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Sunday, September 23, 2007
  Prefer Archos 605 WiFi / Archos 5 to the iPod touch

Last Update November 28, 2008

I have used the Archos 605 WiFi, Archos 5, and the iPod touch 16GB extensively. All the devices are nice, and currently state of the art. Bottom line is the Archos devices meet my needs much better than the iPod touch. I am not saying the iPod touch is bad (it is definitely a cool looking device, and works well); however, the Archos 605 / Archos 5 are a much better fit for me. In the picture to the left, the iPod touch is in the forefront, and Archos 605 is in the background. Click the picture to see a bigger image. If you want the latest cool device that is sexy, slim, and would definitely impress the clientele at the local coffee shop, then go for the iPod touch. If you want more from your device while still having a nice interface, consider the Archos 605, or Archos 5 for the following reasons:

  • Screen Size
    The Archos 605 WiFi has a 4.3", 800 x 480 screen, the Archos 5 a 4.8" 800 x 480 screen, and the iPod touch a 3.5" 320 x 480 screen. The bigger screen of the Archos makes a significant difference in viewing pleasure, whether viewing movies, photos, or web pages. After using the Archos devices for any length of time, the iPod touch's screen seems puny.

  • Storage Available
    The Archos 605 is available in 4GB flash (with SD slot), and 30, 80, and 160GB hard drive models. The iPod touch is only available with flash memory, maximum 32GB. 250GB is the max for the Archos 5.

  • Video Recording on Device
    The Archoses record directly from most video sources using the optional DVR Station. This feature is essential for me. I have used an Archos AV500 to record shows before with great results, the 605 / 5 are even better. No direct recording with the iPod touch. The Archos devices have a manual VCR like scheduler as well as a graphical TV program listing via WiFi download to facilitate scheduling. Both work well. The optional DVR stand has an IR blaster which allows the DVR cradle to change the cable box channel for the Archoses' recordings.

  • Editing on Device
    The Archos devices allow basic editing on the device. You can mark begin / end points on a section of video recorded by the 605 / 5, and then copy the marked video as a new file, or overwrite the existing file. The iPod touch does not support editing on the device.

  • Speaker
    Both Archos devices have a built-in speaker that has ample volume, and good TV quality sound. The 605 Flash has a very good speaker, the hard drive based 605's have an ok speaker. The Archos 5's speaker is a bit better than the 605's. It is a nice option to watch your recorded TV shows using the built-in speaker rather than earbuds. The first generation iPod touch has no built-in speaker, the second generation does.

  • Flash Support
    The optional Opera browser for the 605 / 5 supports Flash. You can watch YouTube Flash videos rather than hoping your favorite has been coded in H264. I have found the Flash performance on the Archos devices ranges from mediocre to excellent depending on the site. The iPod touch does not support Flash. YouTube looks nice on all the devices with a nod to the Archos devices due to the larger screen, and higher resolution.

  • Download to Device
    I regularly download video podcasts directly to the 605 or 5 via WiFi, and then play them without syncing with a computer. ITunes is needed for iPod touch video podcasts downloads, although some direct podcast downloading is scheduled for the latest touch firmware update.

  • On-line Stores
    You can purchase music directly from the iTunes Music Store with the iPod touch. The 605 / 5 can not play DRM music from the iTunes store; however, now there are many DRM free stores that you can purchase music from using the 605 / 5. I have purchased music from the Amazon Music Store using the 605. Additionally, the Archos devices can purchase or rent movies directly from the Archos Content Portal. The iTunes Store does not offer movie purchases directly from the iPod touch.

  • SD Support
    The Archos 605 (Flash model only) has a SD/SDHC slot which I use to add / transfer data without tethering the device to a computer. The iPod touch requires iTunes on a computer. Using the 605, I can take an SD card from a digital camera, and copy all files directly to the 605 for backup / viewing. The iPod touch does not have a memory expansion slot.

  • File and Network Browser
    The Archos 605 / 5 have a file browser which allows me to delete, organize, and rename files directly on the device. The iPod touch does not have a file browser function. Using the Archos's network file browser, I can access my Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices as well and copy files to / from the 605 / 5, and the NAS devices. I have all my technical documents on NAS devices in PDF format, as well as my vacation photos, and personal videos. I can either stream the documents / videos / pictures directly from the NAS devices to the 605 / 5 over the WiFi network, or copy them from the NAS devices to the 605 / 5 for later viewing when a network is not available. I have streamed large PDF's, photo collections, and high bit rate videos via WiFi to the 605 / 5 with very acceptable performance, and without dropping a video frame. I have just started a project of converting hard copy receipts etc. into PDF's which will be stored on the NAS devices as well.

    I tried to access the NAS devices using Safari since the iPod touch does not have a file browser, but received a "Safari can not display local files" message. For me, the Archoses' ability to stream / copy files to / from the 605 / 5, and NAS devices gives a huge advantage to the Archos over the iPod touch. My NAS devices are on 24/7, my PC's and Mac's are not. In addition to the Archos devices, my Windows Mobile, and Palm OS devices can access the NAS devices. Too bad, the iPod touch does not share this ability. It is nice having a central location for file / multimedia storage when using such a diverse selection of devices.

    The Archos devices both support USB host and client. You can copy, or play files between the Archoses, or copy / stream videos etc from thumbdrives, and external hard drives. Depending on the size of the external hard drive, you may need to have an external power supply on the hard drive, although some hard drives receive enough power from the Arhcos's USB port. The touch does not support USB host.

  • Virtual Keyboards
    Virtual keyboards, what can I say, I just do not like them. I tried a landscape virtual keyboard on a 4" VGA resolution PDA several years back, and didn't like it. I still don't like virtual keyboards after using the virtual keyboards on the Archoses, and iPod touch. I'll take a good slide-out physical keyboard (similar to the PPC-6700 / HTC Touch Pro) any day over the overhyped virtual keyboards. That being said, I prefer the virtual keyboard on both the Archos devices over the iPod touch because the 605 / 5 have larger spaces between the keys due to the larger physical screen sizes. I can type with fewer errors on both Archos devices due to the larger key spacing.

  • Firmware Updates
    Firmware updates can be downloaded directly to the Archos devices via WiFi without a computer, unlike the iPod touch which requires iTunes. You also have the option of downloading the Archos's firmware updates to a desktop as well.
    Helpful Hint - If you use a Macintosh to download a firmware update, two items with a .aos extension will be copied to the 605, a data fork, and a resource fork. The data fork contains the update, and will be deleted after the update is executed. The resource fork will remain. The 605 will identify the resource fork as an update file since it also has a .aos extension. The 605 will try to execute any resource forks with .aos extensions as update files whenever you disconnect the USB cable, or power cord from the 605. Since the resource forks with .aos extensions are not update files, you will receive a bad file error code 203 anytime you try to do an update on the 605 until you delete the left over, unnecessary resource fork(s) with .aos extensions that were copied from your Macintosh to the 605 when you copied the firmware update(s). True update files may not execute because the 203 error code sometimes terminates the entire update process. The 605's file explorer does not show resource forks when you do a file listing. Connect the 605 via USB to a PC, and any resource forks on the 605 will show (file name begins with a period). You can then delete any left over firmware update resource forks (file name begins with period, ends with .aos) on the 605 from within Windows Explorer. After you delete the left over, needless (to the 605) resource forks, no more false update dialog boxes, and no more bad file error code 203 messages.

  • Screen Display
    I like the colors on the Archoses' screens better than the iPod touch. The iPod touch's colors appear overly saturated to me, the Archoses' more natural. I am making my judgment based on the default screen settings, and realize your judgment may be different. I also realize the default screen settings can be changed. The Archoses have screen brightness, contrast, and gamma settings along with an overall LCD brightness setting. The iPod touch has one brightness setting. You can fine tune the Archoses' screens more due to the additional settings available. I am impressed with the quality, and crispness of the text displayed on the iPod touch, Apple did an excellent job with text display on the touch

  • Sexy / Elegant Device
    The iPod touch is very slim, cool, and some would say elegant. I am not denying those attributes, the iPod touch is definitely a cool device. The 605 may not be quite as sexy looking; however, the Archos is a nice looking device, is well made, has a bigger screen, and meets my needs much better than the iPod touch. The Archos 5 is a lot sleeker than the 605, and the 5's touch interface is more elegant than the 605's. I do miss the physical buttons that were available on the 605 but are missing on the 5.

  • Touch Interface
    Both devices have a touch interface, and the Archos also has buttons on the right (605 only) that can perform most functions. It is nice to have your choice of navigation methods which the 605 offers vs. the one navigation method on the iPod touch. I have been using a touch interface with my Smartphones, and PDA's for years. Although Smartphones, and PDA's come with a stylus, more frequently than not, I navigate with a finger(s), not a stylus. Both the iPod touch, and Archoses use large icons, large menu text, and ample line spacing to facilitate touch navigation with a finger, and those enhancements are welcome. The iPod touch has flashier transitions, but I am not impressed much by eye candy. Horror of all horrors, I actually prefer the touch interface on the Archos 5 over the iPod touch's vaunted interface. For me, the Archos 5's interface is easier to use, and more elegant than the iPod touch' interface.

    A stylus is supplied with the Archos devices, but is not needed to navigate the 605's / 5's interfaces due to the larger icons, menu text, and line spacing used in the interfaces. The iPod touch does not support standard stylus input, I have tried. However, and this is a big however, sometimes the spacing between links on a webpage is too small to easily select the desired link with your finger. The ability to use a stylus results in a more positive user experience. Until all webpages incorporate the larger spacing that both the Archoses, and iPod touch use in their interfaces, the ability to use a stylus in addition to fingers for navigation is a plus.

  • Multitouch
    The iPod touch also supports multitouch. I have only experienced one true multitouch gesture (multitouch by definition is responding to more than one touch at the same time), the grossly over-hyped (bordering on nauseating) zooming in and out by moving two fingers simultaneously. Some would say that is two gestures (zoom in, zoom out), I won't argue the point. Frankly, I do not like the multitouch zoom feature. It seems unnatural, awkward, smudges the screen, and doesn't always work on the first try. Sometimes, I am forced to use multitouch to zoom on the iPod touch because the double tapping zoom doesn't work with all webpages. The more I use the multitouch pinching zoom feature, the more I find multitouch quite annoying to use. Pinching the screen to zoom looks cool in the commercials, but gets old very quickly.

    Although I do not particularly like the multitouch zoom in / out, I am sure it will impress the clientele at the local coffee shop. It is definitely not the best way for me to zoom in / out on a 3.5" glass screen, and certainly not the revolution in interface design that the overhype claims. The Archos devices do not have multitouch, and I do not miss it. Although I am getting old, I am still relatively arthritis free. Multitouch could be difficult for someone with arthritis, or someone with long fingernails. Although I am not impressed with the limited multitouch implementation on the 3.5" iPod touch, and iPhone screens, I do believe multitouch has a solid future, and could indeed be revolutionary in larger screen devices such as Microsoft's Surface Table, and the devices Jeff Han has demonstrated. I realize many are impressed with the iPod touch's multitouch implementation, and I respect your opinon. I just do not believe a very limited multitouch implementation on a 3.5" screen is that big a deal, definitely grossly over-hyped in my opinion.

  • Double Tap Zoom
    I do like the double tap zoom available on both the iPod touch, and Archoses; I wish subsequent double taps would keep zooming in rather than toggling between zoom in / out. I have found the double tap zoom to be more reliable on the Archos 605 / 5. On the iPod touch, sometimes a web page starts to zoom in when double tapped, but then stops. On the Archoses, double tapping the same web page at the same location consistently zooms the page.

  • Zooming Photos
    The Archos devcies have a nice feature for zooming photos. You tap an icon, and a slider appears which you use to adjust the amount of zoom. The iPod touch does not have a zoom slider for photos. The Archos devices also allow zooming photos by holding your finger on the screen. The photos will continuously zoom from the point of finger contact until you remove your finger. Much better, and easier than the vaunted pinch zoom on the touch, IMHO. The best photo application I have used on a mobile device is RESCO Photo Viewer for Windows Mobile. There are three magnifying glass icons at the bottom of the screen. One zooms out with every tap of your finger/stylus, another zooms in with every tap, and the third displays a menu with 7 magnification presets along with fill screen, and fit screen options. I wish RESCO's zoom feature could be exported from the Photo Viewer application to all the web browsers I use, both mobile, and desktop.

  • Scrolling Pages
    The scrolling by flicking the finger is glitzy, but I believe not very efficient, and designed more to impress than navigate. I am definitely not a fan of the scrolling by flicking interface at all. It looks cool, but it can be difficult to locate what you want, and I find it annoying to use if the web page requires more than two finger scrolls. I'll take a well calibrated navigation button any day. I much prefer using the buttons on the Archos 605 to scroll web pages than scrolling web pages using the finger on the iPod touch. In fact, the more I use the finger scrolling / flicking on the iPod touch, the more I dislike it. The finger scrolling / flicking gets tiresome very quickly, and blocks your view of the page you are trying to read. In landscape mode, 10 to 12 lines are displayed when text is zoomed to a readable level on the touch. Flicking the screen every 10 to 12 lines makes you yearn for a page down button, real or virtual. Please Apple, add some buttons (real or virtual) to your mobile devices. On my PDA's, and Smartphones, a quick press of a button scrolls one page while reading a web page or document, and it works great, much better than constantly using your finger to scroll. I wish both the iPod touch, and Archos devices had a page down button (real or virtual) when using the web browser. The 605 has page up and down buttons for other apps, but these buttons function as page back, and page forward in the web browser. I particularly would like a page down (virtual is ok) button on the Archos 5 since the physical buttons present on the 605 were removed on the Archos 5. I know Apple has an excellent reputation for interface design, and generally supplies a nice interface; however, Apple can learn from its competitors.

  • Stand for Viewing
    The 605, and Archos 5 have a nice collapsing stand built in the back to allow viewing from many angles. The iPod touch has a small plastic stand that could easily be lost. The built-in stand may seem like a minor feature, but for me, it is a welcome addition since I was always looking for something to lean the AV500 against on the table.

  • Web Browser
    Safari is an excellent mobile browser. The optional Opera browser for the Archos devices is also an excellent browser. The Archos devices do support Flash video, the iPod touch does not support Flash video. Considering how ubiquitous Flash video is on the web, Flash video support is essential for the full internet experience, and its absence in mobile Safari is a major negative.

    I have encountered some links on tech websites that display as links in mobile Safari, but do not respond when tapped. Tapping the same links on the Archos 605 / 5 will load the linked pages fine.

    Zooming webpages with double tap on the iPod touch
    If a page is formatted in multiple columns, Safari does an excellent job zooming when double tapped. If a page is not formatted in multiple columns, sometimes Safari seems confused, and double tap zoom does not work. The page starts to zoom in response to a double tap, but returns to the original text size which is too small to read. You are now forced to use the multitouch pinch zoom. The multitouch pinch zoom will enlarge the text to a readable size, but the number of words on each line is not reduced. Because the number of words per line is not reduced with multitouch pinch zooming, horizontal scrolling is required to read each line which gets frustrating after about two lines. This required horizontal scrolling detracts immensely from the user experience. When viewing these same single column pages in desktop browsers (including desktop Safari), the number of words per line is adjusted when the window size is changed, and word wrap works correctly at all text sizes with Pocket IE. These single column pages also properly word wrap using NetHopper on an Apple Newton MessagePad 2100 which was introduced in 1997.
         Update 12/2/07 - Viewport Meta Tag
    If you add <meta name="viewport" content="width = 320" /> to the HEAD section of a webpage, the iPod touch, and iPhone will render fewer words per line. Single column webpages with this viewport meta tag can zoom to a readable text level on the iPhone / iPod touch without horizontal scrolling being necessary to read each line. I have added this meta tag entry to all my personal pages so iPod touch, and iPhone users can read the pages without horizontal scrolling. There will be many single column webpages that do not have the new meta tag added, and iPhone / iPod touch users will have to horizontally scroll when reading each line. Hopefully, Apple will update mobile Safari so all single column webpages can zoom to a readable text size without requiring the user to horizontally scroll each line.

    Zooming webpages with double tap on the Archos devices
    The Archos devices respond consistently when double tapped. Unfortunately, double tapping also does not reduce the number of words on each line when zoomed, and horizontal scrolling could be required. The essential words here are horizontal scrolling could be required, not is required. The 605's larger screen size, and Archos 5's even larger screen size, combined with the Archoses' higher resolution screens, and fewer default words per line allow most single column pages to be read easily without zooming the page on the Archos devices which eliminates the horizontal scrolling for each line that is necessary with the touch. I do wish both the touch, and Archos devices would perform a new word wrap whenever a single column page is zoomed. Hopefully, future updates will correct this problem.

    Is the full internet always better? - hint - No!
    Apple sometimes dismisses (bordering on mocking) other mobile browsers; however, the various screen layout options available with other mobile browsers sometimes render a more readable web page with less effort, and less horizontal scrolling than Safari. Apple also mocks the mobile internet and implies the mobile internet experience is always inferior. There are times when the mobile internet is a better user experience than the full internet on a small screen. There are many web pages that contain too much data to read on a 3.5" screen no matter how good the browser is, and no matter how high the dpi of the screen. These web pages are very busy looking on a 1024 x 768 screen, and definitely not made for viewing on a small screen. This is not the fault of the browser, just the limitation of the small screen real estate. Many of the sites that are busy on a 1024 x 768 screen, but downright congested on a smaller screen, offer mobile editions which are automatically displayed for other mobile browsers. Since mobile Safari, and Opera (on the 605) are not identifed by a website as mobile browsers, you get the congested on a small screen full page. These congested full web pages are much easier to read on the 605 than on the iPod touch.

    The zooming, and panning of full webpages on a small screen mobile device looks cool in a demo, but gets old very quickly. Although it probably impresses the coffee shop crowd, it is frustrating, bordering on annoying to use. Panning is just another name for the dreaded horizontal scrolling. I am not alone in this feeling. A recent NY Times article mentioned how vertically oriented sites which require no horizontal scrolling are becoming very popular for mobile devices. If viewing the full webpage by constantly panning, scrolling on a small mobile device window was so great, these vertically oriented websites would not be developed.

    Physical screen size does matter. I prefer reading some web pages with the "one column" layout option in Microsoft's Pocket IE vs. Safari on the iPod touch, but prefer reading those same web pages with the 605, or 5. I know, I have to dip my hands in acid because I wrote mobile Safari is not the best browser for every web page ever developed.

    Web Browser - Final Thoughts
    Overall, Safari is an excellent browser; however, it is not the perfect mobile browser stipulated by the hype, not the only mobile browser that can render full pages, and not the first mobile browser able to render full pages. Apple likes to tout the iPhone / iPod touch as supporting the full internet. Does a device that does not support Flash, Windows Media, Real Player, and Java really support the full internet? I don't think so. Also, single column pages that have displayed properly on every other desktop / mobile device I have tried sometimes require horizontal scrolling to read every line at an easy to read text size on the touch. Is this really the ideal, perfect mobile browser? The bottom line is the best mobile browser / device for viewing the web is dependent on which webpage you are trying to view. I certainly would not use the touch to view single column pages, and the full internet experience for me includes Flash videos. The 605, and 5 support some Flash 9 videos, but not all. Hopefully, future Archos firmware updates will improve Flash playback on all sites. The Nokia N800's browser supports Flash 9 more consistently. I regularly use the N800 to watch Flash videos from the NY Times home page.

    Overall, Opera on the Archos devices is an excellent browser also. Although not perfect, it has been more consistent in displaying readable "full internet" webpages with a minimum of effort than Safari on the iPod touch. Opera, combined with the 605's / 5's larger physical screen sizes, has been a more enjoyable browser experience for me than Safari on the iPod touch.

  • Fingerprints on Device
    As stated before, the iPod touch is sexy, cool, and ultra-slim. It is a fingerprint magnet though, both the screen, and the chrome back. The 605's matte touch screen seems to resist fingerprints much better than the iPod touch, and the aluminum body does not attract fingerprints at all. The Archos 5 is much sleeker than the 605, but unfortunately, it is a fingerprint magnet also.

  • Optional Battery Dock / Mini Dock for 605 / 5
    The optional Battery Dock, and Mini Dock for the Archos devices expand the functionality of the devices while vastly decreasing the charging time compared to USB. Both docks include an AC adapter which plugs into the dock, and charges the devices much quicker than USB charging from a computer. In addition to the charging ability, both docks add a USB host port, and replicate the USB client port since the built-in client port is covered by the dock when attached to the device. The USB host port allows the 605 / 5 to stream / copy files to /from USB devices like USB flash drives, and portable hard drives. I have successfully attached several flash drives, and a 250GB Western Digital USB hard drive to the 605 / 5, and copied / streamed videos directly to / from the flash drives / 250GB hard drive and the 605 / 5. The docks also include an AV out port which allows the 605 / 5 to be connected to a TV. The AV cable, and USB host cables are included with both docks. An unexpected added benefit of the AV out port is using it with your headphones / earbuds. The audio level from the AV out port is significantly higher than the audio level available from the headphone port on the 605. When I am in a high ambient noise area, I plug my earbuds into the AV out port rather than the headphone port on the 605. The battery dock also contains a battery which gives additional playing time to the 605. The battery dock does not charge the 605 / 5, but does provide additional play time when the built-in battery is discharged. I did not experience the same audio boost with the docks on the Archos 5.

  • Comfortable to Hold
    The Archos feels better in my hand, and the iPod touch's chrome back is too slippery to hold comfortably.

  • What about the Apple App Store
    The Apple App store is nice, but I personally find many of the apps to be useless for my needs. They may be cool looking, but don't do much for me, your opinion may be different. My smartphone is a WM device which has, and has for a long while, a plethora of 3rd party applications that are actually useful for me. The WM 3rd party apps do not need approval of Microsoft or anyone else unlike the Apple store which requires approval by Apple before you can purchase 3rd party apps. You can purchase Apple 3rd party apps only from Apple; WM 3rd party apps are available on multiple sites. I do not want any company telling me which applications I can or cannot use on my personal device. I do not purchase an iPod touch or Archos device for 3rd party apps, that is what my smartphone, and PDA's are for. I want my Archoses, or touch to play, and hopefully record, video files, a task the Archos devices do superbly.

Final Thoughts
As I use both devices more, I will update this post. Although the Archos devices are much better for my portable audio / video needs, your needs may be different, and the iPod touch or another device may be a better fit. If your prime purpose is to impress the other customers while you sip your latte (I am not saying that is necessarily a bad thing), then go for the iPod touch, it is definitely a cool looking device. However, don't automatically assume the iPod touch is the best device for your needs just because of the slick marketing, and the reality distortion field. Check out multiple devices, determine your needs, and choose the device that best meets your needs, not the device with the ubiquitous, slick marketing campaign. For me, the best device was initially the Archos 605, and now the Archos 5.

Other Reviews
I have seen other web reviews of the iPod Touch that praised its interface, coolness, and basically declared it the best media device made. Although the iPod Touch is a nice device, I do not agree that it is the best media device available. The iPod touch does indeed have a cool looking interface that is sure to impress your friends. The iPod touch is also thin, and looks elegant. I do not deny those attributes, and I respect the other reviewers' opinions. The pinching zoom, scrolling by flicking your finger, and the web browsing experience look cool, and it is easy to be impressed initially.

Don't be fooled by the hype, and the TV commercials. The multitouch zoom, and scrolling by finger got old very quickly for me, and I actually dislike those features after using them. Safari is an excellent browser, but it does have its issues that I detailed earlier in this post. The selecting of icons and menu items by finger rather than a stylus is nice, I like it. However, I have been navigating by finger rather than stylus on my PDA's, and Smartphones for years. It may be a little bit easier to do on the iPod touch, 605, and 5 due to the larger icons, and generous spacing between items, but it is certainly not a new concept. I wonder how long some of the other reviewers actually spent using the device. It would be nice to know if the other reviewers wrote their glowing articles about the iPod touch after a quick review, or after actually using the features extensively. Many features can look cool at first, but soon become tiresome after a few days of actual use. I purchased both the iPod touch, and Archos 605 in September 2007, purchased the Archos 5 in September 2008, and am still updating the post in October November 2008 after extensively using the devices.

My opinion about the Archos 605 or Archos 5 have not changed. I liked the Archos devices a lot when I first used them, and still enjoy using them after several months. There are no features of the Archos devices that I thought were cool at first, and then changed my opinion like I did with the iPod touch's multitouch zooming, and finger scrolling. The Archos devices are not perfect, but they do meet my needs better than the iPod touch, and are excellent devices overall that do not get the accolades they deserve.

I would like to see other reviews include not only how long they tested the devices as I mentioned before, but also the firmware version(s) tested, and which device(s) in the category being reviewed that the reviewer actually owns, and uses regularly. Their "regular use" device could certainly have an impact on their reviews of competing brand devices. I have used the Archos devices with all firmware versions up to 2.x (605), 1.1 (5), and the touch with all versions up to 2.2.

Own Many Apple Products
Although it should be obvious that the 605 is better for my needs, some readers may think I am an Apple basher. I own several Macintoshes, too many iPods to justify, several Newtons, an Apple TV, and (fortunately) Apple stock. My first serious programming experience was on an Apple II+. One of my favorite technology icons is Steve Wozniak. I generally like Apple products, but I am immune (it took awhile) to the reality distortion field. There are times when Apple makes the best device for my needs, times when a Microsoft based solution is best (better dip my hands in acid again), and times when other vendors offer the best solution for my needs. I have owned several Archos products, have liked them all, and Archos offered the "best-of-class" devices.

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Sunday, September 09, 2007
  The HP210/211 iPaq Enterprise Handheld - PDA's aren't dead!

I am pleased that HP has decided to release a new stand-alone PDA, the HP 211 Enterprise Handheld. The specs look very interesting, and the HP211 could be a nice replacement for the Toshiba e830, and Dell x51v when they "jump the shark". Following are the specs that look interesting:

  • 624 MHz processor

  • 4" VGA screen

  • WiFi (802.11 b/g), and Bluetooth 2.0 with EDR built-in

  • 256 MB ROM which should result in ample room for program/data storage

  • Windows Mobile 6

  • 128 MB RAM for program execution. The original spec I saw was 64 MB; however, the HP site indicates 128 MB which is much better. It will be interesting to see how much of the 64 MB 128 MB is available to the user.

  • Compact Flash, and SDIO expansion slots

  • Mini USB port

It is nice to see a new stand alone PDA with the latest Mobile OS, and a large screen. Since the HP211 has Bluetooth 2.0 with EDR, it could be a nice machine for tethering with a Bluetooth 2.0 EDR phone. As much as I like the PPC-6700, I am a fan of two separate devices, rather than the converged device. Converged devices by their nature cannot equal the features etc. of "best in class" separate devices. Now that it seems we have a nice, modern PDA, all we need is a small, clamshell Bluetooth 2.0 EDR phone with 3G, and a nice DUN Bluetooth profile. If the released HP211 lives up to its specs, my credit card will be out of the wallet as soon as it is released.

Update October 20, 2007 - During the first week of October, an availability date of October 12 was listed for the iPaq 210, which is basically the same as the 211. I ordered the 210 directly from HP.com, and was anxiously awaiting shipment. Today, I received a voice mail, and an email, informing me the iPaq 210 will not be available until next year. Needless to say, I am disappointed with both the extensive delay in availability, and HP's not having their act together on their own website. I can understand, a week or two delay, but a few months delay only about a week after posting the initial availability date does not leave one with a positive feeling. It better be a fantastic device to make-up for this extensive delay.

Update February 8, 2008 - Received the iPAQ 210 today. First impression - I like it very much, great screen, and nice feel overall. I will post an extensive review once I have many hours of actual daily use.
I was a Palm OS champion for years, but switched to the Windows Mobile platform in 2005. My experiences using my Windows Mobile devices, and other electronic devices will be detailed in this blog. The posts reflect what I like, and do not like about a device, or application. Your needs, and opinion may be different.

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