I had been using a Dell Axim X3i PDA and a Nokia 3650 cell phone and became quite tired of having to carry them both. Fortunately, a new product was developed by HTC, and branded as the iMate PDA2K or in my case the Siemens SX66. This Pocket PC phone has been a Godsend for me. I use it not only as a phone and PDA, but also as a portable audio and video player. It can connect to the internet via Wi-Fi, the cellular network or via a Bluetooth connection to a properly configured PC. You are right that it is awkward to hold it up to your ear and talk, so fortunately it has a speakerphone and I purchased a bluetooth headset for use in the car. If you're looking for something to meet the wants and needs you mentioned I think this will fit the bill.

    - jerumpf (John Rumpf)

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    Have you checked what's available in the marketplace? My XDA IIs fits comfortably in my pocket in a leather case that also has my credit cards and money. No messy antenna and it even has a pullout-to-reveal keyboard.

    It has BlueTooth and Wireless but I haven't found any need to enable either yet (who needs the battery drain?)

    I use the hands-free headphones that came with it for listening to music and handling phone calls while the device stays in my pocket.

    I find it indispensable as a phone and indispensable as a travel companion (I watch .Net Show and listen to each week's .Net Rocks broadcast on it, read the daily news from the BBC, The Guardian and IT Week via AvantGo).

    If I have a long journey it's more than acceptable as a DVD player thanks to the bits of software out there for copying a DVD from laptop to Pocket PC and the new 1GB SD cards that are really extrordinarily cheap.

    So I'm more than happy with what's available today. The only things I'd like to see added are a small hard drive so I can get rid of my iPod (1GB SD card can hold quite a lot of music but not my entire collection the way the 40GB iPod can) and it would be nice to have an inbuilt radio too.

    Overall though I think the Pocket PC's available today are a huge improvement on what was available just a couple of years ago.

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    Yeah, I've seen the XDA II and it's not bad (though not worth giving up my iPaq for just yet)

    The main problem, for me at least, is that my iPaq travels with me most of the working day but I want my mobile with me all the time. Like when I'm going to the pub or the cinema or clubbing or whatever. My nice little mobile fits the bill perfectly here whereas the XDA+headset combo is just to much to lug around (and doesn't look very cool)

    What'd be really great would be if there were some way to detach the screen so that you could just carry the phone part when you wanted. I suppose you could fiddle about swapping SIM cards, but that's both awkward and expensive (since you need to buy two phones)

    The main thing stopping me getting one is the fact they don't do them on pay-as-you-go though. Wink

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    Be aware that the XDA II is a rather different beast than the XDA IIs despite the similarity in names.

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