June 21, 2002

We have been (at work) using a Compaq iPaq handheld Pocket PC for some of our applications. We have discovered, though, that this unit is quite useless since it crashes all of the time (Pocket PC 2002 is a Windows operating system!!) and when it does, the only way to restart the machine is to disconnect the battery which erases all of the programs on the unit. And, there is no way to replace the battery. All in all, we are pretty disappointed in the device. It had a lot of potential but it fell very short. Particially because Compaq decided to build a unit exactly like Casio’s and HP’s and didn’t bother to innovate at all. The only things that they did right was drop the price and install a faster processor. But none of the features are better.

Since the iPaq fiasco, Loopy and I decided to try out the newer Sharp Zaurus PDA since it is based on the same fast hardware as the Compaq iPaq but has some enhancements (like replaceable battery, secondary battery backup, built in keyboard, available camera, etc.) and most importantly, it runs on Linux instead of on Windows! So we got the first one today. So far, we are really impressed. Comparable (if you can call it that) hardware from Compaq is $600 and the Zaurus is only $400. The Zaurus is, thus far, better in every way to the Compaq from the size, ergonomics, cost, features, look and software. The Zaurus is a great buy. We are hooked. Pocket PC can kiss my butt.

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