Favorite PDA?

110119011023.jpgRecently, I have been looking around for a PDA. Not that I really need it: it’s been so many years I’ve kept on using paper for my agenda, or to take notes and maitain my todo list… Anyway, although I never had a PDA so far, I always loved them. So I started to wonder why I don’t a PDA yet, and while at the same time I love them!? I think I love them because it’s kind of an ideal device. It brings the concept of *personal* computer to its highest. You can bring a PDA everywhere you go, and now it’s even supposed to have the capability to communicate with the rest of the computer world. So why the hell I still don’t have a PDA!!? Actually, I think I had already two “ideal PDAs”… Once was a Toshiba Libretto 100CT that I used at the early Mandrakesoft times, because I spent much time travelling on train between my home and Mandrakesoft’s headquarters. The 100CT is a marvelous machine, very outdate though. I could run Mandrake Linux on it, and catch emails (and even browse the web a little) by connecting it to my cell-phone. It was very small so I could just put it inside my document bag. But I had to abandon it because it was too limited in performance and it’s been harder and harder to load it with an up to date Linux system. One year ago, I  was eventually seduced by a small “ultra-portable” ASUS laptop that I can still carry with me everywhere I have to go to meet people for the Ulteo project. It’s very nice, has wifi and is very fast. I couldn’t find an easy way to connect it to the net through my cell though. Which is kind a regression compared to my Tosh. But still it is not *really* what I would imagine as an ideal  Personal Digital Assistant. So I started to look around for an ideal PDA. And I discovered a strange world where I couldn’t really find what I need. First deception was that most of these PDAs are now provided with the Microsoft Windows Mobile OS, which is something I obviously can’t support. Some others are provided by other proprietary OSes but seem to rather limited as well (or did I miss something?).  I could find a few appliances that run Linux (such as a Nokia…) but as far as I understand, most of the time it is loaded with a limited version of Linux that can run their exotic processor. Of course I heard of the Yopy a few years ago, and I put great hopes in it. But it turned to be rather deceptive. Another aspect of the PDA world is that nowadays the frontier is thin between the ones that do only agenda, the ones that are a real PC, the ones that can communicate through wifi and or gsm/gprs/umts, the ones that provide a GPS and a map, the ones that can take pictures or videos. Sometimes they provide several of these options at the same time, but I’m not sure I even saw any that offers *all* the options at the same time. So I’m really stuck at a point where I couldn’t choose what fits my needs: a PDA that would be not too big (I could bring it in my coat), that would offer a small keyboard (or virtual keyboard on the screen), that would offer wifi access, that could connect to gsm/gprs(/umts) directly or through a cell-phone, that would have a camera, and that would offer me a real (preferably Linux) OS where I could run a real webbrowser (even with java plugin), a VNC viewer and a ssh client.  And that could play ogg/mp3 files of course. So if you have a PDA to recommend or share you experience with a Linux PDA, just tell me! 🙂

3 Replies to “Favorite PDA?”

  1. Well it’s not running Linux neither that it will have a ssh client inside but if you have a look to the Apple iphone and that you could run in it something like EyeOs (a distant os on a webserver with php/mysql) you’ll have a *nix and ssh 🙂

    http://www.apple.com/iphone/ & http://eyeos.org/

    As a Bordelais also I obviously think that a blackbox like the iphone may be used through webApps or better : WebOs!

  2. what about the new nokia N800? I heard good comments about it, specially that is OS linux

  3. have some friends that love the nokia. it has a screen with enough resolution to be useful to read more than just an adgenda or phone book, battery lasts long enough (just long enough, longer would of course be better), and the linux isn’t X86 but still you can set up a development crosscompiler, etc. ssh and shell are both readily installable, and that’s as easy as it was on Yopy or Zaurus (i love my Zaurus but the small screen is an issue for really replacing a laptop, but it’s the battery life when doing wifi that makes the Zaurus suck). for years i carried one of the original Palm devices and loved the infinite batter life, black and white screen was ok with me, and i had the external folding keyboard and used it lots for entering information in the field. if i were to get a nikia, i’d find a way to add a folding keyboard as i need to talk a lot with my fingers ;-). one thing to note is that the nokia is very sensitive wifi, it will talk way farther away from an access port than any laptop and when you’re in closer you have a greater fade margin so communications is really reliable. rumors have it that nokia may make a wifi/cell-phone-data device so you can use the cheap wifi when available and still use it when out where no wifi exists.

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