A Cortina of a PDA
Posted on 17 Jun 2004 at 14:23
Mark Needham revs in excitement at the wondrously inexpensive efficiency offered by Palm's budget handheld
Like Outlook, Agendus allows you to address all your contacts, diary information, to-do list items and (in the professional version) email from within a single program. Agendus not only allows more categories in your address book, it also imports and synchronises all the contact history you can create in Outlook: if you use the functionality in Outlook that allows you to record details of phone calls, meetings or journal entries, this program will bring over these details onto your Palm. Agendus has an impressive number of options for showing diary information. Today's appointments can be shown in a list, like the Palm Date Book; as a copy of Pocket PC's Today screen; or a split screen showing appointments and to-dos one above the other. There's a range of four different week views, which is a big improvement on the built-in application where the week view has always been poor. There are similar innovations on the monthly or quarterly views: for example, all your appointments or tasks can be livened up with icons, which then show through in some of the views, like the month view shown in the screenshot.
There's not enough space here to go into all the different features of Agendus, but as you can see in the screenshots, it allows you to view your address and diary information in many more ways than the built-in software, and also allows you to change the colours and wallpaper to brighten up your Palm machine.
The issue of whether Bluetooth is worth bothering with continues to generate some useful correspondence (email me on firstname.lastname@example.org):
Getting Bluetooth to work is only just part of the problem; keeping it working is equally as hard. I bought a Siemens S55 about a year ago, and a state-of-the-art Sony Ericsson Bluetooth headset. The headset went back and I had to settle for a Siemens model to be sure it would work properly. Even that one only lasted a month before it had to be replaced as it simply stopped working. They're also useless if you're walking around somewhere windy like Canary Wharf. You really need something that plugs into your ear to be heard, as the headsets pick up so much background noise.
The biggest drawback of Bluetooth, though, is battery life. I'm often on calls that last for more than an hour, and both the phone battery and the headset battery plummet towards the empty mark on such calls. Even at home it's no good, because though you can charge your mobile while using it, which ties you to near a power point, none of the Bluetooth headsets I've seen so far can be charged and used at the same time. All in all, Bluetooth for mobile phones is pretty poor right now, and I've given up on it until someone tells me it's got better. Are you going to tell me it has?
On a more positive note, wireless networking really has come of age at home. I live in a three-floor townhouse, and the 11b standard was poor at the extremes of the house and non-existent outside (I have the router under my desk on the middle floor). Putting 54g cards in my PCs has resolved all that. It may not feel much quicker, if at all, but the range is much, much better. It's definitely worth having.
Radixs is thin and smart
Radixs (www.radixs.com) is a 45-man Singapore startup company that has announced a new operating system for the next generation of smartphones, to challenge Symbian, Palm and Windows Smartphone.
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