My plastic brain is dead. Long live my plastic brain! This post marks the official end of my “Age of Psion” that started eleven years ago,in November 1997. Over the course of the years I have “used up” three Psion Series 5/5mx PDA’s, and they have served me well. But now the time has come to move into the Age of Internet and leave my Psions behind. With some sadness, I have just finished moving data off my beloved Psion. I am not going to use it anymore, and I will put all my Psion stuff up for sale soon.
Despite the uncertainties I have mentioned earlier, I recently decided to replace my plastic brain with an Apple iPhone 3G. It still lacks a real keyboard, but I have accepted that “a real keyboard” does not exist in so small devices anymore. To my delight, I have found that the iPhone’s on-screen keyboard is surprisingly useful and actually allows for faster typing than on cell-phone type buttons.
Why Apple? Well, let’s look at modern alternatives to my Psion: The market is divided between Nokia (Symbian), Windows Mobile, and Apple iPhone. The iPhone is surrounded by a lot of hype (and sometimes even too much) but the benefit is that vendors think of iPhone first and of other platforms later, if at all. Given that I am doing a lot of things online, the choice was actually quite easy — I chose the platform that gets the most attention. I didn’t even factor in the latest news about DRM-free music because I will be staying with the music I already own. And there are many, many useful applications that are free even without hacking or unlocking the iPhone.
Why now? I’ve been looking for a Psion replacement since 2001, and nothing on the market convinced me. But it’s not just a question of technology anymore, it’s also a question of phone bills. I wanted to switch to a new cell-phone contract in order to get flat-rate Europe-wide calls and cut my monthly phone bills in half. And when getting a new contract, there’s the chance to get a subsidized new cell phone too — including a choice of the iPhone. There even is a very generous data plan. In effect, by switching operator and getting this phone, I can now place calls and be mobile-online non-stop without a care as to the costs. And that’s a great benefit!
(My phone number remains unchanged.)
First impressions? I was aware that I could not move my Psion habits right onto the iPhone, but it’s important to me that my new brain can do at least anything my old brain could do. Obviously it can do more (like music, Internet, camera, GPS etc.) but can I also use it for the things that I used my Psion for? Yes, it can. There are many differences in terms of how it works and such, but with a selection of (free) add-on software installed, I have a plastic brain that is in every way as good as the old, and then some.