Device merger

The arsenal of any mobile businessperson includes a mobile phone and a Palm handheld device. The phone keeps you in contact with the office and the rest of the world and the Palm keeps your relevant data close at hand.

But what if there was a merger between the two devices? The result is a smart phone featuring all the advantages of both rolled into one device.

The two most well-known smart phones with Palm functionality are the Kyocera QCP 6035 and the Samsung SPH-I300. The Samsung model was developed for Sprint, while the Kyocera is available from several wireless providers.

The Kyocera has a flip down keypad that exposes the full Palm screen, while the Samsung resembles a normal Palm device with a keypad showing on the full-color display screen.

“Mine is working out very well,” says Andy Birol, a business consultant who spends most of his time out of the office. “I can now directly dial any number that’s in my Palm Pilot, which is about 2,400 different numbers.”

Birol, who has the Kyocera model, says you can also receive faxes and e-mails into the phone, but doesn’t use that function much because of the memory limitations of the device.

When you need to access data while talking on the phone, you can activate the speakerphone function, allowing you to look up an address while still talking to your party. You can also record short voice memos, browse the Web, use voice activated-dialing and do about anything else you could do with your phone or Palm device separately.

“It’s not for everyone,” says Birol. “I’m a power user. For me, it takes the place of a lot of people and technology. It’s expensive and requires some investment of time in learning how to use it.”

The Kyocera phone has a suggested retail of $179.99, while the full-color Samsung model retails at $499.99. Both have battery lives of 3-4 hours of talk time and about 100 hours in standby mode.