Smarter than the average palmtop

The story It’s been a tough year for standalone palmtops – put simply, smartphones are killing them. Palm, once the king of the block, split with its

The story It’s been a tough year for standalone palmtops – put simply, smartphones are killing them. Palm, once the king of the block, split with its software company, changed its name (to PalmOne), bought the rights to the old marque, changed its name back to Palm, and then dropped Palm software on its Treo smartphone in favour of Windows Mobile. Identity crisis, perchance?

The highs Palm’s LifeDrive was certainly the most exciting thing to happen to the world of palmtops in 2005 – with a 4GB hard drive, large screen and Wi-Fi wireless, it’s a decent pocket entertainment device. Acer’s n35 GPS-enabled sat-nav palmtop’s pretty good too. But we’d advise you to think long and hard about whether you wouldn’t be better off with one of the increasingly sophisticated smartphones on the market.

The lows The depressing number of me-too Windows-powered palmtops have only helped to further tarnish the once glamorous world of palmtop computing.

Smartphone of the year Nokia keeps improving the most usable smartphone UI in the world, and Sony Ericsson keeps tweaking its P900-series powerhouse, but the jaw-dropping smartphone of the year is the T-Mobile MDA Pro (aka O2 XDA exec, aka i-Mate Jazjar). Resurrecting the much-loved Psion Series 7 clamshell design, with decent keyboard and VGA screen, the Windows-powered MDA Pro isn’t just the most powerful palmtop in the world – it’s also the best-connected, thanks to 3G, GPRS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Infrared wireless.

Previous 2005 reviews:

Make way for the new-fi

MP3 takes over

The best digicams of 2005

MP4 video players

Home cinema