Congratulations to RickMG, our Smartphone Round Robin Grand Prize Winner!
I look forward to hearing which smartphone RickMG chooses for his sweet prize! And RickMG will have fun accessorizing his new toy with the $150 coupon at the Smartphone Experts Store.
And of course we have three runner up prizes of $100 also good at one of the Smartphone Expert Stores.
The Round Robin Contest Runners up are:
Congrats to all the winners!
Note: Dieter will be contacting the winners via their registered email accounts later today.
Round Robin Editor's Views of the Treo 680 on Palm OS
Well, the Round Robin has been a heck of a fun ride. I really enjoyed using the different smartphones for a week. I mean, heck, what gadget freak wouldn't enjoy learning about different devices and the platforms that they run on? It was a fun learning experience that made me see strengths and weaknesses in my own platform of choice. All the editors in the Round Robin wrote up our views on the different platforms. Let's take a look at what the other editors had to say about the Palm OS.
CrackBerry.com Kevin Michaluk
While the Treo 680 is probably the most BlackBerry-like smartphone in the Round Robin, it turned out to be the device I had the most difficult time with. While the Tilt running Windows Mobile is very "computer like" and the iPhone is simple in that there's only one way to navigate the OS, Palm's operating system was alien to me at first. The separation between Phone and PDA as well as the "Should I try to use the touchscreen or multi-control button and keyboard?" conundrum had me stumped. I think if I was a brand new smartphone user I would have found learning the device to be intuitive my BlackBerry familiarity tainted the experience.
As I grew more familiar with the device, I grew to like it a lot more. The device is very customizable (programmable shortcuts galore!) and there are sooo many applications available for the Palm OS that with a bit of time and effort you can make the 680 do whatever you want, how you want. The Palm OS also gives off this sort of "friendly" factor it's fun to use and I found the OS to be the fastest of the bunch. Like the BlackBerry OS, the Palm OS is going to need a bit of a facelift in order to keep up with the new standard of "prettiness" set by the iPhone, but after using the Treo its easy to see why it has been such a popular device for all these years.
CrackBerry Kevin's First Impressions and his Final Thoughts.
WmExperts Dieter Bohn
From a Windows Mobile users's perspective, the PalmOS Treo offers precious few advantages - though I do mean "precious" in both positive and negative ways. The positive ways: the PalmOS is snappy, stable, and relatively powerful. If you're looking for a smartphone that will be able to cover all the "smartphone bases" and do it with an incredibly intuitive interface (I think the touchscreen is important to that interface), then the PalmOS is worth a look. Especially the Palm Centro.
Now the downside - Windows Mobile can do pretty much everything the PalmOS can do and much more, albeit in a clunkier interface. So while I occasionally envy PalmOS users their improved speed and simplicity, I never feel like I'm missing out on anything. Whenever somebody with a standard phone says to me "I'm thinking about getting one of those smartphones," the PalmOS Treo is still the one I am most likely to suggest - as I said it covers the bases. Truth be told, though, it usually only takes a handful of questions to find out they're looking for one of the other 3 in the Round Robin.
Dieter's First Look and his Final Impressions.
phone different Mike Overbo
The Treo 680 is an incredible device. It's got a nice, big touchscreen, it can run a bunch of 3rd party apps, it runs things
pretty quick. There's a lot of headroom for folks that are computer-
savvy and like to tweak, but everything is still very simple to use.
I used a Treo 680 as my main smartphone for many months, it's a good
device. It runs most of the big-name devices, and most of the big-
name software companies still put their software out for Palm OS
devices. Some big-name software companies unfortunately treat it like
it was dead.
Palm has been a bit hit-or-miss when it comes to updates and smartphone software in recent memory, leaving some of their users in the lurch. They've lost some of their happy customers, and I think a lot of their current customers are occupied by a "buyer beware"
mentality, even though they're happy. This is mostly because Palm OS,
the system that runs Treos and Centros, is a bit long in the tooth.
The future of Palm OS is pretty uncertain -- Palm is replacing Palm OS
with a new Linux OS that could end up better than anything currently
out there. I have a hard time recommending the Treo 680 at this
point, but if Palm comes out with something that's Centro-sized and
Centro-priced for all the carriers, I'd happily recommend it to pretty
much anyone. It is my unfortunate duty to inform you that Treo owners
bailed out for the iPhone at alarming rates.
Palm OS and BlackBerry are pretty much in a dead heat for 3rd and 4th place in my eyes. I feel hesitant recommending Palm OS to new users because Palm OS isn't necessarily the safest bet long-term. I want to recommend things that have long futures in front of them. I used the 680 as my main phone for about half a year and was very happy with it.
Mike's First Looks and Final Thoughts.
The Palm OS is My Platform of Choice
Since the very first day that I picked up a Palm handheld, I loved how easy it was to find my way around on the device. I've said before that my peabrain needs for things to be simple. Not that the Palm OS is for simple-minded people; I'm just saying that it's perfect for me. ;-) My sleep-deprived (ten plus years of insomnia) brain doesn't have much of an attention span these days and can't retain information like it used to so the simplicity of the Palm OS is appreciated. I don't have to go searching through endless folders and menus to find what I need. All my apps are on my Main screen and I can easily tap on them with the stylus. The Treo 680 can be used one handed by moving around the apps with the 5-way navigation buttons. The built-in full QWERTY keyboard is easy to type on and has nice tactile feedback. The keyboard makes sending emails and texts easy and fun. Ill never ever go back to one of those phones without a built-in keyboard where you have to use the T9 text entry.
If your battery gets low, you can swap it out for a fresh one. You never have to run out of power, and you don't have to send your device off to have the battery replaced. The Treo works great out of the box, and you can sync your information via Palm Desktop or Outlook on your PC. You can sync your Calendar, Contacts, Memos, Tasks, Media, and Versamail. You can customize your Treo by changing the color themes, choosing a pic for your wallpaper on your Calendar or Phone App. And if you want to customize it even more, you can get a 3rd party launcher like ZLauncher. And speaking of 3rd party apps, there is a tremendous amount to choose from, such as games, utilities, ebooks, video converters, real estate software, weather apps, etc. There are many more but I dont have time to list them all.
Anyway, Palm just works for me. It does what I need it to do, does it nicely, and makes things fun. Everytime someone sees my 680, they want to play with it and ask how they can get one. They love how it looks and how easy it is to use. The platform might be getting old (and I certainly admit that fact) compared to some of the newer platforms out there, but I'm comfortable with the ease of use, so Ill just stay in my comfort zone. However, I think we'll all be in for quite a treat when the new Palm OS on the Linux platform is ready to roll out. Will the wait be worth it? I have a feeling that it will be. In the meantime, Id be happy to get a Centro if AT&T offered a GSM version just to use as an extra phone. ;-)
Congratulations again to our winners, and Thank You to all those who participated in the Smartphone Round Robin! Everyone's posts are very much appreciated and I had so much fun reading all your thoughts on the smartphones! And it was really great to hook up with the great folks over at CrackBerry.com too!
Note: The Smartphone Round Robin editors have been kindly invited to be on Mobile Computing Authority to talk about our experiences with the Round Robin. We sure do appreciate the invitation and look forward to chatting with the guys over at MCA! You can listen to the podcast this coming Saturday morning.