11 December 2011

Heartbreak Hardware - Handspring Deluxe

With the upgrade to a smartphone, I am once again trying to retire my Palm-based PDA, a Handspring Deluxe.  PDA?  Handspring?  All quaint words in today's technologically fast-moving world.

Once upon a time, Palm Computing was the king of the hill in the mobile market.  Back then, mobile means you can carry around in your shirt pocket an address book, a to-do list, a calendar, a notepad, a bunch of apps, and more.  The Personal Digital Assistant, PDA, was in vogue, long before Siri ever utters "Your 2010 jokes are annoying."  All we geeks wanted to do was to manage our data and data was limited to the calendar, address book, etc.  You could edit the data on the host computer or on the PDA then a sync will get things sorted out.

I started the experience with a bona fide, original Palm.  Just Palm, no other number or letter followed its name, just simply Palm.  Next I upgraded it with a 512K memory module and lo and behold I had a whole 1 MB to fill up with data!  I tried to fill the huge amount of space with apps, some, like Scrabble, were bought in the store (Staples) while others were gotten off the Web.  One Tetris clone proved to be a fatal addition, as it somehow killed the Palm.  Resetting over and over did not do any good.  I actually went back to a paper-based address book for a few months.  Eventually, Handspring entered the burgeoning market with the Deluxe series.  Not only you had 8 MB of space to use, there was also a SpringBoard slot on the back that opened up a whole world of opportunities.  MP3 player, encyclopedia, camera, wow!

For my first Handspring Deluxe, I added apps to do genealogy, Chinese input, database plug-in for FileMaker Pro, spreadsheet, word-processing, and some decent-behaving games.  Hardware-wise, I got a Targus foldable keyboard and some screen protectors.  Unfortunately for it, one day it fell off my belt and I ran it over with my car.  I got a replacement, also a Handspring Deluxe, that survive until today.  It was once forced into retirement when I had an iPod touch, but the touch only lasted about two years.  First the touch's battery failed then its i/o board went kaput.  The Handspring Deluxe made a triumphant return.  I never got the MP3 SpringBoard module so it does not do music, but as a PDA it works fine.  When I am diligent, I even used its Notepad to write draft version of blog entry or ATPM review.

A few weeks back, I decided it was time again for the Deluxe to retire.  The Galaxy S on-screen keyboard leaves much to desire but it is adequate.  In the smartphone, I have address book, some note-taking app, calendar, to-do list, plus music and email capability.  Today I even paired the Galaxy to Apple's bluetooth keyboard and am writing this blog entry with the keyboard.

Thank you for your years of service, Handspring Deluxe.  Have a nice retirement!

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