m600iI was going to write it for this blog, but having been pressed by my editor at the STAR to come up with a tech piece, I dashed off a review of the Sony Ericsson M600i (in a death-match with the Treo 650) for next Wednesday’s (January 31) issue.

So I’m not going to talk so much about the M600i as I will about the aftermath of selling my 650 to make way for the M600i. You’ll have to wait for the article for the gory details, but the sum of it is that I began to miss quite a few things—like my favorite Palm apps. The M600i runs on the Symbian 9.1/UIQ3 platform. It’s an impressive mouthful, but my sad discovery was that—like the iPhone I’m just waiting to appear on the horizon—hardly any apps have been written for it, so you’re reduced to making the best of what comes with the package right out of the box.

I’m talking about apps like Backupman (a full backup program; you can back up your contacts and datebook from the phone to a Memory Stick Micro, but not the whole Phonezilla, unlike the Treo which can save all your preferences and restore them in case of a wipeout). I was also missing Metro, a freeware subway-routing program that’s more than once saved my ass in the netherworlds of London, Berlin, Milan, New York, and Nagoya. Or even a plain and simple checkbook, not to mention full-fledged (but free or low-cost) dictionaries and e-books.

The M600i has a lot of other things going for it—it’s sleek and it’s relatively cheap. But for all the swipes people have taken at the Palm platform, it’s undeniably robust and software-rich; UIQ3 has a lot to catch up on.

Palm m515That led me (or led me back) to the proper subject of this short piece: having given up my Treo, but disconsolate over the loss of my favorite apps, I remembered and resurrected an old friend from one of the many boxes I use as footrests under my desk: a Palm m515 in near-mint condition, something I was suddenly glad not to have given away in a fit of altruism nor sold for a bag of peanuts.

I’ve always liked the Palm V/Vx/m500/m515 form factor—heck, at one time or another, I had them all! That hatchet shape fits nicely in the hand, and even the relatively thick m515 still looks girlishly slender beside a Treo.

So I charged and fired up this Palm OS 4.0 device, loaded it up with archived copies of my Palm apps circa 2003, and pretended like the Tungsten T, the iPod mini, and “Hello, Garci” never happened. Looking at the gorgeous baby, I wonder why I ever upgraded. Next I’m going to Greenhills to buy myself a Nokia 8910 or an even older favorite, an Ericsson (no Sony yet, mind you) GF788—and then maybe a back copy of Macworld or PC World circa 2001—and feel really, really cutting edge.

Ah, the things we do to pass the time before the iPhone cometh. Meanwhile, check out my blog next Wednesday for my take on the M600i—but you already read pretty much the same thing here!