Last night I played with my housemate’s shiny new Palm Tungsten T3, and I was damn impressed. Now remember, the last Palm I’ve really played with was my dusty Palm Vx running Palm OS 3.5, so color and widescreen and bluetooth and Palm OS 5.2 and more was kind of a lot of enhancements thrown at me all at once, so it might not be as impressive to someone who’s been actively following PDAs as it was to me.
I had some trouble getting used to the new graffiti input, and the ability to write on the screen took a little bit of getting used to, but once I get the general hang of things I was tapping around just like it was the same old Palm OS I knew and loved. The screen was beautiful and bright and the increased resolution made everything look a lot sharper. But the core features of the device aren’t what I’m so much interested in talking about: What made me grin like a schoolboy were the connectivity features.
The T3 has bluetooth built in, and I was able to make the T3 use my my Nokia 3650 as a bluetooth modem and check my mail via IMAPS relatively trivially. Admittedly, my laptop should be able to use my phone as a bluetooth modem — I just haven’t tried it yet. I was able to effortlessly send a picture from my phone to the T3, and from the T3 to my laptop. I was able to make the T3 dial my phone. And I didn’t play with it, but I’m sure iSync would do a bang-up job of integrating the T3 into my .mac systems (it’d be extra cool if it synced my safari bookmarks, but I doubt it does that… yet). Regardless, the connectivity was damn cool.
But there’s still one thing that the T3 is missing that makes me want to hold out for another revision: Wifi. Sure, bluetooth + my phone can get me a net connection, but more often than not I’m somewhere with Wifi, and I’d like to be able to just get my Palm directly online with Wifi rather than resorting to bridging with a bluetooth modem. Sure, there’s this Wifi SD card that’s supposed to have Palm OS support later this year, and there’s also this upcoming Wifi/memory SD combo card which would kill two birds with one stone, but I really don’t want to have to carry around a separate card for Wifi that I’d probably just lose. I’d really like to see the Wifi integrated, and with the T3′s introduction of the Palm OS toolbar, it’d be pretty trivial to put a Wifi on/off switch in there right next to the Bluetooth switch.
And then there are things missing from the connectivity puzzle: What I really want is an iPod with bluetooth, so I could use other devices as a remote control for my iPod, and so my other devices could be notified of the song currently playing on my iPod. It’d also be cool to have a Digital Camera with bluetooth, so I could transfer pictures to my other devices wirelessly (though with the ginormous resolutions that dcams can capture these days, that might not be practical), or use another device as a remote for my camera.
So if you’re currently looking for a PDA, I’d definitly start by looking at a T3. Besides the lack of Wifi, the only other flaw I noticed was that an hour or so of playing with the bluetooth features drained the battery by about half.