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Image:a Palm user since 2000, I’ve ditched my Treo for a I've had my Treo 680 since they came out (Palm IIIcImage:a Palm user since 2000, I’ve ditched my Treo for aTreo 300Image:a Palm user since 2000, I’ve ditched my Treo for aTreo 600Image:a Palm user since 2000, I’ve ditched my Treo for aTreo 680) and it has served me extremely well. It does things that the iPhone and older Blackberries just can't, including simple things like having a replaceable battery (critical when camping!) and Bluetooth stereo audio.
But it's showing it's age - the case is cracked badly (of course, I've dropped it 3,000 times and it's still holding together), the stylus went AWOL about a 6 months ago when one of my kids was using it. But it's so easy to use one-handed that between the touchscreen and the center rocker I have not needed the stylus in years.

CraigRANT(tm) One of things that I gather in talking to other folks is that there is a strong opinion that whatever PDA they have that works for them is the best one for everyone else. I mean it's so obvious, why can't you see that? This is just flat untrue. I've always maintained that they're called PDAs (Personal Digitial Assistants) for a reason: everyone has a wide mix of personal needs, predilections,  and preferences that drive what's good to them. Some folks crave the beauty and spotlight that comes with it. Some folks just want something that works. I tend to fall into the last category.

So what would I replace it with?

I've gone to the Blackberry Bold. It met all my criteria before going to it, and it's been excellent.  The screen is awesome. The keyboard is excellent, but I'm still getting used to it compared to the Treo. I am happy that some of the keys (like underscore) that I used to have to use the option method on the Treo are easy to get to.

Some of my Criteria

Call Quality and reliability
: Calls are clear across a wide range of areas. As noted, I (self) installed a nice Pioneer FH-P8000BT bluetooth stereo in my car, and the phone works perfectly with it. Overall, a much better, more stable experience than the Treo - which was itself a pleasure.

Internet Access
: Internet is fast and pretty good. The default browser is quite workable (no Ajax), and Opera Mini (Ajax support) works very well as well.

It's a Blackberry, not an iPhone. It works. It works awesomely. Nice new point: I had Docs To Go on my Treo and loved it - easy to view/edit Word/Excel/PowerPoint/PDFs. (No, I never edited a PowerPoint, but I could have). And the Bold has Docs To Go. Sweet.

: This is the area where I have been most happy.
The audio/stereo part works very well, and it syncs with iTunes. This is the part I didn't realize. I keep all of my music in MP3 format, so that works great. My playlists & podcasts sync perfectly and reliably. Mr. Elgort and Mr. Robichaux sound great. As do the new GNR and AC/DC albums.
The video is awesome. I've ripped Raiders of the Lost Ark, Star Trek II, Independence Day, The Incredibles, etc. and put them on the memory card. They look great. I guess I should rip some more esoteric films, but that's the start.

: One of the great things about the Treo was the 10000s of free apps available. I've found to my surprise that there are many free apps available that work great with the bold. Facebook, Twitter (no, I don't use it), VNC, Google Maps with GPS, and of course games for the kids to play.

One thing I miss:
A touch screen. I can't tell you how many times I've been scrolling the scrolly wheel and just tried to click on the screen were I'm trying to go. I know the Storm has a touchscreen, but I'll take that trade off. I love the Storm's (and iPhone's) full screen and interface, but not having a full keyboard would kill me - again it depends on you. If you mostly read email and post short replies, then the Storm/iPhone are great. If you craft longer email & responses, then you pretty much need a full keyboard.

One thing RIM should add to the Bold:
A simple Sound On/Off slider switch. The Bold has a Mute button at the top but it gives no feed back about it's status, and it's finicky - it doesn't respond right away and it's easy to hit it twice thinking the first press didn't take. The slider switch on the Treo is MUCH better. Since I carry my Treo/Bold in my pocket the slider made it easy to just reach in and tactically know if it was on or off without pulling out the PDA.
Image:a Palm user since 2000, I’ve ditched my Treo for a

One (odd) thing I'd like to see. The video is so good and it's actually basicly the same resolution as standard broadcast TV. So, yes, I'd like a video out port so I could hook the Bold up to a TV.

(Mostly) Unrelated Aside
- Best review article title I've seen in a while (even though it's obvious): BlackBerry Storm Downgraded to a Depression

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Craig Wiseman November 25th, 2008 11:11:49 AM