THERE’S a lot to be said for PalmOne’s “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” approach to the $449 Tungsten E2.
Basically, PalmOne has taken its earlier Tungsten E design template, upgraded the screen, modernised the memory, added Bluetooth technology and improved the battery. That’s about it.
The result is a competitively priced, mainstream, non-cellphone PDA. It’s not fancy, but it doesn’t need to be. This is very much a straightforward tool. Think of it as a Toyota Corolla rather than a Lexus.
Or to put it another way, PalmOne’s Tungsten E2 is the kind of PDA an IT manager would buy in bulk to give employees - a mobile address book and calendar that can also handle basic handheld applications. You could use it with occasionally connected pick-list applications but you probably wouldn’t try anything ambitious.
In practice the E2’s screen is notably nicer than the Tungsten E’s. Storing and viewing digital photos becomes a more viable proposition.
There’s 32MB of flash memory, which actually means almost 10% less storage capacity than on the earlier model. Some users may notice the difference. We couldn’t. The battery life is noticeably longer than on older PDAs, which can be important if you’re away from your desktop for long stretches.
On the downside, the E2 would be more impressive if it had built-in wi-fi rather than Bluetooth. We think the faster wireless technology has broader application for PDAs. Also, we’d like to see a microphone on the E2 making it possible to record voice notes.
Overall, the E2 represents good value, but the competition from lower cost smart phones means it probably won’t repeat the success of the Tungsten E.