Cell Phone and PDA Converge Into One Device…

(This would make a great holiday present!)

The newest sensation in personal electronics is an integrated cell phone and PDA including wireless web access.  There are several on the market to choose from.  While these devices all perform similar functions, the differences in features between models can really determine how much functionality and enjoyment you get out of your particular model.

The T-Mobile Pocket PC Phone Edition communicates using the GPRS standard that offers data transfer rates of up to 56Kbps, similar to a landline dial-up connection.  Handspring’s Treo 270 comes standard using the GSM standard that offers data transfer rate of up to 14.4Kbps rate.  However, the Treo can also be upgraded to use the faster GPRS standard.  The GPRS standard is new and may not be available in all areas.  The Audiovox Thẽra uses the CDMA 2000-lx high-speed data service that is only available in selected areas and has data transfer rates of up to 144Kbps, but typically around 50Kbps.  To maximize web access speed it is important to use web sites that are specifically designed for wireless connections such as MSN Mobile and AvantGo.

The operating system and how well the device integrates the phone and PDA should be considered.  The two main operating systems are the Palm OS and Microsoft’s Pocket PC OS.  T-Mobile’s device allows you to dial a phone number directly from the contact database, which most devices do not.   Handspring’s device has a thumbable keyboard that can speed data entry (compared to using a stylus pen) and may allow you to take better advantage of the PDA features.

On the other side if you plan on using your device more as a phone then it’s important to note that T-Mobile’s and Handspring’s devices can be held next your ear like a standard phone while the Audiovox Thẽra requires a headset.

As money does not grow on trees, it is important to get the features you want at the best value.  Cost is comprised of three components: the price of the device which is about $500 for the T-Mobile and Handspring and $800 for the Audiovox, the cost of a voice service contract, and the Internet data connections.


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