By Rick Broida (May 2, 2008)
When shopping for a new PDA or smartphone
, you probably weigh your decision on factors such as the size of the device, its features, and its price. These are important considerations, to be sure, but more importantly what about the operating system, the core software that runs these devices? Most users know the differences between Windows and Macintosh, but what about Palm and BlackBerry? Symbian and Windows Mobile? How do these handheld platforms compare, and should you use them as the basis of your buying decision?
After weeks of poking, prodding, and tapping on screens, we found the answers. We put the BlackBerry 4.3, Palm 5.4, Symbian 9.2, and Windows Mobile 6 operating systems through the wringer, checking their strengths and weakness in areas such as e-mail, multimedia, Microsoft Office compatibility, and ease of use. We looked at the number (and quality) of third-party applications, which can make the devices more like pocket computers than pocket organizers. And we delved into the core applications themselves to see which operating system does the best job managing your contacts, calendars, and other critical info. Read on to see how they compare.
Ease of use and solid PIM apps have always been a hallmark of the Palm OS. See what else it has to offer.
Windows Mobile 6 offers more than just a stripped-down version of Microsoft's Office suite. Multimedia, anyone?
Find out why BlackBerrys have earned the CrackBerry nickname and what the future holds for these devices.
Though not as well known as the other OSs, Symbian brings solid productivity tools and versatility to the table.
Which OS is right for you?
Now that you have an overview of each OS, find out which one is best for you and check out some of our top product picks.