This morning I read of the remarkable success of the iPod Touch, selling perhaps half as many devices as the iPhone. But that does not surprise me, for the iTouch lacks competition. The last similar device -- the Palm TX -- was abandoned by Palm several years ago. There is no other miniature non-cell-phone computing device on the market.
I used four models of Palm handheld computer (the original Pilot, Plam III, Sony Clie, and Palm TX) over 13 years. The touch screen began to go on the TX, I bought a second one from eBay, and now its screen is going as well. I was torn between another TX (another$200) or something else.
Since more iPhone applications are emerging, I decided on the iTouch in order to move into the next generation of user experience. (At $800, I can't afford an unlocked iPhone.) I regret that the camera is missing, and that the iTouch makes poor WiFi connections.
Most of all, however, I miss the elegance of the Palm:
- I have to wait for apps to load on the iTouch; there is no waiting with a Palm.
- The iTouch's interfaces for contacts and datebook are dreadful in comparison.
- Being locked into the iTunes store and software chafes at me*.
- And what's with the one-way synchronization? I miss Palm's elegance in this area.
- I can't create my own folders for storing music the way I like; iTunes puts some songs of a playlist on the iTouch correctly, some incorrectly.
Now that I have had a few weeks experience with the iTouch, I wouldn't buy one again. When friends are looking for a new music player, I recommend Sony's MP3 players.
My son's girlfriend is getting a new cell phone soon, and might be settling on one that runs Android. I look forward to examining it.
In the meantime, I figured out how to get 5,400 days worth of datebook entries and 400 contacts from the Palm TX to the iTouch. What I find really exciting is that the data is stored by Google, making it easy for me to abandon the iTouch for an Android device when the time is right. After all, data trumps apps.
See also How Google Android Could Give Apple A Run For Its Money by Tim McLaughlin.
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*) Particularly galling is that software companies cannot sent me their iPhone/iTouch software for review. Instead, they send me iTunes gift cards to access the software at no charge from the iTunes store. This creates two problems:
1. I cannot use the gift cards, because they apply only to the US iTunes store; I live in Canada.
2. Software companies end up paying Apple 30% for me to test the "free" software.