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Leeroy ST

Pocket PC vs. Blackberry for productivity?

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Back in the early and mid 2000s if you wanted media and productivity software and access on the go you had two major choices, Pocket PC and Blackberry.

 

Now I dont know if I was the only one using these for not just the media but also the productivity side, and am interested in others opinions on which was better.

 

Both were a pain in the ass to set up exchange/web client or set up printers. I'm glad those days are done, really frustrating. Contact synch would sometimes mess up too, you'd have to do it 3 or 4 times to make sure the contacts and address books were properly transfered.

 

One thing I noticed was Blackberry's usually didn't have an SD slot, and for many document formats or attachments, you could only read, not edit, while Pocket PC let you do both. You had complete access to office suit, and PPC had an advantage in multimedia with better video codecs, nicer screens, and games. PPC's also usually had better wifi and audio. Image editing for PPC's with cameras was also helpful for fliers etc. Then you have one of the first instances of using a mobile device as an IR remote which was useful for PowerPoints. Compatibility with Windows desktop programs was a big deal too.

 

At the same time, Blackberry was more secure, although the gap wasn't huge or anything. However, PPC's crashed quite a bit compared to Blackberry, which was more stable. Though the crash rate depended on which PPC you got, Blackberry always had the advantage. The famous Blackberry keypad is also useful for documents you "can" create or edit, unlike PPC's that use unreliable stylus keypads that aren't anywhere near as fast. Though reliability depends on the model. Blackberry also had the "near instant email access" feature, being one of the fastest, seems silly today but was a big deal back then, no, a HUGE deal. While both could be used overseas, Blackberry has a more stable connection and could be used in more countries in most cases.

 

Both featured varying levels of cellular connectivity and phone call quality depending on the model, the original Smartphone devices.

 

My old company used to switch phone models, or use PPC for some departments and BB for others for some time. The HP Ipaq 3715 and BlackBerry 7100t changed the game and the heads wanted to consolidate, they ended up picking the Ipaq, though the staff were still divided on which was better.

 

The early days of portable/mobile computing were rough, but was varied with many competitors. It was a fun time.

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I really miss my old Casio E-125. Back then I had a Thinkpad 600X and a 240. I really wanted the Sharp handheld, I think it was called the Mobilon or something. I still have a Palm Centro and an LG VS-750 "Fathom". I occasionally use one or the other - especially the Fathom - as a handheld computer. I think it can be made to run both HPC and PPC software. It still syncs just fine with mobile device center and Outlook 2010, even thought the big tablet is now Windows 10.

 

A lot of the old "Handmark" software came with both PPC and Palm versions, and sometimes Blackberry too. I've thought about getting an old Blackberry to play with and probably would have if not for a bizzare news story I heard back then. They said something was wrong with RIM's network, and Blackberry users couldn't access their data. What would the network have to do with being able to access your data? That's kept on your device, not on the network...right?

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43 minutes ago, KG7PFS said:

I really miss my old Casio E-125. Back then I had a Thinkpad 600X and a 240. I really wanted the Sharp handheld, I think it was called the Mobilon or something. I still have a Palm Centro and an LG VS-750 "Fathom". I occasionally use one or the other - especially the Fathom - as a handheld computer. I think it can be made to run both HPC and PPC software. It still syncs just fine with mobile device center and Outlook 2010, even thought the big tablet is now Windows 10.

 

A lot of the old "Handmark" software came with both PPC and Palm versions, and sometimes Blackberry too. I've thought about getting an old Blackberry to play with and probably would have if not for a bizzare news story I heard back then. They said something was wrong with RIM's network, and Blackberry users couldn't access their data. What would the network have to do with being able to access your data? That's kept on your device, not on the network...right?

It depended on if you had Sprint CDMA or another company, Sprint the data was in the phone largely (no SIM) which was always connected to the network and would have to check into the network to access a lot of phone functions or it wouldn't work. So if there was a block, or hack, or network issue your data was not accessible or limited  Verizon did this differently.

 

I dont recall that being an issue with Verizon. The other three being GSM so wouldn't apply. I think it was just Sprint that took it that far. The whole set up was done for "security" purposes and was still a thing with many sprint phones until 2014-5.

 

I remember when one later Sprint phone came out when they were starting to use "fake" sims, I forgot the brand, and I opened a temp sprint account to try it out. One of the early attempts at a bezeless phone. There was a sim in the phone but it was just for show really, just to check in to the network. If you took it out the phone was still registered in my name. When I cut service I couldn't sell or give the phone to someone because some settings were still based on my old account, my name and some other information locked to the phone, and some features were turned off.

 

When I put in the old sim, it would detect the sim and some features, like wifi (I know right?) turned on, but since I closed the account the sim couldn't check into the network to get the necessary data.

 

I did a factory reset but the phone registration is not impacted by that, it wouldn't get you anything more than the home screen unless the sim was in, then it will fail to connect to a network unless the sim was active. The phone useless other than the home screen 

 

I tried a friend's sim and called customer service to get the phone in his name, nope.

 

I opened a new account with the same info I put in before, gave customer service the phone info, put in the new sim and it worked like before I closed my account the first time. This was 2013-2014 iirc.

 

Before 2013 many/all Sprint phones didn't even have sims, especially in the 2000-2007 time frame we are talking about. Any Sprint device worked based off the network. Blackberry was a big Verizon and Sprint brand, so several BB buyers had Sprint 

 

 

 

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I think Blackberry was more prevalent and widespread than PPC. And I tend to get the impression that PPC did less (because of tech at the time) than implied.

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The issue with the PPC, was that it ran a crippled OS, with very little enthusiasm to develop for.

 

The hardware itself was just fine.

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9 hours ago, Keatah said:

I think Blackberry was more prevalent and widespread than PPC. And I tend to get the impression that PPC did less (because of tech at the time) than implied.

If you're talking generally that may have been true initially, but by end of 2006 MS had 56% of the market:

 

Quote

In terms of operating systems for personal digital assistants (PDAs), shipments of devices based on Microsoft Corp.'s Windows platform grew by 38.8 per cent to nearly 10 million. Those shipments, by multiple manufacturers of Windows-based devices, increased Microsoft's market share to 56.1 per cent, up from 47.9 per cent in 2005, the research company said.

 

 

But if you're talking about individual yeah, Blackberry was the leading hardware:

https://www.cbc.ca/amp/1.644327

 

Quote

BlackBerry retained the top spot for PDA devices shipped, growing 10 per cent to 3.5 million for the year, but its market share slipped from 21.3 per cent in 2005 to just a shade below 20 per cent during 2006, Gartner said.

 

Palm saw PDA shipments slide by 29 per cent to less than 2.8 million devices, its market share plummeting to 11.1 per cent from the prior year's 18.5 per cent, Gartner said.

 

Hewlett-Packard Co.'s shipments also declined in 2006, falling 24.1 per cent to 2.3 million devices. Its market share fell by more than a third to 9.7 per cent versus the prior year's 15.1 per cent, according to the report.

 

But they werent that far apart. 3.8 million isn't too far ahead of 2.8 or 2.3 million. Granted in the next two years Blackberry would have explosive growth surpassing everyone and helping kill off PPC as MS shifted focus to  Windows phone.

 

It was much more competitive in the early years though.

 

8 hours ago, wierd_w said:

The issue with the PPC, was that it ran a crippled OS, with very little enthusiasm to develop for.

 

The hardware itself was just fine.

Oh that was something MS never really fixed until Windows Phone started over from scratch later.

 

The devices had tons of compatibility issues, bugs, crashing, poor interface, etc.

 

Depending on the manufacturer you could get more stable devices, but even in later HP or Motorola devices you still ran into quite a few problems. Say what you want about early Android but they updated with some fixes each time, and by Gingerbread Android was somewhat stable enough.

 

MS ended up going backwards with the mobile 6 series OS.

 

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Did some digging, seems NEC like 80's and early 90's PC, had their own Pocket PCs that dominated Japan ,(for non-basic phones) until the Iphone. You could even hook a compact floppy drive to it, but can't find more info on the drive.

Edited by Leeroy ST

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On 9/17/2021 at 12:43 AM, Keatah said:

I think Blackberry was more prevalent and widespread than PPC.

tl;dr Sprint pushed the BlackBerry ridiculously hard, too.  But PPC/Windows Mobile had a bright future ahead of itself (though bungled by Microsoft in later years.)

 

I was supporting a home-building company back during the Alltel (big BlackBerry proponent and Motorola PTT) and Sprint merger (PCS, CDMA, Palm Treo running Windows Mobile and such.)  We purchased a process which used a Windows Mobile application, linked with Outlook on WinMo, synchronized with our centralized system, meaning all of our contractors and supervisors could manage each house build and punch lists without stepping into the office.  Really neat stuff for 2006.  I had a Windows Mobile emulator which allowed me to test and troubleshoot all this stuff.



 

It was time to re-up our contract with Sprint, and we told them we needed 150 to 200 phones running Windows Mobile.  We preferred the Treo, though the new HTC phones with the full touch-screens were also just bangin'.  I had a meeting with local Sprint reps before which I told them, do not bring BlackBerry: we need Windows Mobile.

 

Stepping back for a minute, up until this point most of the company had been using BlackBerry. It was a favored device, we even flirted with a BlackBerry Enterprise Server (a phuqn disaster and would eat Exchange servers up until its final releases.)  We had our people split between BlackBerry on Alltel and whatever on T-Mobile, and we were hoping to consolidate.

 

These assholes showed up, three sales reps strong WITH a BlackBerry representative.  We sat down, introduced ourselves, and I looked across the four phones they brought, every damned one of them BlackBerry. I thanked them for their time, thanked them for wasting my time, and showed them the door.

 

The local reps called the company CEO and told him what happened, and he said they were lucky it was not him at the meeting.  Even after that Sprint dicked us around on getting Windows Mobile devices.  We switched to AT&T within four months.

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1 hour ago, OLD CS1 said:

 

1 hour ago, OLD CS1 said:

 

 

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These assholes showed up, three sales reps strong WITH a BlackBerry representative.  We sat down, introduced ourselves, and I looked across the four phones they brought, every damned one of them BlackBerry. I thanked them for their time, thanked them for wasting my time, and showed them the door.

 

The local reps called the company CEO and told him what happened, and he said they were lucky it was not him at the meeting.  Even after that Sprint dicked us around on getting Windows Mobile devices.  We switched to AT&T within four months.

 

 

 

 

That was the same year Sprint started being deceptive with numbers and things weren't looking rosy, but it wouldn't be until 2009 or 10 when they started devaluing themselves with fire sales.

 

Regardless of which phones our company used Sprint was eventually banned as an option for poor reps, customer service, and inconsistent service.

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2 hours ago, 3DFXgamer said:

I still use a blackberry today, in fact I'm using one to type this :)

But running Android these days, right?

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