Comments on: PalmReader Pro Has Font Smoothing, Dictionary

Palm Digital Media has released a new version of its ebook reader, now called the PalmReader Pro. It supports sub-pixel font smoothing on color handhelds. It can also use any Palm standard bitmapped font. This app also has hi-res support and can display color images. It comes with Webster's New World Vest Pocket Dictionary, allowing users to hold their stylus on a word and its definition pops up. It is available now for $10.
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mikecane @ 1/3/2002 11:21:43 AM #
So, Palm finally wakes up and smells the "font coffee." I don't think Agfa Monotype would go to all this trouble just to sell to Palm Reader buyers. I think this hints at real fonts being in PalmOS 5 too. Good news!

RE: Fonts!
bcombee @ 1/3/2002 1:30:08 PM #
I just got the new Palm Reader Pro. I've tried out the font smoothing, and I don't think its for everyone. Since its just applying smoothing to existing bitmap fonts on the device, it doesn't actually add any resolution to the text -- it just eliminates some of the sharp edges. On my Prism, I prefer having it off, although it may offer more benefit with other displays.

I think this has potential, but it really needs custom fonts designed for the process (perhaps the AFGA ones) to give something that looks great.

RE: Fonts!
rldunn @ 1/3/2002 2:17:25 PM #
On my Clie 610, I can't see any effect of the smoothing except for the fact that it greatly slows down the page turning.

RE: Fonts!
Ed @ 1/3/2002 2:42:06 PM #
> On my Prism, I prefer having it off, although it may offer more benefit with other displays.

Wordsmith uses the same sub-pixel font smoothing and it also doesn't look all that great on the Prism. The Prism's infamous black grid interferers too much.

On the other hand, not everyone is all that enamoured with the font smoothing thing. I've heard complaints that it just makes the fonts look fuzzy no matter what model thay are on.

News Editor

RE: Fonts!
I.M. Anonymous @ 1/3/2002 7:01:57 PM #
Finally, I thought I was crazy. I have seen clear type on a PPC and I like the text better without it! It is supposed to smooth text, but at small sizes it just looked murkey and at large sizes you don't need it.

I wonder if it will go away and I also wonder if all those reviewers who bought all the Microsoft PR bologna will apologize.

Trial version?

Foo @ 1/3/2002 11:31:47 AM #
Uh, is there a trial version available? I'm certainly not buying software without testing it out first.

RE: Trial version?
mikecane @ 1/3/2002 11:44:35 AM #
It seems there isn't. I've already read gripes on Lists about that. I wonder if this will wind up shrink-wrapped (or bubble-wrapped) in stores?

RE: Trial version?
Ronin @ 1/3/2002 12:16:44 PM #
Does not look like there is a trial version. I discovered this last night and if the Palm Digital site has a demo download it is well hidden. There are no downloads for PalmReader Pro at Handango or PalmGear (although the font pack was posted on PalmGear - w/o a demo).

However, I am seriously considering purchasing the program sight unseen because I am intrigued by the improvements, use the freeware PalmReader frequently and consider it an extremely high quality reader that is well supported, also I am all for supporting e-books in the manner which Palm/PeanutPress has decided to sell them. With this in mind, the price is quite reasonable.

Right now, I have decided to hold off until some reviews pop up on the web but might not wait if it takes too long.

RE: Trial version?
Berliner @ 1/3/2002 1:54:13 PM #
Same here. I just bought it without trying it first, and for me it actually looks as smooth as Wordsmith. I like it a lot, I also got the Agfa fonts.

I wasn't using the Palm Reader for several weeks now, because I was so amazed by the WordSmith font smoothing; it's just that I bought zillions of books at peanutpress which I can ONLY read with the Palm reader. I guess I can finally start reading my "paid" books... ;-)

Way to go Palm.


...Wherever you go, there you are...

RE: Trial version?
I.M. Anonymous @ 1/3/2002 4:02:02 PM #
I think it actually works much better then any other available reader (Wordsmith and DeepReader).
The fonts look great and enhance the reading experience.
But what's most important: very stable and solid support of VFS. (Even though I don't approve of buying software w/o trying it first).

RE: Trial version?
I.M. Anonymous @ 1/3/2002 11:15:46 PM #
I bought it even though there were no real up close screenshots because I was looking forward to antialiased fonts.
Well, these aren't antialiased fonts like DeepReader's
Times or MobiPocket's fonts, they look just like blurred blocky bitmap fonts.

I have already deleted the app from my palm, and will
continue using DeepReader to read
books until Palm Reader Pro reaches that level of antialiased text, and has full justification like DeepReader and MobiPocket.

RE: Trial version?
Ronin @ 1/4/2002 7:23:20 AM #
Anonymous that likes, what device are you using and are you using the Palm standard fonts or the Afga fonts?

Anonymous that does not like, what device are you using and were you using the Palm standard fonts or the Afga fonts?

RE: Trial version?
mikecane @ 1/4/2002 10:00:14 AM #
How do the fonts compare to SuperDoc's gorgeous(!) 9-point Blue Highway font? (Which is only gorgeous on an m505, I will note. Awful on a hires CLIE, but SuperDoc does not support hires -- yet?)

Hi-res support?

fleegle @ 1/3/2002 11:54:07 AM #
Is this the version that supports hi-res screens for the Clie and HandEra 330? They were supposedly working on one.

RE: Hi-res support?
rldunn @ 1/3/2002 11:56:03 AM #
The last freeware version, v1.1, had high-res support. This version also has it.

RE: Hi-res support?
Ed @ 1/3/2002 12:06:06 PM #
Thanks, I updated the article with this info.

News Editor
RE: Hi-res support?
fleegle @ 1/3/2002 1:42:15 PM #
Hmmm... I have PalmReader v1.1.2 on my HandEra 330. It works in scale-to-fit mode but I don't consider that "hi-res support." The fonts look awful but it is readable. Maybe the font pack will help that.

RE: Hi-res support?
rldunn @ 1/3/2002 2:21:43 PM #
I should have been more specific in my earlier post, but v1.1 (freeware) had high-res support for the Clie and the fonts look great. Not sure about Handera.

RE: Hi-res support?
fyock @ 1/3/2002 2:27:41 PM #
Palm Reader 1.x and Palm Reader Pro both support hi-res on Sony Clies. Neither support hi-res on the HandEra. Support for HandEra hi-res is pretty high on our list for the next release of both.

pop-up dictionary

I.M. Anonymous @ 1/3/2002 12:12:54 PM #
a pop-up dictionary - amazing - this is exactly what i was suggesting to peanutpress for their peanutreader nearly two years ago.

their answer was: "thanks for your interest in our product. we will forward your suggestion to our developers."

6 months ago i suggested to fix a "bug" that would prevent you from using a app/da launcher while in palmreader. (i used this to quickly switch from reader to dictionary).

their comment: "it is not recommended to use hacks with palmreader"

yeah - now i know why! - you had my old idea already in the making and this is a smart way to prevent users who found another way to quickly access a dictionary from doing exactly this.

otherwise you couldnīt charge for a reader with dictionary acces.

thanks palm for using my idea - you could at least have notified me and given me a free one of palmreader pro.

now iīll get it through other channels and will be happy to distribute to my buddys on all continents.

a former very loyal customer of palm and peanutpress / palm digital media.

RE: pop-up dictionary
I.M. Anonymous @ 1/3/2002 12:28:48 PM #
... and excuse my poor english (thatīs why i was interested in the dictionary support in the first line).

iīm from germany.

... catch me if you can!

RE: pop-up dictionary
montyburns @ 1/3/2002 2:33:34 PM #
oh please.

And I recommended to Microsoft that they should make w GUI interface for DOS way back in 1980...and they charged me for MS Windows!

RE: gui for dos
I.M. Anonymous @ 1/3/2002 2:45:16 PM #
... and donīt you gui-moron think itīs strange that palm disabled the possibility to start a app/da launcher (which is btw possible with every other application) while using palmreader.

in older versions (peanutreader) i could switch between reader and a dictionary with a single grafiti stroke which was quite comfortable.

does anybody know a good reason why this possibility was killed?

RE: pop-up dictionary
Berliner @ 1/3/2002 4:18:56 PM #
Maybe you guys should look at the program first before doing any assumptions (that's true for the previous Anonymous poster as well as the Gerk [just invented a new word: German Jerk]):

I AM able to use another popup dictionary and hacks while using the NEW Palm Reader (McPhling, for that matter). And I am able to switch to another appliaction and back with one keystroke just like before.

So if you don't know what you're talking about, don't complain.


...Wherever you go, there you are...

RE: pop-up dictionary
I.M. Anonymous @ 1/3/2002 5:13:56 PM #
Wow. Hanging out on these boards with such brilliant people - I feel so inadequate. Imagine that - a pop-up dictionary! Genius!

Clue; next time you get an idea that you really think is innovative, do something about yourself and make a ton of money, or quit your whining. Nobody owes you anything for your good ideas - they're a dime a dozen. Execution is everything.

Grow Up
I.M. Anonymous @ 1/4/2002 3:34:42 AM #
Hey German guy - grow up, ok. thanks. and don't be so bitter.


I.M. Anonymous @ 1/3/2002 1:24:40 PM #
Has anybody heard that the palm Vx is officially discontinued now? The Vx has served us well.

RE: Vx
I.M. Anonymous @ 1/3/2002 1:32:16 PM #
Yep it is. I work at Palm Sales (1-800-881-7256)it was offical as of yesterday.

RE: Vx
kevdo @ 1/3/2002 2:31:37 PM #
One can only assume that the IIIc and VIIx will be discontinued soon as well...

-Kevin Crossman
RE: Vx
Davy @ 1/3/2002 2:45:11 PM #
Why stop there? Discontinue the m100 too, if they're going for all that.

-Davy Fields

RE: Vx
I.M. Anonymous @ 1/3/2002 2:55:32 PM #
Is there anywhere to buy one. I have moved on to the newer models but my wife is looking for the Vx. Any ideas would be appreciated.

RE: Vx
I.M. Anonymous @ 1/3/2002 3:11:47 PM #
>Is there anywhere to buy one. I have moved on to the
>newer models but my wife is looking for the Vx. Any
>ideas would be appreciated.

Try searching on ebay:

RE: Vx
I.M. Anonymous @ 1/3/2002 5:28:51 PM #
You can get a Vx for $299 (Canadian dollars) at FutureShop Online at:

RE: Vx
I.M. Anonymous @ 1/4/2002 12:47:14 AM #
Well, this is way off topic, but the Vx is at for $199 US.


I.M. Anonymous @ 1/3/2002 1:50:06 PM #
Am I the only one who is surprised that they are charging for this at all? I always figured Palm was planning to make its money off the Peanut Press purchase on the ebook sales, not the reader. What's the point of placing a $10 hurdle in front of access to the ebooks themselves? Presumably this will be packed with Palms in the future.

RE: Freeware?
dws90 @ 1/3/2002 2:02:49 PM #
The freeware version is still avalible.

RE: Freeware?
I.M. Anonymous @ 1/3/2002 2:36:49 PM #
Yeh, the freeware version is still available - as version 1.1.4, which includes some recent bug fixes. The basic Palm Reader is pretty good. My only complaint about it is that you can't use the standard 'bold' font to read text - the normal font is a bit small for me and the 'large' font halves the amount of text on screen. I've tried to use FontHack as a workaround (eg to substitute the 'bold' font) but Palm Reader seems to format ebooks on a words per page basis, so you actually end up not being able to read some of the text at all. Come on guys, why can't we have the good old fashioned 'bold' font?

RE: Freeware?
I.M. Anonymous @ 1/4/2002 3:48:39 PM #
If you use the basic Palm Reader you can improve the text using Fonthack 123 and a font called "Tall Fonts New" in place of the standard font without loosing some text in the reader. This is the only font I found would do this, fortunately it's a nice one too.

Still can't hide the **** toolbar, though!

I.M. Anonymous @ 1/3/2002 2:39:51 PM #
Even with this new and improved (and not free) Palm Reader Pro, they STILL haven't given users the option to hide the toolbar at the bottom of the screen. Do they really think palms have such large screens that they have the luxury to WASTE screen space?

RE: Still can't hide the **** toolbar, though!
I.M. Anonymous @ 1/3/2002 5:16:50 PM #
CSpotRun is still the best freeware reader ever. Palm shoulda licensed it.

RE: Still can't hide the **** toolbar, though!
I.M. Anonymous @ 1/3/2002 6:52:42 PM #
Well you can *hide* it: Options > Color > New and create a Custom Theme with the toolbar the same colour as the background. This way you won't have to look at the toolbar if you find it distracting, but of course you don't get the screen space back for text. A bit hopeless, I agree.

On the other hand, the dictionary is pretty good. The big 160 000 word (10.3 MB!) Webster's can't be launched directly by clicking the icon (at least on my 505 even when I've freed up 2.5 MB I get a 'not enough RAM message') but it loads pretty quickly and beats Noah Pro in several ways (etymologies, pop-up definitions and it doesn't permanently steal a meg of RAM).


Why won't Palm license the PalmReader (sic) DRM format?

I.M. Anonymous @ 1/4/2002 1:24:07 AM #
C'mon Palm-- why should you NOT license the format of your Palm Media ebooks?

We could use choices for ebook readers in this emerging format...if you ever intend to see it dominate rather than muddle along next to Mobi, TomeR, DOC, etc...

RE: Why won't Palm license the PalmReader (sic) DRM format?
David @ 1/4/2002 10:35:02 AM #
I wrote to Palm asking the same thing and never received an answer. I work for a medical society and we have been making material available for free in the Palm doc format. I would like to be able to sell longer texts, but need a reader. Palm is a great one, and I would love to be able to use it.

Just Announced

Ed @ 1/8/2002 9:11:31 AM #
Funny, Palm just officially announced PalmReader Pro today at the CES, though it's been out since last week.

News Editor



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