handheld.jpgGothamist has been missing meetings, lunch dates, appointments, meet-ups, and pow-wows the last few weeks, and it has been suggested that a PDA might help get us organized. Our requirements are straightforward: wireless capability- preferably always on; keyboard input; latest Palm or Pocket PC OS; integration with Microsoft Outlook. After literally minutes and minutes of research, we have put together the following comprehensive analysis of the PDA landscape, with recommendations on what to buy. Feel free to suggest other alternatives in the comments.

Overview: the current PDA product landscape is very fragmented. At least five major manufacturers are putting out handhelds with varying feature sets. The landscape is also unstable, as new models are being released every 2-3 months. Later in the year, full integration of always-on wireless service is expected from all the major PDA manufacturers.

Strategic question: what should the consumer do before an affordable full-featured PDA is released with always-on wireless service?

Option 1: Buy a Blackberry 6210

Always-on wireless capability
Good email and messaging support
Keyboard UI and thumbwheel- no stylus problems

Expensive: $400-500 for unit, $40-60 a month for service
No wireless synching of calendar without exchange server

tungstenc.jpgOption 2: Buy a Tungsten-C by Palm

Full PDA, color screen, keyboard, stylus
WiFi syncing at home/office- no wires required

Expensive: $500 for the unit, plus cost of setting up wireless networks where you work
Little chance of wireless connectivity while outside

sonypeg.jpgOption 3: Buy the Sony PEG-NX60

Cheaper- $399
Will do all the basic organizer stuff
Good mp3 player
Cool articulated screen

WiFi is extra- $149
Manual syncing of email and calendar
Will have to be replaced when a good always-on PDA comes out