TealPoint Software has been very involved into the Foleo project from day one; they were among the first third-party developers to announce applications for Palm’s ill-fated “notebook”.

Anyways, Tex left the following comment on TamsPPC’s article on the Celio RedFly. It highlights a few of the crucial weaknesses of the Foleo from a developer’s(and user’s) point of view:

This sounds like a pretty interesting product. One of the Foleo’s biggest limitations was that it only ran apps under its own custom operating system, and thus forced Palm into the unenviable position of needing to recruit developers for a device with an installed base of zero units. This left obvious holes in the Foleo’s feature offerings (instant messaging, printing, etc) which made it difficult to promote as a well-rounded productivity tool.

Being a passive slave device allows the RedFly to use the existing library of Windows Mobile software and not be tied to one platform when other drivers are written.

It also keeps the RedFly from becoming yet another device with its own data to synchronize, backup, and secure, an issue we encountered when beta testing the Foleo. The Foleo only synced email with your phone, so in the end you’d have keep a second copy of all your data on it with no easy way to keep the two synchronized.

The only bad side is that the price is still too high, especially for a unit that can be seen as less functional that even the Foleo, which was often criticized as being overpriced.

Sadly, the Foleo probably could have filled this niche if Palm had simply written drivers to allow it to operate as a “dumb” slave to an existing smartphone. Then, the native apps on the device would not be absolutely necessary, and a few built-in apps–such as a web browser–could be seen solely as bonus functionality for when a phone was not available.

Internally, I suspect the RedFly hardware is very similar to the Foleo, except perhaps with less memory. Using it primarily as a slaved peripheral is a new approach, however, and a path Palm chose not to follow. In hindsight, the Foleo took an in-between approach that probably doomed it; not enough standalone functionality to replace a laptop, and not enough phone integration to be a mobile companion.

What do you think?

The introduction of bluetooth keyboards was hailed by handheld enthusiasts wide and far – finally, we can keep our keyboards when upgrading or changing our handheld. Freedom input has made this freedom its company name..but fails in the most pathetic fashion of them all…

Freedom’s keyboards ship with a tiny little manual that nobody looks at – but it unfortunately contains an activation code. Without that code, the installed driver refuses to work.

The driver should be downloaded from Freedom’s OTA service and then is activated on a web page…but the activation works exactly once and for only one bluetooth MAC.

Essentially, this means that a breakdown of your handheld(leading to replacement of the BT chip) may cause you to loose keyboard functionality for approximately as long as Freedom feels fit – if the company feels like never dispatching an unlock code….well, so be it.

The freedom of the customer truly shows up when swapping device(irregardless of Palm-Palm or to a different platform). Bluetooth MAC changes…no more keyboard for you…

Yes, I do understand that Freedom input needs to protect its trade secrets – and an online activation is somewhat understandable. However, why not tie it to the keyboard’s serial number and give sufficient activations?

Also, if DRM is the reason…why is the activation hotline charged at premium rates?

Overall, until Freedom Input has completely rectified the situation, I urge my readers to keep their fingers off their keyboards by all means(and I would also be happy to see stockists discontinue the stuff in order to express disagreement). The keyboards are nice and all – but the utter unwillingness and incapability to provide drivers to customers is appalling.

P.s. Belkin’s infrared keyboard is an always-ready and merry replacement…without the driver activation woes.

Immediately after The Morning Paper posted a small, “preview” image of the Palm’s maybe-upcoming(!!!rumor!!!) Treo 800w, bloggers and analysts went all bonkers about the “new form factor”. It looks different, it is smaller, it’s more iphoneish…/me wonders when my comrades will demand that the Keyboard is replaced with a HiRes+ screen…

For me, the Treo 600′s physical dimensions are part of what made this smartphone the success that it has always been. A Treo is small enough to be pocketable, but big enough to be usable – PalmSource’s sweet spot mantra in action once again… . If you make the keyboard any smaller, you have to go T9…not a very good thing. Change the shape of the keys – there goes the tactile feedback. Reducing the screen’s size probably won’t quite work out either – the Treo 680′s screen already is pretty small for the resolution it has…

IMHO; Palm has but two choices when the Treo form factor is concerned(now that the antenna is gone):
Industrial design
Of course, the elements of the Treo can be redesigned/colored differently to create the impression of a new form factor. The Treo 680 has shown how this can work – more colors, more shades, different materials, more chrome and you’re set to go.

Also, the “speaker microphone” above the screen could be made a little smaller…but that’s just industrial design…

Depth
As for depth, this is an area where Palm could do a bit. The Treo’s could be a little less thick and weigh a little less…

Overall, a business smartphone like the Treo can and will never be able to fight a designer smartphone like Apple’s iPhone or some of Motorola’s design boxen. It’s main task is beeing big enough to be useful…and this is what it’s designers should focus on!

What do you think?

Thats right, today is the day…June 29th. There are already people waiting in line to get them at many Apple stores, and no doubt they will all sell out within a couple of hours. I however, will not be getting an iPhone. Here are a few simple reasons why the iPhone is not the phone for me. Ill start with some background.

Currently, my cell phone is a Samsung D807. It is a small slider phone with a relatively large screen and a 1.3 megapixel camera. It is a good cell phone and I enjoy alot of its capabilities such as:

  • EDGE network capability (although its slow, it is faster than GPRS)
  • Bluetooth connectivity (I use it for handsfree in the car)
  • Camera
  • MicroSD expansion

However, more importantly, my phone has its drawbacks, which would prevent me from recommending it to others. The EDGE network is slow, even with the excellent Opera Mini browser installed. It has proprietary connectors, which means I would need an adapter to play music through my regular headphones. Most importantly, although it uses the Java platform, the actual OS of the device is proprietary. That means it only uses Java, and can run no native apps. This means I cant replace the interface or add a new launcher, or even move categories on the phones menus around.
This is the absolute biggest problem with the iPhone. Its running FauxSX. They claim its OSX, but it cant run OSX apps. Now, I believe that at some point either hackers will figure out a way to run native apps on the device, or Apple will open it up to developers, but for now, if you get an iPhone, you are stuck with what you got. Here are my top 5 reasons why I am not getting an iPhone:

  1. Lack of 3rd party application support
  2. No 3G network, just EDGE (this is supposed to be a revolutionary device, EDGE doesnt cut it)
  3. Only 8GB of space in the premium version? (that wouldnt hold my entire music collection (About 9GB), not to mention my collection is all in WMA)
  4. $599, you have to be kidding me. What are the chances it will even last me two years (no gadgets of this type last me longer than 2 years).
  5. No stereo BT headphone support (was apple just being lazy or stupid here, it must be one of those two options)

There you have it, those are my reasons. If you want a truly good converged device, you are going to have to look further. If you are like me, and you want to be able to customize your devices, the iPhone is not for you. I will likely either be getting a Treo or a WM based device for my next phone. I am not sure which yet, but I can tell you one thing. It will not be an iPhone. What do you look for in a phone, and is anyone considering the iPhone?

PS: For reason number 4 above, you must understand that even if the iPhone does not fall apart after two years, there are other drawbacks to keeping it. By then, we will likely be seeing the second or third iteration of the iPhone, which will have either 3 or 4G network capability. Even if your iPhone works in two years, you will probably want to get a new phone.

After the PalmInfoCenter published its Palm Treo 755p review, the commentators there began to comment about how they didn’t see a real reason to update from their Treo 650 or (some of them) 700p. The camera was slightly improved, and the EVDO feature is a nice addon(albeit raising cost) for more speed.

IMHO, the Treo 755p is not a device intended to get many upgrade sales for Palm(other than from Treo 700p users who are unhappy) – it instead is what the Palm Treo 680 is for the GSM market…a machine to eradicate machines like the Treo 600(or older) and get users to move away from Symbian S60 or Microsoft Smartphone devices.

The Treo 680 costs less than the average Symbian S60 phone in Austria, but can do so much more due to the touchscreen and Palm OS software. For a customer who doesn’t do much with his phone but wants a few extra features, such a device is great. A Treo 600 is a rather weak machine for us – but my girlfriend is very happy with it(she was on a Siemens “semi-dumbphone” before). Doing PIM is so easy on it due to the big touchscreen…w00t…and email/SMS is so comfortable due to the QUERTY keyboard.

The Treo 755p now brings this feeling over to the US CDMA networks. Of course, a Windows CE box with Opera can surf the web a bit better and probably can do a few things the Palm can’t – but it usually costs much more(Austrian price: 500+). So, instead of choosing a dumbphone, customers now choose the Palm Treo 755p(anyone wonder why there’s so much software in the ROM???)…

Overall, the Treo 755p is not a machine targeted at happy Treo 650/700p users. It rather targets new users in the mid-end arena and IMHO has a strong mass appeal, increasing the amount of “available” Palm OS software customers. I, as a developer, welcome the Palm Treo 755p very much and look forward to increasing sales and Tamspalm readership…

What do you think?

P.s. Yes, I would still love to see a Treo 700p patch!

According to PhoneNews, Sprint plans to phase out the dog known as Palm Treo 700p in May:
http://www.phonenews.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=1715

The model is said to be replaced in June by a machine called Sherlock – it will be offered in dark blue and burgundy(read: dark red with a slight pinkish hue) color choices.

Anyways, I have a pretty “wild-assed guess” style theory on what this Sherlock thingy of Palm’s is. Yeah, I don’t have confirmation for all of this – but I know from a trusted source that Palm is developing and testing some kind of clamshell due to be released in approx. the next five months. But lets dive right in…

I personally expect a clamshell handheld somewhat similar to either Nokia Communicator or HTC Universal(probably not a slider technique) with a big(HiRes+) screen, bluetooth/wlan or bluetooth/gprs and some kind of integrated storage that we know and love from the Palm LifeDrive which was recently discontinued.

This is supported by first of all the insider source mentioned above, and also by a few other factors. First of all, clamshell handhelds come out in hoardes currently – HTC Ameo, HTC Universal, etc. Palm has a long experience with keyboards in handheld devices(see: 5way navigation, …) – so why not use the know-how?

Secondary, Palm will probably not want to give up on its “usb” memory idea and technology. OK, the Palm LifeDrive was not exactly well-done in some aspects, but it was a revolutionary idea nevertheless…creating a smart USB stick is still a great idea. I’ll never forget the ahs and ohs I got when I used my Palm Tungsten T3 as USB stick and then viewed the stored files.

Last but not least, Palm hasn’t launched any really innovative “highend” boxen for a long time – its fast loosing the grip on the high-end organizer/Smartphone range, giving leeway to companies like HTC and HP.

To cut a long story short, this year is gonna be crucial for Palm. If Palm releases cool products, it could keep and reclaim its place as industry leader. But, if Palm doesn’t manage to get quality and innovation under control, I expect the “downward spin” to speed up even more. Up or down – what way do you expect us to go?

According to PalmInfoCenter, the long-expected EOL’ing of the Palm LifeDrive has just happened. The LifeDrive was a significant development for (Palm powered) PDA’s, I originally wanted to buy it when it first leaked. However, the final version had a few lethal quirks – this obituary is my personal ‘goodbye’ to the LifeDrive.

The LifeDrive was a great idea, but it was hampered by the catastrophic implementation(which had no reason whatsoever). Palm’s experience with the Tungsten T5 showed that users accept “internal external VFS” memory. The LifeDrive was originally rumored to ship with 32MB of RAM and a 4GB internal VFS partition – which was a useful and good idea.

However, Palm decided to go the ‘cheap’ route and decided to use a hard drive as RAM replacement media(!!!). Palm probably didn’t expect the harsh reaction, but the prototyping phase should have clarified matters.

But the LifeDrive concept wasn’t dead when the LifeDrive 1 shipped – first generation products often have eekers that get fixed over time. Hitachi ‘leaked’ information on Palm’s plans to release a second LifeDrive with 6GB of internal memory, and when the 4GB CF card mod came out, Palm should have finally accepted that internal hard drives are not a good RAM replacement.

By this time, however, Palm probably had already given up on the LifeDrive market segment – their not-releasing of the Wifi patch for LifeDrive(while it was available for Palm TX) showed that they didn’t really care about the LifeDrive’s fate anymore.

If Palm still has a LifeDrive2 ready for release, it will still make a nice PDA – if the hdd lag problems have been fixed. It will, however, be no longer a novel and unique item…Palm lost this opportunity back in 2005!

P.s. I wouldn’t wonder if the LifeDrive gets covered inn the third edition of in Search of Stupidity – review of the second edition(without LifeDrive) coming soon!

A few days ago I discovered  these pictures and the saddening story of a ruined, vandalized and almost killed Palm T3 on www.nexave.de:

The Front of a mangled Palm T3 The Back of a mangled Palm T3

According to the owner, the Palm was lost or stolen. Two days later he got a call from a Kindergarten located in a remote part of his city: Playing kids found the remains of his T3 and gave it to one of the grown-ups. They tried to turn it on and to everyone’s surprise, the Palm powered on and revealed the name and phonenumber of the owner!

 

So some retarded moron ripped off the slider, made two deep cuts into the display and even tried to break open the SD-Slot and the Palm still powered on to display the owner-information? Impressive, really impressive… (the Palm, not the dumbass who did that)

 

And another repost from February 2005 – fits the current mood in the market perfectly:

We all know bluetooth and we all love it-when it works perfectly. While this wireless transmission system is a standard in almost every Palm powered PDA that doesnt have WLAN, many smartphones have neither of the two. Users always make a fuzz about the omission, but nothing changes in the end-the Qool QDA700 came without bluetooth, and the TREO 650 had its wireless profiles crippled! But why? Bluetooth allows you to attach different peripherals as needed, and allows you to share files with your desktop computer..

Bump, reality check! Many users use bluetooth to access the internet at home. They have a bluetooth dongle/router and surf the internet wirelessly using their home internet access-especialy handy while using a home trainer. Bluetoth peripherals are still uncommon.

Now, its all about internet access. The most expensive service at my carrier is just that-1Meg of GPRS data costs about a €. If I would have done all my surfing via their networks, the company would be rich by now-my T3 creates like 2Meg of traffic a day. A smart phone already has the GPRS access integrated(the T3 would need bluetoth to connect to a mobile phone), and users want to get their email, etc-thats why they did not get a dumbphone in the first place!

So, now we understand the way providers think-full bluetooth is bad for business. But, why do licencees support this system? Well, every carrier has his own selection of handsets that he subsides and thus sells cheaply. When opening/elongating their contract, most users simply take one of the phones on offer and don’t even consider the other alternatives available on the market. Thus, a smartphone without carrier subsidiation is a sitting duck with little mass-market potencial. Carriers know the power that they have over device sales-and have little scruples to use it for maximizing income-even if they have to remove “useless” features from their machines!

What do you think?

Much has changed in the last two years in my life…thanks also to TamsPalm readers and Tamoggemon Customers! However, one thing has stayed constant: my PDA. My trusty Tungsten T3 served me well and honestly…but now, the Palm Treo 600 has replaced it as my first PDA. Lets look at why I changed.

Basically, I changed because of lack of pockets. I have two trouser pockets – one contains keys and cash, and the other one of my PDA’s. So, while its summer, no dual PDA usage. I had to choose one model…

The following reasons motivated me towards the Treo:
Keyboard
The Treo 600′s keyboard accelerated text input by more than 100% compared to the Tungsten T3′s Grafitti 2 entry system. My main handheld use is emailing/writing, and that really works well on the Treo 600.

Incredible battery life
I use my PDA’s heavily. The Treo 600 has an incredible battery life, and survives a workday easily. The difference is really high, but that probably is due to the slower CPU and DSTN screen, too.

Very bright screen
Last but not least, the Treo’s screen is much brighter than the Tungsten T3′s. Using the T3 in the sun is hard, but the Treo works really well. The screen is lowres though – but this is no problem for most applications I run(read: no games, no videos)!

I managed to install VersaMail 2.7.1 with a bit of trickery…but more on that tomorrow. This is the second day of Treo usage – and so far, I didnt really miss anything seriously.

What do you think?

The european nonsense-RoHS(aka annoy all small electronics shacks regulation) has finally began to show its ugly face on the first of July. Palm was hit, as they can’t ship any more Treo units to Europe from now on(The Palm Treo 700 series is CDMA-Only, and there is no single CDMA system in Europe as far as I know). Now that must be bad news…

If you ask me, that indeed isn’t the best thing that could hapen. However, everyone who now predicts doom and gloom was wrong – Palm cleverly counteracted the EU bureaucracy’s ideocy – they simply stuffed their distributors with Treo 650′s on the 30th of June.

In adition, Ed Colligan announced that he wants to have his “european” products pushed into the european market as fast as possible, that means at the end of 2006. While nobody can be sure if these machines will be Palm OS or Windows Mobile powered(the roadmap leaked a few days ago said both), they will IMHO be in Europe before the Treo 650′s stock finally runs out.

So, european friends, keep your hair on and continue sleeping sound. The EU has probably killed off hundreds of elecronics companies with their RoHS idiocy, but Palm managed to “fight back”!

Recently, I had a long discussion with David Zucker about whether a Treo 650 or a SideKick 2 is the better smartphone. The discussion was long and heated, but we got no useful end result.

After that, I suddenly had an idea. Why do we compare two machines that are completely different. The Treo 650 is a mobile workstation, while the Sidekick 2 is a mobile multimedia machine. The Treo 650 aims to mobilize your business, while the Sidekick 2 is a “chic acceccoire” with little business value.

Of course, everybody now demands a machine that can do both-mobilize your business and be a multimedia toy. But the question is if this is desired-we don’t want a machine that does everything actually. A camera-armed machine with a loud stereo speaker system and a microphone probably isn’t gonna be very popular in an area where it is prohibited to record movies or audio(like at a prototype presentation). On the other hand, a big keyboard is totally useless when doing multimedia-it’s only in the way, gets pressed accidentaly, etc.

Overall, a do-it-all machine is a very interesting idea-but the question is if one really wants it. As said, a do-it-all machine can do everything, but it doesn’t do most of that well. A single-tasker can, in comparison, do less things, but does those really well!.

It is a matter of choice-what do you wish for?

This image gave me a start when I first saw it. My buddy Peter wantd to play a PC game with a gamepad, so he took the gamepad of his XBOX 360, connected it to his PC, installed a driver and had fun:
 On reusability of peripherals
Up to now, getting a controller working with a PC was extremely difficult. The german elektor magazine once managed to wire a Nintendo 64 controller up for usage on a PC; but had no chance in the end. The circuit was complex, the driver bad, and nobody really used the thingy.

This move from Microsoft’s IMHO is a sign how serious the company takes its XBOX 360 system, and how high they rate the need for its success. The XBOX 360 is a bit more expensive than the Nintendo Wii(more on Nintendo another day, pls remind me, anyone)-but this move by Microsoft “equalizes” the prices a bit.

Good PC gamepads cost 50$ or so last time I checked, and from what I feel the XBOX 360′s controller is excellent. Now, a gamer who purchases an XBOX 360, automatically gets a gamepad for his PC as well. And should the XBOX ever die, the controller’s can be recycled or sold to fellow PC gamers. This adds in a load of “future safety”, and this is something that many people love!

Overall, when offering stuff to customers, try to make it as compatible as possible. You may loose a bit of sales at first, but the universal compatibility will make your product more popular. The Handera 330 was extremely popular due to its Palm III style connector, which alowed recycling of peripherals that Palm themselfes had declared dead(m500).

What do you think?

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This 1src thread made me think about 8 GB VFS volumes and if they are possible with existing OS5 Garnet devices(that have the FAT32 driver installed).

To be honest, I now “know” that this is probably impossible for a simple reason: downwards compatibility and variable size for the VFS manager API. To explain the situation, the VFS manager API is the interface that programs use to talk to external memory cards. It uses UInt32 variables for most calls, so the maximum adressable/returnable size is 4 GB(2^32).

Dmitry Grinberg has reported that he already has a patch for 8GB SD cards..but as said, no 8GB volumes for unpatched handhelds!

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