Apr. 11th, 2010

muscadine: (Default)
So my mom has expressed interest in having some sort of portable/mobile device that she can carry around with her with the following needed functions:
* Ability to read (& preferably edit) notes/lists/small spreadsheets
* Address book
* Calendar
* Some capability to move/sync notes, spreadsheets, and perhaps address book/calendar (with her desktop/laptop and/or the internet)
* Bonus: Wifi for at home, as well as ability to check email, etc when a wifi network is available while traveling

A laptop is too bulky and has a relatively short battery life.

My mind immediately jumped to an iPhone or other smartphone but their home does not get wireless signal and they have to drive a couple of miles to get a signal, so their current cell phone is a pay-as-you-go plan and they only use about 1000 minutes a year (mostly while traveling/vacationing). So, since iPhone would require a plan I didn't think that was a good option for them.

The next thing I jumped to was an iPod Touch. It has apps and capabilities that allow for all of her requirements (at least with the help of Google Docs), plus lots of bonus features including media capabilities along with other available apps. One possible downside is that the screen may be a bit small for her to read off of and if she does need to type something in the small onscreen touchpad may not be the best interface for her (these are, of course, also downsides to the iPhone).

Then of course the iPad has just come out. It's somewhat less portable and more expensive than an IPhone/IPod, but it would fit easily in a purse, does have a long battery life, has a similar selection of apps and capabilities (the ereader might be a particularly appealing bonus feature for my mom), and has a much better typing interface (including ability to link a keyboard) and larger screen. Since she would probably just get the most basic model of whatever she bought, the iPad is quite a bit more than the iPod Touch. Also, being a new technology, I'd probably recommend she wait til the next generation comes out if possible.

A netbook might also work but they generally seem to be heavier and more bulky, and to have a significantly shorter battery life, compared to the iPad.

An old-fashioned PDA might also work, but I don't see the advantage over an iPod Touch.

Is there an option I'm missing?
Are there downsides (or upsides) to any of these options that I'm missing?
Is there something around the corner I should encourage her to wait for (like a Droid-based analogue to the Touch or iPad that's worth considering)?

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