Remote working: PDA and mobile phone roundup. By Nigel Harris

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Mobile computing devices have moved on since the days of the first Palm Pilot and the Psion Organizer. For the accountant in business or practice, the tools are available right now to run a mobile office in the palm of your hand and keep in touch with customers, clients and colleagues worldwide. We are seeing major hardware improvements almost quarterly, so here is the state of the market as of April 2006.

Our mobile accountant has two basic requirements: carry and use Microsoft Office files (Outlook, Word, Excel maybe even Powerpoint)PDA; and be able to send and receive email via the office mail server (access just to a webmail service such as Hotmail is too limiting)

PDA Palm vs Windows

Until recently the natural solution has been a PDA, but while these meet objective 1 abo...

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25th Apr 2007 17:53

A bit more on the BlackBerry
I just wanted to chip in a couple of things on the BlackBerry. (I'm a fan, with an 8700.)

The non-corporate, end user BlackBerry Internet Service can actually accept up to 10 different e-mail accounts (including things like Gmail), is very straightforward to use and configure, and so makes it a very good choice for the small business user.

I think the key reason the BlackBerry is so popular is to do with ease of use. The e-mail, calender, phone. SMS, browser, task and note facilities are all designed with the minimum of keystrokes or clicks compared to a Palm or Windows Mobile e.g. if you cursor on to a phone number in a mail message, when you click, it assumes you are going to call that number. To me it's like the iPod - a simple, straightforward interface that does the job, and no more. Too many features get in the way.

The downside is that it hasn't got those extra features like a digital camera or ability to play MP3s, but I prefer my camera and my iPod for those anyway.
David Terrar
Business Two Zero

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By taxshop
27th Apr 2007 16:26

I use an XDA exec from O2
This has phone, internet, email, (multiple accounts) ms office and syncs with outlook.
It has blue tooth and importantly WiFi so I can get onto my home and office internet and mail and not always using expensive GPRS. It also has a full qwerty keyboard and a folding, swivel screen. Windows mobile 5

Downside - its awkard - I sometimes miss calls fiddling with the screen and after a year the battery life is shortening and is unpredictable.

It is also marketed under other brand (t-mobile and I-mate)

My contract is coming to an end and I'm looking for alternatives but find that very few devices have WiFi. Is this a plot to sell gprs. I may just have to buy a new battery!

PS just noticed that it's the Qtek 9000 on the HTC page that James mentioned

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By Anonymous
27th Apr 2007 18:19

Worth mentioning..
Blackberry are going to release their email software separately, so it will work on a windows phone:

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By Anonymous
30th Apr 2007 18:12

XDA Exec
Michael, I too have an XDA Exec, and an XDA Mini as backup, the Exec is excellent and it beats the Mini anyday, though as you say, it is very easy to miss calls, and often do, have given up with the carry case, and miss slightly fewer calls! When I used the Mini for a while I never missed a call, but didn't like the keypad.

I would be interested in what you get instead, because once you are used to the keypad etc, it is hard to change. I presume other devices synchronise to laptops & contacts etc.

Interestingly I am on my second XDA and there have been improvements on the first one, including slightly longer battery life. It was difficult over the first few months as it was some time before you could buy the batteries, eventually getting them from "Expansys". I have two spare batteries and never go out without a spare battery!!

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By Anonymous
11th Jun 2007 11:13

Don't Buy Palm Treo 750
I have a Palm Treo 750, which runs Windows (not Palm) software. It is absolutely marvelous for everything except phone calls.

I'm not joking.

I have had three. The Palm fails to respond when there is an incoming call, so even when set on 30 sec delay (the max with Vodafone) before going to voicebank, it diverts to voicebank during the 3rd ring. The caller hears the RING tone long before the Palm rings.

You miss virtually every call, unless you're alone and the phone is in your hand.

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