PalmInfoCenter recently picked up a story about how the Handera 330 supports 4GB memory cards. The story “provoked” a Handera executive to the following comment(linked above) – I broke it up and added comments:

I can honestly say we did not intentionally design our unit to work with the 4Gig cards, but sometimes you get lucky. We tested the 330 with the 1G Micro drive at the time, so we made sure that it would work with larger SD or CF cards.

=) – there were no such cards back then when this Palm OS device was developed!

FYI, a few quick notes …

HandEra is indeed still around, in fact we still have all the same engineers that worked on our Palm products (all 10 of us :) ). Today, we work primarily with WinCE and Windows Mobile, however, we still work on Palm OS devices for other licensees.

I’m sure we won’t come out with another consumer type device, but we private label devices for our WinCE customers.

It would be very interesting to know for which licensees Handera is working – although we will probably never find that out!

Oh yes, we did get a color 330 to the preproduction stage. In fact Doug DeVries still uses it here. (sorry, no we don’t have any left)

Here’s the bomb – so all the rumors and photos were true!

We enjoyed our time as a Palm OS licensees and wished we could have remained one, however it did not work out, and we spent the past few years transitioning to WinCE.

I want to thank everyone in the Palm community for supporting HandEra. Hopefully, you’ll be hearing of interesting things coming out of Des Moines, Iowa again.

Often asked questioned of Iowans. “What coast is Iowa on?”

It would be very interesting to know why this screwed up/who screwed them up. If it was an old fight with Palm about licensing the Palm OS, this should no longer be a problem because Palm no longer has any kind of control over the Palm OS(the benefit of the PalmOne/PalmSource split).

As said, it would be very interesting to get a comment here – anyone has a Handera contact?

Thanks to Ryan from PalmInfoCenter for pointing this out!

Now that the dust has begun to settle about Palm’s perpetual license of Garnet, a few seething questions still remain(in developer’s minds). This article is just my personal opinion though – so please don’t buy stock on it, and feel free to discuss!

First of all, this purchase shows that Palm seems to understand the value that its third party developers make for the platform. OK, Windows Mobile now has a load of stunning apps too, but the diverse application landscape of the Palm OS still is mostly unique for a mobile OS. So, keeping developers happy by keeping their API alive pays out.

This insight probably didn’t fall from the sky though – Nokia gave a great example of what happens when you piss off developers by releasing an incompatible S60 revision.

Palm’s purchase of the Garnet environment allows them to do exactly the opposite of what Nokia did – they can now swap out the old Garnet kernel and kick a new one in; or they can create a Garnet emulation environment(PACE, anyone – Garnet is a huge Os4 emulator mostly) on whatever host OS they want to use.

Palm also saves a lot of licensing fees with this purchase on the long run – they must have some kind of longterm usage in mind with the IP that they just acquired, for else they would have just kept paying a per-box licensing fee.

Essentially, this IMHO is a bit of a good sign for Palm OS developers. While now always is a good time to look out for another OS to support(as Seth said – Do or Die), a one-OS shack owner should now be able to sleep a bit better. I will run another article on how Palm’s future lineup will look soon – for now, what about sharing what you think?

On the 6th of July 2005, LG Electronics signed an agreement with PalmSource to licence PalmOS worldwide.
Memorable quote from the press release (Source: http://www.palmsource.com/press/2005/070605_lg.html):
“LG Electronics is pleased to have entered into this agreement with PalmSource,” said Skott Ahn, executive vice president of LG Electronics, Inc. “The flexible, open and powerful nature of Palm OS is an ideal match for our industry leading mobile handsets. We believe our customers will appreciate the new Palm Powered phones we will develop and distribute.”

So they announced “Palm Powered phones” about a year ago…. But where are the “new, cutting-edge smartphones for delivery to the worldwide marketplace”, Patrick McVeigh, interim CEO of PalmSource was looking forward to in 2005?
You might say “A PalmOS-Phone made by LG? There’s no such thing.”. Looking at the present and (probably) the future, you’re right. Sad but definitely a fact. But if you go back some years (seven, to be more specific) in the history of PalmOS, you’ll reach the very beginning of Palm Powered smartphones: The pdQ from Qualcomm.
I bought a pdQ a few days ago as an addition to my PDA-collection and discovered a small “LG”-Logo etched into the stylus. Why should Qualcomm order styli from a competitor (Both Qualcomm and LG produced CDMA phones)? I decided to investigate further and disassemble the phone to have a look inside. First I discovered the phone to be on two separate PCBs – one for the phone (made by Qualcomm) and a separate PCB for the PDA-part. To my surprise this PCB is marked with a “LG”-Logo! (You can see some pictures of it here)

Seven years ago, LG was involved in the development of the very first smartphone with PalmOS. Six years after that, LG buys a licence to use PalmOS. They don’t come a dime a dozen and a company like LG would not buy a licence just for fun. So they must have something up their sleeves – they already had plenty of time and experience to develop something big.
Considering what LG was able to develop seven years ago the hopefully coming Palm Powered smartphone could be a killer device….

A final note: I was so impudent to ask the PR staff at LG if an when we will see a Palm Powered smartphone from them. I did not expect them to answer that question…. And they met my expectations :-(

 

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, an analyst reported that Palm was planning to create a Linux OS-one that was not compatible/similar to the Access Linux Platform. Immediately, analysts went all bonkers claiming that ALP was dead, will never ship on Palm’s handhelds, blah.

At the first glance, this looks true. Developing an operating system is a huge amount of effort, it takes a lot of time, is expensive, etc. But is developing a Linux OS the same thing as developing a new OS?

Nope, it is not. A few (skilled) developers got Linux running on PalmOS boxen within a few weeks without having access to data about the hardware or anything. Now think of a full-fledged gang of software engineers(I am speaking of, say 50 ppl) wit acess to the best hardware and documentation. For them, creating a Linux derivate is a no-brainer.

So, if we now recall the sucker editorials published about half a year ago, this OS idea gets relativized. OK; Palm may be developing an OS. But there is no need that this OS will definitely be Palms future. The operating system could be developed as a “smoke test” or a backup plan in case ALP bails. Or, the operating system could serve as a bridge between the dieing Garnet and the upcoming ALP, allowing Palm to deliver smartphones with EDGE, etc soon!

So, keep your hair on and your eyes open!

Recently, Garmin announced that the i3000 was going to be delayed. A few PalmInfoCenter commentators announced that they beleive that Garmin now shuts off their PalmOS development department.

Many people discuss if Garnet will still cut it in 3g handsets. Personally, I dare to say that I am not sure if Garnet will cut it. It may cut it with a bit of tweaking(remember, it was a RTOS core);but no promises. But Garnet will for sure cut it in a different arena-in the arena of lowcost/mediaplayer/game/data-only handhelds and organizers.

But why? If you look at the devices named above, you will see immediately that the users of those machines are OS agnostic. They don’t care about what runs their games or videos, they just want performance. Did you ever see a ‘regular’ person asking for the Ipod’s or the Nintendo DS’s operating system?

PalmOS 5 would do a perfect job in such an arena. Gang it up with NetFront, an image viewer, a PIM/email suite and a multimedia player with a unified UI. What comes out is a nice, reliable core for a portable box. It may not be excessively cool, but it works reliably; and this is what users want!

The LifeDrive we currently bicker about actually is a great box-if it were a plain media player box without third party apps. The things that made and still make problems are third party applications.

Overall, the future for Garnet will change. It does not have the power to compete in highend markets for a long time(unless someone rewrites it a bit, the RTOS is there(!!!!!!)). However, Garnet still has loads of meat and beef to keep alive in different market sectors. The future for PalmOS developers may not look excessively great; but Garnet will cut it for sure.

How do you feel about the future of the Palm OS?

Now that the 700w has gained FCC approval, I really begin to shake my head about Palm Inc. and also about our shared thoughts about the device. CDMA only???

Um, isn’t it europe where Palm is having the biggest problems with getting Palm OS into the market? Isn’t austria one of the places where the product managers of leding network operators like T-Mobile (talked with him by chance) beleiove Palm Os do be as dead as a dodo? Isn’t this the place where a Windows Mobile Treo should debut?

So, obviously, this can’t be it. There is a GSM network in the USA as well AFAIK, so why not release the unit there? Why not go to Europe and take the Euros that wait there? Is the US the only market that Palm really cares about??? No matter how you look at it, all you can say is: Insane…..

But what if the Treon 700w isn’t even intended for a huge, public sale? The first thing that shiped with the FCC announcement was that Verizon will debut it right away. Now, who tells us that Verizon didn’t order a custom Treo for their own useage and paid Palm Inc a bit of the development costs(a la West Coast Customs, anyone?)?

This would of course be a brilliant explanation for both the insane price of the box and also the lack of a GSM/GPRS unit. Verizon paid a lot of $$$ for the development and for beeing able to offer a “Treo” to the Windows Mobile gang-and now that buck needs to be regained. Of course, a GSM version would take the “we are the only one” benefit away from verizon and also would not generate them money-something not desirable from that carrier’s point of view. But: is Palm really a company that designs hardware at the order of only one carrier? And why did Microsoft get so incredibly involved into the Treo 700w release?

So, overall, the FCC info brings along loads of new questions waiting to be answered. I dont have access to Palm’s internal papers, so all I can do is speculate. If you want to share your thoughts-feel free to do so!

Most of you probably already read Sagio’s report-the Windows Mobile Treo will be accompanied by a PalmOS cousin. Immediately, the PIC went bonkers…. and forgot Mike Cane’s editorial about operating systems(act of shameless self promotion: and my answer).

Indeed, I would not really wonder if the Windows Mobile and PalmOS powered handhelds would share the same planar. Actually, nowadays, with all three/four major handheld platforms running on the very same architecture, discussions about the OS are pointless. All the developer/licencee needs to do is get a Platform Builder for the OS he desires-burn the bin file into a ROM and the party is started.

Because of the extremely small effort involved, the idea of Palm releasing a Windows Mobile or even Linux handheld is not as far-fetched as some think. The R&D costs would be about zero for sure. In fact, it is very possible that a few prototypes of a Treo running Symbian exist. Other (reliable, ex-employee) sources rumored that Tapwave had Linux running on Zodiacs shortly before close-up. Actually, we could even see a few determined users porting Windows CE over to one of the old PalmOS handhelds with true RAM-I beleive that NVFS limits interoperatibility quite a bit.

If we continue to think along this track, we will soon see that Palm’s devices for WinCE and Palm OS probably will be very similar and may even appear simultaneously. Why should the wheel be reinvented?

What do you think?

When Apple first deployed its ipod vending machines(Gizmondo has the scoop and images), most people believed that this would not be specially useful because the ipods simply didn’t contain any music and also weren’t charged. Vodafone now follows suite and sells pre-paid cell phones in another vending machine.
Vodafone’s idea is a steep forward, as the phones can immediately be used out of the box. There is cash on the card, you have a number, you just need to charge the phone a bit(if it isn’t already charged like my T630i was) and go. It definitely is a good choice for people who want to steer away from high roaming costs IMHO.

Anyways, there is one company I really miss here: Palm. Palm-lets ignore their sometimes horrid device quality and customer care for now-has everything it needs to power such a shop. It has cheap, simple-to-use handhelds that can be sold easily-and it has NVFS technology. Due to NVFS, the handhelds could survive longer in the vending machines as they needed less current to stay active. The “shelf life” would be limited by the batteries self discharge rate, which is pretty low. If such a handheld is packed up with DocumentsToGo, VersaMail, Blazer and a few games/apps in thr NVFS area, it can be used right out of the box just like a cell phone can.

This would IMHO appeal to many users and would be a very effective way to sell the “low-end” boxen. I don’t mean LifeDrives and Tungsten X’s here, but rather a Tungsten E2, a Z22, a Z31 and such stuff. As long as the device isn’t DOA when you take it out of the machine, it may lead to a satisfied customer(simplifies impulse buying). Palm would become independent of the expensive human-operated stores, and thus could reach even “remote areas” with their handhelds. Usually, people are OS loyal-so if someone once has a PalmOS handheld, there is a high chance that he will stick to it. So, PalmSource could maybe make a buck and some market share here as well-buy a bunch of Palms, and offer it to the manufacturer of the ipod vending machines,…. .

Do you think this is a good idea?

Recently, a few analysts rumoured that Access is planning to sell Palm Os Garnet aka Palm OS 5 to Palm Inc. While I personally believe that this is mainly an attempt to get some attention to their sites, it would be a very bad idea anyways.

Whenever thinking of Palm powered handhelds, you really need to look at more companies than just Palm. Yes, I know, most of us can only see Palm in the retail store, but there still is Qool, GSPDA and possibly also Fossil, Garmin, Symbol and Aceeca! These all make decent devices running on Garnet or even on some older versions of the OS. Imagine their reaction if they hear that the OS they depend on went to a competitor? A swap would likely follow… .

Now, some of you will say that this is a good thing as they would move over to Cobalt. However, I believe that this is not true for a simple reason. Cobalt is an intermediary OS that will die a fast death in the moment Palm OS for Linux materializes. So, all the cash that went into customizing Cobalt will be lost on both developers and licensees ends. Thus, many of the licensees will then be motivated to look at Windows CE, and some of them actually already have.

Last but not least, the Cobalt device would have a hard stand in the market. Many developers will not optimize their apps for Cobalt as it doesn’t pay out on a financial standpoint. Thus, users will be dissatisfied with it and will eventually swap brands-which is not a good thing to happen.

So, I personally believe that Garnet is in the best hands where it currently is-at Access Co’s headquarters. However, I am always open for suggestions. Where do you believe that Garnet should be at home?

Update: Now that my mind is cooling off, I feel that this update is needed. My T3 works-the problems mentioned below aside-really really well. The thing that annoys me is that apparently at Palms the one hand doesn’t know what the other one is doing-a state that should be fixed ASAP IMHO.

!!!This is a rant. Please take it with a grain of salt!!!

Most of you will still remember PalmOnes attempt to advance exchange my hissing T3 against another one that now hisses again. I was originally awed about how the unit would have been picked up for free-but that offer apparently had an edge. The shipping company wanted me to stay at the same location from 8.00am to 5.00pm as the driver would come pick up the unit at some random point of time-without calling me in advance.

So, that sounds lovely. Impossible for a mobile person like me. I-of course-emailed the rep and heard nothing back from her for a few days. Because I saw little use in the T3, I opened an extra support case in order to get the company the T3 shipped. If I had had a postal address, I would have shipped it myself-but they didn’t even give me that!

Now, a rep answered my enquiry telling me that I should sacrifice a Saturday or bug a relative for the deliver. A whole day of my life for a friggin handheld that is meant to mobilize me?

Also, Palm Inc is not capable to refund me the shipping fee. Damnit? Is the company too ???? to get the shipment cheque and refund it to me? Please don’t say that I am arrogant or anything_I don’t care about the S&H fee and would even pay it on my own-but where should I ship the damn friggin box to???

Actually, the first comment poster inspired me. Instead of bickering around, lets close this story with a request for comments. Tell me what your experience is. Which manufacturer satisfies you, which one sucks? Please use the anonymous comment facility, it is free of charge…

Engadget just announced the first real images of a Treo 700w. Immediately, PalmOS users fired off rants about how this would kill our OS.

Anyways, lets stop bickering for a moment. Lets recapitulate what made the Treo family big-the simplicity of use and the OS. Treos were the only boxen that ran Palm OS and were readily available! Thus, almost all PalmOS users wanting a smart phone went for the Treo. Eventually, a cult began to develop similar to what we currently see over at the ipods.

Now compare that to the WinMobile section. WinMobile phones are available in a variety of styles and sizes, running different versions of WinCE and covering an extreme range of prices(from HTC magician to whatever). The HTC retails for 50€ oer in Europe-and has better specs than the Treo. It is sturdily built(I had one in my hand recently). The Treo 700w will cost at least 400€-and I am sure that HTC already has the contracts with carriers to keep them aboard…

Palm always got away with quality issues as they were the only PalmOS stuff maker and since platform switching is extremely expensive due to all the registered software. But-switching from one PocketPC to another is easy. So, a dissatisfied user simply discards the device, but can keep all the infrastructure.
Overall, I beleive that Palm will have a hard time beeing succesful with the 700w using its old strategies due to fierce competition. Ther main danger I see is that Palm may loose a lot of money on their Windows expedition-money better invested into the PalmOS line!

What do you think?

Recently, Palm(One) was target of quite a few lawsuits over badly designed/manufactured products which weren’t repaired. Now, Palms Treo linegot under fire too-I was pretty sure that that would have to happen eventually, but that is a different story!
Anyways, I loved the following part of the lawsuit document:

Replacement of defective Treo 600 phones with defective and/or “refurbished” Treo 600 phones – creating a cycle of defective product – whereby owners continue to receive defective products until either they tire of the process or their warranty runs out.

This reminds me of my IIIc, which was replaced with a box that failed right out of the box(as if that isnt perfect leetspeak;))! This one was replaced by another fuxated machine, and another one, ….. . And this is where I see a problem. The problem is not returning repaired units(I wanted my original T3 to be repaired instead of exchanged as it had a Sony screen), but the problem is just returning a somehow repaired unit to any customer.
I understand that Palm must work efficiently, but if they want to save cash on customer care, they should create quality products that don’t need service after all! We had power button problems since the V series, humming screens since the TT(altough mine was silent), cases falling apart on the IIIc, instabile software on the german IIIxe,… .
If a PalmOS freak and developer seriously evaluates a Windows Mobile handheld and Visual Studio, something must be wrong. Doesn’t the company ever learn its lesson?

Tapwave is considered the new Sony by many commentators. Indeed, their Zodiac handhelds deployed with fascinating new hardware-even the TE was endangered by the Z1-its darn cheap and still has a superb, large screen. The OS contains nifty hacks that let any other handheld look like a brick. ln addition, the second SD Card slot can get useful in some situations. The powerful graphic chip and processor can cook up graphics that beat the crap out of all Gameboys. A creative stereo speaker makes cool tunes, and the double battery gives stamina.
When this handheld was introduced, most commentators were sure that Tapwave hit the bull’s eye.
Indeed, the Zodiac is a superb gaming platform-but it is also a very performant PDA. And here is Tapwaves Achilles heel-they focus on the gaming part because they are alone in this sector. This strategy seems to work well for now, but I see a big dark cloud coming from Japan-its the Sony PSP. This system is said to be more-less compatible with stock playstation games(its just a recompile/media change-not even a real port) and thus will have access to literally thousands of famous games from experienced developers. Now compare that to the few PC ports/custom no-name games(Command and Conquer is more famous than Warfare Inc.) for the Zod. Looks like real trouble straight ahead-if Tapwave keeps focussing on the gaming sector only.
Now, lets forget the gaming part for a minute. The Zod is a powerful handheld workstation that doubles as MP3 and Video Player. However, most users never hear about this special feature. The marketing focuses on the gaming part-and this definitely isn’t the way to go! If the ads would concentrate on stopping the Zodiac=Gameboy++ belief, the PSP could prepare for a bloody nose. Well, there’s no email client for it, and where’s the spreadsheet and photo viewer?
What do you think? Am I just talking rubbish? Or do you share my thoughts? Anonymous comments are allowed, so lets discuss!

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