I have loved every Palm PDA I've ever purchased. I figure I will keep on buying Palm's PDAs until either I die or the company stops making them. And if the company decides to stop making them, I may stock a few to last me through the following decade.
A cautious buyer, I tend to research all of my electronics purchases - for weeks or even months. All except my Palm PDAs.
I bought my first Palm - the Palm V - on a whim at a promotional event Palm had at a Java One conference in 1998. Within a day it was running my life. I threw away my paper address book. I threw away my paper calendar. That first Palm marked every event of my life for 5 years. It traveled with me on 3 continents. During its last few months, I nursed its wandering touch screen through weekly recalibrations.
I fell in love a second time with the Palm Zire 71. With the beautiful color screen, the sliding case that revealed a camera, and the MP3 player, I walked out of Best Buy with my prize only moments after seeing it for the first time. A few hours later with a simply sync, my life was transferred over to my new Palm. With extra memory and an expansion card slot, I was quickly ripping my favorite music and loading neat applications. (Hours earlier I didn't even know what "ripping music" meant.) My Palm Zire participated even more in my life than my Palm V. It didn't just organize my life; it recorded it too - on its own 3 continents.
One day last week, 5 years after I brought my Zire home, it started behaving erratically. I tried numerous soft boots to coax it out of its touch screen frozen funk. It was looking like a hard boot was the only solution. Preparing for the worst, I started researching my replacement options. I could go with another Palm - though a 3 year old model or switch to a Windows Mobile PDA. I could go for a smart phone or a high end PDA model with a big screen. I like my phones to be phones and my PDAs to run my life. I chose the Palm T|X - the top line though dated model.
A quick trip to my local Staples and I was the delighted owner of yet another new Palm. A simple sync and my life was easily transferred. Did I mention that I love Palm PDAs? The new Palm has wireless, bluetooth, email, and very cool "Docs to Go"software - all of which were absurdly easy to setup. Now that I have it, I don't know how I ever lived without it.
Why do I keep coming back to Palm? Is my loyalty irrational in a day when smart phones are going where PDAs have previously tread?
Loyalty is never irrational when it is based on good design. Consistency, ease-of-use, just the right features are winners every time. Take the Apple Mac. Take your favorite automobile model. Take your favorite digital camera. Good product design has no substitute.
Want to create rational loyalty? Invest in good product design.