Without question PocketPC is currently probably more powerful than
Palm OS, with the current Palm OS 5, Palm has just started making up
a significant amount of ground with support for more multimedia use
and with much faster processors. However, that being said, Palm OS
based PDAs are far more commonplace, esp among medical students and
residents, and for this reason, I would recommend them to medical professionals.
In addition, the superior battery life and compact size of the Palm
OS PDAs make them better for busy medical residents.
There is really one one choice in Palm OS handhelds in the US, PalmOne.
Palm: Palm has reinvented itself as a top hardware innovator over the
last year. Generally speaking, all the new models have been far more
powerful than the previous m series or the original Palm Zire. For
medical use, it would not be worth investing in these models.
For the new lineup, the Tungsten line is promoted as the business PDA
line for Palm. The Tungsten C includes the fastest currently available
processor in a PDA, the Xscale processor @ 400Mhz SCREAMS. It also
adds a built-in mini keyboard for those of you who don’t like
to tap and use Graffitti. With the addition of built in wireless 802.11b
networking, this one is great to use in wireless environtments. The Tungsten T series is similar, with a fast 144Mhz OMAP processor, which
is dramatically faster than any Palm m series, or Sony SJ,T series
Clies. The Tungsten T (T2 has a new, improved transreflective screen
and 32MB of RAM) line also includes bluetooth networking for wireless
syncing and transmitting.
The most intriguing Palm OS device is the new Palm
Zire 71, priced
@ $249 retail (and less online), this low priced unit combines the
best screen on the market, with a superfast processor, Palm OS 5, with
a built in digital camera, and MP3 playback it’s amazing! See
In addition, Palm has finallystarted to include a hi-res 320x320 color
screen on all their latest models. Palm has continued to drop prices
recently, and has supported the use of Multimedia Card (MMC) and Secure
Digital (SD) card for memory expansion. The current Palm offerings
share the same Universal Connector on the bottom side, which allows
them to share hardware add-ons such as keyboards. The Palm B&W
models currently available, are simply not worth the investment for
medical use, unless you’re really strapped for cash. Then the
Sony models offer better value for the introductory end.
Sony: Sony, after flourishing, with
the rapid introduction of several innovative models has decided to
exit the Palm OS handheld market in the US. Sony has support
for 320x320 pixel resolution on most available models. They also have
entry level B&W as well as feature packed color models. Recently
Sony introduced the powerful UX series that
looks like a microlaptop! The $599+ pricetag puts it out of the range
of most buyers though.
The flip top style of the NV, NX series provides a large screen area,
built in keyboard, as well as more powerful cameras than the Palm Zire
71, but the bulk of the unit is the tradeoff.
For the lower end, the SJ series is still popular, with it’s
compact size replacing the popular T series, adding MP3 playback, LI-ION
battery, and upgradability.
Sony supports it’s Memory Stick standard for memory upgrades.
These are currently manufactured by Sony and various third party companies.
Sony also has
the innovative Jog Dial, kind of like the scroll wheel on your computer mouse.
Handspring: The current line of Treo handhelds
are more smartphones than Palm OS centered devices and have since been absorbed
PDA together, consider
the Treo 600.
How much memory do I need?
The bare minimum is 16MB, however I strongly recommend 32MB of built in memory
or hopefully more!.
Adding additional memory to your PDA is NOT as seamless as it is when upgrading
your computer. Save the headaches and start with more memory! When you start
adding Epocrates, MedCalc, and 5 Minute Clinical Consult to your PDA, your memory
will run out! (and don’t forget the games!)
Does it matter if I have a PC or Mac?
Not really! All Palm and Handspring PDAs sync with both the Mac and PC right
out of the box. And although it is not stated on the Box, most current Sony Clie
models also sync with Macs (in OS 9 or Mac OS X.) A third party conduit from
Markspace also allows other models to sync with your mac.