Friday, May 21, 2010

From Palm Treo to a Nokia N900

My faithful Palm Treo 650 has occationally been acting up so I decided to get a replacement.
I would wish to get the Palm Pre Plus or the Pixi but the price is on the extreme end & it has not exactly come to the local shores. Hopefully with the purchase of Palm by HP, they will bring it in at a more affordable price.
Due to being accustomed to the convenience of a qwerty keyboard & touchsceen of the Palm, my minimum criteria for getting a new phone was those. This ruled out both the Iphone & the Blackberry. I also need to be able to read & write in Chinese since a number of my contacts have Chinese names & sometimes need to receive sms in Chinese.
So searching for alternatives led me to the Nokia N900. One of the main reason that this made it attractive for me was the underlying OS that is linux. Being opensource means more freedom to choose & free software.
Shifting to the N900 takes a lot of getting used to. the qwerty keypad has bigger keys & the width spans the length of the phone in landscape mode so the thumbs have to move across more area. The texture is a little rough so using the fingernails like I do on the Treo makes the feel a bit weird.
Among the first things I need to do was to ensure that I got Chinese support in so I can read & write with it. I installed mscim-googlepinyin & I was able to enter the characters. The problem though is that it conflicts with the virtual keyboard so I am stuck with using the qwerty for the english input.
Once the chinese characters are working, its time to migrate my data. on my Treo, I’m using KeySuite from Chapura rather the built-in Contacts. KeySuite allowed me to sync the data to Microsoft Outlook & the full range of data fields like 19 phone numbers & emails plus personal details like spouse & anniversaries. Nokia on the other hand uses PC Suite to sync Outlook with the phone. There is a new alternative called Ovi Suite but it currently does not support the N900.
After installing PC Suite & syncing the data, I realized I have big problems. A lot of the data are missing like Middle Names, Title, Suffix, Spouse, Anniversry, children. These fields I’ve used to the fullest on the Treo. To migrate, the least I have to change is to edit the Middle Names & move the phone numbers around. Other those, I won’t be able to access all the information I’ve collected over the years. Also, it appears that the N900 does not even have a basic search function for its contents. This is one nightmare for me since all my data are stored.
Now I’m editing all my contacts just so I have the basic names and still trying to find an alternative program that will allow me to have all my data and be able to sync with Outlook. If you know one, let me know.