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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GregGaub @ 10/14/2000 2:17:57 PM #
The beauty of Coola is not the right-click thing. As useful as that is, it's 4k limit is too limiting. The real beauty of Coola is the DIRECT insertion of the coolet you click on into the appropriate place on your Palm. For example:

1) click on an address Coolet (button/link) and the address is put into your address book. No need to type/graffiti anything, and all the information is there where it needs to be. All you have to do is categorize it.

2) click on a datebook Coolet and the event is put into your datebook. If the creator included an alarm for the event, you'll be beeped when the event is to happen. Again, no need to create your own event. Events can also have notes attached, up to the 4k limit, great for itenerary or driving directions

3) the memo Coolets work the same way. These are great for driving directions and anything else.

4) coola right-click, although limited to the memo pad's 4k limit, is very useful, espeically for those sites that have no yet enbraced Coola as an option for its viewers.

As powerful as Coola already is, it shows signs of tremendous growth. The underlying technology allows the one-click transfer of any kind of data into your Palm pda. It's only a matter of time and demand for new types of data to be supported.

Also, Coola is still a fairly new company and technology. The user adoption is obviously a lot faster than the content support for it. Sooner or later, web sites will wise up to the advantages of supporting Coola users, and web site adoption will inrease.

AvantGo has all the advantages you mention, as well as disadvantages. It's the best thing out there for keeping up to date on your favorite web sites on the go. Don't forget, you can also create your own channels, so you're not just limited to AvantGo's current set of channels. For the most part, sites that aren't optimized for handheld viewing are optimized by AvantGo on the fly very well.

RE: Coola...
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/14/2000 3:08:59 PM #
Well said Greg!

I am a very new user of the Palm and since I started with the memory-limited IIIe the Coola's 4k was a perfect addition.

My Coola uses for my Palm, (until others figure out how easy it is and make coolets), is I copy my fantasy sports teams onto a memo coolet, copy my weekly Bible study verses onto a memo coolet, and use it to put sports (and other) schedules on my Palm. I am interested to see how the rightclick function works as well.

Jennifer R-S
Sumner, WA

RE: Coola...
GregGaub @ 10/14/2000 10:11:10 PM #

I wish you hadn't posted anonymously, Jennifer, or I could have contacted you directly. Hopefully you'll see this. :)

I'm the coordinator/webmaster for the Seattle Palm Users Group. It's not just for Seattle residents, of course. I live in Auburn myself. :)

I'd LOVE for you do come to our meeting this month (and every month after that :). If you have any questions, feel free to contact me, but first be sure to visit our web site at this address:

Hope to see you there!

AvantGo can offer so much more..

I.M. Anonymous @ 10/14/2000 2:52:22 PM #
I'll admit.... i haven't had the chance to really use Coola, but Iwill say this afor AvantGo.

Personally I am really, big on current events.. I like to know whats happening in the world around me. AvantGo lets me capture the type of news I want and or other information as well, so I can read them later with out having to search for the information or visiting any particulare site first. I also have customized channels in AvantGo, so every time I sync, will pull all the movies playing in the movie theaters in my local area, with the times they are playing the movie, a movie review of it, the address of the theaters, and thier phone numbers. I also have it set up to get a full five day forecast of weather for the area I live in as well as pull all local restaurants in my area and even have customize maps set up if I am going to take a trip some with pictures and directions to where I need to go.
For me AvantGo offers much more then just mews articals to sync up to my palm. .... it really is a reference for the things in my local area or any other city I happen to be visiting.

RE: AvantGo can offer so much more..
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/16/2000 10:53:12 AM #
I also use avantgo regularly. One of my favorite channels is Yahoo!. You can customize content by using My Yahoo!, everything from sports scores, stock quotes, weather, and movie times for local movies. I originally had many channels set up but now only need a few when using Yahoo!.

I haven't used Coola but plan to try it out.

Craig Klein
Houston, Tx.

No Mac Coola software

bighead @ 10/15/2000 10:30:32 PM #
Whether or not you like the Mac, most Palm software like this (for this purpose) will not catch on as well as it could if it had Macintosh software.

The features seem compelling, but AvantGo works great, and it is staying on my Palm.

RE: No Mac Coola software
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/24/2000 11:02:18 PM #
I have been in contact with an individual who works on Coola, and he assures me that Mac software is in the works, but couldn't give me an expected release date.

How about a comparison with iSilo?

I.M. Anonymous @ 10/16/2000 8:35:36 PM #
Thanks for a very helpful review. I now know I don't need Coola. I use Avantgo to keep up the the news and favorite Web sites, and iSilo for information I want to carry with me (which is usually whole Web pages or even entire Web sites. ISilo compresses the information really well, and I can keep it as reference on my CF card, which resides in my TrgPro). For the ocassional note or address mentioned, I simply keep the Palm Desktop open when I surf, and just cut and paste. If I am away from my own computer, I think is simpler to copy down the URL, rather than trying to send a Coolet to myself. Of course, I have never tried.

RE: How about a comparison with iSilo?
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/9/2000 4:04:47 PM #
Thanks for several great tips for using AvantGo and Palm Desktop.

Avantgo, Coola, iSilo

I.M. Anonymous @ 10/16/2000 10:19:26 PM #
Avantgo works (generally) with Macs,
Coola doesn't.


Avantgo is best for updating web information which
changes on a regular basis (news, weather, reviews, etc.)
You can use Avantgo to grab the news and read it on your
Palm later in the day (lunchtime). Avantgo isn't limited to
its own provided channels, you can create your own fairly
easily (similar to iSilo, it will reduce graphics to fit to
the Palm's screen).

iSilo is best for larger texts that don't change regularly
(HTML based documentation, ebooks, etc.) You use the
iSilo desktop component to convert text files, Doc files,
and HTML files to iSilo format, and then read them on your

iSilo is not aimed at information which changes frequently
(would require separate downloading and conversion each
time the base text changes).

Avantgo is great as a browser and for handling short items
but isn't great at handling large files. And Avantgo isn't as
comfortable as most Doc readers for the Palm.

Coola (from the hype) sounds like it become a nice
scrapbook utility. Copy small stuff to Coola and then let
Coola sort and enter it into the right slot - gee, kinda like
the Intellibooger function on DiddleBug.

AvantGo vs Coola
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/9/2000 8:35:59 AM #
I agree, AvantGo I find invaluable for reading the news on the train or wherever. I've enough content for that 3hr flight too.
I've got Coola installed and still haven't used it - never found the need.

All I need now is for Vindigo & AvantGo to put in more City Guides.

RE: Avantgo, Coola, iSilo
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/15/2000 11:08:09 AM #
How do they all compare to Browse-It frm Pumatech, available at http://www.intellisync.com? Just curious. I am a Browse-It user and love it.

Difference Between AvantGo and Coola?

I.M. Anonymous @ 4/25/2001 12:02:34 PM #
I've got a palm m100. The BIGGEST difference for me is the amount of memory taken. With only 2mB of memory, I can't afford the 500k + eaten up by AvantGo and your selected channels. I've tried...

Coola enhanced with Syncplicity

Nate @ 4/25/2001 12:40:59 PM #
Just to clear up a little confusion, I should chime in here to mention that in order to use Coola's service to get data of your choosing (rather than pre-formatted data from "Coolized" web sites) you'll have to use Syncplicity.

As the anon. comment above points out, the main difference between Coola and Avantgo is that with AG you get automatic updates, but little control over what you get except by channels. It's basically an offline web browser, with channels.

With Coola + Syncplicity, you don't have automatic updates, but the data you're syncing is more flexible, since you pick only the data you want (or stuff from "Coolized" websites). Also, as Greg mentioned, both Coola and Syncplicity data isn't limited to web info - you can sync it to address/schedule/memo/to-do/ or DOC. The other difference is the data sharing aspect - you can simultaneously sync data to you and your friends Palms.

Coola and CognitiveRoot (my company) have worked together to include the ability to send data of your choosing to yourself or someone else over the internet (via Coola) with Syncplicity.

The basic idea behind Syncplicity is that you grab the data you want and Syncplicity formats it to address/datebok/to-do/memo/ or DOC. You can sync to Palm Desktop or across the Coola network. Outlook version will be ready very soon.

Try it, I think you'll like it. Any questions, feel free to contact me...

Oh yeah -- Greg: when you gunna do a review? :)

Syncplicity. Redefining Simple. www.cognitiveroot.com

One other thng
Nate @ 4/25/2001 12:52:10 PM #
I should also say that I am a huge fan of AvantGo, and I'm in no way disparaging the service. AvantGo, Coola, and Syncplicity all do different things, and I use all of them.

Syncplicity. Redefining Simple. www.cognitiveroot.com

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