I just read this article and I'm a bit relieved to see I'm not alone. I've started carrying a HipsterPDA as an experiment (pierced, of course), aided with a copy of GTD TiddlyWiki on the computers. It's about as exciting as my Palm has ever been!
So, I've been using Palms since about 97 as soon as the PalmPilot Personal came out. Great toy, and when I invested in ActionNames, WordSmith then pedit it (and its successors) became a real workhorse. I could do more. It got my imagination going.
I had one brief foray into the PPC world with an iPaq, and other than PocketInformant and maybe Textmaker, was greatly disappointed. It was clumsy and slow in comparison.
So, I switched back and got a Tungsten E. Great potential in this hardware! Beautiful screen, great pocketable form factor, very usable battery life... and an 8 year old OS.
I know the OS has come a long way, but OS5 was a quick hack to run on ARM instead of Dragonball processors. It certainly hasn't proven itself to be anything else. I yearn for a true word processor that will show me margins, paragraph borders, and styles... but apparently the OS can't support that complex of an app. I moved to Datebk5, but that and Agendus paled in comparison to PocketInformant. WordSmith... died on the vine. They still prominently announce that it was a prize-winning app in 2001/early 2002!
So is it time to go back to PPC? I cringe a bit at the memory, but if it works... ...however, I am doubting that a PDA does what I want to do AT ALL, these days. I can't envision any big-name device that will let me view 2 documents at once or have a stopwatch floating on the screen at the same time. I want to grab a browser based app like TiddlyWiki and use it on the road. And I still want a good word processor, darnit!
All of a sudden, I can't do more, I'm trapped doing the things I did back in '99. The hardware has come along, but the companies haven't been pushing it. I guess it was a better decision to change the connector every 3 months to drive the third-party market out of business... but I digress.
Now what I want has to have a bigger screen. 4x6 maybe. It has to have a modern OS (Linux+KDE seems the wisest choice, maybe BSD or OS X if cheap enough). It has to have modern applications - CSS+JS browser, some bytecode environment, (Java or whatever), A GREAT WORD PROCESSOR (DARNIT), maybe even swipe Apple's Dashboard widgets for the little things. It will probably be the footprint of a Newton (or at least a PSP) and max .75" thick. ..and it has to cost about $300.
Ok, I shut down the tablet PC people with the last one, I suppose... Sorry.
But since there seem to be no more Jeff Hawkinses out there that care to design around the human, the next best thing is for the human to do it themselves with paper. It's incredible how much information you can cram on to a 3x5" card, and attractively, too. It's got a great tactile feedback. I find I can think of great ways to use it where the PDA simply fights me back (or charges me $29 THEN fights me back). The PDA has been relegated to static information (eBooks, multipage documents, month-view calendars) where the paper is dynamic, flexible, immediate.
Sounds kinda backwards doesn't it? I don't see a bright future for the handheld market, and I just wonder who is to blame for that.