My PDA history goes back almost nine years.
In Sept. 1996, I bought a Compaq Companion C120. This was Pegasus, the very first release of Windows CE. The hardware was awesome.. It had a 480x240 monochrome (4 shades of grey), 2MB and a PCMCIA slot, but the operating system needed work. Actually, what needed work was the synchronization software. It was called HPC Explorer and it wasn't great. A while after I bought it, I purchased an upgrade chip from Compaq which upgraded it Windows 2.0 and added 2MB. That gave the ability to run ActiveSync. That's when Windows CE started to make sense. I used that PDA for years and still have it. It still works well.
Next, the Windows CE 2.0 Palm size device came out and I thought I needed one. I purchased a Philips Nino 301. I had thought that this 'upgrade' would hold me for a while, but I never really liked the Nino. It had A 320X240 monochrome (4 shades of gray), 4MB of RAM and a Compactflash slot. ActiveSync got better and better and is the single most important component of the Windows CE OS.
I made the jump to PocketPC's later than most. I got an @migo from UR There in June of 2002. This company wasn't around very long. I bought it on eBay from an individual who said he was owed money by UR There and was paid in PDA's. Until it died a few months later, it was awesome. It had a beautiful 320x240 color screen (65,535 colors), 32MB RAM, and a PC Card slot (they used to be called PCMCIA slots). I paid $160. My wife and I watched movies on it in the airport. I connected to wireless networks before most others with PDA's could. It was a great PDA.
By the time it died, my work situation had changed (no work situation) and I was forced to go low budget. I bought a used monochrome Compaq iPaq 3135 in July 2003 (again on eBay) for $51 (shipped). It was trailing edge and I was able to buy extra sync cables and chargers at a 99¢ Only store. It had a 320x240 monochrome (16 shades of grey), 16MB and no card slots ( expansion sleeves were available but expensive). It was a decent PDA and is still around the house somewhere.
In June of 2005, I upgraded my Verizon Wireless cellphone to a Treo 600. It cost me $149 (after rebate). It has a 160x160 color screen, 32MB RAM, and an SDIO slot. I wrote half of this post on it. It does so much more than earlier PDA's because of the phone integration and unlimited Internet access. I am not as fond of HotSync as ActiveSync and the Outlook integration is not as tight as I would prefer, but I am very pleased.
Note: This article was originally posted to the TreoVida blog on date listed. It was moved to Does the fun ever start ? on Sunday, October 23, 2005.