Small Technology Disappoints, Details at 11

I hate PDAs, and let me explain why. In 1999 I had a vision of a device that was smaller than a laptop (pocket size), a little less functional then a laptop, and a little less money then a laptop. I had a vision of something that could help me organize my work, allow me to be productive on the go, and might provide a little entertainment. Being young and naive, I assumed that a PDA would meet my needs and would work fine with Linux (Home) and Solaris (Work). I did some research, and ended up purchasing a Palm III. I gave it away less than a month after I bought it. The Palm III had very poor Unix support, virtually no integration with any type of mail/calendar/contact system, poor handwriting recognition (the Newton from apple blew it away and was almost 10 years older), was slow with no entertainment, color screen, or real productivity tools at all, weighed 8 pounds and was about the size of a brick. You could carry it in your pocket if you had a tight belt to keep your pants up. I was disgusted, and people were being taken by Palm and other vendors promising a better life through PDA integration. For the past 6 years I have been without any type of PDA, preferring a written calendar and the contact manager and email provided by Thunderbird (and before that, Mutt). It has worked pretty well for the most part until the past 6 months or so. I started having enough going on that my desktop calendar was filling up, and I was missing meetings and appointments because of schedule conflicts or simply forgetting and not having the calendar in front of me. I tried to start putting appointments in my cell phone, but it lacks any type of Unix synchronization so I was inputting everything by hand and the input was taking up too much time to be useful. I recently upgraded my home and work machines to SuSE 9.3 which included Kontact and Evolution, which surprised me by having native PDA integration for synchronizing contact/calendar/email information. I generally dislike Gnome/KDE applications, finding them to be bloated and slow but at work I spend a good deal of my time working with schedules and people, so I'll put up with a fat app for some functionality. Kontact had it all, and I decided to check it out. After using Kontact for a few days and finding it to be mostly bug free with all the features I needed, I started thinking about my PDA purchase. I wanted the following features in my PDA:
  • Ability to view PDF files
  • Ability to view, edit and create Word/Excel (or even better, OpenOffice) files and at least view PowerPoint
  • Voice Memo capability
  • Audio (MP3 and/or Ogg) and Video Playback
  • SD (or similar) expansion
  • Native Wireless Connectivity
  • Strong Linux Support
I found two devices in my price range that met all these standards, the Palm Zire 72 and the Sharp Zaurus SL-5500. I actually like the Zaurus more than the Zire (it has two expansion cards and more memory by default), but ended up buying the Zire because a.) The Zire was available locally b.) I'm not sure what Sharps commitment to the Zaurus is c.) The Zire had more built in functionality then the Zaurus (1.2MP Camera for instance). So today I'm getting the Zire setup and configured with Kontact. Am I going to be rewarded for my persistence, or are PDAs still not where I want them to be? I'm obviously hoping for the reward, not the revenge.