Last year, I backed Planet Computer’s Indiegogo campaign for the Gemini PDA. Now, if I had this nice PixelBook, why would I need something like this?
Well, for one thing, I have always been a sucker for PDAs. While I never had the original PDA, the Psions, I have owned a few over the years. An Apple MessagePad, a Sharp Zarus, a WindowsCE device (forget which one), and many, many Palm devices (including a PalmPilot, Palm III, Palm IIIx, Palm V, Palm Vx, Palm m505, Tungsten C, and Tungsten T2 (which I still have)).
The main reason I liked them was the ability to carry my calendar, and have active reminders. When I used a paper-based planner, I would miss things because I would be working on something and not notice the time.
However, with the advent of not dumb-phones (like a Sony Ericsson K series) which you could send an email to the phone, and have it show up as a text message let me only carry one device (the phone vs the phone and a PDA). Then, about 10 years ago, the true smartphones hit the market with full integration into both work and personal email and calendars, and a fully functioning web browser, plus working turn-by-turn GPS based navigation.
Most of my employers in the last 20+ years provide me with a laptop for use both in the office, and on the road. However, the current and former employers have a different model, and do not provide me with a laptop for travel. So, I need to carry my own.
Now, while the PixelBook is thin and light, it still takes up space on a desk. And, when I am visiting other offices for my current employer, desk space is at a premium, and the PixelBook does not really fit. And, I have long made it a personal policy to not use my employer’s machines and network for personal emails and network use.
Enter the Gemini. Why not use my phone to read email and such? The main reason is while I am pretty decent at using the on-screen keyboard, I find it lacking for long typing sessions. That is where the Gemini is different. It has a physical keyboard, and even though it is smaller than any laptop I have used before, I still find I can use it pretty well and type reasonably fast on it. And the battery is pretty decent.
My last trip I ended up using the Gemini more than the PixelBook. Things like Skype, uploading and editing photos, email, etc. It worked pretty well. I am thinking about the next trip, not bringing a laptop and just use the Gemini. The display is nice, and when I am in the hotel room, I can hook it up to the TV over a HDMI cable.