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The Palm OS is older and marketed earlier than WM and this has initially resulted in more people adapted to Palm as
they were the pioneers of PDA devices and consequently third party software developers created their programs to
fit into the Palm OS. Therefore in the early years of this decade most of health care professionals carried Palm
devices. But later on Microsoft jumped into the field and more and more devices were manufactured and ultimately
they gained an equal share of the market by 2006 and later.
Many pediatric and medical programs were only available for Palm OS and so people were reluctant when it comes to
WM devices. But this has changed tremendously now that everyone creates two versions of their commercial product
one for the Palm and one for the Pocket PC.
In fact there are new vendors such as
Diagnosispro and UpToDate initially created software that is compatible only
for the WM OS, however there are still some who only provides software for the Palm OS such as
Kidometer and
The Palm OS is a symbol of simplicity where fonts are large and colors are eyes comfortable and navigation is
brilliantly user friendly and with few taps you get what you want. This simplicity added some extra advantages over
Pocket PC such as better battery life and less memory requirement and hence lower prices. But is not very powerful
in terms of added features such as internet connection or Bluetooth or complex mathematical calculations.
On the other hand Pocket PC is a bit more complicated but much more colorful with higher graphics appeal and is a
power house with fully fledged features that stretches from wireless connections to 3G technology and is very
versatile in that you can pretty much do everything with it that a PDA can do.
I think by now you started to get the point .. yes
I love the Windows Mobile OS and I prefer it over the Palm OS.
Which Operating System is best!
There are other OS'es developed by other companies like RIM from Blackberry, iPhone from Apple, and Symbian by
Nokia, Samsung and others.
These OS'es initially did not share a lot of the PDA market specially in the medical field but they started to get some
momentum. For example check
Skyscape for Symbian and iPhone compatible programs and PDAmedisoft for
Blackberry compatible programs.
One of the big problems that was seen with the iPhone is that it is a locked device and you can't actually install
medical programs on it and Skyscape and Epocrates were able to make their products available for the iPhone only
via web based applications which can be accessed via wireless connection of the device, But now that has changed
and Apple finally unlocked the iPhone
read this post and check out the list of available medical iphone applications.
So we are left with Palm and Windows Mobile as the two major OS'es used by physicians and pediatricians around
the world (
participate in this poll to see peds percentages).
More reasons why I prefer Windows Mobile.
  • The beauty of Microsoft comes from its ubiquity where more than 85% of the computers in
    the world running Windows. So why not for your mobile, after all we all want to sync
    Word and Excel seamlessly!
  • Palm OS was not updated since the year 2005 (while WM updated three times within the
    same period). Read this PC Mag's Ulanoff article
  • Palm itself produced devices that run Windows Mobile (Palm Treo), it seems they gave up!
  • If you find a medical program which runs on Palm OS only, then the rescue is Styletap
    where You can install Palm programs on Windows Mobile devices [Read this post] but the
    reverse is not true.
  • Nobody hates colorful designs and better graphics and fonts.
  • Palm OS crashes and freezes more often.
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The operating system (commonly shortened OS) is the software that runs the PDA or any computer and that usually
comes built-in with the device. This is different from the hardware (the device) which is the equipment that utilizes
that OS. For best devices for your pediatric needs read
this guide.
Essentially there are two main OS'es for PDA devices, these are Palm and Windows Mobile (AKA Pocket PC
read this
blog post for detailed nomenclature).
Palm is created by Palm Inc. and WM is created by Microsoft Inc. Devices that uses the Palm usually manufactured by
the same company so these devices are called Palm (just like Apple they manufacture the Mac computers and the Mac
OS), and there are many versions such as Palm Tungsten or Palm TX. While Microsoft does not manufacture devices it
provides the OS for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to use it on their devices, examples of such OEMs are
HTC, HP, Dell, iMate, and others (Just like the PCs where Windows is provided by Microsoft but the computer is
manufactured by Dell, Toshiba, HP, and others).
Here comes the big question, which is better Palm or Windows Mobile?
Palm Logo
Windows Mobile Logo
Lastly There are two caveats
  • If you are surrounded by Palm users who refuse to switch then perhaps its better not to swim against the
    wave and go for the Palm so you can share experiences and troubleshoot with them in case of problems.
  • Whenever there is a new version of the OS (frequently called ROM upgrade) don't rush and install it, wait for a
    while until medical program developers get their products compatible with the new version of the OS. Likewise
    do not go for an old OS as programs may not be compatible either.
If you are interested in further details and want to know more about the differences between Palm and Pocket PC
this guide for further detailed comparison.
August 29, 2008
Compusa (Systemax, Inc.)
Compusa (Systemax, Inc.)
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