Comments on: Philips Releases Universal Remote Control App

Royal Philips Electronics has released the ProntoLite, an application that turns a Palm OS handheld into a universal remote control. Users can configure their handhelds to control up to 10 devices, such as TVs, VCRs, CD players, DVD players or set-top boxes.  It is a "learning" remote, which means the user needs their current remote to train the application which infrared signals to send. ProntoLite is available now for $20.
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Thanks for the news item.

BiffK @ 8/28/2002 3:28:08 PM #
Hey, I'm bored anyways and bad news is better than no news. Keep it up Ed!

And I really think you should stop it with all this advertising disguised as news. For shame!


-Biff K

RE: Thanks for the news item.
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/28/2002 4:05:21 PM #
Stop yer whinin'. Ed does a great job with the site and there has been a ton of unique editorial content, scoops and rumours lately. I had no idea of the Philips software and it's nice to know that there is an alternative to Omniremote out there. Furthermore, I had no idea the m500 and 505 had such powerful IR signals!

Look at Palmstation. I'd prefer "ad-related" news stories anyday over no fresh content at all. Also, ever read any video gaming or "Men's interest (maxim, stuff, esquire,etc)" magazines lately? Those are nothing more than gigantic catalogs hiding under the pretense of being a real periodical by offering a few lame stories and opinionated editorials. We live in a world where we're always getting bombared by branding and marketing. Get used to it. For example, when you drive home this afternoon, look around your car's dash and see how often the manufacturer has tacked on their name. proably on the radio, the dash, the airbag cover, the front grille and the the very minimum. You get hit with subtle advertising every time you get behind the wheel of any vehicle.

I think Philips' motivation in releasing this app has more to do with Sony stealing a lot of their thunder with their recent remote control apps (as well as their nice new home theatre touchscreen units) than anything else. Also, they are really trying to build up name recognition for their Pronto line.
If nothing else, this makes for a good use of the new low-end Palm device coming out!

RE: Thanks for the news item.
mtg101 @ 8/28/2002 5:08:22 PM #
Erm... so mentioning any new software product released is advertising...? So Ed can't mention ANY new software? Get real...

Plus in this case, we're talking about a serious software release. Phillip's are one of few EU companies with serious interaction design / usability research groups, and this really paid off with the Pronto Universal Remote Control, which is much more than just a multi-remote-control. They've designed the Pronto in a task-oreinted way, and use macros to allow multiple technical commands for a single user action. For example, when I get home I 'turn on the telly'. What I actually do is turn on the amp, turn on the TV, turn on TiVo, set the amp to TV (if needed), set the TV to TiVo (if needed) and then go to 'now playing' on TiVo. If I had a pronto I would just hit the 'standard on' button, and it would do all this for me. And at the click of one button I could change the whole system over to start playing a DVD (change TV.. change amp... etc etc). I would no longer need 6 remote controls on the sofa with a Pronto.

So why don't I have a Pronto...? It costs the same as a PDA - we're talking like 400 euros for one of these things! I've been ranting over the cost of these on the TiVo newsgroups for some time. People who have them rave over them - but 400 euros!!! Get real...

However... now you can get Pronto on your Palm for $20 - I'm seriously pissed off that I have a Sony N770C that doesn't have the stronger IR so it can't function as a remote control!!!


RE: Thanks for the news item.
rldunn @ 8/28/2002 5:38:33 PM #
J/K = Just Kidding = Not Serious. C'mon people.

Mojo Jojo @ 8/29/2002 8:05:32 AM #
I think the original poster was joking...

Seems that forums these days are like walking on a concrete floor covered in gasoline while wearing golf shoes.

Yes this was another pointless analogy brought to you by the letter 'M' and the number '9'.

RE: Thanks for the news item.
BiffK @ 8/29/2002 9:02:59 AM #
Just to set the record straight... ummm... yes I WAS joking. I WANT to see product announcements.

Thanks rldunn and Mojo Jojo for defending me!
:-) (<--- little smiley face)

-Biff K

Gotta Register to Download

kevdo @ 8/28/2002 3:50:06 PM #
The product isn't available on PalmGear or Handango. To download off the Philips site you must register with them... what a pain.

-Kevin Crossman

RE: Gotta Register to Download
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/28/2002 3:57:07 PM #
gee whiz, what a big baby
RE: Gotta Register to Download
PR @ 8/28/2002 4:00:21 PM #
i agree. it's crap. then when you do register, they give you a 15 day unique trial number. i wanted to try it on POSE, but couldn't unless i re-register and give them another user name (for the emulator)--and i would have to use another email address. it's just not worth it.

RE: Gotta Register to Download
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/28/2002 4:11:44 PM #
current version of POSE lets you change the user name:
right click -> settings -> properties
RE: Gotta Register to Download
PR @ 8/28/2002 4:25:46 PM #
hey, thanks for the tip on POSE--i'll give it a shot, and if it works, stop whining ;)

RE: Gotta Register to Download
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/28/2002 7:19:48 PM #
I may be missing something fundamental... but what's the point of running a remote control app on POSE?

Of course, you could be testing to see whether it'll crash. In which case, just this once... live dangerously.

RE: Gotta Register to Download
PR @ 8/28/2002 10:03:31 PM #
i knew somebody would ask that...
basically, i just want to get an idea of the user interface, and how it feels and looks. i figured i probably won't actually end up using it on my palm, but i wanted to try it out anyway--and it's less of a pain to use the emulator than it is loading it on my palm then deleting it.

...actually, i was really pissed off when i found out it wouldn't let me use my desktop computer as a remote control... :)

Screen resolution?

I.M. Anonymous @ 8/28/2002 4:34:24 PM #
Does it do 320x320? How many colors?
RE: Screen resolution?
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/29/2002 4:35:40 AM #
No HiRes, basically grey with some blue, crashed on IR-detection setup -- crap!

which infrared port does it use on Clie T / NR?

I.M. Anonymous @ 8/28/2002 4:41:14 PM #
Can it support the enhanced infrared port on Clie T / NR series?

Or it just use the regular one (the one for data beaming?)

Use of Clies true ability?
farmhandbadguy @ 8/29/2002 3:47:39 AM #
Anyone know if Protolite supports the Clie as OmniRemote does? (I am assuming that all Clies packaged with the remote software have comparable hardware) In other words does Protolite use the Clies normal IRDA transceiver (very limited range on my 615) or the high power consumer IR emitter that Sony's own remote software and OmniRemote uses. The difference, use your Clie at arms length of the TV or use it from your couch. I found no such information on the Protolite site. The interface looks nice but is it a horse or a donkey for Clie users? Personally am not going to bother.

As Ed said, "...slow news day". Had to post something after cnet touted this as "news"; was it a shameless advertisement *ponder*, or did the author not do his homework. My rant for the day.

Yeah someday I might get a life, but I still think killing is wrong.

Not real news?

Scott R @ 8/28/2002 5:19:02 PM #
I can't believe Ed (and another guy) feel that this isn't real news? I haven't downloaded this yet, and if it only supports 160x160, the screen shots on their site are bogus, but at first glance this sounds great. The Omniremote software has a horrible user interface. The interface of the Pronto remote is one of the reasons why its so popular among videophiles. Also, isn't this the first Palm OS remote control software that can learn codes from your remote controls?


RE: Not real news?
big_raji @ 8/28/2002 5:35:21 PM #
I'm not sure I understand your comment about bogus screenshots...?

None of the screenshots that I could see show a hires display. Heck, all the screenshots are less than 120 pixels wide, none of them even being over 160.


RE: Not real news?
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/28/2002 5:46:24 PM #
1) it only supports 160x160 pixels. sorry. But, on the bright side, they are dithered pretty... but jaggy, on a Sony nonetheless.

2) I'd rather have BOTH: built in library to save me the time of learning hundreds of buttons, AND Learning capability. That's why I love my Radio Shack remote...

still, i'll try it out...

RE: Not real news?
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/29/2002 9:54:10 AM #
Omniremote can learn from remotes. point the remote at the palm and "record" the signal.
RE: Not real news?
Scott R @ 8/29/2002 10:32:18 AM #
"I'm not sure I understand your comment about bogus screenshots...?

None of the screenshots that I could see show a hires display. Heck, all the screenshots are less than 120 pixels wide, none of them even being over 160."

Hey, you're right. My bad. Kudos to them for making 160x160 look better than, well, 160x160. I downloaded the app and like what I see. Though, as others have pointed out, there's no support for macros and no customization. Still, for $20, I think this is a pretty good deal and has a much cleaner interface than omniremote.

That said, I went back and looked at Pacific Neo-Tek's site and, what do you know, they now support 320x320 and fully customizable buttons. That, combined with macro support would seem to make this the better product. The standard buttons it comes with are ugly and poorly designed from a UI-perspective (e.g. - numbers are too small for thumb-pressing), but hey, just make your own.

I prefer having real buttons for the feedback it provides. But once I get around to upgrading to a high-res Palm OS device, it would be nice to have one of these things for running my living room movie setup.


ProntoEdit for ProntoLite?

I.M. Anonymous @ 8/28/2002 5:56:20 PM #
I've had a Philips Pronto for about 3 years; it's a great interface for a TV remote, particularly because you can design (and save) the interface on the PC, and then download it to Pronto PDA. The Windows program for this is ProntoEdit.

If you can do the same thing with ProntoLite, i.e., edit the layout on the PC and then download it to your Palm, that is INDEED a great feature.

I only have to wonder how this affects Philips' Pronto sales.

RE: ProntoEdit for ProntoLite?
mrscarey @ 8/28/2002 7:42:24 PM #
I would expect that this will not affect Philips Pronto sales at all....not

Who is going to pay the price of a reasonable handheld for a remote when you can pay the price of a reasonable handheld for a reasonable handheld AND 20 bucks turns it into a Philips Pronto.

Oh wait - I answered my question - which begs another -how do Philips justify the cost of the Pronto?

Maybe showing us what a Pronto will do might lure us away......


palmist and visionary

RE: ProntoEdit for ProntoLite?
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/29/2002 10:03:13 AM #
20 buck won't even get your palm close to what a real pronto can do. You can do so much more with a pronto that you can't do with ProntoLite. ProntoLite has all kinds of limitations while a real Pronto is basically limitless as long as you can fit everything in memory. On a real pronto you have unlimited devices, screens, macros, macro length... You can use ProntoEdit on your PC to create any type of UI you can dream up. And the IR strenght on a pronto is amazing. I can use all of the AV equipment from 30 feet away around a corner if I need to. For an indepth review of all pronto models try the following links:

crashed on first setup

I.M. Anonymous @ 8/29/2002 4:37:36 AM #
... what a waste of time!
- no hires
- got to flip through 3 screens for each RMC
- crashed on first IR-dedection (on NR70V)

--> crap !!!

ProntoEdit Palm Support Needed

I.M. Anonymous @ 8/29/2002 5:24:44 AM #
This needs to be updated if this is to be a success. There was a desktop editor for one version of Omni Remote though I am not sure it works with the newer versions.

I think it would be great if ProntoEdit could be used with the palm as it is with the other pronto devices, so come on Philips, get onto it!!!

How come lousy cases are such big news with you, Ed?

I.M. Anonymous @ 8/29/2002 6:21:05 AM #
Personally I never ever thought, think, nor will think of buying any metal or leather case for my N760.
I also can't understand a bit all the fuss created in
this site about every new case - so what??

However, my point is that if any new case is a reason for a story, then a remote control app does not require any apology.


RE: How come lousy cases are such big news with you, Ed?
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/29/2002 6:47:19 AM #
a) Rhinoskin makes very good cases

b) If you don't like the way Ed runs the site, don't ever come back. There are olther PalmOS sites that might welcome a ******* like you.

RE: How come lousy cases are such big news with you, Ed?
I.M. Anonymous @ 9/1/2002 8:17:28 AM #
I'm sorry for being misunderstood. I love this site. I just can't understand - really - the hype around cases. Looking at the site, I get the feeling that 10-20% of all palm news are actually new cases.


It is interesting news

I.M. Anonymous @ 8/29/2002 9:45:36 AM #
Actually, this is interesting news, Ed. Because as i recall, isnt the Phillips Pronto running WinCE?

I think that is very interesting that they decided to port that software to PalmOS, maybe this is a hint of a new Pronto running on top of Palm OS instead of wince???

RE: It is interesting news
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/29/2002 9:57:19 AM #
The pronto does not run on WinCE. I'm not sure what OS the pronto runs but pronto has a dragonball processor just like a palm. Microsoft/Harmon Kardon used to sell a touchscreen remote that ran on winCE. It had all kinds of problems and never did well so they discontinued it.

Rough going with a Treo 180

I.M. Anonymous @ 8/29/2002 11:14:54 AM #
I just tried it on my GE TV with a Treo 180. You have to be within 4 or 5 feet for it to work. It works though! And the learning function is cool. I won't be buying it, though. Wish my Treo were a manly IRer.

Why no Bluetooth added to Pronto?

I.M. Anonymous @ 8/29/2002 11:11:15 AM #
Both Philips and Palm are Bluetooth Backers. Would have been a nice and smart add on imho.

Nice try Phillips, but....

Bmann @ 8/29/2002 12:18:12 PM #
I have a Pronto and always wondered if they could/would do this. I downloaded it will great expectations, but this is way more limiting than the Pronto.

Where's the macros? Why can't I customize the pages?

Without macros, it's almost worthless. The idea behind the GUI interface it to make it idiot proof. Push the TV button and it should turn on the TV, turn on the receiver, set the TV to tuner, set the receiver to TV, etc. I can't find where this is on Prontolite.

I understand why they would release a limited version. It could take away from the Pronto sales and the color Pronto is $1000. Way more than even my NR70v. That brings up the HiRes+ issue, where's the 320x480 option, won't happen.

Nice try, but no dice

RE: Nice try Phillips, but....
bookrats @ 8/29/2002 4:28:24 PM #
Thanks Bmann -- I was hoping a fellow Pronto user would do a comparison, and see how ProntoLite stood up to a real Pronto.

You clarified the situation very well, and saved me some time -- it is appreciated.


Jeff Meyer

Universal remote?

I.M. Anonymous @ 9/6/2002 3:08:22 AM #
ANyone who thinks they'll like using their PDA for a remote must enjoy doing things the hard way.

Give me a big plastic rubber buttoned universal remote that I can tell which buttons do what by feel when I'm in the dark and half way in the bag... :)

Thats the point of a remote control - ergonomics and ease of use. Not stylus pushing, backlight squinty eye, $300 PDA come cheap low powered Universal Remote.



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