We’re so quick to beat the heck out of companies when they screw things up. We bashed Gateway when they almost launched a surefire disaster of a PDA. We jump on HP for forgetting how to innovate and appropriately pricing devices. We routinely complain when devices don’t work as advertised. But we sometimes forget to give credit where it’s due. This time around I want to be sure to give credit when it’s earned. Dell has done a nice job with their new Axim line. While not revolutionary, the Axim X51 and X51v are solid, progressive devices that are arguably the best standard PDAs on the market.
If you read our review, or reviews from others, you would have noticed a consistent theme. Dell has taken a very good PDA and made it a little better. What more could you ask for? They didn’t scrap a good design for something less useable. They didn’t go crazy and try to make the form factor a phone. They didn’t even make it more expensive. Dell did add a few updates, like the fresh operating system, more RAM, and several other small hardware and software improvements.
Dell’s keeping it simple. They now offer three PDAs, two flavors of the X51 and the X51v. The X50’s are still on the site but will be phased out over the next 60-90 days, as supply dwindles. They recently cut out the X30 as well, leaving a very simple lineup to understand. There’s a low end X51 without WiFi, an X51 with WiFi and the X51v with VGA display and other bonuses. There really is a PDA for everyone, at prices that are affordable.
The theme of simplification is one we’re going to see more of. If Sony was the worst, once releasing 12 PDAs in one year, Dell is at the other end of the scale. There’s little doubt the others will follow suit, lest they flounder in the confusion PDAs created. Small, medium, large (and optional Smartphone); it’s really that simple and how it should be. Other PDA makers need to take notice and get their ship in order to compete in a highly competitive market segment.