In the red corner - the battered but always ready Ipaq 1930. Nearly four years old and onto his third battery, he's handled a workload of blog post starts, calendar details and to-do lists with less than a dozen soft resets. In the blue corner, the sleek, new and very cocky Nokia e65 with ambitions to push the elderly Pocket PC into permanent retirement. He's got a camera, voice recording, Symbian task management and scorns the use of the old fashioned stylus. Does he have what it takes to manage the ever complex and befuddling world of the South Australian primary school coordinator?
I am a terrible diary user. Being bad at writing what I had to do in a paper based diary forced me to buy the HP Ipaq nearly four years ago. I figured it might make task management fun and then I wouldn't forget so many deadlines. Well, it turned out to be my first dabble in mobile computing and my Ipaq is now the equivalent of my old VL Commodore with over 200,000 k's on the clock. Still does things as well as the day I bought it but of course, the new models have more features and do fancier stuff.
I also got sick of having two devices to lug around - together, my old Nokia mobile and then the Pocket PC meant something fell out of my pocket whenever I wanted change from my wallet. I started with one of those PDA belt clips but I broke that pretty quickly. So this year when I decided that my mobile "brick" needed to go, I figured that maybe a decent mobile phone with the right feature set would be the right move and I could retire the faithful Ipaq. I went shopping, but being a bit of a tightwad I wanted the best phone for the lightest plan and that's why I ended up with the e65. I know that North Americans have been drooling over the iPhone and the iTouch but a recent post from Leonard Low has confirmed that there are deficiencies in their offerings. And it's a moot point because these products aren't available to regular Aussie consumers at the moment. I looked at a Palm Treo but there was no plan here that was below A$80 a month and the guy at AllPhones said that upgrading the software on them was a pain in the proverbial.
The e65 is a pretty good phone for the money but how does it stack up as a replacement for the faithful Ipaq? Well, I now have an anywhere anytime camera which can be pretty handy - photos aren't too bad - so there's one advantage straightaway. The onboard miniSD card means there is stacks of room for data and files. I can view documents, spreadsheets, slideshows but I can't create or edit any of these. Probably just as well - I am a lousy texter and it takes me ages to do the simplest of messages. The wireless capability is a big advantage and I could add a foldout keyboard (a la Mike Seyfang) and create via the web if I so desired. But opportunities and reasons to do so will be few and far between, so checking twitter without booting up my laptop over breakfast is convenient if not entirely necessary. The calendar and tasks functions are very similar and eventually can sync to Outlook if I ever get organised to have that up and running on my work laptop. That was a lot easier to run on the Pocket PC.
What do I still need from my old faithful that the Nokia can't? I still like starting blog posts using Pocket Word during opportune moments and inputting data is much easier using text recognition rather than my clumsy thumb keyboarding skills. But it's much less necessary to have the Ipaq close at hand with me at all times during the work day. So as I'm using it less, I now have to consider whether to purchase a new sync'n'charge cable as I killed my last one the other week and a new battery pack as the current one seems to lose 15% of its charge within the first ten minutes.
The e65 has more capability than what I'm prepared to pay for - Skype, 3G web access, Foxtel - but it's probably the winner for the moment. It's not a knockout by any stretch.
My mobile learning journey continues.
mlearning mobilelearning nokia ipaq mobile