What's the Difference Between AvantGo and Coola?
Someone recently submitted a bit of site Feedback that said:
I have never been able to understand the advantages of Coola. I am VERY interested in using the product, but I am unclear as to how it is different from AvantGo.Confusion between the two is common because they both transfer content from the Web onto your Palm. The difference is when that transfer happens. With AvantGo, the text is transferred before you have read it, with Coola, it happens after. One isn't better than the other because they should be used for different things.
With AvantGo, you subscribe to channels that are like miniature Web sites that have been pre-formated for the Palm. After you subscribe to a channel, it is downloaded onto your Palm whenever you HotSync. If the channel changes, the new pages are downloaded the next time you sync.
When you subscribe to a channel, you don't know specifically what you are getting. For example, if you subscribe to the New York Times Daily Headlines, you know you are going to get a group of news articles but you don't know exactly what that will contain.
After the HotSync, you read what you downloaded with the AvantGo Web browser. AvantGo can also act as an online Web browser too, if you have an Internet connection for your Palm, either wired or wireless.
Advantages: AvantGo is very convenient. Once you subscribe to some channels, they are updated whenever you sync, without any intervention. There are hundreds of channels available. There are both Windows and Macintosh versions. Also, AvantGo removes the need to have another browser on your Palm.
Disadvantages: Because you don't control exactly what gets saved, you end up wasting space on your Palm with content you aren't interested in or have read already. Also, the AvantGo app takes up a lot of memory. It is basically a full web browser and uses over 300KB before any content is downloaded. While it can display sites that haven't been specially formatted for handhelds, these can be difficult to use because they are formatted for a much larger screen. And most irritating because it makes no sense, you can't cut and paste out of AvantGo.
With Coola, you can read something on the Web using your Desktop browser and decide you want to save it on your Palm to use later. After you make the text into a Coolet, it will be saved onto your Palm on your next HotSync. Or a Web site creator can make the Coolet for you ahead of time and put a button on the page that, when clicked on, will save the text onto your Palm at your next sync. (Palm Infocenter offers this.) The text is saved in Memo Pad format and you can read it with that built-in app.
Coola doesn't stop there, though. You don't have to transfer the text onto your Palm; You can e-mail it to another Coola user to save onto their Palm. And Coolets can be more than just text. They can be used to save Address Book entries or Calendar entries that can be placed on Web pages or e-mailed. This is great for Palm user groups to notify everyone when meetings are.
Advantages: You have a lot of control over what goes onto your Palm and you only get exactly what you want. The Coola app that resides on your Palm is tiny, only 4KB. And the ability to e-mail Address Book and Calendar entries is great!
Disadvantages: You have to manually tell your computer to save something onto your Palm so you don't want to use this to try to keep up with current events; by the time you've saved something with Coola, you could have just read it. Also, there isn't a lot of support for Coola yet on the Web. And speaking of support, there is only a Windows version available and Coola Right Click, the best feature, only works on Internet Explorer. Memo Pad limits text to at most 4 thousand characters so that's as long as a Coolet can be.
I have to admit, I'm not a Coola expert. I've used it a bit and read all I could on their site when I was writing this but it is possible I missed something. If so, please chime in below.
I don't think the two applications are mutually exclusive because they perform different tasks. AvantGo lets you keep up to date on breaking news while Coola lets you use you Palm as a reference tool by you doing your research on your PC then moving it to your Palm. And everyone who is in a group of Palm users could use Coola's ability to e-mail Address Book and Calendar entries.
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