Pokin' to the oldies: why Palm OS 5 still rocks
I wrote about my love of the Palm T|X a year ago today. The fact is, I never owned a Newton. I went Palm OS and never looked back. Chalk it up to the fact that my pockets wouldn't accommodate a MessagePad 2000. Since I bought my first Palm Pilot Pro many moons ago, I've owned a delectable Handspring Visor (the expansion port was too cool, but modules were also too expensive), a Palm V and a WristPDA. I'd still use the WristPDA except for the fact that it won't hold a charge.
OK, we're still waiting for the next version of Palm OS. Where are the multimedia features the Be acquisition would add? What about this Linux-based rewrite? Who cares? The fact is, Palm got it right when it came to synchronizing data: make it simple, fast and reliable. Nowadays true, ubiquitous data sync is like a unicorn with herpes -- you wish you could find it, but there's always this glaring flaw: datatypes don't match up, making mush of your info. I chalk that up to Palm losing the battle they started long ago and never opening up their tech to become a real standard. But when it worked, man it worked well. There's a lot to be said for simplicity, and using Palm OS is like sitting in a classic car. You aren't worried about all the buttons -- you just drive.
So yeah, the iPhone has advantages, like a pretty decent browser, multi-touch and video playback that isn't a battery-draining and soul-sucking experience. But I'll keep my soul and the Palm -- because nothing says love like an SD card full of memories, games and work documents. There are still lots of little touches in Palm OS worth keeping it around (how about keeping your icons organized?). As Riley and Huey's Granddad would say, "there's no school like the old school." Word. Did I mention I can edit Word docs?
In the gallery I list a few apps notably missing on the iPhone but readily available for Palm OS.