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Fossil Wrist PDA versus OnHand PC

I've been a big OnHand PC fan for many years simply due to the fact that there wasn't anything else out there that could compare with it.  After years of delay, the Fossil Wrist PDA is finally available since Feb 2005.  After using the Fossil Wrist PDA for a while, I believe the time has come for a comparison.

The facts:

  OnHand PC Fossil Wrist PDA
Memory 2MB 8MB
Colors B/W 16 Grayscale
Touch screen No Yes - a small stylus is hidden in the buckle of the watch.
Joystick Yes No - but has a rocker switch which can be moved up, down, and pressed in.
Battery Life 1-2 months 2-4 days
Operating System Own OS Palm OS v4.1
Price $89.95 $79
Design Bulky Sleek

The experience:

Memory: 2MB on the OnHand PC versus 8MB on the Fossil Wrist PDA.  Clearly the OnHand PC has less memory than the Fossil Wrist PDA.  Although this seems to be a huge disadvantage, I would like to mention that I've never ran out of space on my OnHand PC.  I believe I've installed all games and applications available for the OnHand PC so the limited 2MB of memory is not really a disadvantage.  Needless to say, it is always handy to have more memory.

Colors: The OnHand PC only has black available but some applications simulate up to 16 different grey colors by refreshing the screen really fast.  The Fossil Wrist PDA has 16 grayscale colors which is a very nice feature.  Where is the color screen?

Touch Screen: Nice to have but not as handy as it seems. In many applications the rocker switch can be used to replace the touch screen BUT not in all of them.  JOT writing is a very nice feature but the joystick on the OnHand eliminates errors during typing.  Having on on-screen keyboard in combination with a joystick is something that is very handy on the OnHand PC.  The on-screen keyboard on the Fossil Wrist PDA is rather hard to use since the keys have to be pressed with the stylus.  

Joystick versus Rocker Switch:  The Rocker Switch is clearly not as handy as the joystick.  The rocker switch only has an up and down movement (and you can also press the button) while the joystick can be moved in all directions.  This is clearly a huge advantage for any application, games included.  Playing games on the Fossil Wrist PDA seems a real challenge to me.

Battery Life: For those among us complaining about the battery life of the OnHand PC - now it's time for a reality check.   The Battery life of the OnHand PC is and has always been very good (1-2 months) which is amazing for a PDA.  Batteries can not be charged on the OnHand PC but when purchased online, you can always find very good deals.  The Fossil Wrist PDA needs to be charged every 1-4 days which is rather annoying especially since your watch has to plugged into an outlet and USB port at the same time.  You can turn the watch off on the Fossil Wrist PDA to save battery but there seems to be a bug in this watch which causes the time not to be refreshed immediately when turning the watch back on so you have to keep the watch always on to make sure that the time is correct at all times.   

Operation System: A major advantage of the Fossil Wrist PDA (as announced by Fossil) is the fact that it is using a Palm Operating System v4.1.  What does this mean?  This theoretically means that many applications are available for this watch already.  Fossil is right, all applications seem to start up BUT many of them simply don't work since Fossil removed the PIM buttons which are available on every normal Palm PDA.  Depending on the success of this Wrist PDA, we hope that many developers will convert their PDA application to work better with this watch. 

Conclusion: The fact that the Fossil Wrist PDA is using a Palm OS is without any doubt a major advantage over the OnHand Pc watch since there is much more software available for the Fossil Wrist PDA compared to the OnHand PC.   The missing PIM buttons are however causing problems with many existing applications.  The very short battery life and the way the battery has to be charged is something that is very annoying to me for the Fossil Wrist PDA.   If like most people you simply want to have a watch where you can store tons of information, have a scheduler, an address book, and play some games, then the OnHand Pc watch is perfect for you.  If you're one of those people that like to have the latest high-tech tool, and if you're ready to install tons of software on your watch, then the Fossil Wrist PDA is clearly your choice.  For those who care, thanks to the sleek design of the Fossil Wrist PDA, this watch makes you look a little less geeky.

After using the Fossil Wrist PDA for several months, I switched back over to my OnHand watch for 3 reasons:
1. Charging batteries daily is VERY annoying.
2. I was missing the handy joystick on my OnHand watch.
3. Touch screen sounds very cool but is actually NOT handy at all.