Switching From Pocket PC to Palm OS

Writing on your Palm Editor, Jeff Kirvin, has recently published a in depth guide for making the transition from a Pocket PC device to a Palm Powered device. Jeff goes over everything from the launcher, and file system, to the many third party software applications and enhancements, a good read even if you're a Palm OS regular.

Jeff states, Given that we're now seeing a transition from Windows Powered to Palm Powered devices for power users, I thought I'd write up a little primer to allow Windows people to adjust to a Palm Powered world.


Consumers still tend to see PalmOS devices as simple organizers, and a lot of people that come in to my store with older PalmOS devices start looking at Pocket PCs as the next step "up". What these people don't know is that out of the box, most PalmOS devices handle Word and Excel files better than Pocket Office. PalmOne's Tungsten line and a few Sonys come with Documents To Go, which handles things like tables and styles in Word and charting in Excel flawlessly, compared to Pocket Word and Pocket Excel which simply cut out those features, removing them from the desktop versions of the files, as well. Documents To Go also handles PowerPoint presentations, something Pocket Office doesn't do at all.

Jeff is a long time Palm OS and Pocket PC user with years of experience. At his day job, He manages one of the largest CompUSA retail stores PDA section. The first part of his column is here and follow it up by reading part 2.

Thanks to PDAGeek for the tip.

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Well Done

4s @ 12/31/2003 11:11:29 AM #
This is well done and an interesting read. It is good to know that there is someone so knowledgeable selling PDAs like this. I cannot tell you how many times I have been in stores and heard salespeople tell customers, "PocketPCs are better than Palm because they have more memory" without explaining anything else.

BTW, I began using Palm in 1998 and switched this year to PPC for about a month before going back to Palm. Going back made me realize how much I appreciate simplicity and reliability.

Happy New Year!


i hated the switch

iNOMAD @ 12/31/2003 11:54:55 AM #
Pocket pc to palm os is a hard switch. I have both now, so i have the best of both worlds. I traded in my ipaq 2215 for a tungsten t3 back in october. I hated the t3's launcher, file system, battery, lack of wireless options, buttons, and flip cover. The unit screwed up my 256mb sandisk sd card, and never recgonized any of my audio files. I liked the t3's screen and slider. Pocket pc has much better video players, but qvga just isnt as nice as half vga. Grafiti 2 is a pain, and palm doesnt have handwriting recognition like ms transcriber. I now have an ipaq 4155 and a zodiac1. The z is used for gaming and audio. (wmp doesnt turn off the screen) I use the ipaq for the web (wifi), multiplayer gaming with wifi, videos, and for docs. I use the ipaq for games like pocket quake and afew racing titles, because i can overclock it to 472 mhz with a 220mhz bus.
PPC is still better for professional power users, but palm is getting close.

i have an ipaq 4150, a Zodiac1, a and nextel i95cl.
RE: i hated the switch
Altema @ 12/31/2003 3:50:22 PM #
Man, sounds like you really had a rough time there! The launcher is the first thing to go for me, been a LauncherX user since my first Palm with an expansion slot... can't have an app on your main screen because it's on the card? Forget it! Of course, I only keep games and two utilities there now since RAM has been generous.

The battery was a downer until they fixed the interrupt problem. Now it's ok, but I carry a battery expander for those times when I know I'll be gaming or surfing for a long time. At least it makes it through even extreme days now with ease, something which it did not always do before the ROM update.

Built in wi-fi devices are few for the moment, but you got a good one. I did not care for the Palm Tc, even though I was tempted by the memory for a little while. Nothing wrong with the unit, but it did not suit my needs. Besides, being a network engineer for remote locations means that wi-fi was useless for me 98% of the time, so BT fits my needs to a T. Of course the situation is reversed for a lot of people, with the wi-fi seeing heavy use and BT being useless, but for me it works out with my access point on my belt.

It's strange about the audio, as the T3 plays normal MP3 files like it was made for it. In a pinch, I've even patched it through an 18,000 watt sound system and nobody in the audience knew that it was not multi-track or CD.

Funny you should mention the slider, not too many people here will admit they like it like yourself or I. The buttons work out better in some games, worse in a few. Defender is better with the T1 buttons, Space Combat, Jack, and similar games are better with the T3 layout. Not many device will let you use the Dpad ring and the center button with BOTH thumbs at the same time. I also like the way you can slide your finger or thumb around the rim of the Dpad, and still hit any of the hard buttons by rolling you finger over the edge. Of course, you have the TapWave which has better buttons than anything else out there right now... ;) Developers still need to fix some of their apps, as some are so fast that they cannot even be played. GTS Racing is blindingly fast and uncontrollable. The main character in Jack jumped like a flea, but the developers fixed it in a matter of hours. Speaking of games, you should check out Space Combat which has a Zodiac-specific version coming out soon. The thing has made me late a few times already!

RE: i hated the switch
Verteron @ 12/31/2003 4:28:16 PM #
Just because you hate the launcher and file system doesn't make it bad. I much prefer a launcher to a today screen, and there are great "Today" screens available for Palms too if you're that way inclined (they can even be configured to pop up whenever you press power). You can hardly blame the entire platform for you not getting your T3 to play your audio files. Maybe read the manual, it's not that hard. Although, if you're using WMP audio & video formats I don't know what else you expect (it's a proprietary Microsoft format, after all).

RE: i hated the switch
pixelparadigm @ 1/1/2004 9:36:08 AM #
Buying a Palm was a mistake to me. My aging Pocket PC is still more versatile than the Tungsten. Besides, my Toshiba e310 has a good package and everything seems to be integrated. Pocket PC feels great, or I'm just lucky that this Pocket PC is stable under my use. I also own an A600 but to my perspective, the e310 is enough for a comparison against a Palm device, specifically the Tungsten that I bought.

Unlike the Palm, it feels like a bit emptyhanded and you still have to plunge into the hassle of getting apps. And the software database? Palm may be greater in numbers, but Pocket PC softwares out there are much more to be desired(which makes my PocketPC versatile).

I'm a user who is in need of power... so I may just be the persons suited for the PocketPC not Palm.

RE: i hated the switch
gaia @ 1/1/2004 1:11:29 PM #
I have been back and forth between palm and ppc, and finally decide to stay with palm (until?) for following reasons:

1. stable. Throughout my experience, I reset my pda much more often under ppc than palm. Granted, ppc is improving, but it is not there yet.

2. moving program between internal and external memory. I can move most of palm program between RAM and SD anytime when it's necessary. However, for PPC, I need to decide where to install the program at the beginning. It is kind of inconvenient for me when RAM space is getting smaller and precious.

3. intuitive (this one is totally subjective). I like the way Palm OS handling program. When I close/leave a program, I close it. But under PPC, it is not. It stays on the background and make the PPC runs slower and slower (until a point you need to reset it). I know that I can close it by one/two extra taps on the screen. But it is just not right for me.

Again, these are my experiences. What's most important is to pick the right machine for you!

RE: i hated the switch
mj6798 @ 1/2/2004 11:06:13 AM #
Just because you hate the launcher and file system doesn't make it bad.

PalmOS doesn't have a file system, it has a bunch of internal databases in a linear list, plus some functions for accessing flash cards. There is no uniform treatment of storage.

Does that matter? You bet. With something like a 512M flash card, you'd like to be able to just copy something like HTML, PDF, TIFF, and JPEG files over and then view them with one of the built-in viewers. But most of the Palm applications can't get those files off the flash card, and those that can have inconsistent and confusing ways of accessing it.

Does that make it bad? Well, I'd say so. Maybe you think rats in your home are the cutet thing, too, but most people don't like them.

Palm is a nice organizer that does a few things quite well. But as a general-purpose handheld platform, it has serious problems and limitations. But, then, so does PocketPC--they are just different limitations. And both Palm and PPC mediocrity and market share is keeping good engineering and technical innovation from the reaching the market.

RE: i hated the switch
tarekahf @ 1/3/2004 1:36:51 AM #
Regarding the File System Handling of Palm, I do not think that we can say it is bad because it does not follow the DOS like File/Folder Structure. This is just another well-known system to organize your data and programs for best perfromance possible on Palm based organizers. Do you know that IBM AS/400 uses something similar for its file system? And they face the same problem when they want to interface with the PCs, where they need to add a bride some kind to integrate them together.

Addendum to Kirvin's notes...

Cutting Crew 2 @ 12/31/2003 12:00:57 PM #
**REQUISITE DISCLAIMER: I am no longer in the employ of Cutting Edge Software**

I feel compelled to add a note that Quickoffice Premier users also enjoy substantial benefits over PocketOffice users. (www.quickoffice.com)

It's of note that worldwide Palm OS customers enjoy the substantial benefit of having COMPETITION work to help create very solid CHOICES for office document handling. Many are unaware that Quickoffice is available with select device 'bundled' solutions from Kyocera, AlphaSmart, Handspring, and palmOne...

P.S.: No new Sony devices for the past year have included Docs To Go, but DO include the very interesting Picsel Viewer application which also runs circles around PocketOffice in some ways.

Mike Compeau
Compeau-Fawkes Mobility Consulting

RE: Addendum to Kirvin's notes...
SKA @ 12/31/2003 12:38:13 PM #
Well obviously all the competition Palm economy can muster still hasn't produced office software the level of Textmaker.

When it land on POS, you guys might as well close your shop. DTG/QO don't measure up to textmaker/planmaker.

How long did it take you guys to wirte a real office apps instead of a conduit client? 4 years? lol.

I wonder what will happen if Openoffice is ported to handheld.

RE: Addendum to Kirvin's notes...
JKingGrim @ 12/31/2003 1:44:31 PM #
Yes Ska Textmaker is great. For word documents. Correct me if I am wrong, but I don't believe Textmaker can do Excel sheets or Powerpoint. And don't bother bringing up some Spreadsheet app to brag about. It would be just sad if you have to have two PPC apps to match one for POS.

Anyway, Textmaker is comming to POS.

RE: Addendum to Kirvin's notes...
hotpaw4 @ 12/31/2003 6:34:58 PM #
someone wrote:
> I wonder what will happen if Openoffice is ported to handheld.

The same thing that happens to all bloated applications when naively ported to systems with relatively small caches and limited program memory (which are designed that way to improve battery life).

RE: Addendum to Kirvin's notes...
Courante @ 12/31/2003 7:23:09 PM #
The next intel spu has more than double computing power, and some high end PDA already come with 128MB RAM.

open office definitely doesn't need that much computing power.

I can't keep track of Jeff!

Foo Fighter @ 12/31/2003 12:10:48 PM #
I've always liked Jeff, but the darn guy keeps switching his opinions back and forth like a ping pong match. One minute he's proudly announcing his switch to PPC....the next minute he is trumpeting the joys of Palm. Good thing he isn't using a Mac or he would be Apple's worst nightmare: A switcher that won't stay switched. ;-)

My blog: www.pocketfactory.com
RE: I can't keep track of Jeff!
Foo Fighter @ 12/31/2003 12:15:03 PM #
Kind of like that Mike Cane character! ;-)

My blog: www.pocketfactory.com
RE: I can't keep track of Jeff!
Wollombi @ 12/31/2003 12:49:11 PM #
Well, all I can say to that is that tastes, needs, and opinions all tend to change over time. I see Jeff and Mike as being pretty much platform agnostic, and will use what best suits their needs and desires at the moment.


Always remember that you are unique. Just like everyone else.

RE: I can't keep track of Jeff!
Foo Fighter @ 12/31/2003 12:55:08 PM #
I see Jeff and Mike as being pretty much platform agnostic

True, but I am a little more platform agnostic than either one because I use BOTH platforms. Beat that! ;-)

My blog: www.pocketfactory.com

RE: I can't keep track of Jeff!
jkirvin @ 12/31/2003 3:03:58 PM #
Actually, I'm buying an eMac in the spring. I'm also using a Microsoft Smartphone along with my Tungsten E. I'll use whatever works. Period.


RE: I can't keep track of Jeff!
Courante @ 12/31/2003 5:38:35 PM #
translation: "I need something to fill my blog"?

The primary reason you cite on moving to PC has not changed in fundamental way. So obviously "whatever works' is just that... whatever...

This is YOUR OWN criteria, obviously T|E doesn't even satisfy half of the criteria.

RE: I can't keep track of Jeff!
abosco @ 1/1/2004 2:51:21 AM #
Man.. it really annoys you that much that someone can possibly prefer Palm over PPC.

Man.. even while drunk, your statements are still dumb.

NX80v + Wifi + BT + T616

RE: I can't keep track of Jeff!
mikecane @ 1/3/2004 4:32:50 PM #
>>>Man.. even while drunk

What the hell are you doing drinking at *your* age, abosco? Has ska driven you to it? Or Sony?

Summary of article

M3wThr33 @ 12/31/2003 2:51:10 PM #
"You can do more with a Palm, you just have to download/purchase the programs to do it."

I don't think you understand the gravity of the situation. We're in space.
RE: Summary of article
mikecane @ 1/3/2004 4:33:34 PM #
Well, let's not forget it can no longer run Hackmaster (or its variants). There goes 1/4th of past added functionality!

PPC to Palm switcher

maflynn @ 12/31/2003 3:43:52 PM #
I'm new here and to the Palm world. I've been a PPC user for a few years now. I have to agree with Jeff as I'm one of those switchers.
Here's some reasons why switched partly covered by Jeff.
1. Better support for office apps: Pocket excel and pocket word really don't make the grade I need a spreadsheet with more power.
2. A stable OS, I needed to softreset my PPC everyday. reading through various forums this is not an uncommon trait.
3. Form factor - size matters and palm continually puts alot into a small footprint.
4. Ease of use, accessing various elements within the pda takes but one or two taps on the palm and four or five on the ppc.

So for me the palm works better. I wish palm had a better plug-in or themeing ability like what's available for the PPC.


RE: PPC to Palm switcher
acaltabiano @ 12/31/2003 4:11:30 PM #
Mike, check out Facer from pockectcraft.com, or go to handango and check out appshelf. Both are skinable (appshelf moreso). Facer is a good replica of the ppc today page, methinks.

RE: PPC to Palm switcher
FIA WRC @ 12/31/2003 7:07:48 PM #
Or you can try Wassup. Agendus also has a Today screen and every other view you may need.
RE: PPC to Palm switcher
Courante @ 1/1/2004 1:25:48 AM #
>>> Better support for office apps: Pocket excel and pocket word really don't make the grade I need a spreadsheet with more power. <<<

gimme a break. pExcel is more powerfull than DTG, and spreadCE is more powerfull than Palm can offer.
here is comparison chart again. And show me DTG can match SpreadCE.

RE: PPC to Palm switcher
Courante @ 1/1/2004 1:29:08 AM #
>>>3. Form factor - size matters and palm continually puts alot into a small footprint.
4. Ease of use, accessing various elements within the pda takes but one or two taps on the palm and four or five on the ppc.<<<

So tell me again which PPC you owned? don't tell me it was the 3600. easy access? one word: tdLaunch.

RE: PPC to Palm switcher
maflynn @ 1/1/2004 10:11:30 AM #
Thanks all for the info,
I would have responded earlier but news eve celebration took precedent :)

I'll start looking at the software mentioned.

I had a ipaq 3600 series, 3800 series and then an ipaq 1910. the 1910 fit the form factor I wanted (it was slow) and unstable it was literally the worst pda I ever bought. when it finally died I picked up a T3 which I was looking at for a month or two.


RE: PPC to Palm switcher
maflynn @ 1/2/2004 8:54:27 AM #
<here is comparison chart again. And show me DTG can match SpreadCE.>>

One other relpy regarding excel compatability. I had not heard about pExcel but I did try spreadce and I didn't like it.


RE: PPC to Palm switcher
Altema @ 1/2/2004 9:06:12 PM #
"And show me DTG can match SpreadCE."

SpreadCE does not support in-cell editing or 3D charts, in addition to a few other missing features. Like Mike, I downloaded SpreadCE and gave it a spin for a couple of weeks. It was just too awkward for me. It does have a few advantages, but being inferior in it's sync abilities was a deal breaker. Seems like everybody on earth knows this except for two or three persons.

Another reason to stay with Palm or come back to Palm

Konstantin @ 12/31/2003 6:00:04 PM #
Palm OS is just great! (period)

RE: Another reason to stay with Palm or come back to Palm
RhinoSteve @ 1/1/2004 12:00:14 AM #
You have that right. Frankly, switching from PPC to Palm is kinda like walking away from an abusive relationship and comming clean as you gain self respect.

I went the other way

ThunderCracker @ 1/2/2004 12:17:23 PM #
As you can see from my signature, I have been around the block quite a bit.

I gave up my Tungsten E for one reason. Palm's lack of support for a SD Bluetooth card for OS5. Major mistake, and I was tired of waiting.

That said, I am happy with my switch back to my halfpaq. I have found that I am often on the Internet, and MSN Messenger, and sending and receiving email at the same time.

For me, the Pocket PC does things a lot better for me. I can use regular graffitti, and I am just more comfortable with the intregration with Outlook.

Your milage may vary. I would have given the E more of a chance if Palm would have worked out the Bluetooth support by now.

Palm III --> Compaq Areo 1550 --> Palm IIIc --> Visor Edge --> Casio EM500 --> Sony T415 --> Compaq 3670 --> Dell Axim x5 Advanced --> Sony SJ20 --> Palm T|E --> HP H1945/T610

RE: I went the other way
mikecane @ 1/3/2004 4:35:48 PM #
I see a Toshiba e8xx in your future...

RE: I went the other way
mikecane @ 1/3/2004 4:44:54 PM #
... and just to be mean and tempt you:


Such garbage.

klam @ 1/2/2004 5:11:31 PM #
This article is such garbage.

This author compares an out-of-the-box PocketPC to a Palm with third-party add-on software! I mean comparing how superior DTG is superior to the built-in Pocket Office applications is absurd. The fair comparison would be Pocket Office to Memo Pad and lack thereof of any spread sheet. If we wanted to compare apples to apples, we could compare PocketPC's TextMaker, SpreadCE, PlanMaker, WestTek ClearVue, PocketSlides to DTG or QuickOffice, and you'd be surprise just how much more advanced these PocketPC applications really are.

Then they compare Datebk5 and Agendus to Pocket Outlook?! C'mon, why not compare those applications to Agenda Fusion or Pocket Informant?

There are comparisons made of AeroPlayer to Windows Media Player. Which again is third-party versus built-in. In many cases, Palm doesn't even have a built-in player. Why not compare it to GSPlayer, PocketPlayer, WithMP3, PocketMVP, or one of the many other PocketPC players. Many of which are freeware by the way, do OGG, DivX movies, etc.

Let's not even begin to talk about Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, compatibility with Windows-based PCs, and a real file system. I can copy files to and from PCs on a network, work with them natively, without the need for conduits, HotSync, or any of that other stuff!

I mean there is so much editorial bias, it's upsetting that such rubbish is published. For gawd sakes, they keep harping about that PocketPC OS problem where applications are not being closed, and instead they are just merely minimized. For your information, there are tons of easy-to-use, freeware applications that do solve this deficiency in the PocketPC OS (e.g. Icbar, vBar, WisBar). So it is not as big a problem as some of these people make it out to be...

Then there is the comments about the 320x240 screens on PocketPC. I say watch out, as PocketPCs start rolling out in 640x480 (like the Toshiba e805). Plus, when Palm was 160x160 4-shades, PocketPC was already working in high-res color.

I've owned Palm for a long time but have recently owned two PocketPCs. I was happy when I used both types of devices. But as my needs grew, Palm was unable to handle that and I needed to make a move to PocketPC. I still think Palm is a worthwhile platform but it suits different needs. That is the one point I agree with the author on.

And for the record, this Christmas, I bought two Tungsten Es and a Zire 21 for family and friends...

RE: Such garbage.
Altema @ 1/2/2004 9:16:34 PM #
DTG is free, and yes, even installed in ROM on some models. The author was referring to higher end devices like the T3.

Every Palm device with MP3 capabilites comes with the RealOne player.

Regarding wi-fi, the Palm TC is faster than any PPC (at least at the time of testing a few months ago), but if I was going to be a heavy wi-fi user, I'd prefer the PPC screen over the TC screen despite the lower resolution. BT works fine, even well beyond specs. 50 feet through 4 walls for something that is only suppoed to be good for 35 feet is pretty good.

I've used my Palm as a portable hard drive and use it to store everything from zip files to Windows executables without a card reader, it's just a case of know-how. Native Word and Excel handling comes ready to roll, out of the box as well. I don't really use the conduits that much, and will go for days without a hotsync. I usually do it just to have an extra backup. My wife never syncs. I'll grab her device and do a sync once every other month for backup purposes. But then, she's only an average user and does not even charge her handheld every week.

The bias is not all that bad, certainly not as bad as some of the Mobile Windows sites. Neither of them are as bad as some of the sales people who will outright lie to get the bigger commision on certain devices. Imagine a "Trained Sales Professional" telling a customer than it is not possible for Palms to do email or internet. Yep, I've watched it happen at Circuit City and other places, and if you offer a correction, they will dismiss you even if you have the MSN website right on your screen live. It the same as if someone was saying that PPC's do not support color or audio!

Anyways, to each his own. My situation was reversed: I retired my last PPC, and kept Palm for power, speed and reliability.

RE: Such garbage.
Altema @ 1/2/2004 9:46:28 PM #
PS: Also for the record, I have recommended PPC in the past depending on the needs of the user.



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