After numerous months of debating, and researching, and peer reviewing, I went out and purchased a smartphone.
There were many to choose from, the newest being the iPhone, as well as many other choices such as Blackberry (from an Ontario company called RIM), as well as Motorola, Palm, and Microsoft.
There have been many reviews of which PDA is the "best" to use and why. I poured over these and looked at the different options.
Some love the new-ness of the iPhone and its advanced technology. I would have loved to get one, but in Canada for the basic plan its over $90/month for an email/internet package, not including the phone service or the phone itself. If I was to spend that kind of money on the phone I would want all options to be unlimited, without forking over a ridiculous amount of money/month. (A friend of Mr E's bought an iPhone, and his first bill was over $800. Yikes!)
I'm a <$30/month kind of girl, have never used my phone for surfing the web, and have never even had a camera on my phone. The thought of paying that much a month just so I can look at Facebook a few times before my maximum was just not worth it. I also don't own an iPod *gasp*, or any type of portable music device. So then I thought about just getting a cheap phone with basic services, and buying a PDA that would be a separate purchase. Those left me with a few options, Palm being one of them. The problem lies in the fact that most PDAs are now also smartphones, and honestly I didn't want to have to carry two separate machines. I used to own a Palm Z32, and up until it died it was a good purchase to have especially for the calendar software, the contacts, and the memos. One thing about owning a Palm AND a Cell is that you hardly ever look at your Palm, especially if you also had a laptop and could access the Palm software that way. No, my phone would have to have both a decent calendar option which was compatible with my current software (harder than it seems), as well as be a decent phone, and if it was a smartphone have easy access to email. Surfing the web would be secondary as at the hospital it is easy to get computer access, and at home my laptop is my baby. There aren't too many things I would need to access the web for when I wasn't at home. Ultimately, I was looking for a smartphone with a decent calendar, and the ability to put medical software on it. After wheeling and dealing with the phone company, I managed to finagle a deal where I would pay $15 for unlimited email, plus the cost of my monthly phone package. Not being one to surf the web, I was ok with not getting an internet package. Now I would just have to find a phone. I could do a thorough analysis of each phone available by my phone carrier on this blog, however I think I would do it a disservice; there have been many already done, and I'm not that technical nor would I actually care that much to do it. So that leaves me with my choice of phone. Since I have had experience with Palm software, am not interested in fancy gadgets nor pretty design, it seemed that a Palm phone would be the most logical choice. My phone carrier only had one Palm option: the Treo 755p.
I have to say that I love it. To me it's a new Palm pilot, which also just happens to have phone capabilities. With it not only can I check email regularly (nice because I'm a head of a not for profit organization, and would need to be contacted fairly regularly), I also have access to my calendar, and my contacts would have easy transition. I also would have ability to back up my currently calendar on my laptop, just in case one or the other dies (which I was worried about ever since my old Z32 died!). There is a music option, as well, which I might not use, but for those techies out there, it is there and the sound quality seems quite good.
For 3 months I will have unlimited internet available to me, so I will use the internet option. However chances are I won't use it post-3 months.
Not only can I access my email really easily, it also has access to Google Maps, something I used regularly this weekend when I went to Toronto. Having it handy during a traffic jam was AMAZING, especially since this weekend there was a large explosion of a natural gas station, which clogged up a lot of the major highways going in and out of Toronto.
I have also placed Epocrates (the free version) on my Palm, and plan on putting more medical/nursing software on it soon. Any software tips would be amazing.