Wow, two stories? That's huge.
On the topic of who makes hardware better, I'm pretty sure it's really strongly varied. The Tungsten | E seems to be a tank, but some other palm devices aren't quite so sturdy feeling. The same goes for ppc's as well though. Have you ever picked up a device and felt it creaking if you gave it a squeeze? That's terrible. I find that a majority of the devices do that, and I really don't like it.
edit: Suicidal tendencies? haha, maybe.