I haven't used a Palm, only an older PocketPC (Jornada 540).
The software it comes with built in is highly compatible with the standard MS bunch of tools. It was made to sync with Outlook, out of the box.
Syncing is done with Active Sync, which is free from Microsoft. Once you select all the things you want to sync automagically, it's just a matter of plugging it in, waiting a few minutes, then unplugging it.
It comes with Pocket Word, Pocket Excel, Pocket Windows Media Player, Pocket MS Reader, calculator, calendar, contacts list, todo list, scheduler with alarms, Solitaire, AvantGo
(downloads web content to your device for offline viewing, kind of like an offline rss reader), etc. Newer iPAQ models come with a ton more applications than my device did.
You can get viewers for almost any document type it can't already handle, many of them being free. I love it for reading ebooks, in particular. (.lit & .pdf)
The software and tools available for PocketPC is pretty vast & varied, and there is tons of freeware
, and there are some amazing things you can do with one. (I posted about how you can turn a PocketPC into a web server and even code a website on it, on my blog
If you can use Windows, it is pretty easy to figure out how to use a PocketPC. It has that familiar Windows look & feel. (complete with a customizable start menu)
You don't need a special service plan to have internet access with it. I recently bought a wireless card
that fits into the CF slot for mine.
And you can get a free body mass calculator
has a ton of health & fitness software for PocketPC & Windows. Much more than they do for Palm.)