Thanks to the kindness of, in order, a friend and Mr. Steve Jobs, I now have a Treo 680 in place of the past year-or-so of a Nokia 6620.

In the intervening time, I have grown quite used to numeric-keypad navigation of the two Symbian OS java apps Google Maps and Gmail, and the switch to Palm’s web browser Blazer to access these services is notably less efficient in terms of keypresses. I seem to recall that there was a way to get a Java environment for Palm and that might simplify things from a button-pushing perspective.

Google Reader, on the other hand, is a browser-based app. Unfortunately for Palm, there’s no contest: reading my subs on the Nokia is a matter of a single button (the nubbin) consistently navigated: down, down, click. On the Palm, it’s variable based on the page render and other factors I have yet to isolate and therefore more time consuming.

Other issues and adjustments are either hardware-based and intractable or outside the purview of the phone per se. Movable Type, for example, has had a disabled remote posting interface for about a year now. Without a full keypad, I was not gonna do any moblogging. With it, I sure did, and might again, but it’s a waiting game. The Palm camera sucks compared to the Nokia, except for the non-time limited video clip shots.

Then there’s the rickety, end-of-life nature of the Palm OS. That means that a bunch of creative, API-cracking apps for previous Palm OS handhelds and Treos just don’t work on the 680, an understandable development decision. It does mean, however, that some of the interesting media-oriented apps I used on the 650 are NF on the 680.

At any rate, the 680 was relatively inexpensive and will certainly bridge me to the iPhone 2, which is likely to resolve my media-creation issues with the initial attempt. However, to my surprise, a year with a java-based phone provisioned with a decent amount of memory satisfied many, if not all, of my issues with a keypad-oriented UI.

I will certainly never actually write or even take meaningful notes under Symbian + keypad, though. On the Treo, I have written entire first drafts running to thousands of words: it is transparent to me for that purpose, and while I have yet to earn my living entire from the act, it seems likely I shall in the event that I choose to.

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