I made the purchase. I'm in Des Moines teaching a class, and over lunch yesterday, I decided to roam the local mall. I found a T-Mobile store, and so I wandered in and asked if they had the PocketPC phone. "This is your lucky day," said the fellow behind the counter. They had gotten one in that morning, the only one they've had in the last six months. This is the new version with Pocket PC 2003 OS installed. I plunked down my $400 and walked away with a new toy.
I've been trying to become accustomed to this new device. The obvious advantages of having this thing are many. If you use a PDA, it's great to have your calendar, contact information and inbox all accessible on this small device that you can carry with you wherever you go. The problem I've found is that I end up not carrying it around everywhere, and as such, I don't use it like I should. The device that I do carry with me everywhere I go is my cell phone. So, if the cell phone were also a PDA, wouldn't that force me to start using it? I would hope so.
The PocketPC phone edition is capable of sync'ing to my company's Exchange server. So, no matter where I am, I have access to my inbox, calendar and contacts. When new emails arrive, my phone notifies me, and I can respond.
This works great - when it works. I've been having difficulty with getting the sync to work with our server. It was failing everytime I tried a sync, but then this afternoon, it started working. I foolishly reset my device, and now it's failing again. :(
So, after about 24 hours of tinkering, the jury is still out. So far, I do like the device. It's compact, fits nicely in my pocket, works great as a phone. It came with a case for clipping it to my belt, but I'm not sure I'm ready to announce my geekdom to that extent just yet. If the sync issue can be worked out (and hopefully, my company's admins are willing to work with me on it), I think it'd be the perfect tool. Especially for someone who finds himself in airports fairly frequently.
Stay tuned, since I do have a 14 day trial period...