The best smartphone for the Mac

There are numerous options when choosing a smartphone but Mac users need to consider compatibility issues before diving in.
Written by Jason D. O'Grady, Contributor on
Smartphones are definitely the wave of the future for mobile technologists. They offer real-time access to email, Web, IM, RSS and just about every other Internet application that matters. In fact, there's a movement afoot to replace some notebook computers with smartphones because of their ever increasing functionality.
There are numerous options when choosing a smartphone but Mac users need to consider compatibility issues before diving in. I've used several allegedly "smart" phones that were great in the field, but when it came time to connect them to my computer, a PowerBook G4, they couldn't have been dumber.

Take for example my Blackberry 7100t, it's a great phone that I've used for about a year, but there's no Mac software included. Same with Danger's Hiptop I & II (a.k.a. T-Mobile's Sidekick I & II). All of these great smartphones are amazing to use on the road but are essentially islands for Mac users with no way to synchronize or load software.

Granted, there are third party tools available from Mark/Space software (The Missing Sync) and PocketMac that bridge the gap and provide a solution for Mac users, but they're a little spendy (anywhere from $30 to $42) and they take some time to configure and tweak. Some users have reported problems where duplicate contacts and calendar entries were created using them.

That said, I have seen the light.

I recently purchased a Treo 650 from PalmOne (on the Verizon network) and I'm excited to be back on the Palm OS platform. The Palm OS has built-in support for the Mac and includes everything you need to sync right out of the box. Not an hour after unboxing the Treo I was syncing applications from my PowerBook flawlessly. A couple hours later I found three games that I love to play: Aces Texas Hold'em and Omaha (both No Limit) from Concrete Software and Eric Snider's BlackJack (what can I say, I moved just outside of Atlantic City) and installed them on the Treo without any problems.

One concern was my Mac-only business relationship management software (contacts and calendars) DayLite from Marketcircle. I was pleasantly surprised that they have a Palm conduit that works perfectly with the Treo. The DayLite conduit even allowed me to only synchronize a certain group of contacts with the Palm, while the other tools forced me to sync all 3,000 plus contacts that are in my database with my phone.
It's good to be back with a company that understands the value of the Macintosh. Mac customers should support companies like PalmOne and let them know that we do. Let's just hope that PalmOne's announcement of the Windows Mobile-powered Treo 700w in September doesn't mean death for a certain lil' handheld OS that we all know and love.

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