Monday, September 1, 2008

The Continuing Search for Mobile Nirvana


For this week's 1SRC Editorial, I continue my search for mobile computing bliss for a smartphone/keyboard solution that will afford me a more flexible solution while I wait for Palm to release a Foleo.

From this week's editorial:

I love the idea of having information at my fingertips. Whether it is my PIM information, the mobile web, or my documents. In the last few years, I've only been able to achieve half of my mobile Nirvana. Once again I am going to try for mobile bliss.

The Story So Far

Back in the 1990's I had the dynamic duo of PDAs: a Palm handheld and a folding hardware connected full sized keyboard. It was a winning combination that kept me productive on the go. Type in web addresses was a snap, composing email messages was a breeze, and taking notes in meetings couldn't be easier. That last point also ensured I was able to read my notes after the meeting.

When I made the jump to a Treo, things started to fall apart. Wireless keyboards, connecting over Infrared or Bluetooth were plagued with connection and compatibility problems. In the end, I became frustrated with the whole solution of wireless keyboards and I gave up on the idea and went back to using pen and paper. Not exactly the technological wonder I was looking for.

Mobile Bliss Take 3

"They" say that the third time is a charm. I'm hoping that the saying rings true.

I have a small collection of wireless keyboards in the bottom drawer of my desk. The latest addition to my collection is the iGo/ThinkOutsde Bluetooth Sierra wireless keyboard. I originally purchased it to pair up with my Treo 700p. Any one who has used a Treo 700p in the past knows that the Bluetooth stack had, to put it politely, issues.

Years later, I have come to own a Palm Treo 750 powered by Windows Mobile Professional 6.0. While doing some "fall cleaning" in m home office, I came across my Sierra keyboard. Could this Windows Mobile device and this Bluetooth keyboard offer the solution that I have been longing for?

Read the full editorial over at 1SRC.com...

I’ll provide you with an update to see how I’m doing with my Treo 750 and iGo/ThinkOutside Bluetooth Sierra wireless keyboard during this week’s 1SRC podcast, show 197, and 1SRC Chat on 9/6/08.

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1 Comments:

Anonymous Mags said...

Alan, I use the Palm-branded Bluetooth keyboard with my Treo 680 and it works pretty well. Occasionally it drops the connection for unexplained reasons (usually when I'm typing really fast and start backing up to correct an error, as is my custom). If I don't turn off Bluetooth afterwards, sometimes I can start typing and the Treo will automatically pick up the keyboard again without having to use the keyboard app, even a few days later. It takes a few seconds, but easier and faster than going through the app. And it's not killing the keyboard batteries either--they last FOREVER.

It's not the perfect solution for me. I would have loved a Foleo. I'm becoming increasingly dissatisfied with using the tiny Treo screen for writing long documents. The keyboard is fine for longish e-mails, though, so it is usually in my bag. I prefer using my Toshiba Portege for mobile writing, though I hate carrying it around, especially with the auxiliary battery and power brick, but it's necessary if I want to use it for more than an hour. I would love something I could put in my everyday handbag with long enough battery life that I could leave the charger at home. LIKE A FOLEO. ;-) I'm waiting to see about the Dell netbook but I'm not sure the keyboard will be satisfactory, though a co-worker has the Eee PC and she said one grows accustomed to the tiny keyboard.

I will add that I have some pretty nifty gadgets (including an e-Ink e-book reader) and the one that gets the most attention in public is the Bluetooth keyboard paired with the Treo. People literally skid to a stop and exclaim over it and demand a demonstration. Most of them are BlackBerry users. I have a theory that a sizable percentage of BlackBerry users only have it for work and otherwise would be perfectly happy with a nice RAZR and waiting to get home to do e-mail, and they are probably a bit frustrated by using the tiny keyboard.

Sorry for the dissertation...

September 3, 2008 12:23 AM  

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