April 17, 2004

Replacing my Palm III with a Nokia 3650

Yes, it's true, I've gone over to the dark side. For as long as I can remember, I've been a gadget freak; I love having cool toys, especially ones I can use with my Mac. I had one of the original Apple Newtons, the first PDA, heck, Apple even originated that term. I later abandoned that (after many years of use) for a used Palm III, which lasted me up till about last year or so. I'm sure it still works, but it was no longer useful for me.

I wanted color, mainly. I needed something that would sync with my Mac and keep contacts and appointments, and most importantly, AvantGo. I'd gotten to be kind of a news junkie, and loved being able to sync up my Palm and take the news with me and read it over lunch. Apple's iSync was brand new at the time, and that's when discovered the Nokia 3650.

I'd heard about Bluetooth, and knew this was the way to go, no more having to sync up via wires, I wouldn't even need to take the phone out of my pocket. Sweet! I'd had my current phone for a few years, it was pretty beat up, and the battery connector was loose, so I convinced myself that it was time for a new phone. Nokia's 3650 was right at the top of my list, it had everything I wanted: a color screen and Bluetooth. OK, it was a short list. It also included a camera, which I figured I'd never use (I was wrong, but I do rarely ever use it), but I just wasn't finding a better phone, so that was my choice. I got a fantastic deal at the time through Amazon, $150 rebate from AT&T, $150 rebate from Amazon, meaning a free phone for me! Couldn't beat that deal.

The one thing that I didn't want, though, was AT&T's nasty data plan. I knew that it I was going to run AvantGo on the phone, I'd be pulling down some serious data, for the data plan I'd need, the cost would be well over what I pay at home for my high speed internet, so forget that. Some browsing around the net found some links to folks who had used their PC's internet connection shared to their phone, I figured that this would be perfect, if I could get it working on the Mac. So, when I finally received the phone, I set to work. And for a while, it was slow going.

Fortunately, several other folks were pursuing the same lines of research, and having some luck with other Bluetooth phones (mostly Sony-Ericsson models), and after posting messages on a number of discussion boards, sharing lots of low level code and shell scripts, and at long last my friend C.K. Sample of 3650 and a 12-inch finally whipped up a working script that managed to do the trick. If you're intersted, check out his early blog entries for more info on that. Sadly, the main thread we were using at the time on discussions.info.apple.com was at some point deleted when it hadn't been updated in some time, so most of that original research and conversation has been lost, but it certainly hasn't been forgotten. If you have a Bluetooth phone (especially a Nokia) and a Mac, be sure to check out his Share2Blue2th software.

Unfortunately, I never did get my AvantGo software working quite right on the 3650, and eventually gave up on that. I knew that at some point I'd need to get a real PDA again (the 3650 is great, and has a fair number of apps, utilities, and games available), but I'll save that story for another day. ;)

You may have a hard time finding the 3650 these days, after all, it's been on the market for about a year. The Nokia 3660 has replaced it, it has all the same featured, but with a better screen, and a more standard keypad layout. The Nokia 3620 is a close cousin, very similar to the 3660, but operating at a different frequency band, so the one you find will mainly depend on your wireless phone service.

Posted by Jim at April 17, 2004 11:55 PM | TrackBack