I started using a PDA in 1996. The original Palm Pilot was a great device and virtually reinvented the category. I was a loyal Palm user for 8 years. I upgraded a couple of times and was generally quite happy.
Last year I decided the Palm platform was fading and the PocketPC was the future. I went out and bought an HP iPAQ 4355. This is a great little device and one that’s worked flawlessly for me from the start; I’m able to connect via WiFi even if I don’t have my laptop handy. I also put all my meeting notes, business plans, etc., on it, along with audio books, MP3 files and more. So why am I such an unhappy customer? It all has to do with Microsoft’s Windows Mobile 2003, Second Edition and HP’s decision to not support it on this device.
Windows Mobile 2003, Second Edition was released last year. It includes a number of useful features that I wanted to take advantage of on my iPAQ. For example, the ability to toggle between landscape and portrait display mode is built into Windows Mobile 2003, Second Edition. (I’m aware of at least one third-party add-on that does the same thing, but I tried it and it was clunky at best.) Despite the fact that the iPAQ 4355 model was only a few months old and was an “Editor’s Choice” in most of the handheld magazines, HP decided to not support Windows Mobile 2003, Second Edition on it. I’ve been told by Microsoft that they can’t really control the hardware vendors. (That seems hard to believe, don’t you think?!) HP officially told me I should consider upgrading to a newer model in their iPAQ line. WRONG! I’m not giving HP another nickel.
Think about it: When was the last time you bought a brand new, state-of-the-art computer and within 3 months it was made obsolete by a new version of the operating system? I’ve never had that problem with a computer and I never had that problem with the Palm platform. Why do Microsoft and their hardware partners think they can be so arrogant about this? OK, no need to reply to that…I already know the answer.
As the saying goes, I’m voting with my wallet next time and it won’t be for an HP product. It’s also unlikely I’ll stick with the PocketPC/Windows Mobile platform. I might pry open my wallet later this year…any suggestions on a good alternative?