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jas06

Palm or Pocket PC? Help!!!!

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jas06

Hi. I'm new on here as far as posting goes but I've popped in often over the last few months. I think this website is fabulous!

Anyways, I am preparing to get my very first PDA and am trying to decide between a palm or a pocket pc. I've tried finding everything I can in the forums here but still don't know which way to go. The main focus of my getting one is for studying Chinese, I especially like the idea of being able to write a character on the screen and have it translated into English. I've read a lot about Plectodict and know that I'll definitely be getting that! Can anyone help me to decide between these two operating systems? I read in a post by Roddy that he was thinking about switching to the ppc b/c the palm can't display UTF-8 Chinese webpages ..what exactly does that mean? Why is this so important to you Roddy? I'm not very techno savvy but am trying to learn. Right now I am looking at the Palm TX and the Dell Axim x51v(?). Any info at all regarding the palm vs. ppc operating systems, or these two pda models in particular, as far as helping me to learn Chinese, would be GREATLY appreciated!!! Thank you all.

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roddy

The lack of Unicode support in Palm OS means that I can't browse certain webpages - for instance, when I try to read these forums on my PDA, it works ok but all the Chinese characters simply aren't there. Many other webpages (GB2312 encoded) are fine. As I understand it, PPC devices won't have this problem.

I have also found that many palm document readers have trouble with Chinese characters - I'm not sure if this is also true for PPC. On palm I currently use TealDoc, which seems to cope ok.

I've never used a PPC, so I can't really comment much on the differences between the two OSs, and I'm sure there differences go much beyond how they handle Chinese. Best of luck!

Roddy

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stephanhodges

I mostly use Palms, and a little with PPC. One other difference is that the Palm only runs one application at a time. So, if you want to switch from the dictionary to something else, it closes the application. Pleco did a nice job with the software, however, so that it starts back up with the same location.

PPC actually runs multiple applications. This can be good or bad, depending on what's running.

I am not sure if most Palms can play audio while another program (dictionary) is running, for example. It so happens that I have a Palm based Zodiac, which DOES play audio while running other programs.

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roddy

My T5 plays audio in the background, and I think my T3 did before that. The only issue is that if the processor is busy (opening an app, searching) then the audio stutters.

Roddy

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jas06

Does anyone know if there is any difference in regards to the handwriting recognition? Roddy, are many of the pages that you read in unicode? Are there any other reasons that you are thinking of switching to a ppc?

Oh yeah, I read something on here about a program called Dr. Eye that would translate something as you scroll over it...anyone know anything about this? I tried searching online and could only find a version that is used to help Chinese speakers learn English, couldn't find anything going the other way.

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mikelove

If you're mainly interested in a PDA as a study aide (writing in / looking up characters with PlecoDict and not doing much else) I'd go with the Palm - they're cheaper, more responsive, and tend to get in your way less than Pocket PC does. Though you don't really need anything as fancy as a TX for that - the old Tungsten E or E2 would be quite sufficient for PlecoDict if you bought a cheap 64MB SD card to store dictionary databases in, you lose a little screen area (wihch rarely matters, as few dictionary entries take up the whole screen anyway) but save a lot of money.

We've actually gotten a few TX-specific bug reports, though we haven't managed to reproduce any of the reported problems yet, and most of them involve a handwriting recognizer that's only available to people who received PlecoDict as a free upgrade from our older Oxford E&C software. But something you should be aware of nonetheless. The TX looks like a great system (and a good price for a WiFi-enabled unit) so hopefully we'll get most of these issues debugged (or debunked) soon.

The main benefit to Pocket PC is that you can do a lot more with it - the web browsing issue is a big one, Chinese-language web browsing on Palm is an exercise in futility for the most part, and in fact Chinese text processing inj general is rather primitive on Palm compared to Pocket PC. (though it's far from perfect on Pocket PC, as I said in another thread) The games on Pocket PC are a lot better, video player support is a little better (though the difference has shrunk considerably in the last year or two), and in terms of how they store / manage files Pocket PCs are a lot more tailored to the needs of "power users" than Palms. At the same time, they can be very buggy, feel slower / less responsive than Palms (even the Start menu can halt/lag when you open it), the interface in general isn't nearly as intuitive or well-designed as Palm's, and there are certain areas (like word processing and datebook software) where Palm's third-party software is much better.

On the specific hardware, I have an X51v and I'm not wild about it - the VGA screen is beautiful but it really does slow things down, my 2-year-old iPaq 2215 is a lot more responsive in spite of its slower processor and older OS. So I'd go with the regular X51 instead - the speed gained with the standard-resolution screen more than cancels out the effect of the 100 MHz reduction in processor speed.

Michael Love

Pleco Software

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roddy

Going to be needing the advice in this topic a lot sooner than I thought, I think. Guess what I just put through the washing machine . . . :help

Roddy

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Shadowdh

DOH... you werent just trying to wash the virus's out now were you...?? :twisted:

I hate that when that happens, dropped my mob ph into a tray of paint once... not good...

So the suggestion would be for a ppc rather than a palm for mod to heavy use for study purposes or is it the other way around (I am thinking in terms of using it for character practice, recognition and perhaps some basic reading practice among other things)..

Cheers...

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roddy

To be honest, I'm not sure it makes a huge amount of difference. From what Mike's said, and from what I've found myself, if websurfing / Chinese document processing is going to be important for you, then PPC might be a better choice. However, neither of those things are completely impossible on Palm, they're just not as easy as they should be, and other factors such as those Mike mentions like video support, and any number of other differences I am sure many Palm vs PPC webpages already cover may swing it the other way.

To be honest, I would make a list of what you want to do (and don't restrict yourself to Chinese learning stuff, even if you are looking for a PDA purely for Plecodict - I wound up using mine as my main mp3 player, a USB drive, occassional web browser and a document reader), set yourself a budget and look for the devices that match up, regardless of OS.

Roddy

PS Anyone want to buy a factory-clean T5 :mrgreen:

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jas06

Thanks for all of the replies. I do want to do some other stuff with my pda, like video and music.

MikeLove, thanks for your technical point of view. Very helpful.

Roddy, it sounds like you have (had, sorry!) had some success with being able to display Chinese web pages and such on your Palm, how hit or miss is it? So it IS possible to view some Chinese web sites ok, or not? As long as I can have some level of success and functionality with the Palm I think that's the direction I'm leaning. Can one do a cut and paste job onto a Palm and then use some program to translate it, sort of like you can do with some online programs?

Any info on the Dr. Eye program I mentioned earlier. Thanks again everyone!

Jason

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jas06

I just came acrossed something interesting, although I don't know if it makes any difference about what we've been discussing here but...on a website called PalmSource I was reading about the new Palm OS 5.4 Garnet, which I believe is on the Palm TX, and listed under "Display Support" it had listed:

- Languages supported: (EFIGS), Japanese (J) and Simplified Chinese (SC

- 8MB ROM reccomended for EFIGS-J and Simplified Chinese

And under "Input Methods" it had these points listed:

- Pinyin input method (Simplified Chinese)

- Handwriting Recognition Kit

- Offers flexibility to allow licensees to develop and integrate third party handwriting solutions

- Chinese-English dictionary is integrated with PIM and third-party applications

Obviously this would only help people learning simplified v. traditional...what do you all think, does this make any difference at all as far as being able to display Chinese documents or web pages???

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roddy

There are different methods of encoding Chinese characters - basically, traditional characters can be encoded in a system known as BIG5, simplified in GB2312, and both in UTF-8 / Unicode.

Currently I'd guess BIG5 and GB2312 are most commonly used for Chinese webpages. However, UTF-8 is increasing in popularity as it can encode both character sets, plus many others, simultaneously - ie, you can have simplified, traditional, japanese, arabic and thai all on one webpage.

You'll probably still be able to visit the majority of Chinese language pages on the internet. However, there will be some that just won't display - you could, however, copy and paste these into a text document on your desktop, and then transfer it to your Palm.

That's as I understand it anyway, I'm not expert.

Roddy

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smalltownfart

My vote would be for the Pocket PC.

The new Pocket PC OS - Windows Mobile 5.0 has issues, it currently looks like just another premature Microsoft release, buy this at your own peril ie. if you want to be a beta tester for Microsoft :)

The older Pocket PC 2003 is very usable and useful. I have owned many devices, including the Sharp Zaurus, Handspring (PalmOS device) and currently my trusty Dell Axim X5. I think I have got the the most use and utility out of my Dell so far.

My Axim X5 has

  • Pocket PC 2003
  • Monster Chinese (Chinese input) $40
  • Supermemo (flashcards) $20
  • MDict ( free dictionary reader by Rayman Zhang )

Supermemo is a kickass flashcards program, I have previously posted on this subject, you can look at this or do a search for other people's comments.

MDict can support multiple dictionaries, I am using one created from Unihan (character dictionary)

compiled by Konglong, as well as some other word-based dictionaries (all free). Please take a look at the screenshots, the dictionary is well formatted and well designed, very colourful.

Also, MDict can also be setup to run separately in the background, so that if you highlight a word in any PocketPC application and click on an icon, it will do the dictionary lookup in a popup. Very handy, it works in a very similar way to KDict in Palm.

You do not actually need to buy software for Chinese support for PPC if you just need to view Chinese characters. This can be done simply by adding fonts to your system. Look here for instructions on how to do that.

But this is not a complete solution. You may for example have problems seeing Chinese filenames, and you can't input Chinese characters. For that, you need to add something like Monster Chinese.

In my opinion, Monster Chinese has the best/most complete Chinese support. I do not like CE-Star, it seems very unstable/buggy to me, but that's my personal opinion.

Some alternatives for Chinese support:

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nobuchan

I guess, if you really would love the idea of write the chinese characters and have it translate into english, Pocket PC is the way to go. As far as i know, Palm Hand writing recognition is still inferior to Pocket PC. And one thing I don't like about older palms, is you have to write only in the area provided, whereas pocket pc, you can write character anywhere on the screen..

MerryX'Mas

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badr

Actually, all you have to do on the palm is go to your preferences and change the relevant one so that you can write anywhere on the screen.

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self-taught-mba

Here is the information on Dr. Eye

http://www.dreye.com/tw

http://www.dreye.com/en/

http://www.dreye.com.cn/

The Taiwan-based site refers to the PDA/PPC versions although the English one does not.

The Chinese one is also different from the Taiwanese one. Very strange to have three different versions like that. If you go to the Taiwan or Chinese one and select "English", it simply directs you to the English web site which does not list the PDA versions under the products. But I'm sure you can contact them if you can't figure it out. Or use and Adsotrans to help you find your way through their web site.

Good luck

Good luck

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jas06

Thanks for all of the feedback.

So I assume that you have some experience using Dr. Eye? If so, how do you like? DO you find it useful in your Chinese studies?

Jason

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mikelove

jas06 - regarding the text you saw on PalmSource's website, this is actually a sales pitch to companies that might be interested in licensing / creating devices based on the Palm OS; it would only make a difference if you bought a Chinese-localized Palm (and only if the company that made it had enabled all of these features). So it doesn't really make any difference in the Palm's Chinese web browsing abilities - it still won't support UTF-8 and won't do that great a job with GB/Big5.

smalltownfart - agree with you completely on Windows Mobile 5, it's quite possibly the worst-realized product Microsoft has ever released. Easily on par with other monstrosities like Microsoft Bob or Windows Me. So I would definitely recommend sticking with a Windows Mobile 2003 device if possible - there should still be plenty of them on the market and they'll likely be a good bit cheaper than equivalent Windows Mobile 5 models. Both Monster Chinese and CE-Star seem to have severe issues with WM5 at the moment, so that's another reason to stick with 2003.

nobuchan - I'd have to disagree with you on handwriting recognition, at least in our software the performance is pretty similar on both platforms, and on Palm you can use the wonderful TealScript to both enable on-screen writing and customize the English handwriting input alphabet to match your own particular character drawing style.

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self-taught-mba
So I assume that you have some experience using Dr. Eye? If so, how do you like? DO you find it useful in your Chinese studies?

Jason

I have not used it very much. I'm setting up a school and am constantly evaluating technological aids, and making some final decisions about which programs to run. So I know the resource you're talking about so I thought I would share. I will let you know, more in the future. (Send me a PM to remind me a while later, else I will forget)

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