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Handhelds Hardware

Pager-like Handheld for Textual Input? 27

Mike Hizgaard asks: "My good old RIM 950 has suddenly died on me. This tiny, 'thumb-typing' machine was my favorite text-entry device ever, especially because I could keep it in my pocket for more than one week without recharging/replacing the battery, and then upload all my notes into a computer using an RS232 connection. Now I am looking for a replacement, and would like to get something that uses either USB, IR or Bluetooth (since my laptop doesn't have a serial port), while retaining the tiny dimensions and thumb-typing as an input method. What are my options? (I never really made use of the email functionality, which was touted as the 950's main purpose.)" Please note that USB->Serial converters do exist, so if there are any serial devices that might also work, they are still valid options. Are there any decent RIM 950 replacements out there?
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Pager-like Handheld for Textual Input?

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  • Rim 950 (Score:3, Informative)

    by BurningSpiral ( 413606 ) on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @08:02PM (#12946507) Homepage
    I recommend picking up another RIM 950 from ebay. You know it works for you and good condition 950s seem to cost less than $25.
  • Nokia 9300 (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Pete (big-pete) ( 253496 ) * <> on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @08:05PM (#12946525)

    I recently bought a new Nokia 9300 [] with a mobile contract in the UK. I had the 9110 [] and the 9210 [] communicators in the past and I love the format.

    The thumb keyboard is very good, and it can easily cope with SMS, emails, documents, etc. I also have a version of PuTTY installed to ssh to servers.

    Okay, so the battery life isn't anywhere near as long as your old RIM950, but then almost nothing does these days. You certainly won't need a PDA if you have a 9300, it does everything in a very nice format, and at last a reasonable size that can be carried around everywhere. The 9500 [] is identical, but has a camera and wi-fi, but for me the additional bulk is far too much to pay for the limited additional functionality that I would rarely use.

    In fact, I welcome the lack of a camera on the 9300, as a contractor I need to be aware that in future I may receive work at locations that object to you bringing a camera onsite, which would cause all worlds of pain with any camera phone...

    -- Pete.

    • Re:Nokia 9300 (Score:3, Interesting)

      by BenjyD ( 316700 )
      I have a 9500. The wifi is nice, but it is far too big and the keyboard is crappy. I think the problem with the keyboard is that it's half way between a thumb board and a proper keyboard: too big to reach all the keys easily with your thumbs, but the keys are shaped wrongly for typing with your fingers. (Note to Nokia designers: look at every other keyboard in existence. See how the each key is indented in the middle? There's a reason for that.)
  • I have had a Blackberry 7100t for awhile and love it. I previously had a Treo 600 and a Nokia 6600. The 7100's battery life is far superior to that of either device, because a magnet is used to sense when it is in its holster and go to sleep. The 7100 is also alot more like a phone then previous Blackberrys. Alot of people on message boards knock the SureType that the 7100 uses, but its really not that hard to get used to.
    • I have clearly had the opposite experience with a Blackberry 7100 and Treo 600. The Treo outdistances the Blackberry by at least a factor of 2 when it comes to battery life. The Blackberry doesn't even come close. My experience is based upon usage and upon non-use standby.
  • SX66/PDA2k/etc (Score:3, Informative)

    by BRTB ( 30272 ) <[slashdot] [at] []> on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @08:22PM (#12946613) Homepage
    I use the Siemens SX66 PDA-phone (also known as the XDAIII, XDA IIs, MDAIII, PDA2k, Harrier, VX6600, etc). It's a Windows Mobile 2003SE device [start the flamewar here] with a blackberry-like slide out keyboard decked out with power: 400mhz XScale, 128mb RAM, 64mb ROM, SD card slot, WiFi+Bluetooth, oh and don't forget the fully functional quad-band GSM+GPRS PHONE and 640x480 camera on some models.

    I liked the interface of PalmOS 3-4 better, but there's something I didn't like about PalmOS5 and the Treo 650 that I'm not remembering, so I went with this one instead.

    The capabilities of this thing are amazing: one device and I have my phone, PDA, MP3 player, portable Internet browser, IR remote control, 802.11b scanner... The battery lasts longer than you'd think, and it's interchangeable so you can always have 1 in the charger and switch them out when it gets low, aside from constantly charging whenever it's in the cradle.

    The only downside is that it's $500+. Every once in a while you can find one on eBay for $400 or so.
    • I'm really glad someone brought up this device. I've been toying with the idea of buying one for my next phone (my current phone is a POS, but only started having problems after it was out of warranty.)

      It sounds just about perfect for me--specifically the lack of a camera. I'm glad it lives up to the hype--but how do you mean 802.11b scanner? We're not talking kismet here, right, just open access points?
      • I'd still hold out unless you really need the device. They work pretty well, but they're still somewhat of a pain. Most of the quirks stem from wifi use, but most of the blame can be put on the PocketPC OS. LOTS of things where you just shake or head and wonder why they did it that way, or why there's not more advanced settings.

        I haven't heard much about the new version coming out (PocketPC 2005 or perhaps they gave it a new name, there was an article here a while back about the announcement), but I wou
  • I'm no hardware guru, but I remember having alot of problems getting my mom's old palm pilot to work with a converter. The software was looking for serial, and since we converted it, it never found it. Maybe someone knows of a workaround or hack for that, but it was a pain in the butt for us...
  • Years ago, I had one of these things, Moterola made it, just "the tit" for the time. Loved it. But than, that was 1989...
  • by Anonymous Coward
    ...tiger direct has the HP Jornada 680e and the NEC 780 [] on sale now. Never used either one but they look nifty with a more reasonable screen size and decent keyboards. No idea if they are good or anything, someone here must have used them, maybe they will chime in, the price seems more or less reasonable.
  • by tchuladdiass ( 174342 ) on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @10:19PM (#12947358) Homepage oductDisplay?prrfnbr=444&prmenbr=126&pager_cgrfnbr =13&zipcode= [] Motorola has several two-way pagers. The pagewriter 2000x and the timeport 950 are practually the same. They've been around for a number of years, but the basic functionality is still perfect for what is needed. (I think the 950 has a newer OS, but the 2000x can be upgraded to the same, and they both have the same CPU & ram). They have basic email functionality, plus a bunch of PIM type applications. PC hookup is done via an infra-red port. You can also get a dev kit and create your own aplications via a java-like language and an ide. Applications include a couple of games, notepad, email, alert-tone editor, etc.
  • Tungsten C (Score:3, Interesting)

    by macemoneta ( 154740 ) on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @10:27PM (#12947415) Homepage
    I typically go 2-3 weeks between charges, and it syncs via WiFi (802.11b). It works great with Windows, Mac OSX and Linux (with none of that pesky USB/udev configuration). You can get them for as little as $170 lightly used on EBay (I just bought a second unit for my wife). Full specs here [].
  • I use a Nokia 6820, and I love it. I was getting 20+ wpm on it within a couple days, and since its a cell phone, I can move data off of it through bluetooth, irda, usb, email, or sms. I usually get a week on standby or 8 hours of semi-continuous typing.
  • Zipit (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    How's about a Zipit [] device? They're designed as a portable wifi box, but they run Linux and can be flashed with arbitrary code []. They're cheap as chips, and you can edit your notes in your favorite editor and then trivially transfer them over Wifi. The only thing to watch out for is the keyboard - it's kinda cheap and the soft rubber keys aren't to everyone's liking, so have a look at it first.
  • Nokia 6820 (Score:3, Informative)

    by orn ( 34773 ) on Thursday June 30, 2005 @03:48AM (#12948591)
    I really like my Nokia 6820 for exactly that purpose. It has a flip out keyboard that is very thumbable and has good note entry software.

    Someone mentioned the Nokia 9300, but that's a little too large for my tastes...

  • Treo 650 (Score:3, Informative)

    by gearmonger ( 672422 ) on Thursday June 30, 2005 @09:39AM (#12949645)
    While the Treo 650 can certainly do a *lot* more than what it might be replacing, I think you'll find it has many of the same great qualities. It's small (easily slipped into the front pocket of jeans) and my battery lasts easily 4 days with moderate use. 30 minutes of topping off every other day or so (just sit it in a cradle while you're at your PC) will keep it full and happy. I believe (but don't quote me) that the connector on the Treo 650 is dual-mode (USB and serial) so your connection spec should be satisfied as well. Give it a look...I think you'll be impressed (everyone I know who has one would rather give up one of their kids than go back to their previous handheld/phone).
  • Research In Motion (RIM) [] and Reliance IndiaMobile (RIM) [] will have a trademark battle.

    both advertise and market as RIM/RIM.
  • Pick yourself up this terrific clamshell PDA on ebay [] (it's been discontinued sadly). It has the best keyboard and form factor of any PDA that I've seen.

    Cheers yo!


Never worry about theory as long as the machinery does what it's supposed to do. -- R. A. Heinlein