Phone Notebooks & Tablets Gaming Gadgets iPhone & iPad Shop Discussion




Moving from Palm to Pocket PC and Vice Versa
by Lisa Gade, Editor-in-Chief, updated January 2004

Getting your Contacts, Calendar, Notes and To-dos into your New PDA

If you're a Palm OS user thinking of moving to a Pocket PC, you'll want to know how to get your PIM data (contacts, calendar, to-do's and memos) into your new Pocket PC. It's pretty easy, though you may need to buy a piece of software to do it.

Pocket PCs sync to MS Outlook for PIM information. If you've ever used Outlook, you know that it has mail, calendar, contacts, tasks and notes features, and these can all sync to your Pocket PC. Most non-entry level Palm OS PDAs ship with Chapura's Pocket Mirror, Intellisync Lite or PalmOne's own Outlook syncing conduit. These are intermediary programs that allows you to sync your Palm OS PDA to Outlook rather than Palm Desktop. If you're already using one of these solutions, then you're set! When you sync your new Pocket PC to your desktop machine, all the PIM info in Outlook will be downloaded to your PDA.

If you're not using one of these solutions and instead are syncing to Palm Desktop, check the PC to see if one of these solutions is included. If it is, install the one that came with your Palm, then sync your Palm OS PDA to sync all the PIM data into Outlook. Once you've done this, the Pocket PC will pick up all the data the first time you sync it. If your Palm is quite old and didn't come with one of these solutions you can purchase one separately. Check out Intellisync from PumaTech or Pocket Mirror at

If you're a Pocket PC user moving to a Palm OS device, the process is simply the reverse. Your data is already in Outlook. If your new Palm came with Pocket Mirror, install it and you're ready to sync your Outlook data to your new Palm.

Can I use the Same Programs?

Some programs come in both Palm and Pocket PC flavors, but not a lot. AvantGo! comes with both PDAs and if it isn't in the box you can download it from The same is true of Palm Reader, HanDBase, MobileDB and Acrobat Reader. Even if your shareware and commercial apps aren't available for your new device, you'll likely find counterparts that work just as well. Both platforms offer language dictionaries, medical references and applications, enhanced agenda programs and so on. If you're moving from a Pocket PC to a Palm OS PDA other than the Sony Clié, you won't find any MP3 players or music players because these devices don't support advanced multimedia (that will change when high end Palm OS 5 PDAs come out this Fall).

If you're used to using a commercial Office suite like Documents to Go on the Palm, you'll notice there isn't a counterpart in the world of Pocket PCs. That's because all Pocket PCs come with Pocket Word and Pocket Excel. Several also ship with 3rd party Powerpoint viewer apps. If you need to work with Powerpoint presentations on the Pocket PC, there are commercial programs available for purchase.

If you're a Pocket PC user switching to Palm, your Palm likely will come with a bundled version of Documents to Go. Most non-entry level (meaning least expensive) Palm OS PDAs ship with Documents to Go. If your Palm didn't come with Docs to Go, check out our review of Office programs for Palm here.

And don't forget to check our software listings to see a sampling of what's available for each platform. For a truly large selection of Palm and Pocket PC software, check out




Back to Home Questions? Comments? Post them in our Discussion Forum!