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  1. #1
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    Office Programs and PDAs (Office 2000)

    I need a bit of information. I intend to buy my wife a PDA for Christmas. She will be using the PDA for Word documents and Excel spreadsheets that will go back and forth from the PDA to our computer. Would she be better off with a PDA that has Windows as the OS or can she use a Palm? I was told that there is a program that allows one to use a Palm with Word and Excel. However, I need to know the pros and cons. I would appreciate any help and information.
    Thank you very much.
    Alan Silberlight

  2. #2
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    Re: Office Programs and PDAs (Office 2000)

    I've used a Palm for some time and now have a Blackberry.

    A Palm of any model will do just fine - it's not the PDA OS that drives the issue, it is the synchronization software you have. There are several third party software applications that will go on both your desktop and the PDA itself to allow you to read and in some cases modify Word and Excel files. Try Documents to Go, and Wordsmith for example, for Word usage. I'm not conversant with spreadsheet applications, but I do know there are several available.

    Wordsmith works great on word documents, but a PDA keyboard becomes a necessity for any meaningful data entry. There are a couple of Palm compatible keyboards - I had a folding one which in folded state was about the size of a Pal, folded out to a full-sized keyboard, and worked well with both Palm and Wordsmith conventions.

    There are lots of Palm sites whre you can purchase and download such applications - most are shareware, giving you the opportunity to try them out first. There are links off the Palm site to most of them.

  3. #3
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    Re: Office Programs and PDAs (Office 2000)

    I use Documents To Go Pro from DataViz, and it handles both Word docs and Excel spreadsheets nicely. Make sure you get the Pro version, though, because the standard version only allows you to read them, not to create or edit them.
    Charlotte

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    Re: Office Programs and PDAs (Office 2000)

    The only way to go is with a Windows based O/S. There aren't any conversion issues and the hardware is usually significantly faster. My vanilla, right out of the box iPAQ runs @ 206 MHz with 64 MB RAM & 32 MB ROM. You can always expand the memory if necessary.

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    Re: Office Programs and PDAs (Office 2000)

    However, the iPaq is much larger and heavier than my Palm m505, which is why I *didn't* chose to go that route--that and the fact that you couldn't pay me to run Windows on a handheld, let alone Windows apps.
    Charlotte

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    Re: Office Programs and PDAs (Office 2000)

    The original question had to do with running Windows apps. And since the world is almost exclusively a Windows environment (>95%) except for some fringe OS's that don't have significant market share, it would seen analogous to swimming upstream just for the sake of doing it. If that's your cup of tea, more power to you.

    I prefer sticking with the greatest compatibility. My Word or Excel files can be shared, read, and edited by nearly anyone who has a PC. To date I haven't found anything that couldn't be done on a PC, including those fringe market applications such as Apple's graphics/desktop publishing. I must admit I am still impressed that Apple can make a convincing argument to purchase their products simply on the basis that even you, the consumer, aren't too stupid to use our stuff. Hell, we won't even confuse you with two mouse buttons.

  7. #7
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    Re: Office Programs and PDAs (Office 2000)

    The question had to do specifically with Word and Excel files on a PDA. That doesn't require Windows, it merely requires a translator. Windows is fine on a PC but I see no reason to burden a PDA with it.
    Charlotte

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    Re: Office Programs and PDAs (Office 2000)

    I certainly accept and respect your opinion. Just don't happen to share it. Besides, why work through a translator when you can work in the native file format. My iPAQ will blow the doors off any Palm system (speed, storage, etc) but that may be my own personal bias. There certainly is an argument to be made in your favor that simpler is better (assuming that's your point).

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    Re: Office Programs and PDAs (Office 2000)

    It's definitely my point. I don't *want* to run Windows applications on my Palm. I may need to read a document and edit it occasionally or refer to an occasional spreadsheet, but a PDA screen, even the oversized Jornada is just too small for my taste when it comes to doing any real work. I use a PDA for an addressbook and calendar and to keep an eye on the news. I see no reason to try and duplicate what I can do far better and faster on my laptop or desktop machines.
    Charlotte

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    Re: Office Programs and PDAs (Office 2000)

    Charlotte, it's clear that your needs are met quite nicely with a Palm OS machine, so your point is well taken. However, Alan's original post referred specifically to Word and Excel documents on a PDA, which likely means more often than what your needs are.

    My biggest concern is that a PDA may not be the right mobile device for Alan's wife in any event. The biggest question to ask is what is the primary function of the PDA? If Alan's wife is primarily editing Word and Excel spreadsheets for long periods of time and formatting is a big concern, then a PDA may not the right mobile device of choice. Rather, a older model or used notebook with a small screen would be much more useful.

    Even if one opts for Palm OS PDA, in order to really use one for Word and Excel editing, you need to take into account the add-ons in the price equation. A basic grayscale PDA will put you back between $129 for a to $149 for a <A target="_blank" HREF=https://store.palm.com/catalog/productdetails.asp?productnr=P80701U>Palm M105. If you're looking at the PDA for longer periods of time (over 20 min. periods), colour can make a significant difference in readability and eyestrain. So the or <A target="_blank" HREF=https://store.palm.com/Catalog/productdetails.asp?productnr=3C80600U&parent=1004> Palm IIIc now sets you back $299.

    Now, the essential add-ons are a keyboard and document translation software. Inputting more than two paragraphs at a time using a stylus and graffiti is agonizing, so you're also bundling a for $69.95, or the much more convenient <A target="_blank" HREF=http://www.thinkoutside.com/>Stowaway foldable keyboard for $100. Choose from the package for $39.95 or <A target="_blank" HREF=http://www.palmgear.com/software/showsoftware.cfm?sid=55407320011128050000&prodID=2 856>Documents To Go for $69.95.

    Your total price from the low to the high end for the Palm OS device: $239-469 (not including shipping, taxes etc.)

    Going the Pocket PC route, the <A target="_blank" HREF=http://www.mobileplanet.com/product.asp?dept_id=2621&pf_id=MP965205&listing=1> Compaq iPaq H3760</A>, is IMHO the best and only choice, is $500. No translation software necessary, so the add-on is the keyboard. $570-600.

    With the Palm OS family, you get longer battery life (2 weeks) as opposed to the Pocket PC family's 1-2 days with heavier use (rechargeable batteries). Now that the Pocket PC OS has been vastly improved in this 3rd version (2002) from its beginnings as Windows CE, relative stability is less of an issue than it used to be. Although there is a greater volume of third-party software available for Palm OS devices, Pocket PC has caught up in the most useful areas and more developers are supporting the platform. Expandability is greater with the Pocket PC OS, although the Visor series by Handspring is close on the Palm OS side. There is no question that the Pocket PC OS itself is far more powerful and versatile than the Palm OS, but the Palm OS excels at useability and simplicity.

    With all that taken into account, the bottom line is as Charlotte pointed out: doing real work on a tiny screen is difficult. If real work is the priority, find a used notebook in the $800 range. Not to mention that you lose a great deal of the formatting when you sync a Word or Excel document back and forth using Palm OS software, and some of that formatting just between a Pocket PC and the computer. If document formatting is crucial, then a PDA will create more work for Alan's wife. The sacrifice with a notebook will be the ultra-portability of a PDA, the instant-on functionality of the OS, and battery life. However, the most important goal will have been met.

    If the coolness of a PDA is part of the question, then don't even think of a Palm device. An iPaq is the ONLY way to go. <img src=/S/starstruck.gif border=0 alt=starstruck width=15 height=15>

    Hope all that helps!

  11. #11
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    Re: Office Programs and PDAs (Office 2000)

    Well said.

    Having already owned two Palm devices, both of which I gave up on for lack of real functionality. The Palm doesn't even come close to my iPAQ 3765 .

  12. #12
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    Re: Office Programs and PDAs (Office 2000)

    I have several computers and a PDA. I also have a car and a bicycle. I don't expect different kinds of equipment to perform the same jobs.
    Charlotte

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