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for Data Entry Applications

We have been testing the latest technology for the past two years looking for the perfect tablet/PDA to replace the Palm PDA.  As new devices flood the market over the next year, we will be constantly testing each device,  looking for a better solution than our old reliable Palm PDA for tracking stats.  For our customers, durability, ease of use, speed of data entry, reliability, weight, syncing,  battery life, and of course price, are all important factors to consider.   After our extensive tests using some of today's hot new technology, we are disappointed to report that we strongly feel that the Palm PDA is still superior for tracking stats.  While these new tablets, music players and phones are great for media, they fall short in many important areas our customers need most.  We have listed multiple reasons why we feel that the Palm PDA is still your best option for now.
  • Lowest Cost
  • 1/5 the Weight
  • Much More Accurate with Stylus
  • Much Faster Scoring with Less Undo's, Sub Menus and Unnecessary Finger Swipes 
  • Won't Overheat in Direct Sunlight (see below) 
  • Better Visibility in Direct Sunlight
  • Won't get Hot 
  • No Potentially Dangerious Broadband RF Energy while scoring
  • Easy to HotSync to your Computer
  • Resistant to Dust, Won't scratch your Screen
  • More Durable
  • Fits in Your Pocket
  • You can talk on your cell phone and take calls while scoring.
  • We have a new supplier of PDA's producing brand new (2010) Rugged Palm compatible products.

Serious Ipad Shortcoming
PC Magazine editor Zach Honig said on Twitter that he took his iPad out in the sun on a warm day in New York City, and 10 minutes later, it shut down with the message: "iPad needs to cool down before you can use it."  see full story


  Resistive (Palm PDA) Capacitive
How it works: Two layers of electrically conductive material separated by air or a gap. Pressing down on the screen creates a connection between the two layers and determines the location. Glass coated with a transparent conductor. Since the human body can conduct electricity, touching the surface of the screen results in a distortion of the screen's electrostatic field. Software is used to analyze the change and determine the location.
Feedback: Due to it's mechanical design, pressure is required.  There is distinct feedback to the user that a selection has been made. As you can imagine, this is an important element in data entry apps that are used for long periods of time. Due to the technology of the screen.  Touch is not really required. No pressure is required at all. Selections can be made and data can be entered without feedback to the user. The user has to be extra cautious which can be tedious when used for long periods of time.
Accuracy: Because it's mechanical, a stylus can be used to pinpoint the screen location.  Due to the thinness of the stylus, the user can see clearly what is being selected.  This allows more menu choices to be available on a smaller screen and more accurate location of spray charts. Because it's electrical, a full finger press is required.  Due to the larger size of your finger, you can't see menu items placed close together or know for sure which part of your finger will activate the screen first.  Applications therefore require larger buttons and more sub menus to enter the same number of scoring options.  This greatly slows down the user and leads to many unwanted selections.
Resistance to Dust: Because a stylus is used, there is little chance dust will scratch the screen or protective coating.  Most often, as with our software, there is no finger swiping action or dragging on the screen to enter the data.  Because a full finger press is used, dust becomes trapped between the finger and the screen.  Apps designed for capacitive screens frequently use a swiping or dragging action to scroll through a menu of choices.  Due to the inherent amount of dust at a baseball field, this has been a major issue and a reason why users have told us that they damaged their Phone screen with a scoring app they tried. 
Resistance to Scratches Due to the flexible polyester type material on the outer surface, resistive screen can scratch if a sharp object is used as a stylus.  A screen protector is recommend and a screen cover or case when traveling is also a plus. There is little chance of scratching due to keeping score however after years of use, there may be some wear on the ball and strike boxes if a screen protector is not used. Since the outer layer is glass, the screen is more durable.  However, if a screen protector is used, this resistance is now equal to that of the resistive screen.  Due to the swiping action used to navigate, there is more opportunity for dust and other debris to scratch during operation.
Operating in Cold or Hot Weather There are no problems in hot or cold weather and the operator can wear gloves.  Maximum Environmental Specs are 5 to 131 F. Due to the technology, cold weather can present a problem.  Because a finger tap is required, gloves cannot be used.  There are some stylus for these devices but they do not work well with multi touch apps.  Iphone / Ipad environmental specs list a maximum operating temperature range of : 32 to 95 F.  Clearly reachable in many parts of the country and if exposed to the sun the maximum air temperature is much lower. This is due to the technology of the display and should be the same on all capacitive display products. Apple is reportedly being sued because the product get hot in direct sunlight apparently due to the back border around the screen. see Apple Sued
Handwriting Input: Ideally suitable for handwriting apps.  Palm's Graffiti scripting language speeds up the entry of text and a pop up keyboard works great with the stylus in portrait mode.  You can enter a lineup in a few minutes. Don't even try it.  You will have to enter all text with an onscreen keyboard which is difficult in portrait mode.  Entering a lineup on this type of device can be tedious and you need to leave enough time prior to the start of a game to get this done.  
On Screen Keyboard The pop up keyboard works great on the Tungsten 5 or TX with the stylus in portrait mode.  You can enter a lineup in a few minutes and the keyboard does not interfere with the lineup screen. You can type with both thumbs but the keyboard will pop up and cover part of the screen.  An optional bluetooth keyboard may be a necessary accessory.
Fingerprints and Smudges  No problem with the stylus. Get used to it and keep a microfiber cloth with you at all times.
Sync to Your Computer Connect an included wire and press a button.  It doesn't get much easier.  64 bit Windows 7 and Vista requires a Bluetooth Palm PDA like the Tungsten 5, TX, E2, Treo phone or Centro. The TX will sync wirelessly to your network.    No WiFi  or Broadband service is required.  Printing is easily accomplished on your PC and the data almost magically appears in your stat program.  Over 300 stats per player with all spray chart lines.   Many of these devices are cumbersome to sync back to your computer.  For Apple products, ITunes  is required and the entire ecosystem is protected and controlled by Apple.  You can't save your install CD and load the product you purchased on another device.  You have to rebuy it.   No USB, or memory cards means you need to purchase all your content from an App store. We feel that Flash support is missing so you can't get free games and entertainment from the Web which would require you purchase apps. Pay, Pay, Pay. What happened to the free Internet.  Developers are forced to pay  30% of their profits to app stores. Andorid tablets and phones have memory cards and there are some third party sync apps starting to be developed.  As more Android tablets appear we will continue to evaluate them.  HP is releasing a new Tablet for WebOS in February.
Weight About 5 oz.  Easy to hold in one hand at eye level so you can watch the game while you score.  Ipad 1.6 lbs. Galaxy Tab 13 oz.  After 2 hours it may feel like 5 lbs.
Safety Your arm won't be tired after the game is over and your hand won't be burning hot.  No cell phone emissions to worry about Better bring a tablet stand or you will have a sore arm or neck (from looking down at your lap) by the time the game is over.  Oh, yea,  they get warm too.  How about that phone radiation emitting in your hand for two hours. Only time will tell just how harmful it is.  Watch this video on the Death Grip which is how most scorekeepers would hold their phone while scoring.  The following warning comes with the IPad  "If you are still concerned about exposure to RF energy, you can further limit your exposure by limiting the amount of time using iPad Wi-Fi + 3G in wireless mode" Along with instructions on how to hold it to prevent the RF energy from exceeding the FCC guidelines.  See Manual.
Cost About $200 $500 and up.  Phone plans may be required.

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