As with most electronics comparing two similar products comes down to your needs and how well each product can satisfy those needs. Pocket PCs and Palms are no different.
A Palm is excellent for someone that is essentially looking for an ultra reliable and bare bones networking and work related portable device. Palm devices focus on the simple, daily tasks associated with someone busy and on the go. E-mail , basic web browsing (very basic), appointment keeping, phone number storage, and simple calculations. Their user interface is usually bare bones and geared being efficient and quick. Notice that Palm Pilots do not have the word ‘PC’ after them, and there is good reason for that. They are basically personal organizers for day to day business on the go needs.
Looking at Pocket PCs are a different thing all together. While they have many of the same features as a Palm Pilot, they are generally more powerful and also have the ability to be a multimedia device as well. The earlier pocket PCS were mini versions of Windows based computers with bare bones Windows operating systems and mini versions of Word, Excel, Windows Media Player, etc. They have better web browsing capabilities then Palm Pilots and many more multimedia websites are accessible through them. They have Word and Excel which can be used easily with add ons such as a fold out keyboard. They have bluetooth and WiFi standard which allows easy file sharing and always on access where ever WiFi is present. Some Palm Pilots may not have the same level of accessibility or require docking in order to send emails made while on the go.
Plus Pocket PCs can play videos, music, and even be programmed to emulate many kinds of electronics from walkie talkies to add ons allowing detection from everything like temperature to audio for those looking for data collection devices. (ie researchers)
Todays latest Pocket PCs blow away both Palm Pilots and earlier Pocket PCs with advanced technology that literally puts a computer in your pocket. The newest one yet to be released will feature a 30gb hard drive, 1gb of RAM, a slide out mini keyboard and a full version of the Windows operating system. This package is about the same size of today’s Pocket PCs and yet packs the power of some entry level laptops.
Overall your specific needs determine which is better for you. Pocket PCs have more technology and more ‘cool’ features but all this comes at the price of decreased battery life much like Blackberrys suffer battery drain due to doubling as cell phones. Palm Pilots are good if you need access to contacts and emails without having to charge up often, Pocket PCs are good if you use your device for work and play.