Friday, February 1, 2002

How the Palm i705 stacks up against the RIM BlackBerry

Notification

A new feature with the Palm i705 is a visible notification of incoming email. Both devices are capable of using either an audible tone or silent vibration for notification purposes. The BlackBerry can also notify you by an on-screen LED, but the Palm i705 has a dual color LED located on the top.

Expansion

What about expansion? With the BlackBerry, you're expansion possibilities are quite limited. With the Palm i705, on the other hand, you've got dual plug & play expansion slots that support SDIO and SD (Secure Digital) cards and MMC (MultiMediaCards) for additional memory, applications, images, video clips, backup capability, and more. Plus, we've all seen some of the amazing add-ons that have been built for Palm handhelds in the past. Many of these are sure to find their way to the new i705.

Synchronization

For synchronization purposes, the Palm i705 has the advantage in terms of compatible ports. The BlackBerry only has a serial connection, which is an older, slower, and finickier PC technology. The Palm i705 can synchronize using the newer, faster USB ports. It can also use IrDA (infrared), available on many laptops, which is often a very convenient way to HotSync.

Memory and data expansion

The Palm i705 is the clear winner in terms of memory. It has 8MB of flash memory compared to the BlackBerry's 5MB. To be fair, the higher-end BlackBerry 5820 also has 8MB. Meanwhile, the BlackBerry has no expansion capability, so you can't add optional memory or storage. The Palm i705 expansion slot allows you to add a whopping 128MB SD/MMC card. If that's not enough, 256MB, 512MB, and eventually 1GB cards are expected later this year.

Desktop compatibility

The Palm i705 favors Mac users, as its desktop software supports both Windows and Mac. The BlackBerry desktop software supports Windows only.

Out-of-the-box applications

Out-of-the-box, the BlackBerry has only your basic organizer applications. The Palm i705 has the standard Palm OS PIM (Personal Information Management) applications: Date Book, Address Book, To Do List, Memo Pad, Calculator, Expense, and Clock. However, it's also got a number of cool pieces of software bundled with it, including: DataViz Documents to Go Professional Edition, Adobe Acrobat Reader for Palm OS, AOL Instant Messenger, MGI PhotoSuite Mobile Edition, and Palm Reader.

Wireless applications

Since we're on the subject of software, let's move on and look at how the wireless applications compare. In terms of email, the RIM BlackBerry 957 allows you just one email address. The Palm i705 supports one business address (Microsoft Exchange or Lotus Notes and Domino), plus one Palm.com address and six Internet email accounts. You can also set filters on the Palm i705 remotely, on the client. You can set filters with the BlackBerry too, but it must be done at the server, from the desktop.

Again, to be fair, there is some advantage to server-based filtering (so, for example, messages don't have to download over the slower wireless link), but to have a server-only solution prevents you from being able to take charge of your mail flow from the field.