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Palm In Trouble?

CmdrTaco posted more than 13 years ago | from the invent-a-market-and-lose-to-a-monoploy dept.

Handhelds 205

spblat writes "News.com reports that Palm, Inc. is in a bit of a spot. A hardware glut, a portal that's losing money, an OS licensing model that doesn't generate enough revenue, oh my! Could this be the beginning of the end for Palm?" Apparently people aren't buying as many Palms now that the economy has slowed down. To say nothing of the fact that many Wince devices are better. Still waiting to see the latest Sony Clie to see if PalmOS can catch up.

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Palm (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#211233)

I think the death of Palm started when the good people left to form Handspring. Every since then its just been "palm 3 knockoff of the week" and they still have yet to make a color Palm V. My biggest issue is how fragile all of their products are, and other than the Palm V, most of them are quite bulky. They finally have color but lower resolution than the PocketPC devices. Not to mention their lame model numbering...they should not have named the wireless one VII...you see now they've abandonded the whole scheme anyway going with m series...I guess that is an admission that they are a bunch of idiots. Oh, they never reply to their email either.

Market share (2)

abischof (255) | more than 13 years ago | (#211234)

Let's see.. the Palm OS accounts for 89% [cnet.com] of the retail market.. And, that's a problem?

Alex Bischoff

Re:Plumetting (1)

amblin (1997) | more than 13 years ago | (#211244)

Actually, they are not selling them for $100. You have to sign up for a 12 month service agreement at $25 a month to get a "rebate", that brings the cost down to $100 up front.
It'll actually cost you ~$400 after all is said and done.

Not carrying in your pocket? (2)

Jonathan (5011) | more than 13 years ago | (#211245)

Generally, I would say that the smaller form factor is the only reason I would go with the m505 over the EM500. Personally, since I wouldn't carry either around in my pocket all day, the large size isn't a big issue.

When I hear words like "I don't carry my PDA in my pocket" I begin to wonder if the person actually *uses* their PDA or if it just sits on their shelf gathering dust. How do you carry it around with you if you don't put it in your pocket? (I carry my Handspring in my pocket nearly everywhere I go)

Maybe your pockets are larger... (2)

Jonathan (5011) | more than 13 years ago | (#211246)

..but from looking at them in stores, it doesn't look like that an IPAQ would fit in my pocket.As that's how I carry my Handspring around, the IPAQ is simply impractical for me. Sure, it is more powerful than a Visor. But a laptop is more powerful yet, and if I had to lug around something in a carrying case, I'd choose a laptop.

Re:Maybe your pockets are larger... (2)

Jonathan (5011) | more than 13 years ago | (#211247)

I suppose a belt clip is a possibility -- it would look rather geeky, but I suppose it would be truth-in-advertising.

Re:What's attractive about a palmtop? (3)

Jonathan (5011) | more than 13 years ago | (#211248)

Well, for me it gives me something to do on the subway to work -- I can read a book, play a game, look at my calendar and read the New York Times all on a device that I can put easily in my pocket (which is important to me because I rarely have a bag or briefcase with me). I don't think Internet capability is all that important because there are good off-line Web browsers -- I, for example, download the New York Times in html format using my PC, transfer it to my Handspring and can read it on the way to work. Much easier than having to deal with a physical newspaper on the subway.

MS / DOJ case (1)

bstadil (7110) | more than 13 years ago | (#211252)

Its petty Palm is in trouble but at least some good is emerging from the MS antitrust case. If it hadn't been for that MS would be able to buy Palm for $3B+- and get rid of this nasty competitor. IBM is selling a fair amount of Palm under their own brand name, maybe they would be interested in aquiring Palm?

Re:better *hardware* not better wince (2)

llywrch (9023) | more than 13 years ago | (#211255)

> Now, admittedly, prolly most WinCE machines have better *hardware* than most PalmOS systems.

I wonder if this is the reason for most of WinCE device sales:

1) J. Random Nerd buys WinCE machine.
2) Nerd then purges existing OS, installs Linux.
3) Nerd shows off accomplishment to friends, thus earning geek points.
4) WinCE manufacturer reports sale to Microsoft, who thinks they are on the right track, & look for another VP to wage unwinnable PR war on the GPL.


Re:Palm - the Liquid (2)

RAruler (11862) | more than 13 years ago | (#211261)

Lets see, they're using the Palm trademark. They are selling PDA's (Personal Drinking Assistant) so based on recent litigations i'd say Palm does have grounds for a civil suit.


Re:Palm v. WinCE (1)

IntlHarvester (11985) | more than 13 years ago | (#211262)

Palm versus CE is a pointless flamewar.

Palm guy: I can look at my calendar and store phone numbers

CE guy: I can play emulated Donkey Kong and watch porno MPEGs while I'm waiting in line at the DMV. Oh, and look at my calendar and store phone numbers.

Handheld Linux guy: I can bring up an XTerm to my handheld. Hello? Anyone listening?

It's kinda like the old UNIX versus DOS flamewars back in the day. Comparing two vastly different products that so happen to have some superficial simularties.

Of course, the history of the personal computers and moore's law tells us that a "modern" OS like CE will eventually rule handheld space. But that's not to say that DOS wasn't a damn useful platform.

Re:I Never Thought I'd Hear It. You didn't! (2)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 13 years ago | (#211266)

A Slashdot editor admitting MS makes a superior product?

Let's look at what Rob said.

Wince devices are better.

The devices are better. Not the OS. Last time I checked MS didn't make the devices. Companies like HP, Casio, and Compaq make the devices. The fact that they run an MS OS is secondary.


Re:Microsoft got them (1)

Zico (14255) | more than 13 years ago | (#211268)

And sure enough, they'll capture and sterilize yet another market ...sigh...

Yeah, it's a crying shame that Microsoft sterilized the market by bringing out PDAs that blow Palms away in terms of audio, video, voice recording, expandibility and just plain computing power (MAME-CE anyone?). Woe is us that we can't go back to the good old days and have a market full of monochrome, soundless, glorified calculators. Those bastards.


Re:WinCE better? (1)

Zico (14255) | more than 13 years ago | (#211269)

Why are 32, 64, even 128 meg RAM WinCE devices popping up?

Ummm, because you can do a lot more with them. If Palms had the same capabilities, you'd want more memory for it. As is, I don't need any storage space to store MP3s, video, or Flash files because Palm can't do anything with them. I don't need storage space for DoomCE, Mame-CE, NES or Gameboy emulators, Word, Excel, Internet Explorer, SQL Server, Windows Media Player, etc., because a Palm couldn't handle such apps.


Re:Maybe nobody is buying because the ungodly pric (2)

Zico (14255) | more than 13 years ago | (#211273)

The glut of inventory means that prices will probably be driven lower still soon.

How does this help Palm survive? When you lower prices to clear out inventory, people buy the cheap older models and sales of your new models (i.e., the ones you actually depend on to remain a healthy business) are screwed.


Quick! lets change our business model! (3)

freq (15128) | more than 13 years ago | (#211278)

1. Hire consultants!
2. Fire the CEO!
3. Hire consultants to hire a new CEO! (preferably someone dynamic who's not afraid to axe all of our good employees!)
4. Hire a new PR firm to issue a zillion press releases about our new CEO and our new direction
5. Change everything just in time for the market to change again.

(rinse, repeat)

Re:I Never Thought I'd Hear It (1)

zzyzx (15139) | more than 13 years ago | (#211279)

That really makes me suspect that it IS true too. I love my palm pilot and wasn't even looking at WinCE devices, but now I wonder if I should have been. Thanks Slashdot for inspiring me to think about giving money to Bill when I get sick of this model.

Plumetting (1)

zzyzx (15139) | more than 13 years ago | (#211280)

I bought my Palm VIIx for nearly $400 this year. Comp USA is selling them for $100 now. I'm not bummed about missing out; I'm excited that friends of mine can now have wireless web access too.

Re:Plumetting (1)

zzyzx (15139) | more than 13 years ago | (#211281)

But I pay $25 for the service myself. The wireless web features don't work without a provider. It's like saying that my cell phone rebate was lame because they needed me to sign up with a cell phone provider.

Yes it sucks you in, but $100 and $25/mth is better than $400 and $25/month.

...on the other hand, it DOES prevent you from using the $10 plan

Palm's problems... (5)

Grond (15515) | more than 13 years ago | (#211282)

The reason the Wince devices are finally catching up is that handheld technology has reached a point where Palm's philosophy of (relatively) cheap and simple is no longer necessary. Handhelds can have large storage, hi-res color graphics, accessory ports and the like and still have good battery life and be (again, relatively) cheap and useful.

Many people have often pointed out that MS rarely gets anything right on the first try. But by the 3rd iteration or so, the competetion is in trouble. Look at Office, DirectX, and Windows itself. The Wince devices are entering their 3rd generation but Palm's are just now getting past their early limitations (storage space, expandability, and screen resolution being the major sticking points).

Like 'Taco said, the next Clie and similar Palm devices are Palm's 'last, best hope' for keeping their dominant market position.

(Working harder on cooperating with Handspring probably wouldn't hurt....)

WinCE devices better? (4)

SoftwareJanitor (15983) | more than 13 years ago | (#211283)

Depends on what you want I suppose. My complaints against WinCE is that it basically requires a very fast processor and a lot of memory for a handheld because the environment is pretty fat, unlike a Palm. It also basically demands a color display because the user interface kinda stinks in monochrome, unlike a Palm. Those two things mean that WinCE devices tend to cost several times what a Palm of similar capabilities can, and also they have a lot shorter battery life, which is a pain in the butt. Most of the more powerful WinCE devices are also bigger and heavier than Palms are. And in my opinion, the Palm user interface is still better designed for a handheld than WinCE, probably because it really was designed from scratch for that sort of device and not carrying a lot of baggage from a desktop ancestor/sibling. There may be certain high end applications for which a WinCE device can do more than a Palm, but once you start getting into that area, you have to start looking at the smaller x86 notebooks instead of a WinCE device...

So for my money, PalmOS is my choice over WinCE. Maybe a Linux based handheld in the future though, just because it would be cooler than hell and be more like my desktop... :-)

Re:Palm (2)

jimmyphysics (16981) | more than 13 years ago | (#211284)

no color palm v? what the hell are you talking about?
the m505 is basically a color palm v, with a faster processor, more ram, and a card slot.

WinCE better? (2)

Levine (22596) | more than 13 years ago | (#211289)

True, the devices themselves on which the WinCE platform runs are better, but that's because the WinCE platform demands all of that power! Why are 32, 64, even 128 meg RAM WinCE devices popping up, while the Palm lineup's biggest ones are 8 or 16 at the most? Because the applications on WinCE devices - the poorly designed, terrible-interface applications - suck up that much more RAM! My Visor Regular with 2 megs of RAM holds several day's worth of news from Wired and Suck.com, all the PIM and calendar programs I need to keep my day in line, all of the email in my inbox, several games, AND all of the software I need to get online, browse the web, telnet to my box at home, get email, and drive my keyboard. In 2 megs of RAM! And I still have perhaps 500K free at any time. All of this runs perfectly fast, by the way.

Why, then, does the staff at Slashdot seem content to berate Palm's OS while recommending WinCE - even Linux based handheld computers, where the command line is standard! It doesn't make a bit of sense. If I have to wait even half a second for my handheld to "boot up", it's not doing it's job.


Re:Palm better than Wince (4)

GregWebb (26123) | more than 13 years ago | (#211294)


Last time I heard, true multitasking. My original 5 has 8 MB, the MX has 16 and an S7 32. All have larger screens. All have slower processors, too, though you wouldn't know most of the time.

All have excellent battery life.

Please remember, MS don't make the things! They might have come up with specs and the OS but not the hardware.

I'm still baffled why anyone buys those CE things. An iPaq, which seems to be getting all the attention, is pretty much the same size as a Psion 5 for goodness' sakes!

Microsoft and their partners might have some odd ideas about these things - but that doesn't mean that they've got everything wrong or that the PalmOS' level of simplicity is necessarily right, just that WinCE and its hardware isn't a particularly good idea in some ways.

Re:part of palm's trouble is people like me... (1)

generic-man (33649) | more than 13 years ago | (#211296)

The HandEra [handera.com] 330 has a 240x320 display, including a soft Graffiti area. It runs Palm OS 3.5.2, heavily modified to support a higher-resolution screen, as well as the two built-in expansion slots (SD/MMC and CompactFlash). Sounds what you're looking for.

Re:Palm's problem: poor displays! (1)

generic-man (33649) | more than 13 years ago | (#211297)

Consider this: some of the color Palm-OS units claim to support 16-bit color depth -- 65,535 colors. But a 160x160 display only has 25,600 pixels -- barely enough to display one third of these colors at any one time!

Sorry to burst your bubble, but this argument is flawed. Here's why.

Consider this: some of the current video cards on the market claim to support 24-bit color depth -- 16,777,216 colors. But even a 1600x1200 display only has 1,920,000 pixels, barely enough to display one tenth of these colors!

Just because you can't see all of the colors on the screen at once doesn't mean that they're not helpful.

Re:Maybe nobody is buying because the ungodly pric (1)

generic-man (33649) | more than 13 years ago | (#211298)

Only the high-end models bear those ungodly prices. In response to competition, Palm has low-end models as well. Is US $129 [palm.com] too much for you?

By contrast, I have yet to see a sub-$200 WinCE PDA that's worth owning. Palm can corner the low-end market like teen-agers and college students with such low-priced models. The glut of inventory means that prices will probably be driven lower still soon.

They will make it.... (1)

thrash_ (34661) | more than 13 years ago | (#211299)

One thing to remember is that 3COM can probably bail it out. Either buying it back, or giving it some heavy investment. It's not over yet...

Re:How about Compaq IPaq (1)

BigDaddyJ (38640) | more than 13 years ago | (#211300)

iPaqs are already available, and have been for a while, in quantity. Amazon has the 3635 in stock (do a search for iPaq), as long as you don't mind buying from Mr. 1-Click.

Now, if you're looking for the 64MB iPaq, yes, that is in very short supply.

As to whether it's worth it, if you want a color screen and MP3 capability, and are willing to overlook some of the QA issues (slightly higher defect rate), it's a superb unit. If you really are only going to use it as an organizer it's probably overkill. I paired mine with a Microdrive and use it for MP3's all the time.


Re:Palm better than Wince (4)

BigDaddyJ (38640) | more than 13 years ago | (#211301)

Many of the Wince devices suffer from serious interface issues. Start button on a handheld, anyone???
Actually, the Start button on a PocketPC works just like the Applications launcher on a Palm, but better. MS has fixed this issue quite well.
Also, the power use issues on them won't go away. They have true multitasking, lots of memory and fast processors. While I'd normally say this is good, it is such a drain on batteries that they just can't hold up to Palm devices. They need big expensive batteries just to get acceptable lifespan, whereas Palms can last much longer on a single charge.
No longer nearly as true. The m505 and the iPaq, for example, have similar battery life. Most lithium-ion devices have somewhere between 10-20 hours battery life. Admittedly, the Palms' simpler OS leads to smaller/simpler applications, so heavy usage may differ. But I've rarely had battery life issues with my iPaq.
Making lightweight devices just isn't Micro$oft's strong point. The only way that Palm can lose is by making their new devices so expensive that they look like Wince competitors. Oh wait, they are doing that. Oh well, I can't help it if they hang themselves when they have the better product.
Of course, the other consideration here is as powerful processors get cheaper and less power-hungry, the "visible" strikes against WinCE-based devices are less and less. Witness the StrongARM chip - it runs WinCE fast and has decent battery life. I don't hate the Palm per se - I used it for many years, and found it extremely useful in what it does - but MS is on its third generation, and history shows they usually get "close enough" to their competition before moving forward in one way or another.


Re:Palm vs. Pocket PC (2)

HydroCarbon10 (40784) | more than 13 years ago | (#211303)

150 MHz MIPS processor, instead of 33 MHz

How is this a feature? I could really care less how fast my PDA is, as long as it does it's job as a PDA. I've got a laptop for playing quake on, I don't need it on my PDA.

More functionality out-of-the-box (spreadsheet, ect.) saving memory for many people

Maybe you meant money there? I would tend to think that editing documents on a PDA would be a pain, you'd best just carry that laptop again. The only thing I (and seemingly many others) want a PDA for is a glorified notepad, period.

Re:I Never Thought I'd Hear It (2)

Malcontent (40834) | more than 13 years ago | (#211304)

And god knows he needs more money fromt he likes of us.

Re:What's attractive about a palmtop? (2)

Keeper (56691) | more than 13 years ago | (#211308)

Many people see a palm and think "ooh, computer that fits in your hand, how useless" ... some people can't shake the thought that it ought to do the same things that an ordinary computer ought to do.

It's not meant for that. Something that size is exceptional for keeping bits of information that would otherwise be floating in a backpack.

It's awesome for keeping track of phone numbers, appointments, notes, frequently accessed information (ex: SCR #'s that you use a lot) keeping a triplog for your car, a financial organizer, storing a grocery list (there is some totally awesome software for this that really makes comparison shopping easy and it can organize items by what row they're in, saving mucho time in the grocery store), or storing a map of an area you are traveling to.

The ability to play a bit of minesweeper or solitare while waiting for something is an additional plus.

You don't use these things at a table where you've got time on your handl; you open it, hit the power buttom, jot something down/look something up and put it back in your pocket within 10 seconds.

It's a very sophisticated organizer, not a computer. Why anyone would want their organizer to play music or watch movies is beyond me.

This is too funny. (3)

Inoshiro (71693) | more than 13 years ago | (#211311)

These people cleary have no idea how to report on business. How can you say "Palm, a company that launched a very successful initial public offering just 14 months ago." with one breathe, then say "generating $1 billion a year in sales and was still enjoying 100 percent year-over-year growth.
" in the next?

But let's focus on the company itself. Why they are in trouble, and what can bo done to fix it.

Palm, Inc has had some focus problems since USR (and later, 3com) bought them out. The initial device had great ideas, but they've only incrementally improved them since then. Bluetooth to control other devices (such as Cell, which cry out for a proper Palm interface), internal NiMH rechargeables (Palm V has this -- they all should), and a better software bundle (including a learning IrRemote) would add much to the value of the device.

The new models won't sell. There are no new features which require upgrades. Even my Palm IIIe (limited to 2mb ram) is enough. The new m100 series are ugly, expensive, and don't offer an advantage to Palm II and Palm V users. Since the software is good, and the current harhdware is perfect, they need to add new features (again, cell phone control, tv/vcr/dvd control, etc, would be great). You may not pay 500$ for a toy organizer, but you'd pay for it if you could control your entertoinment centre, X.10 devices, cell phone, and more from one device which also happened to be a great organizer.

Like 3Dfx, they want to do it all -- make the OS, maxe the device, provide CDPD access for Palm VII users, etc. And like 3Dfx, they are finding that their competitors (who can focus on the device, or the OS, etc) are eating their lunch. If they spun off the portal, ISP, and device making, they could become the MS of handhelds (but it's probably too late for that). If they focus on what they are good at (good software which should have little development costs, good hardware which can be mass produced), they will become profitable!

They are too greedy. 500$ USD for what, exactly? An electronic organizer? The Palm IIIe sells for ~200$ Cdn. At that price, practically everyone can afford one (like VCRs or TVs). If Palm could lower prices and raise awareness, they could bring a lot more customers into the fold. And they could also add features to the higher ond models which some customers would love!

Palm computing has all the right stuff for success. It's still fairly young for a business on its own (and everynew business is guaranteed 5 years of hardship when they start, before the kinks are worked out). If they focus on their target consumers (think executives and college students), then add features that power users and professionals want (on the higher end), they can have a comprehensive product line. And if they ditch the overhead of the rest of their company (portals, ISP service), they can make a killing.

A renamed Palm III in an uglier case with changeable faceplates is not a reason to spend a few hundred $$s.

Re:Why I never upgraded my Palm III (2)

Allnighterking (74212) | more than 13 years ago | (#211312)

And to continue your thought. They thrash. Everyweek they head in a new direction. New ideas, New meetings, New CEO, NO results. Things they shoulda coulda done are numerous like.

Have a standard serial port config. That way each and every addon device could be transfered to your new palm when you buy it.

Concentrate on partnerships with 3rd party software vendors to develop extension apps

Release information about hardware interface to 3rd part companies for the development of extensions. (my Go keyboard is a great example of what can be done.)

Listen to their users.

In other words do what the competition has done, ie Handsprings.

The last thing they could have done? Not spun off from 3com.

Re:Palm (1)

gss (86275) | more than 13 years ago | (#211313)

and they still have yet to make a color Palm V
The Palm m505 is pretty close to a color Palm V, it has the same form factor. Some people are complaining about the screen but I like mine.

Re:better *hardware* not better wince (1)

randombit (87792) | more than 13 years ago | (#211317)

The 9x or NT/2K kernels will not boot on a MIPS or SH3 processor.

Well, NT ran on MIPS for a while (along with PowerPC and Alpha). I actually have an NT4 CD, bootable on x86, Alpha, PowerPC, and MIPS. It's from back in the early days (it's SP1 IIRC), before NT dropped PowerPC and MIPS (and Alpha, for the most part).

and I've yet to see a Palm that can:

Play MP3's
Play MPEG movies
open office files
display REAL web pages, and not some clipped text-only crap

OK, I'll admit that I don't own a handheld of any sort. But if I did, I would not buy it for any of the reasons you mention. Why?

I don't use Office.

MPEG - Can any handheld hold an episode or three of DivX encoded anime, and play it back with full framerates? That I would consider useful, but I doubt any handheld has that kind of power (or memory) yet. Otherwise, that ability is basically in the "Look at what my handheld can do that you're can't" category.

MP3s - I'd get a RIO, or just use my portable CD player, possibly with CD-R mixes of my favorite songs.

Viewing webpages is only useful if I get wireless access, which, considering how rarely I would use it, is not worth the cost of the hardware and access.

My point is that you may well see these as things that a handheld device should be able to do, but my useage of a handheld would probably be limited to what Palm seems best suited for - notes, lists, addressbooks, etc.

Of course, I won't be either until I see the prices drop more. I really don't want much from a PDA, but I want it to be cheap and small. That's about it.

Re:better *hardware* not better wince (1)

randombit (87792) | more than 13 years ago | (#211318)

The iPAQ can handle full speed video. So far, it doesn't support DivX AVI files, but you can play MPEG-1 or WMV files. And it can hold a full downscaled DVD using a expansion sleeve with CF or a MicroDrive (1 GB) or a 2 GB PCMCIA HardDrive.

Well, I have to admit that this sounds intriguing. :)

And if/when there is short range BlueTooth communication, it'd be a lot easier to have HTML device interfaces that your PDA can handle (and not clipping).

True, but the cynic in my says that that if/when will be quite a while from now, if ever (too bad too, I really think BlueTooth is a great idea).

It isn't for everybody, but it is a solution for some of us...

Hey, never said it wasn't...

What's attractive about a palmtop? (3)

michaelmalak (91262) | more than 13 years ago | (#211320)

Someone please help me -- I haven't figured it out. What's so attractive about a palmtop? I don't know if my lack of interest is due to never trying one extensively, or just being too old and too stuck in my ways. Maybe I'm just too much of a pack-rat. Maybe I'm too addicted to the Internet.

I tried someone else's unit that had a wireless modem. It didn't work indoors. What's the point of something that can't hook up to the Internet?

I prefer to carry around my laptop, which has 2GB of e-mail from the past seven years. And I carry around a spiral notebook and pen, because I find it to be the best way to record ideas and notes.

I suppose a palmtop could be useful for those who would otherwise need a day-timer -- those with complex calendars and extensive phone directories. For me, I just don't get it -- at least not until it can hook up to the Internet and has high enough resolution to read PDF files.

Maybe someone can tell me what I'm missing.

Why I never upgraded my Palm III (3)

TomatoMan (93630) | more than 13 years ago | (#211321)

I have a Palm III from about 2 years ago. Here's why I'm still using it:

1. It still does everything I need it to
2. I'm not going to spend $500 for a color version, or on any handheld short of one with a small PC's power. At $500 I could almost buy an iMac or a cheap PC; a handheld with 8mb RAM/storage isn't enough of an incentive.

I'm relieved that the "planned obsolescence" thing didn't happen with the Palm I still use. I'm tired of upgrading hardware every 18 months. I don't need to play Quake on my handheld.

I'm sorry Palm is having trouble, because their product is good, but if they were counting on me to pitch my III for a V or a VII when the III still worked fine, then their business model had a fatal flaw, and one that this crisis they're facing will surely correct, one way or the other.


Re:WinCE better? (1)

LonEagle (95147) | more than 13 years ago | (#211322)

The slashdot editors just like toys. Palms are too practical for them. They want a device that will play mp3's and crunch seti@home while they walk. Sad but true.

Re:Not carrying in your pocket? (1)

Keelor (95571) | more than 13 years ago | (#211323)

I always take my PDA with me in the car if I go someplace. Whenever I'm going to be out of the car for an extended period of time, I stick it in my backpack that is inevitably also with me. If I am going to be someplace for a while without my backpack, I just stick it in my pocket--it tkaes a good 30 seconds every day to move my PDA around, but it's worth the additional features for me.

If I needed my PDA more easily accessible, I'd probably just buy a belt clip case anyway--it's a bit geeky, but keeping a PDA in my pocket for an extended period of time (as in all day) would probably end up with me breaking it in about a week.


Re:Palm vs. Pocket PC (3)

Keelor (95571) | more than 13 years ago | (#211324)

I didn't really make this clear, but I feel that both the m505 and the EM500 are aimed at a different marke than the typical "PDA" market. I still think that, as a "glorified notepad", Palm probably has the advantage--I have yet to see a Pocket PC device for around $100. However, by offering the m505 at the same price range as many PocketPCs, it has to put up with direct comparison.

Editing documents/spreadsheets on a PDA is really fairly easy--I'd never write a 10 page report on one, but for proofreading/editing pre-existing documents it's great. I've also used it for some quick spreadsheet calculations in about 5 minutes that my graphing calculator would take a good 15-20 minutes to program. These were generally done at times where I wouldn't be hauling around a laptop.

About the "saving memory" part: since the PocketPC OS has software such as a word processor/spreadsheet built into the ROM, it takes up no additional storage space. The money aspect was another issue for me, though. By the time I had bought the software to get a lower priced Palm up to the level I wanted, I would have paid just as much as I did for my Cassiopeia.

Finally, for the faster processor, it helps:

  • Programming: I have Pocket Scheme [angrygraycat.com] installed, and have occasionally written programs for certain tasks that I can then quickly access away from my desktop.
  • Audio decoding: During my current half hour commute every morning, I listen to Audible's [audible.com] audio version of the Wall Street Journal, which (presumably, as Audible has yet to release software for it) I couldn't do with a Palm.
  • Playing games: definitely not a factor for many people, but I love being able to emulate some of the older gaming systems, while also playing some fairly impressive games.

For people that actually want the power of a real PC without carrying around a laptop, Pocket PCs are great. For people that just want a PDA at a more reasonable price, Palm is the way to go.


Palm vs. Pocket PC (4)

Keelor (95571) | more than 13 years ago | (#211325)

As the owner of a Cassiopeia EM500 and a follower of both the Palm and Pocket PC (WinCE) worlds, I thought I'd just make this quick comparison as an expample of why I think Palm is in trouble (note: the m505 is Palm's recently released high-end PDA)

m505 vs. EM500


  • MMC/SD Card slot for expansion
  • Color screen
  • Probably about the same price right now, give or take $50 (I got my EM500 for $300 after a rebate that no longer is available)

m505 advantages:

  • Smaller form factor
  • Large software base (considerably more compatible with Linux)
  • Better stability
  • Better outdoor viewability, probably
  • Likely more battery life (not positive, but see below)

EM500 advantages:

  • 150 MHz MIPS processor, instead of 33 MHz
  • Motorla Dragonball VZ processor
  • 16 MB RAM instead of 8 MB
  • 240x320 screen instead of 160x160
  • Better screen indoors (according to most reviewers)
  • Adjustable brightness
  • More functionality out-of-the-box (spreadsheet, ect.) saving memory for many people

As far as battery life goes, I've never had the battery run out on me during a day of heavy use (such as an 8 hour car trip). So it's hardly a problem for me. Then again, I don't listen to MP3s and read a book at the same time, which would decrease the life.

Generally, I would say that the smaller form factor is the only reason I would go with the m505 over the EM500. Personally, since I wouldn't carry either around in my pocket all day, the large size isn't a big issue.

As has been commented on, Palm should be making a killing on Microsoft by offering stuff like the m505 at a much lower price. When I can get a processor that's 5 times as fast, with twice the memory at the same price (even better for me, since I got a EM500 with a 28 MB memory card for $300), I don't see a good reason to go with an m505.

Of course, places like Brighthand [brighthand.com] show why Palm could continue to proceed--much of the market and resellers are effectively ignoring the PocketPC, and so many reviews of the m505 have only focused on how much better they are than previous Palms--not the fact that they've now managed to catch up with Pocket PCs released a half year ago (in my opinion).


better *hardware* not better wince (1)

Roadmaster (96317) | more than 13 years ago | (#211326)

Unless WinCE has been recently and heavily overhauled, it doesn't hold a candle to PalmOS as far as handheld computers go. WinCE is a dumbed-down version of windows, and as such it has all the disadvantages, PLUS that of being run on a small screen it just wasn't designed for.

PalmOS is very "unixy" in its philosophy, it aims to be a great handheld computer operating system, and assumes its role since the beginning, never trying to be too pretentious. It's perfectly suited for the handheld paradigm, trying to be a personal digital assistant, just that, not a reduced PC. That's what WinCE tries (and fails) to do.

Now, admittedly, prolly most WinCE machines have better *hardware* than most PalmOS systems. I'm still impressed over Compaq's iPAQ which can run Linux and has 64 MB RAM. Notice, however, that this is *NOT* a microsoft product. They just provide the (Crappy) operating system. Still, I've yet to see any *ANY* handheld running WinCE that's as small and light as my Palm V. That counts for me, because i'm really lazy and there's a limit to how big and heavy a device I'll carry. Heck, if I want a PC, I'll take my Portege 3010 which is the size of a standard paper notebook. That's not too big. But I am *that* lazy :)

Re:Plateau... (4)

OmegaDan (101255) | more than 13 years ago | (#211329)

I think you hit the nail on the head here ... they've come out with lots of new models -- but none of them *DO ANYTHING NEW*. I've owned 3 pdas in my life, a US Robotics Pilot 1000, a visor deluxe, and a Palm Vx ... and I gotta tell ya the palm VX is *perfect*. Its light, its .4 inches thick -- I've got a wallet case for it thats no bigger then a regular wallet -- and it stays charged for weeks at a time! The only difference between my Vx and my pilot 1000's (made in 1996) is how much ram they have and their shape ... talk about progress

Re:What's attractive about a palmtop? (1)

Zorkon (121860) | more than 13 years ago | (#211333)

> I tried someone else's unit that had a wireless modem. It didn't work indoors. What's the point of something that can't hook up to the Internet?

Damn. So *that's* what's wrong with my toaster... I knew there was a design flaw somewhere. No internet access. Doh! Next time I'll know better.

Seriously, PDAs aren't for everyone. And yes, there are those that purchase them simply because they are gadgets. However, some of use find them useful. I'm a very disorganized person by nature, and have never been one to use a Daytimer. I like the ability to fill the Palm with useful information and then search for it quickly and easily. My girlfriend had pretty much the same attitude as you towards PDAs, but once she used a Palm for a month, she was hooked. But it's a habit that takes getting used to, and as I mentioned earlier, they aren't for everyone.

Bye bye iPAQ, hello Palm (again!) (4)

Zorkon (121860) | more than 13 years ago | (#211334)

I *just* purchased a Palm Vx from a local store - as Palm has recently introduced the m500 series, the Palm Vx was nicely discounted.

The interesting thing is that I used to own a Palm IIIc, then "upgraded" to a Compaq iPAQ. I've switched back to Palm now, for the following reasons:

Palm's battery life is *much* better.

WinCE/PocketPC still has some usability issues as far as interface design is concerned.

Far too much "demoware" and "shareware" software in the WinCE world.

I *don't* want to deal with a "file explorer" on my PDA when trying to launch a program.

WinCE/PocketPC doesn't play nice with non-Microsoft OSes

PocketPCs are just that: an attempt to squeeze a relatively full-featured computer into a pocket form factor. Only I don't want to mess with registry entries, file explorers, and the like while using a PDA. Given their relatively high-powered CPUs and capabilities, they *suck* power like nobody's business. I was used to charging my Palm IIIc once every month or so. I left my iPAQ off for about a week (went on vacation), and when I returned, the battery was dead and all my contacts, notes, and software was gone (my own fault... but still, 6 days, starting with a full charge, and the unit turned *off*?!)

I've switched to a predominantly Linux environment at home, and the PocketPC, while supporting TCP/IP, doesn't sync with anything except Microsoft's Windows-based ActiveSync tools. On the other hand, there is support for the Palm on most major computing platforms, including MacOS and Linux.

For those that want an all-in-one MP3 player, contact list, organizer, and don't mind being trapped in Windows, then the PocketPC might be for you... Personally though, I'd rather have a Palm for a PDA, and save the MP3/multimedia functions for a dedicated MP3 player. I personally own and love the Iomega [iomega.com] HipZip MP3 player - it's USB based, and works wonderfully under Windows, MacOS 9, Mac OS X and Linux (in OS X and Linux, it appears as a simple SCSI drive).

Does anyone here want to buy a iPAQ 3650 w/USB cradle, CF sleeve, serial adapter, manuals, disks, etc? In great condition... ;)

The *real* problem with handheld devices... (4)

Gogl (125883) | more than 13 years ago | (#211337)

In my mind, at least, the real problem is that they really aren't that useful. I have recently acquired a Palm V at no cost to me (no I didn't steal it), and while it is funny as hell to play with, any and all actually useful functions it has are much better done with pen(cil) and paper. Honestly. And all the "syncrhonizing with the desktop" crap means that you either have to use the Palm desktop to keep your schedule, or be using Outlook, both of which I'd rather not do. In fact, the only real use I've found for it is reading free books, as essentially every single book that is old enough to not be copyrighted can be gotten for free in a format for palm (or converted from txt ala Gutenberg), and it is actually not that bad reading off of a palm (much better then slowly scrolling down a txt on the computer). But essentially, the palm is an expensive gameboy for adults.

In my mind, the thing that will make any handheld device actually worth it is as follows:
1. A *lot* more memory (whatever happened to those 300mb drives the size of credit cards that IBM was doing?)
2. Voice recognition (Graffiti is okay, but the palm needs something akin to dictation for input to be truly useful)
3. Some level of AI (this is sort of attached to the voice recognition part, but essentially I want to be able to say "take me to such-and-such a program" and it takes me there).

Notice how "color" and "net-access" aren't on that list. Well net access has some usability, but the fact that people are obsessed with color kind of irritates me. Oh well, I'll save that for another rant....

How about Compaq IPaq (1)

terrence (129792) | more than 13 years ago | (#211341)

I have a Palm V but I really like to have a fancy PDA with color screen and MP3. I am waiting for the new Compaq IPaq to come out. Any idea how much is the new IPaq and does it worth the buck ?

big shock (2)

prisoner (133137) | more than 13 years ago | (#211342)

that Palm is in trouble. They didn't change the product for what...5-6 years? The only cool thing that they've added (until the M50x series)was the wireless line. Other than that, they've added some really "hip" colors and maybe a few worthless apps. In the meantime, the evil empire launches WindowsCE devices, handspring clones the palm and sells them cheaper and Sony starts with the Clie'. In response to all of this, Palm dicks around for 2-3 years and finally launches a product that presents the same level of features as the competition.......

Plateau... (3)

don_carnage (145494) | more than 13 years ago | (#211350)

You'd think that after a while, the bulk of consumers that wanted these things would already have them. Take me for example: I bought a Palm IIIx about a year ago and I have no reason to upgrade.

So computer sales are down. The the internet is going under. The sky is falling. What else is new? Geesh...

Horribly disfiguring problem discovered...find out tonight at 11!


Just hang on... (1)

moath (151844) | more than 13 years ago | (#211351)

Companies like this need to keep hanging on, because when the economy does pick up again, people will be re-hired, and demand for these devices will go up. The big question now is as to when the market goes back up...


Re:FF (1)

nycdewd (160297) | more than 13 years ago | (#211352)

dinosaur? got one! it's called a peecee and it runs something called windows...

WinCE (1)

kruczkowski (160872) | more than 13 years ago | (#211354)

I remeber my old boss got a Palm IIIc for free, she was very exited and asked me how she can load up a excel list of IP address on to it. I told here she needed to buy extra software. She was very dissaponted with it.

I also bought a Palm IIIe, not for the organizer but as a toy. After playing with it for about 2 month, loading all the shareware and silly apps, I got board of it and gave it to my brother, who is also getting board or it.

Re:Palm's problems... (1)

an_mo (175299) | more than 13 years ago | (#211360)

I totally agree. I am still a faithful Palm fanatic, but two days ago a colleague showed me his wince device, and I must say I was impressed. I had to admit that Palm didn't keep up with the evolution of the technology. Here are the main things that shocked me:

1) Wonderful color screen resolution. The color Palm is a joke and barely a marginal improvement over the black and white.

2) Speed and Memory. The thing was just a bit bigger than a PalmV and it has a 200mhz processor with 64meg of ram.

3) Mp3 player attached. The speaker was awful but I bet it's good enough to dial a phone number (I wonder why palm has always refused to add this crucial capability to his address book; their speaker isn't powerful enough but I have read that a 50c more expensive speaker would do it).

4) voice recorder

I am sure there's more but hey, I was quite shocked. My only doubt on the device is battery life.

Re:Palm (1)

an_mo (175299) | more than 13 years ago | (#211361)

I disagree. The good people may have left to Handspring, but they are not in good shape themselves.

The reason? They are tied to an obsolete OS while the technology is ready for a device with higher resolution color and much more.

The only really new thing since the introduction of the pilot was the color, and if you look at one you'll realize that there are so few colors that the improvement relative to greyscale is only marginal.

Look at the prices! (1)

SnapperHead (178050) | more than 13 years ago | (#211362)

.. and they wonder why no one is buying them. The last time I was at stables they wanted well over $500 for a top of the line Palm. Thats crazy, of course I am not gonna buy it. Since everyone and his mother already has one, theres no reason to upgrade. I'll stick with my Palm III, thanks.

until (succeed) try { again(); }

I Never Thought I'd Hear It (5)

danheskett (178529) | more than 13 years ago | (#211363)

A Slashdot editor admitting MS makes a superior product? Ohh my.. pigs.. flying.. hell.. freezing.. world.. collapsing...

Palm Layoffs, etc. (2)

Alien54 (180860) | more than 13 years ago | (#211364)

since Palm laid of 250 people at the end of march, it is not surprising that they would continue to have problems.

Part of the the problem is the same one that has been the plague of the next market. Some of it simply running out of cash for silly business plans, but some of it is irrational pessimism, in large part due to the FUD from politicians. These folks certainly deserve a portion of the blame for the business climate.

It has gone so far that you have stories like this one [forrester.com] that I first spotted at the Register [theregister.co.uk] , commonly titled "Death of the Web Inevitable [theregister.co.uk] ". This is shear bullocks, as the real story is the possible look of the WWW, version 2.0, named in the story as the "X Internet" - but the FUD Masters got to put their spin on it.

The market has evaporated because there are not so many people out there looking for the best toys to get the job done, when the problem was not so much the toys, but getting the job done.

Check out the Vinny the Vampire [eplugz.com] comic strip

*find* uses for them? (2)

djozone (181221) | more than 13 years ago | (#211365)

I used to carry a huge (7" x 5" x 3") DayRunner to keep track of everything, and I constantly had to re-enter repeating . Every time someone changed phone numbers or addresses, I had to make a new entry, and I was always having to buy new inserts.

When I scribbled down a note, I knew I would have to re-enter it into my Mac (yes, Mac) later on. Otherwise, if I ever lost it, I'd have no backup.

Now I have a Palm V. I have a backup of all my contacts. I only have to enter a weekly event once.

When I'm stuck with nothing to do, I have half a dozen books loaded up. When I have too much to do, I've got reference guides for Perl, HTML, Unix, and Windows. I've got a database of 50 of my favorite restaraunts, and directions how to get there.

Many of these are the same tasks my DayRunner did before. Palm just does them much better. And I have Tetris.

The Palm Pilot is a tool. If all you want is a tip calculator [angelfire.com] , it's the coolest $400 tip calculator there is. If, however, you want the mythical "Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy", it's here.

Palm is simply having the same problems as every high-tech company: the economy's in the dumper. Give it a year.

PocketPC isn't that bad but one fatal flaw... (2)

justin sane (185041) | more than 13 years ago | (#211366)

...Only Windows OSs and Apps can link to it. When Billy "shared Source" Gates opens up the soruce for even the conduits, maybe I'll be able to link Mac OSX to it and might buy one. 'Til then, "all your PDA belong to us--NOT!"

Re:I Never Thought I'd Hear It. You didn't! (1)

JamesOfTheDesert (188356) | more than 13 years ago | (#211367)

And since Rob was so impressed by the hardware, he decided to identify them by ... an MS OS.

Got it.

Re:Maybe your pockets are larger... (1)

zootie (190797) | more than 13 years ago | (#211368)

How big is your HandSpring? The naked iPAQ is about the same size as the Palm III (a bit taller, same depth, if I remember correctly).

I personally carry my iPAQ on a belt clip or using an eHolster (along with my phone). I do this because I like having the PCMCIA sleeve with me along with 340 MB of storage (music, video, photos, documents, etc.). I just got my unit upgraded to 64 MB, and I could see me using the naked iPAQ more (and just carrying in my pocket)...

Transcriber (1)

zootie (190797) | more than 13 years ago | (#211369)

If you give a PPC a chance, you might want to try Transcriber. I've always read good things about it, and recently gave it a chance. It works pretty good, you can write anywhere on the screen, and It recognizes my handwritting (when the Newton couldn't get a single letter right), and works ok. I don't think I'll be using it as my primary input method (a bit slow to recognize sometimes, and it could get in the way if you don't type text frequently), but it is a nice option to have (and I'd use it more if I had to write a lot of text)...

I've been trying to get used to Fitaly as an input method, but I keep going back to the built-in character recognizer and the keyboard. I guess I'll keep training with Fitaly, to see if I get over the transition phase....

Re:Market share (1)

zootie (190797) | more than 13 years ago | (#211370)

I think it was in OPM (Other People's Money) [imdb.com]

Re:better *hardware* not better wince (2)

zootie (190797) | more than 13 years ago | (#211371)

The iPAQ can handle full speed video. So far, it doesn't support DivX AVI files, but you can play MPEG-1 or WMV files. And it can hold a full downscaled DVD using a expansion sleeve with CF or a MicroDrive (1 GB) or a 2 GB PCMCIA HardDrive. There are people also using external laptop HDs (with a PCMCIA interface) as a video or MP3 jukebox (usually as a car player, for external power for the HD).

Next generation iPAQ will be fast enough to handle speech recognition. This generation can do it, but it isn't good enough for mainstream applications.

Viewing web pages is important. AvantGo is a pain when you view it with a Palm (barely of any use), but it is great when you view it with an iPAQ. And if/when there is short range BlueTooth communication, it'd be a lot easier to have HTML device interfaces that your PDA can handle (and not clipping).

The level of integration is great. A single device that can be my newspaper, PDA, dictionary, music player, and portable video player. It isn't as small as a Palm V, but it saves me from carrying quite a few extra items (especially on trips).

It isn't for everybody, but it is a solution for some of us...

Re:The *real* problem with handheld devices... (2)

zootie (190797) | more than 13 years ago | (#211372)

The PocketPCs can use the IBM MicroDrive (that come in sizes from 170 MB to 1 GB). You can use them to store video (full DVDs downscaled using WMV or MPEG-1) or a lot of music, or photos, or documentation...

I also feel that color is optional. However, it does make the display nicer and easier to look at. And applications are starting to take advantage of it (place high priority overdue taks in red, or have different colors for your appointments in your calendar, depending on categories). Color is also very helpful when you're looking at a map (not to mention video)...

Current generation iPAQ can do some voice recognition, but not much. Next generation might be able to do it much more, and maybe with a little AI in there (MS demo'd something like that a few months ago, but the voice recognition and AI was on a PC connected to the iPAQ using 802.11b, the iPAQ was an intelligent interactive remote).

Man oh Man (1)

Arthropoid (194003) | more than 13 years ago | (#211373)

There's been a lot of discussion on the Mac Web (it's entirely separate from the regular web of course) about Apple buying Palm as they tried to do earlier. What do you guys think about?

Palm - the Liquid (1)

Jantastic (196238) | more than 13 years ago | (#211374)

I like Palm - the liquid [www.palm.be] , personally. Don't sue them please ;)

they are great but.... (1)

jchristopher (198929) | more than 13 years ago | (#211375)

I love Palm. They're great.

But they make some dumb business decisions. Their handheld with integrated wireless is now just $199! Great deal! I'm all over that.

Bad news is the service is like $45 a month! And it's not even real TCP/IP. No wonder they are in trouble. If it was $10 a month they would have millions of accounts. Yet another vendor completely pricing themselves out of the market.

Re:Plumetting (1)

jchristopher (198929) | more than 13 years ago | (#211376)

When I saw the price had dropped on the wireless VIIx, I almost jumped on it until I realized the "all you can eat" access plan is $45 a month!

They sell a limited one for $25 as mentioned, but there is a data transfer limit of 150kb A MONTH. I could use that in a day. What a rip.

Microsoft got them (2)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 13 years ago | (#211381)

Microsoft tried to buy Palm 3 years ago [frogtown.com] but couldn't do it. So instead, they aggressively countered Palm with the WinCE and PocketPC offerings [timesofindia.com] .

And sure enough, they'll capture and sterilize yet another market ...sigh...

"A door is what a dog is perpetually the wrong side of" - Ogden Nash

It always astonishes me... (4)

Gannoc (210256) | more than 13 years ago | (#211384)

How the same group of geeks who gush at every totally impractical wiz-bang device that comes out, consistantly dismisses WinCE devices as a whole because of their BATTERY LIFE.

I bought an IPAQ 3650 yesterday for $50, yes FIFTY dollars more than Handspring is selling their color palm device for.

In return, I get a 320x240 screen instead of a 160x160, it can play MP3s. It can run MAME and Nintendo emulators. It can record my voice at a touch of a button. I can actually read books off of it without getting eye sore. It has 32 megs of memory as opposed to 8, (and yes, while WinCE programs are larger, that still means I have significantly more space to store data on).

It even comes with QStart, which gives a palm-like user interface, if you're really THAT terrified of using a menu system on a handheld.

Its not surprising to me at all that Palm is in trouble. No matter how you feel about Microsoft and WinCE devices; where the hell is all that money going? If I can spend $500 and get the amazing hardware i'm holding in my hand, I will never, ever spend $450 for the handware I get with a color palm device.

Palm's problem: poor displays! (2)

aussersterne (212916) | more than 13 years ago | (#211385)

I think the single biggest problem for the Palm devices is that their display resolution is horrible right now. 160x160 just doesn't cut it anymore -- it's too big a sacrifice when people are wanting mobile Web browsing, mobile multimedia...

Consider this: some of the color Palm-OS units claim to support 16-bit color depth -- 65,535 colors. But a 160x160 display only has 25,600 pixels -- barely enough to display one third of these colors at any one time!

There's not enough room on a 160x160 display to be able to -- show recognizable photos, run a mini-spreadsheet, read a book with AA or "cleartype" text, watch multimedia clips, browse the Web, see an entire day's schedule at once, and so on and so forth -- with any real degree of sincerity. The 320x240 displays of the PocketPC devices still aren't perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but at 76,800 pixels, they have more than 300% of the screen area that Palm devices do! With the right scaling software, PocketPC devices can even browse most Web sites fairly well.

For me at least, this is the single largest reason for Palm loosing market share to the new PocketPC devices -- the PocketPC devices are now so much more functional than Palm for most tasks that any size benefits or battery benefits are completely outweighed.

Palm v. WinCE (2)

digitect (217483) | more than 13 years ago | (#211387)

I'd like to see some good posts from a WinCE device owner on why they chose it over a Palm. I've had the lowest, cheapest Palm model (m100) for a while now and it does everything that I need it to do. I didn't get a PDA that I can dual boot, play MP3s, watch videos or do software development. It's just an organizer and mine does that very well.

Sure, I wish I could have gotten an 8mb unit (m105), but mine has over 1500 addresses, the entire New Testament, hundreds of ToDos, more than 40 lists, two chess games, a kickin' calculator and the Formula 1 schedule/track layouts and STILL has 688K free. What in the world do you people put on your PDA's (beyond entertainment) that actually require more memory/resolution/processor/color than something from the Palm line?

Everything I've read says PalmOS still owns (excuse me, 0wnz/ru1z) the market and I think it will be quite a distant day before I find a better value with ANY device that uses Windows. I've never been in a store trying one of these devices when it didn't crash. My Palm never has.

Pun or typo? (2)

HongPong (226840) | more than 13 years ago | (#211389)

That's amusing... WinCE makes you Wince... oh you /. guys...


Microsoft vs Palm OS Licensing Model (2)

hillct (230132) | more than 13 years ago | (#211390)

There was an announcement 6 months ago that Palm was looking to exit the hardware business. It they had acted to make it a reality, and handles teir OS licensing better, they'd be fine now.

Microsoft, as I recall took $5 for each copy of MS-DOS sold, back in the old days They took a flat rate. Much better than taking a percentage, especially in light of the much lower pricepoint of handheld devices.



Re:Palm's problem: poor displays! (1)

NonSequor (230139) | more than 13 years ago | (#211391)

I don't care about screen space because I don't do anything that requires more screen space. I don't need to view pictures on my Visor. Keeping up with phone numbers, to do lists, appointments, taking notes in class (the Stowaway keyboard helps with this, but I am capable of taking notes through Graffiti too), and some simple games is all that I need. The Visor is simpler and cheaper than other handhelds.

Er... Well, y'know. You can't make an omelette without um... destroying a forest. Or something.

Re:Palm will pull through (2)

ideut (240078) | more than 13 years ago | (#211394)

Palmtop computers are almost completely unnecessary

Wrong! I don't know how I'd get anything done without my PDA!

I suppose I should have been a bit clearer about what I meant. Those of us without PDAs don't realise what we're missing out on. I for one get by just fine with my PPA (pen and paper assistant). So in "difficult times" we're not going to start splashing out a few hundred dollars on a new class of device.


Palm will pull through (3)

ideut (240078) | more than 13 years ago | (#211395)

Palmtop computers are almost completely unnecessary (though desirable) pieces of consumer electronics, and it's quite understandable that when people start worrying about their financial security, these expensive toys are the first things people stop buying.

Palm has always been the leader of the field because its engineers have the best understanding of ergonomics. They still do. After all, what most people want is a device so slim they don't even know they're carrying it, and a device so easy to use that they don't have to read the manual.

Give it another year, and when the talk of recession is over, Palm will be loving it again.


I will never (4)

Bimkins (242641) | more than 13 years ago | (#211396)

stop using my palm on a regular basis.

Oh, wait. You're talking about pdas. Nevermind. My mistake.

part of palm's trouble is people like me... (2)

Anthony Boyd (242971) | more than 13 years ago | (#211397)

...I want to buy a new Palm. My old PalmPilot "Pro" model, from back before they numbered the things, is a little outdated. But I have a dilemma. The handwriting recognition, which has had 4 or 5 YEARS to improve since I bought my model, still requires me to use the "graffiti" system, and still has a box dedicated to text entry. What a misuse of space! I should be able to write anywhere on screen, and the area with the pre-drawn text entry box should be nothing but pixels, so that anything can be displayed there.

These issues -- the screen space and the handwriting recognition -- wouldn't be hurting Palm if it weren't for the fact that other companies have now licensed Apple's Newton technology, and their handwriting recognition is really, really good in comparison. And other handhelds cram many more pixels onto their screen space, resulting in sharper images.

In short, the Palm may be tricked out in wild, new ways like media cards and wireless technology, but it is far from competitive in the basics.

Re:How about Compaq IPaq (1)

swagr (244747) | more than 13 years ago | (#211398)

A guy I do contract work for managed to get his hands on one.
He played with it for a week.
Now he's back to using his Palm (no pun intended).

PDABuzz Things (2)

Eric Destiny (255168) | more than 13 years ago | (#211402)

PDABuzz [pdabuzz.com] has a story/discussion on this, as well as links to Palm's announcement and a story about Steve Jobs' attempt to purchase Palm.

"I am a man, and men are
animals who tell stories."

Batteries not the only problem (2)

localroger (258128) | more than 13 years ago | (#211403)

I had a friend who bought two Philips Velos. Nifty little box for its day. He used the first one for about two weeks, then it crashed. Being embarrassed, having too much money to spend, and having liked what it did, he bought the second one, used it for about two weeks, and it crashed.

Enter Yrs. Truly. I can't get one working at all. Critical files are missing from the flash; they are not present on the CD, not available on the Web, and in general there seems to be no way to recover them. I carefully reconstitute the second unit, get it set up again to access his internet account, etc. It sits up for a week while I wait for him to come get it, during which time the primary battery dies. When I power it up, it crashes, and (get this) when I go to set up the internet account again, the user interfaces are different and no longer conform to the instructions I got from the Web for setting it up. I have yet to figure that one out.

In short, WinCE manages to bring to the palm everything we've come to love in Windows desktop apps: their bloat, their instability, and their occasional need for a fresh reinstall from scratch. Except that, unlike the desktop, you don't have a standard way of doing the reinstall.

Meanwhile, the fridge, stove, and toaster never crash on me...

Palm better than Wince (4)

Proud Geek (260376) | more than 13 years ago | (#211404)

Many of the Wince devices suffer from serious interface issues. Start button on a handheld, anyone???

Also, the power use issues on them won't go away. They have true multitasking, lots of memory and fast processors. While I'd normally say this is good, it is such a drain on batteries that they just can't hold up to Palm devices. They need big expensive batteries just to get acceptable lifespan, whereas Palms can last much longer on a single charge.

Making lightweight devices just isn't Micro$oft's strong point. The only way that Palm can lose is by making their new devices so expensive that they look like Wince competitors. Oh wait, they are doing that. Oh well, I can't help it if they hang themselves when they have the better product.

Re:Palm In Trouble? (1)

tekker430 (261358) | more than 13 years ago | (#211405)

1) you have an UID of 400,000+

Uhm, SO WHAT! Just because he has another account OR doesnt have an account here because he READS and NOT POSTS, YOU have no right to comment on his commenting.

BTW- I dont hide behind "Anonymous Coward", I dont care what others think of me.

Re:Market share (1)

pixel_bc (265009) | more than 13 years ago | (#211406)

And, that's a problem?

It is if the market size is rapidly decreasing. Like DeVito said in some movie that escapes me:

The quickest path to sink a commpany is to gain an increasing share of a decreasing market. Down the drains...
Or someting to that effect.

Yeah, shure, Wince is better.... (2)

Qbertino (265505) | more than 13 years ago | (#211407)

All the people I know using WinCE Penpads use it as an extra expensive 'mine is bigger' toy. All Palm people I know are actually using theirs for usefull stuff. And for good too. And have ditched their FiloFaxes.

Don't mistake the Hardware for Software that consumes it.
Are you actually one of the guys who does /.??? Honestly, I can hardly believe it.

Re:Why I never upgraded my Palm III (2)

rearden (304396) | more than 13 years ago | (#211409)

And here we find the fatal flaw to Palm's business model- one that most Internet & computer companies- endless growth & new customers. Just does not happen. Had Palm's management been up with it they would have done what Visor does- create affortable upgrades and software that every user would want or could use. Also, they would have focused their sales on the one group that can afford $500 for gadgets- corporations. The bottom line... they missed their chance. The big question becomes what will happen. Will the OS company keep going or will it go down. The irony of it all would be if Visor ( run by the creators of Palm) bought the OS rights and took over.

Re:Quick! lets change our business model! (3)

blair1q (305137) | more than 13 years ago | (#211410)

>1. Hire consultants!
>2. Fire the CEO!
>3. Hire consultants to hire a new CEO!
>(preferably someone dynamic who's not afraid to axe all of our
>good employees!)
>4. Hire a new PR firm to issue a zillion press releases about
>our new CEO and our new direction
>5. Change everything just in time for the market to change again.
>(rinse, repeat)

Hey! Didn't you used to work at Apple?


Re:Microsoft got them (1)

Win-Developer (316016) | more than 13 years ago | (#211416)

This is a bad thing? If the Palm product was so great, then people wouldn't buy WinCE and PocketPC devices. I'm still kicking myself for buying a Palm IIIxe, what a piece. I should have sprung for the WinCE device, it's a better product. Someone said that the start button is a bad thing on the device...why? It's no different than having those shortcut buttons on the Palm.

Re:better *hardware* not better wince (4)

UltraBot2K1 (320256) | more than 13 years ago | (#211421)

You people just keep getting wilder and wilder with your anti-MS accusations. Most of what you said isn't even the truth, so before you go off blathering aimlessly about how horrible a product that you've never even used is, perhaps you should do some research so you don't risk misinforming other readers.

WindowsCE is NOT a dumbed down version of Windows. The 9x or NT/2K kernels will not boot on a MIPS or SH3 processor. WinCE was designed from the GROUND UP specifically for portable devices. I've had a WinCE device, as well as a Palm III for over a year now, and I can honestly say that the backlit screen on the WinCE device is in fact, more intuitive and easier to read than the recycled GameBoy screen in the Palm. As far as WinCE being crappy, prove it. My experience has been nothing but pleasurable, and I've yet to see a Palm that can:

Play MP3's
Play MPEG movies
open office files
display REAL web pages, and not some clipped text-only crap

out of the box. PalmOS simply cannot compete with these features that come standard with EVERY WinCE device.

You might not like MS, but there's no reason to FABRICATE LIES about their products in order to show them in a poor light.

Re:Maybe your pockets are larger... (1)

palmpunk (324912) | more than 13 years ago | (#211424)

I prefer to wear my palm iiic in a leather case on my belt like a cell phone.

its just the media piling on! (2)

schmar (410995) | more than 13 years ago | (#211430)

news is slow these days and the uninformed media just needs some story to push and palm is the straight a child that just their first b. look at the product - it rocks. look at the management - could be better but there are MUCH worse. look at the business model - pretty solid they might need to change the licensing terms a little. my prediciton is in 365 days the same media outlets will be singing palms praises.

Palm In Trouble? (1)

Solaris_Nexes (415148) | more than 13 years ago | (#211433)

Anyone catch CMDRTACO mispelling? Doesn't Linux have any spell-checkers? Just kidding, but I thought with such a high profile website, that I read regularly, that he would at least spellcheck his posts, but then again if *I* was in his position, with such a website, Id keep to the true and blue of "Hey, we tell it like it is, and since this is such late breaking news, the brain didn't communicate to the fingers fast enough." Now about the PALM issue: Personally, since I don't have any real use in the real world for such a product, it seems that all handhelds don't rate as well as a home based system, Yes, granted, I can see my e-mail, but take a half an hour to reply to it using those little keys? No. And *IF* I actually did reply to it? what would it say? Well lets take a look: "E-mail from someone@somewhere.com, Hey how are you doing.. (blah blah blah) Get back to me!" - Reply: "HI, im using my Palm right now, Ill get back to you later, in a meeting, or at the bar drinking right now, and I can't spell right.." SO hence, for ALOT of real world applications, handhelds don't hold water to the tried and true. Discuss...
Check out Nexes BBS | Science & Technology News Daily
telnet://nexesbbs.dynip.com Login: NEW WG 3.20

Re:Palm v. WinCE (1)

cuyler (444961) | more than 13 years ago | (#211434)

What in the world do you people put on your PDA's (beyond entertainment) that actually require more memory/resolution/processor/color than something from the Palm line?

Lots of things. On my iPAQ I run perl scripts to work problems out. I have Pocket Excel where I have Spreadsheets set up to solve Economic problems along with some Electrical Engineering formula that I use a lot at school. I have a full map of Ottawa (Canada) where I can write in an address and it'll show me where it is. I actually have a PDA that has every address for a city that has 1 million people.

Besides that, I'll admit -- I use it for some games. Come on, if a palm had enough power to emulate a Nintendo (original) w/sound I'm sure you'd be playing Double Dragon II in class and on the bus.

I think it will be quite a distant day before I find a better value with ANY device that uses Windows.

Actually, the robotics department at my university is planning on using the iPAQ as the tool of choive to control the robots. This is to replace the Palm III's that they have been using in the past. The other university in my town is already well into the developement of tools for the iPAQ for many projects, mostly robotics though. In both of these cases it is for iPAQs running Linux.

So, no, the PDAs aren't running Windows however you can choose what OS you want.


Re:Microsoft got them (1)

IceCat (449925) | more than 13 years ago | (#211435)

PALM IIIxe, what a piece?

I finally bought one of these when the prices came down (about a month and half ago). So far it has been great, most of the things it is good for have been mentioned already, scheduling, contacts, able to take notes that then get backed up to the PC, etc, etc. I use it all of the time.

Even in comparison to a Pocket PC I am still happy with my PALM IIIxe. Now in the future this may change once the PocketPC models are cheaper. But at this point all I was looking for was basic functionality. My laptop can handle the MP3's, color and whatever else I need.

This doesn't surprise me one bit (2)

ryszards (451448) | more than 13 years ago | (#211436)

If I wanted a personal organiser, I'd get a crappy £25 piece pocket diary thing. If all you wanna do is store appointements, contacts and notes, even a Palm is overkill. There are plenty of cheaper devices that do that job just fine. However, if you want a pocket book reader, MP3 player, gameboy (via emu), web, email, news, irc, ssh, good screen, video, lots of storage space etc, you buy an iPAQ. The PocketPC OS isn't that bad. If you think so, I don't think you've used it. If you have and you still think so, go back to your Palm. But you'll be in the minority. You don't like Microsoft? Buy an iPAQ and put PocketLinux on it. The device itself is worth the money, just for the screen. The Palm screen is poor compared to it. They really need to pull the devices out of the stone age.
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