Comments on: Visor Edge: Release Day

The new Handspring site is up and is filled with info and pictures on the Visor Edge. Unfortunately, it is currently swamped with visitors and is moving very slowly. The U.K site is actually running faster.

The introductory webcast by Handspring co-founders Jeff Hawkins and Donna Dubinsky gave many details about the new device. There were no big surprises. Just about all the facts that were leaked in the last few days were borne out.

During the webcast, Mr. Hawkins said many times that this was the thinnest Palm handheld available. He confirmed that it will come in three colors (red, blue and silver) but that the red version will be available only from The case and cover are made of anodized aluminum. The back of the case doesn't have the usual bar codes and product numbers; it is smooth and clean looking.

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compact flash?

I.M. Anonymous @ 3/12/2001 10:45:03 AM #
The amazon site hints at compactflash - but uses the term interchangably with springboard. If this has cf with a springboard plug in, it will be a major blow to the 505. I'd much rather sacrifice non-upgradability re flash rom for cf over sd.

RE: compact flash?
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/12/2001 11:45:48 AM #
With this, I tend to agree. Otherwise, big whoop. No color, no upgradeable OS, more accessories to carry and to lose... why bother... except for the slight speed increase.

I think HS is shooting themselves in the foot by holding onto this non-upgradeable OS path. BUT, if there is CF out-of-the box capability... don't you think someone would be talking about it?

RE: compact flash?
GregGaub @ 3/12/2001 11:53:27 AM #
From the way it's on their list, I think they just used the wrong term. I don't think they realize that CompactFlash and a Flash Module aren't the same thing. I would be really surprised if Handspring used a CF slot on that device. As I recall from discussion on CF adapters from some people who felt they knew what they were talking about, the CF design is limited in its abilities in some way.
A CF slot, assuming those problems don't really exist, would allow the slot to be considerably smaller than the Springboard slot. They could then use the CF connector as the connector for the Springboard expansion pack thing (not a sleeve, hehe ;-). This would let people use industry standard (and very large) CF memory cards, AS WELL AS all the cool springboard modules for other stuff.

RE: compact flash?
saxmatt @ 3/12/2001 1:04:07 PM #
It's a bit harsh to say Handspring is "shooting themselves in the foot" by including only masked ROM. They aren't joking when they say that less than %5 of users ever upgrade their OS, it just happens to be the %5 who posts to the boards :) By the time there is a upgrade significant enough to bother with anyway you'll be upgrading you unit, or Palm and Handspring (etc.) aren't doing their jobs as device manufacturers.

RE: compact flash?
GrouchoMarx @ 3/12/2001 3:10:39 PM #
It is a misprint, the Edge does not have CF support, except via the various CF Springboard modules that have come out recently.

It's true when people say that CF can't do what Springboard does, but there is a tradeoff. Springboard ties directly into the CPU system bus, so it has direct access to the entire system. That's why it's so fast, as well as why it's so proprietary and hard to port to other devices and platforms. Think of it as the AGP bus of PDAs.

CompactFlash, by contrast, is an I/O standard, used mostly for storage but can be used (and is used) for other things as well. It's sort of the SCSI bus of the handheld set. SmartMedia puts all of the electronics into the reader, so it is storage memory only, like a traditional 3.5" floppy. MMC and SD cards (same thing, give or take SDMI) are somewhere around the IDE bus by comparison.

Yes, the analogy is being pushed a bit far, but it's a decent enough intro to how the different kinds of expansion slots "work" in comparison to each other, as well as their limitations and abilities.


Amazon has inconsistent specs on the batteries

I.M. Anonymous @ 3/12/2001 11:46:02 AM #
On the Visor Edge page, it states in fine print, AAA batteries required (inluded) but elsewhere
under the technical specs, it states internal lithium ion batteries included?

RE: Amazon has inconsistent specs on the batteries
Ed @ 3/12/2001 12:43:36 PM #
The part about AAA's has to be a misprint. All my information is unanimous on this having an internal li-ion battery.

Palm Infocenter

Oh, m505, come soon!

mikecane @ 3/12/2001 3:12:44 PM #
This Edge is for the birds. I can't wait to see the new Palm m500s, especially the m505.

Good luck to HS, but these units aren't it -- at least not for me.

RE: Oh, m505, come soon!
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/13/2001 2:03:31 AM #
Amen to that

Thinnest? Not!

I.M. Anonymous @ 3/12/2001 3:28:44 PM #
"Mr. Hawkins said many times that this was the thinnest Palm handheld available."

Baloney. All Jeff had to do was go to his own product comparison page to learn that the Palm Vx was 10% thinner. Tooting your own horn is fine, but... jeez, man... get your facts straight before spouting off like that.

RE: Thinnest? Not!
Edward @ 3/12/2001 4:09:08 PM #
Thinnest in the sense that it is the thinnest PDA with a decent cover included - i.e a hard cover for the Vx adds to its thickness by some amount.

What I dont get is why they have priced it at 10% higher cost than the Vx in Europe. Seems odd and pushing IPAQ price range.

BTW the uk site - is a lot faster than the US one at the moment.

RE: Thinnest? Not!
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/13/2001 1:29:00 PM #
actually. . . it really is the thinnest in-use. i have a palm vx w/ a rhinoskin case (previously the thinnest palm os combo), and it's a tank compared to the edge w/ its flip lid. i, too, am waiting for the color m505, but i hope palm is taking notes on the metal flip lid. for me, it's almost enough to stay monochrome. . . if you can't take it with you easily, it's no good. . . (and, no, wearing it on my belt or in a fanny pack is not an option).

Looks cute...

I.M. Anonymous @ 3/12/2001 3:36:42 PM #
Looks cute... But, I'm underwhelmed. This silly notion of having to have an intermediary peripheral to allow attachment of the Springboard is repelling. Also, why is there no upgradeable OS? Come on Handspring, give us some substance!!!

I just do not get it. Would have preferred a somewhat sleeker, larger housing with permanently attached Springboard slot... than to the sacrifice comfort and carry with such a bulky attachment... just another accessory to carry... maybe keeping the Springboard was an after-thought?

As to the upgradeable OS... this still baffles many of us. Especially, when many are aware of newer Palm OS releases and the inherent limitations in previous releases which are addressed in subsequent OS versions. In this "day and age", using this strategy is an afront to the consumer community... the upgrade path becomes "buy a newer unit".... because we (the manufacturer) were too cheap to include this upgradeability into our products... oh and it means we get more money from you, too.

With new devices coming out more frequently, it would make better sense to engage current customers with a device that has versatility (like the Springboard), an upgrade path (upgradeable OS), and to build a brand loyalty by supporting those basic premises.

For such a "disposable" device, the cost is too much.

The non-upgradeable OS is a dead issue,
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/12/2001 4:09:39 PM #
especially for these new units. OS v3.5.2H is the equivalent of the new Palm OS 4 (save for the alleged Bluetooth hooks in 4.0). Palm's new OS really does not offer anything new over what HS has already done in the Prism/Platinum/Edge line.

The next OS is due in 2002 (v5) and no existing Palm unit will work with Palm OS 5 since it will be designed for Palm devices built around the StrongARM CPU (and possibly higher resolution screens).

I do agree that this new unit is a bit of a waste.

It looks nice tho.

RE: Looks cute...
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/12/2001 4:43:12 PM #
Plam OS4 has load&run from storage, like TRGpro. m505 will load program from SD card and run in RAM, same as TRGpro does with CF.

any Handspring can do that?

RE: Looks cute...
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/12/2001 4:48:01 PM #
"especially for these new units. OS v3.5.2H is the equivalent of the new Palm OS 4 (save for the alleged Bluetooth hooks in 4.0). Palm's new OS really does not offer anything new over what HS has already done in the Prism/Platinum/Edge line."

Are you telling me that the Prism/Platinum/Edge loaded OS has all the features described here:

I don't think so.

I bet many people end up spending the extra $50-$100 for the M505 for the colour screen, improved OS4.0 and the elegant built-in SD expansion (no SB sled).

I think i'm almost completely ready to throw out my Visor....maybe next monday??

Well for starters....
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/12/2001 7:11:34 PM #
I was just answering the usual complaint about no flash ram in Visors. Since OS5 is coming in the next 12 months, it's a non-issue because no device that exists in the marketplace will be able to handle the new OS which will be designed for a new hardware platform.

If you compare what HS's 3.5.2H does to 4.0 the basics are really the same. Granted the SD is faster than the Springboard, until I see a production unit of the m505, I'll stick with my Prism. I really don't like the fact that you can't run data from the SD like I can from my 16MB flash module (read the page you sent me to. It copies data to the main ram then runs the prog. which means you'll need to keep enough free RAM for the copying).

If you compare the Edge to the 505, the 505 will win hands down. Now if you compare the 505 to the Prism (which is the real heads on competition)? It might be a toss up.

megazone @ 3/12/2001 7:21:53 PM #
The upgradable OS just doesn't matter for the vast majority of users. If you want FLASH ROM that bad then this isn't a unit for you. But do you think for one minute that the majority of people buying a PDA even know what FLASH ROM is? Or can deal with upgrading the OS for that matter? I don't. Most people who own flashable Palms never do it anyway.

And the OS in the Visor is not entirely fixed. I've already patched the OS in my Visor Deluxe - it is a RAM resident OS patch. They can tweak the OS through small patches without having to replace the entire thing. And the SB spec allows for modules to load OS patches as needed. That's more than enough for most users.

I suspect that most people who buy Visors never buy any SB modules - certainly more Visors have sold than modules. So the lack of a built in port isn't going to matter at all to most users. Even those who own modules, like myself, don't need them all the time. I could carry an Edge and leave the sled at home most of the time, or toss it in my bag. Oh, and oddly I don't tend to lose my gear, but maybe I'm weird since so many people whine about losing the sled. If you can't hold onto the sled, maybe you don't want to carry something as expensive as a PDA anyway.

So they have a unit that is comparable to the Palm Vx in size, with a better cover, a faster CPU, and the Edge connector. I also see that I was on the money predicting that there would be other sled variants that would connect directly to the Edge connector instead of the SB sled. That has a lot of possibilities, it will be interesting to see what comes out for that. I think a modem is a given, but I could see CF adaptors, SD adaptors, etc, easily. Depends a bit on the specs for the Edge connector, I haven't looked at them yet.

When I used a IIIx it originally ran 3.1. I flashed it to 3.3 at one point - not because I needed anything from 3.3, but because I'm a geek and I do things like that just because I can. My Visor Deluxe is on 3.1H3 now, patched from 3.1H. I've never had any trouble with that OS and feel no need to upgrade to 3.5 or 4.0.

It seems like people in the forum, which is self-selecting right there, are confusing themselves with the majority of the market. That's a big mistake. People who complain about it not having 16MB of RAM, or FLASH ROM, or color, etc, are missing the point entirely. Quite obviously it is not aimed at the power user market who won't buy a device without those features. It is aimed at the general market that has been snapping up Palm Vx PDAs rapidly, and it provides some improvements over the Vx.

As I said the other day, the overwhelming majority of the market is not willing to pay for color, or 16MB RAM, or even FLASH ROM. The features aren't worth the added cost to them and/or they just won't use the feature anyway.

HS isn't out to woo the hardcore hardware wankers - there aren't enough of them to constitute a decent market share.

I expect to see a color version of the Edge down the road. It makes sense to stagger product introductions a bit, I'm kind of surprise that Palm is apparently not doing that with the m50x. Get press for one unit, let it fade, then whip it up again with the next one.

Also, to revisit another topic I brought up the other day, why the negativity? If you don't like it, don't buy it. Go buy an m505, or whatever, and be happy. There is no point it bitching about the design. If you don't like it, don't buy it - it really is that simple.

If, or, as I believe, when, they come out with a color version of the Edge, I will give it some serious consideration. I rather like the design. But my Deluxe is still serving well, and there just isn't enough about the Edge to make me open my wallet. Nor is there anything about the coming m50x I've seen to date. But if I were buying my first unit, I'd definitely be looking at an Edge.

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RE: Looks cute...
digichimp @ 3/13/2001 3:54:52 AM #
Very nice argument, I agree whole heartedly.

The curve is defintely skewed here with power users. The m100 seems to have been a great seller despite its small feature set.
I'm sure most everyone on this board has gotten questions from our non-Palm loved ones about which model to get,features, etc.
I tell them in simple terms because they're not looking for Xscale processors or Flash ROM. They say: "I want it to get my email or can it save pictures?"

The Edge is not a new technological phenom but rather a great addition to an already successful Visor line. It features a small form factor with expansion that is supported by many companies. I agree that it offers more that the Vx and dear I say >= to the m500. SD with OS4 is about content. The SDIO concept models at PalmSource 2000 are not the SpringBoards of today.

With Springboard, you can add CF, Smartmedia, Mp3, GPS, Eyemodule, wireless modem...etc.

All today. Right now.

Make no mistake, OS4 is going to be great for SDIO, attn mgr, bluetooth support, telephony, wca and etc but it's a stepping stone for OS'5'. But it's not the end all be all. You gotta look at functionality; what you use here and now, daily.
Also pad in legacy support. Will you want to upgrade to OS4 if say your favorite hack wasn't API friendly and couldn't run? I wouldn't.

Isn't the idea that the OS undergoes revision as in 2.0,3.1,3.3,3.5,3.51,3.52 blah blah. I suspect 4 will be the same. It will need time to mature.

I've owned a III, IIIx (stolen),V, Visor Deluxe and Palm VIIx. Hopefully the smartphone is coming soon (hint hint Kyocera)!
And in this vast gross example of PDA consumption, I realize that it's all in what you want to do with it.

Isn't that HandSpring's marketing message: Visor, whatever the heck you want it to be. Visor IS.

Let's pretend to be nice and give cheer to a new baby before throwing out the bath water (or something like that)

kudos to Handspring!

RE: Looks cute...
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/14/2001 4:03:22 AM #
Was able to handle one of these yesterday.... with the expansion attachment and SpringBoard in place it is a kludge. Any compact housing design is lost with this peripheral attachment. Kind of uncomfortable to hold, too - being right handed, beaming from the left sided IR port was another issue. It is not any great evolutionary step, either - such as more memory, wireless capability, and/or color. It introduces yet another expansion interface (SpringBoard 2.0) and still no upgradeable OS - sorry, but this IS important to many of us saavy enough to care.

In general, next to my Prism, I'm wondering "why bother"? Or, at least, "why so much cost"?

The metal feel in the slim profiled metal hard case that was being used was nice.... akin to my first impressions with the Vx in an ultrathin titanium hardcase.

Surely, HandSpring has yet another device up their sleeve (hint =8-)). Go ahead throw the baby out with the bathwater, there are more devices to come!!

The new CLIE and Palm devices look promising, as well. I'm just hoping that one of these device manufacturers introduces something of substance this year!!

No news anywhere else???

I.M. Anonymous @ 3/12/2001 4:11:44 PM #
Not a single tech/Internet site (including ZDNet and CNet) has anything on the Edge yet. I would have expected this to be all over the place by now. Has Handspring's publicity engine let them down?

RE: No news anywhere else???
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/12/2001 4:42:32 PM #
No sooner did I say that than CNet finally posted something. Maybe all the tech stocks falling on their collective @$$es might be bigger news?

RE: No news anywhere else???
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/12/2001 8:44:57 PM #
Good, now that this is out of the way, we can concentrate on the real thing, the M505. Show me a small, 16bit color, SD supporting device and we got something to be excited about. Handsprings slim grayscale device is lacking color for it to receive any hype what so ever! Just my humble opinion. Others may be very excited about a slimmer version of the same old thing.

Why would I want this?

I.M. Anonymous @ 3/13/2001 12:39:41 AM #
Why should I pay $100 more for something that is basically a Platinum? I just don't think the price is justifiable.

Up till now, I had been a staunch HS supporter, but I'll pass on this and wait for the M505.

But does it have a speaker?????

I.M. Anonymous @ 3/13/2001 2:16:43 AM #
I keep hearing about the m505, Edge, and all these next gen items. . . but when are they going to add a REAL speaker that can play MP3's w/out need of a Springboard or SD card???

RE: But does it have a speaker?????
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/13/2001 11:11:42 AM #
I'm afraid it's going to take a little more than a speaker to enable it to play MP3 files. :)

Do you really want this?

I would much rather go jogging, bicycling, workout etc. with my simple and rugged Rio 300SE.

If you try to make it do everything for everyone without add-ons, you end up with another overpriced underused WinCE machine.

My priorities are info management, connectivity (not necessarily wireless) and last entertainment in the form of games. I don't want to pay for YOUR MP3 player, so my VDX, thinmodem and Stowaway keyboard suit me just fine.

RE: But does it have a speaker?????
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/16/2001 4:06:42 PM #
The new Sony CLIE that was just released in Japan will come with headphones so you can listen to Sony's ATRAC 3 music format.

TRG's new PDA

Lucky Dragon @ 3/13/2001 11:08:28 AM #
Personally, I'm going to wait and see wht TRG has up their sleeve. I'm sure their new PDA will have some excellent features that will appeal to power users. The visor Edge is a sharp-looking PDA, but I won't buy anything without flash-ROM.

First look - Visor Edge

I.M. Anonymous @ 3/13/2001 12:52:34 PM #
VisorCentral's Marcus Adolfsson got his hands on the Visor Edge yesterday - you can find his intial reactions in this article (over 20 photos of Visor Edge in it).

Marcus Adolfsson

RE: First look - Visor Edge
Ed @ 3/13/2001 1:47:12 PM #
Unfortunately, this confirms my biggest fear about the Edge: You can't use the cover when the detachable Springboard slot is connected.

Palm Infocenter
RE: First look - Visor Edge
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/14/2001 5:23:53 AM #
Who cares!!!!!!

Nothing new, but . . .

Wescott @ 3/14/2001 8:11:48 AM #
Granted, the Visor Edge doesn't present any earth-shattering advances in the OS however, just look at the form factor. If it wasn't for the price, I'd dump my IIIxe and switch.


Doug Spondello @ 3/14/2001 10:58:45 PM #
what can I do for platinum Faceplate scratches?


Doug Spondello @ 3/14/2001 11:02:54 PM #
what can I do for platinum Faceplate scratches?


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