I have really struggled with this choice. 1 year ago I was still using the Treo 600 with Palm OS of course but was on my 3rd returned device due to orange screen dots and build quality issues. In May '06 I decided to try the Cingular 8125 with WM5 because I just could not justify buying what I viewed to be an overpriced unlocked Treo 650 with its limited data memory and relative unstability, etc. I decided to trial a WM5device and await a newly upgraded GSM Palm OS Treo sometime in the future. The difference in the WM5 OS familiarity was a bit strange at first but I adapted fine. I am not a user who loads up any 3rd party apps. I like to keep matters simple and I value predictable and reliable performance above all else. I just want the device to consistently work well. I am really a very easy to please user. Paying $400+ for a device that is nothing but trouble gets old and defeats the purpose of convergence.

My 8125 is under powered (slow) but has never froze up or needed to reset ever. Over the past 6 months I grew to enjoy little things like how Active Synch will stay continuously in synch without having to manually hit the Hot Synch button as with Palm OS. The stability and reliablilty of this device quite frankly surprised me but I still longed for a 340 x 340 high screen resolution and also missed the one handed convenience of the more phone-centric Treo hardware.

True to my promise to myself, I ordered an unlocked 680 2 weeks ago and just love so much about the hardware of this beautiful device. It has such a good conceptual basis behind its intended target but I have found myself surprisingly disappointed by the OS. Remember, I have zero 3rd party apps loaded. The familiar battery drain issue wasn't too bad for me and the improvement with use was fine until suddenly last friday eve with a full charge at bedtime, by morning it was completely drained in 7 hours! (No BT, IR, on etc.) This tells me that perhaps some kind of firmware issue may be going on. The device starting to freeze and reset by itself also about once a day starting 4 days ago. Lastly, the Hot Synch operation started causing the device to soft reset after the completion of each sync. A few times I would crash the unit just trying to open the calendar app. After a hard reset, the Hot Sync still caused a soft reset upon each completion. I reinstalled the Palm software on my PC and all was well for a day and then it started again to reset after each sync! All of this was inconveniently happening during a business road trip over the weekend and I did not welcome the time interruptions necessary to trouble shoot these hassles.

Very sadly, I have been able to easily make the decision to return the 680 and await the release of the 750 with Cingular. This is an easy call because I need a device that simply WORKS reliably on a consistent basis. I do realize that in the computing arena one can get a lemon and that one needs to be resilient to a point. I am not naive as to how this can occur as I recalled my Treo 600 days. Little quirks and hiccups are going to arise here and there but my thinking is after more than 3+ years experience producing devices with Palm Garnet 5.4, that this type of thing would simply not occur anymore. I just hate to seem so unforgiving but I especially went into my use of the 680 with the very realistic expectation that if this were to be a device for the mainstream masses that would expand the # of smartphone users (mobile accomplishers?), Palm would not dare to release something even remotely unstable and prone to hassle for even the most easy to wow user such as myself.

I have decided to not fight it. I will use the Treo Hardware form factor but I will also use a state of the art OS software (WM5) that finally has achieved a level of predictable reliability. I am open to returning to a future Palm OS version because some of the interface usability features are preferred but the biggest deal breaker is that the thing just needs to work well among the core PIM apps. I am not pissed or outraged. I am simply more informed based upon my experience these past 2 weeks. Others mileage may vary. I still love the Palm OS but it needs to be developed further and soon! A device can be very pretty but the bottom line is people like me need to avoid the hassle of even being given any reason to think of doing a return like this. I could certainly arrange for an exhange but I don't want to have to do this anymore. I am tired of that Palm. Just put out something that pleasantly surprises me with boring reliability. I am your basic loyal user that does not want to play around anymore with false starts. I just hate returning something I want to keep but I won't tolerate anymore false starts and unreliability.

I read somewhere recently that Palm CEO Ed Colligan was speaking of increasing the performance of the Palm's corporate culture regarding fundamental execution of the basics, quality assurance performance, etc. All I can say is that I am your biggest fan but sooner or later you have to "get it right" guys!

For now, it is back to my trusty 8125 as I eagerly await the WM5 750 release.

-THP