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Me and the rx1950 (updated)

, posted: 31-Mar-2006 18:31

Updated 2nd April 2006: I removed the comment about battery life, since I've since found it to be fine - it must've been a case of special circumstances before. Or One Of Those Things.

I cut my Pocket PC teeth on an HP Jornada 545, and for years after judged every Pocket PC on whether it was built like a tank and had an attractive flip top and annoyingly badly-seated stylus.
I must confess that when I attended PDC 2003 I was hugely envious of the local (to NZ) Microsofties and Intergenistas who managed to pick up 4x00-series devices at obscenely low prices. I was personally unable to take advantage of any such offers since I was using most of my meagre luggage allocation on the whopping great big security book we were handed on the first day.
That's what you get for being conscientious.

So anyway, years pass and I find myself with a deceased hx4700 and a Harrier which while still happily doing its thing, is sadly lacking in Wi-Fi capability and can never be upgraded to WM5.0.

I had been thinking of buying a Jasjar, but apart from my normal condition of semi-abject poverty, I have heard less than wonderful things about performance, and there is the matter of the inherent nippiness of EVDO to be considered.
The recent announcement of UMPC clarified a few things for me: I have always leaned towards the PC end of the Pocket PC scale - I have little use for cell phones (other than for their ability to connect to the internet), and have always looked for the most computing power I could get in a mobile situation.

None of this is directly relevant to the rx1950, but with patience it will explain my choice.
It has been clear to me for some time (at least since the "Compuiting on the beach" session at PDC 2003) that the destiny of the Pocket PC was to be swallowed between ever-more-capable smartphones and shrinking tablet-like devices. In other words it will go the same way as the mini. This prospect does not fill me with alarm, since the devices that replace it will finally fulfill the promise of the technology. This is especially true in a managed world, since we will be able to make the transition from the Compact Framework (semi-famously and affectionately described by Rory Blythe as a wrapper around System.NotImplementedException) to the full framework, and before long to WinFX.

So rather than buying the most powerful Pocket PC I could afford, I decided to buy a reasonably priced and non-crappy Windows Mobile 5 device, partly in the expectation that this is the last Pocket PC I will buy (because afterwards I'm likely to be buying UMPCs and Smartphones).

So far I've been quite pleased with it: the The screen is about as good as I could hope for in a non-VGA device, and I have not discerned any trace of the yellow tinge that blighted some earlier models.
It pays to manage memory carefully on the rx1950 (in other words, shut things down rather than leaving them lying around...but then, everyone other than Microsoft has known for years that that was a good idea). It doesn't have a lot to play with, and when things get tight will become unresponsive (i.e. you'll probably find yourself doing a warm restart). On the other hand, I was relieved and gratified to see that  the .NET Compact Framework 2.0 (which takes up a lot of memory on installation) installed without any problems...which also means of course that the rx1950 can easily run the kind of software I've been writing for the last few years.
Other obvious points: I'm not a big watcher of video on mobile devices (since that frankly seems a bit pointless), but other people have reported that the rx1950 is somewhat sluggish in that regard. On the other hand, it has no problems at all with my extensive library of resolutely non-trendy music. 
So in other words it may not be a great machine to show off on, but from what I can tell it's a brilliant machine to use.
Last but not least, the 4xxx design was probably as close as anyone has come to the perfect design for a PDA without a keypad, so it's great to see an updated version (please note however that while the rx1950 is equipped with WiFi, it has no Bluetooth capability).


Other related posts:
Another Geekzone Test
Diarist test for Geekzone
Diarist for WP7 hits the Marketplace


Permalink to Me and the rx1950 (updated) (2 comments) | Main Index




Comment by freitasm, on 31-Mar-2006 22:44

I used to have an iPaq h4150, which I still think is the fastest PDA around, with both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, and a great form factor. Alas, since Wi-Fi is not available everywhere as the big companies wanted us a few years ago to believe it would be now, I decided that I should always get a Pocket PC Phone Edition - that's why I have the Jasjar (through the MVP offer) and an Apache. I can't see myself using a Windows Mobile Smartphone, with just the keypad as the input method - I rather have the QWERTY keyboard or touch screen.


Author's note by KevDaly, on 3-Apr-2006 08:10

I have to admit that the "all-in-one" aspect of the new PDA phones appeals to me.

But I wouldn't be able to afford one in the foreseeable future (next time I have real money to spend, after my next holiday, I'll need to spend it on a new PC).


KevDaly's profile

Kevin Daly
Wellington
New Zealand