bad tech week, good tech week

Well, it’s been one of those weeks for personal technology – first my Palm 515 started having power/reset issues, then my mobile phone just stopped working.

First things first – I’ve had my 515 for just over 2 years, and it has served me well, housed in the nigh on bullet-proof case I bought for it. Unfortunately, a couple of weeks ago it would just randomly restart, admittedly with no lost data, but just restart – which was kind of annoying. Then, earlier this week, it just wouldn’t take a charge from either of the 2 cradles I tested it on. This is a something friend had seen with his, and the only fix seems to be to do a hard reset (though some say a soft sometimes works) and then power up and re-sync. This is really annoying though, so I decided to bite the bullet and buy a new Palm and keep the 515 for reading on snowboarding trips.

After spending a couple of days reading reviews and being honest about my own usage patterns, I decided on the Zire 72 – especially when I found the ‘Special Edition’ one which was metallic silver instead of the standard blue. I say metallic, but the Zire’s at the lower end of PalmOne’s current range, and have plastic bodies rather than the metal my 515 had. The 72 has a lot of features I will use though – a 1.2MP camera which can do movies, Bluetooth for syncing, (and it now also has an industry standard mini-USB for that too, which means you don’t have to buy expensive Palm cables to take another sync cable on the road) and actually comes with a decent software bundle for Macs, including ‘Documents to Go’. The screen is a huge improvement too, a ‘hi-res’ 320*320, double the 515 and it shows. It’s also much faster with apps I use like AvantGo, Plucker and Metro thanks to OS5 and a much faster CPU.

At 30,000yen, it was cheaper than my 515 by 20,000, though that price was inflated because at the time, getting English language PDAs in Japan was really hard (it was just after Ikeshop started shrinking), and most internet companies wouldn’t ship to Japan. Now Palm OS in Japan is pretty much just Sony, and the import shops like LAOX are still really expensive, but on the internet there are several people who will ship to Japan. The company I used is called Expansys, and though they’re based in the UK, my Palm was shipped from their Hong Kong office at not much above PalmOne’s retail price, which is great.

All in all then it was a decent result from a rather disappointing hardware issue.

The second issue was my cell phone. My Sony Ericsson just died on Wednesday, so I took it apart, cleaned everything up, and put it back together and it seemed OK. Then on Friday it died again. Completely. I couldn’t even get in to get photos or mail out. It was a dead phone. It was deceased.

I toyed with the idea of getting the 18 month old S-E one replaced, but it was battered and bruised and the shop didn’t look at hopeful that it could be for less than the price of a new one. I should also say that that was my second SonyEricsson, and I haven’t been massively impressed with it, so I thought I’d look at another manufacturer. As I decided to stay with the KDDI/Au carrier, I looked at their new uber-phones – the CDMA-WIN series. They do everything, TV, radio, blah blah blah but these phones are getting huge. I liked a Sanyo one but it was just enormous, and I’d already decided that my old SonyEricsson was the largest keitai (mobile phone) I would have, so I looked at some others in their more standard CDMA 1X range, and settled on a Toshiba A5506T model, which is bilingual, has a great screen, and a really nice design to it – it’s smoother and more rounded than many so is more comfortable to hold. the screen is really nice, and the whole interface is much better than the Sony’s. It also takes miniSD cards, which means I can _back-up_ my contacts and photos – everything on the phone – to a mini-SD card, and even use it in my new Palm! That was pretty much the clincher, so I got it with a 128Mb miniSD and off I went. Hoping this one lasts longer!

All in all then, it’s really annoying I had unplanned expenditure like this just before the snowboard season, but not too bad in that I think I got 2 even better items which I use on a daily basis – believe me, my Palm and keitai are probably the 2 most used things I carry around with me – except maybe my wallet.