MobileInfocenter

Comments on: AlphaSmart Dana Palm OS Laptop Available Now

AlphaSmart has unveiled Dana, a portable device larger than a handheld and less expensive than a laptop, intended for students. Powered by Palm OS 4.1, Dana includes a full-size, integrated keyboard and a 560 by 160 pixel touch screen that is roughly 7.5 by 2.25 inches. It has 8 MB of memory and two SD/MMC slots. It costs $399 and is available now from the Palm Store.
Return to Story - Permalink

Article Comments

 (123 comments)

The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. PalmInfocenter is not responsible for them in any way.
Please Login or register here to add your comments.

Comments Closed Comments Closed
This article is no longer accepting new comments.

Down

Flip Sideways

kempokaraterulz @ 10/19/2002 12:02:18 PM #
does the device flip sideways ? i oticed on the page it showed it with VG and the screen was stratiht up and down

_______________________________________
Warning: If you run in front of my car...you'll get tired. If you run behind my car...you'll get exhausted.
RE: Flip Sideways
abosco @ 10/19/2002 12:09:33 PM #
I'm guessing you have to flip the device on its side manually to make use of the screen rotation. You probably saw it like this.

---
I suport pudlik edicashun.
RE: Flip Sideways
Admin @ 10/19/2002 12:10:37 PM #
Yes, you can use the screen both horizontally and vertically. I updated the article to make that more clear. -Ryan

"breakthrough product"

EdH @ 10/19/2002 12:14:05 PM #
What is breakthrough about this?

RE:
SaabCaptain @ 10/19/2002 12:17:41 PM #
First Palm OS device out of a PDA form factor (I know symbol and others have rugged versions etc.)... that said it looks lame.

owned: Pilot 5000, PalmPilot Pro, Palm V, IIIc, m505, Sony T615.
RE: breakthrough
Admin @ 10/19/2002 12:17:43 PM #
It is the first Palm OS device, in a laptop-like form factor, with a full size keyboard, large screen and 30 hour battery life aimed at the education market. Mr. Nagle's quote is marketing speak, but this is a first for the Palm OS.
RE:
cbowers @ 10/19/2002 2:01:16 PM #
Not even sure it's the first PalmOS device out of a PDA format.

The Lottery Ticket Dispenser and to a lesser degree the HYVAC test tool, and likely a number of other lesser known devices pre-date that category:

http://www.handera.com/services/Projects/CustomPalm.htm

RE:
EdH @ 10/19/2002 3:21:32 PM #
Don't know about you or other people, but I'd much rather have a PDA and then an external keyboard like the stowaway. These full keyboard units keep failing. Psion effectively went out of the PDA business and Microsoft has left the Handheld PCs to industrial devices.

Industrial vs Academic devices
Token User @ 10/19/2002 4:14:50 PM #
Is there a difference between an industrial device and a device intended for high school students? I think the high schoool student would give the device more punishment - despite the fact the industrial devices would be in harsher conditions.

~ "Don't be too proud of this technological terror you've constructed." - DV ~
RE:
ardee @ 10/19/2002 6:30:12 PM #
At this price I think it needs color and a higher res vertically (at least 320 like my tiny Clie).


RE:
treo007 @ 10/20/2002 2:57:57 PM #
If this is the same EdH of Pocket PC Thoughts and PDA Buzz fame, it wouldn't bother with what he says. He's a one man propaganda machine for Microsoft. Let's hope he trolls somewhere else.

RE:
EdH @ 10/20/2002 5:57:09 PM #
Uh huh. And with a handle like Treo007, you aren't biased at all are you?

Perhaps you could clue me in as to how this is a breakthrough product?

RE:
Timothy Rapson @ 10/20/2002 7:53:04 PM #
Is this a breakthrough product?

I would say yes.

Of all the previous attempts to market these devices one element was severely lacking. All the way back to the original Radio Shack TR Model 100 to the last Alphasmarts they have lacked on very needed feature that this one has.

I know this market quite well, as I have wanted one of these for like forever. I have owned only one of them the Brother PowerNote and it was a model with only 16k storage space. It turned out to be useless for this reason. Fortunately, I did not spend anything on it. I got it hand-me-down from my brother and nephew who both used it but gave up, as it lacked some crucial features.

The Laser PC7, QuickPad, Seiko WPS word processor notepad, and others had good battery life, useful screens, and eventually just barely enough memory for useful work. But by the time they were made useful, they were too close in price to used laptops.

So, what does this model add that is a breakthrough? Software. Expansion was available for some of the earlier models, but what could you put in it? A few spell chekcer cards or other simple stuff. But no software like this Dana has out of the barrel. Even the Windows CE units that were in some cases attractive (The Jornada clamshell model...what was it called 820? and the Clio was fascinating with that swing screen deal) had no software to add. The CEs had powerful enough software built, but to bring up painful memories.....My opinion of CE was that it was just too buggy to trust with any real work.

This Dana has all the features that made the previous AlphaSmarts profitable for the company. (I learned from one of their own people on the PDABUzz site that they have actually been selling similar models to schools for years. They have sold 2 million or so. That is certainly far more than total CE models of this sort sold.

I would say that the market offers far better value with a Clie (or for the true bargain driven, a Clemente) with a Stowaway. But, I wish this Dana well and it does have this key breakthough feature; 10,000 add on programs.

My daughter brought one of these sorts of type pads home last year. They use them for take-home special assignments.

I wonder what happens the first time one comes back to school with "The Palma Sutra" installed on it!

RE:
Timothy Rapson @ 10/20/2002 8:11:56 PM #
And, I guess I should say, that I think this model has only a 50/50 chance of succeeding at making the Palm OS software and the AlaphaSmart hardware successful in a new market. The used laptops, the PDAs with Stowaways, and just plain desktops almost everywhere you might need one could keep them from going anywhere.

And, I don't see EdH's remarks as trolling. He is more than welcome to have an opinion here. All of us would expect the same welcome at PocketPCThoughts and we would hope not to get discounted just because we are Palm OS users.

RE:
treo007 @ 10/20/2002 11:28:08 PM #
EdH:

I DON'T think it's necessarily a breakthrough product (at least not at this price), that's not the point. It doesn't mean you should be listened to at face value however (we should all consider the source).

Timothy Rapson:

For the record, I read a few weeks back a post from the site admin at PPC Thoughts telling Palm OS (or at least "device agnostic") posters to go "troll" somewhere else. So no, you probably wouldn't get the same level of respect over there that you would here.

Regardless, I don't care if he posts here. Just those that don't know what he's up to should be made aware.

RE: Breakthrough device?
Fly-By-Night @ 10/21/2002 5:55:17 AM #
Not much of a breakthrough -- it looks very similar to a device from Cambridge Computer released in 1988 called the Z88 (link to a nice ad here: http://www.nvg.org/sinclair/computers/z88/images/z88ad1_jpg.jpg).

I used this a lot at school, and found it very handy (though some of the teachers at the time were a bit dubious) -- it had a mammouth 256k memory, was expandable and had backup storage via EPROM (that had to be wiped using UV Light -- this was in the days before Flash ROM!). It also had a built in wordprocessor/spreadsheet/database, communications software (VT52 emulation too!); and BASIC. There was also a thriving community writing software for it (sort of CP/M based I seem to remember).

As I said, as a student it was very useful. But, this was in the days before colour laptops, PDAs, and indeed affordable laptops (from the ad you will see it costs ~$300, a laptop would cost you around $5000-6000). Things have moved on. Students are wealthier, more tech aware, and most importantly, require stylish technological solutions (one only has to look at the penetration of Nokia mobile phones amongst students and the young to observe this behaviour). The Dana's main drawback is it is plain ugly -- it looks just like an industrial unit, not out of place stock taking in a warehouse or somewhere. Students will not want something that does not have the 'wow' factor.

FBN

PS I still have my Z88 somewhere -- I wonder if it still works......

RE:
Scott R @ 10/21/2002 11:58:53 AM #
For those interested in EdH's sordid history...He's a Microsoft MVP. He likes to stir things up on PocketPCThoughts quite frequently by posting FUD about Palm, but if you try to argue any of the points in a reasonable manner, Jason gets upset and asks you to "troll" somewhere else. Should he be allowed to post here? Of course. But don't fool yourself into thinking that he's "just another PDA user."

Scott

RE:
treo007 @ 10/21/2002 3:02:51 PM #
Since I don't really want to spend any more time on this site talking about another site, this will be my last comment on it. But yes, the situation Scott described is EXACTLY what I've seen go on at Pocket PC Thoughts.

The level of FUD and the subsequent reactions (particularly on the part of the site admins) to those that logically point it out is so irrational that you've got to think that the entire thing is planned (or Jason Dunn and Co. really are that stupid). It's as if they're fighting some kind of battle on behalf of Microsoft.

So it makes perfect sense that that is exactly what EdH (a site admin at Pocket PC Thoughts) is here to do.

RE:
kezza @ 10/21/2002 5:11:35 PM #
Timothy Rapson said:
"I know this market quite well, as I have wanted one of these for like forever. "

but that's funny because you didn't mention the apple emate, quite possibly the best attempt at a notebook PDA, because it was small and relatively lightweight, but not as tiny as the clamshell EPOC and WinCE devices, as well as having a very nice 16-level grayscale 320x480 backlit screen and the ability to communicate easily with macs and PCs alike. it also came with some pretty nice word processing and spreadsheet software.

If you're seriously looking for a notebook PDA for composition purposes, you should seriously look on ebay or the http://www.thisoldnewt.com swap meet pages for an emate. it'd be worth it.

(I love my emate and my m505 both.)

--------------------------------------
"Well, if it isn't the leader of the wiener patrol, boning up on his nerd lessons"
http://stirwise.com

RE:
Timothy Rapson @ 10/21/2002 7:18:23 PM #
RE: EdH. Yeah, I was one of those told to cool it at PocketPCThoughts. How odd that was. EdH post that the NX70V is not even competitive with a two year old Casio PPC. Then we discuss it. Then all of a sudden Jason bust in and accuses us of a flame war? That was odd.

I chalked it up to Jason working too hard on the new site design and not much else. Anyway, I see a little less Palm bashing there since then, and I have tried to let a lot more of it go without comment there, since that appears to be what Jason wants. That's life.

RE:" RE:
kezza @ 10/21/2002 5:11:35 PM

Timothy Rapson said:
"I know this market quite well, as I have wanted one of these for like forever. "

but that's funny because you didn't mention the apple emate, quite possibly the best attempt at a notebook PDA, because it was small and relatively lightweight, but not as tiny as the clamshell EPOC and WinCE devices, as well as having a very nice 16-level grayscale 320x480 backlit screen and the ability to communicate easily with macs and PCs alike. it also came with some pretty nice word processing and spreadsheet software.

I should perhaps have mentioned the EMate. It has perhaps the happiest users of any of these devices except the RS Model 100 (those guys are religiously devoted. There are vanity sites all over the Net dedicated to the Model 100.) EMate was funky looking, too.

My personal favorite hopeful (though I never did buy one.) was the Laser PC (models 1-8 and still available)

RE:
chet-a-box @ 10/21/2002 9:48:52 PM #
Quote:
"Don't know about you or other people, but I'd much rather have a PDA and then an external keyboard like the stowaway. These full keyboard units keep failing. Psion effectively went out of the PDA business and Microsoft has left the Handheld PCs to industrial devices."

I use both a HandEra 330 with an external Palm Portable Keyboard, as well as an AlphaSmart 3000, which is from the same family of products as the Dana. I've enjoyed using the HE-PPK combination, but after hearing about the Dana, I realise the Dana is the next step up for me after the HE-PPK. The HE-PPK works best on a flat surface, whereas the AlphaSmart (and the Dana, too) is literally a laptop - you could perch it on your lap and type without worrying about it falling over, etc.

As for the comment "These full keyboard units keep failing", that's a bit unfair on a new product, and a bit too early to say.

Y'all may want to check out the following post at the AlphaSmart Community Centre Board:
http://www1.alphasmart.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=22;t=000068

Give the Dana a chance, and watch it fly. Check out its official web site, too:
http://www.flydana.com

RE:
chrisdavies @ 10/21/2002 10:15:04 PM #
Whilst not wanting to move too far off topic, PocketPCThoughts seems to be run under an iron fist. Dissention with official Microsoft policy is rarely tolerated, and any views that run against the web site's 'management' are usually removed - and replaced with a small note saying that they have been removed.

Having said that - it is a good source of information, and it is always interesting to keep an eye on the views and thoughts of the opposition.

Happily trying to sync an iPod, Palm m505, T68i and PowerBook G4. Life is so simple!

Alphasmart & Dana
SJATU @ 11/6/2002 11:28:05 AM #
I've been using the Alphasmart for over a year now and I love it. It is merely a word processor, but it is great for taking notes at meetings and writing at Starbucks or other places. Not great for editing. It is limited.

Some of its advantages are that it is light (2 lb), great battery life (4 AA. . .500+ hours and I still have the same batteries that I started with), and cheap ($200).

I teach at a local college and several of my students have also purchased it. I type much faster than I write.

I decided to try out the Dana. This is what I like about the Dana: light weight (2 lb), uses OS operating system (unlimited programs), larger screen (good for editing), font support, easy to synch to desktop, etc.

Now why would someone want a Dana over a laptop. My major reason is WEIGHT (2 lb). I hate lugging the 6.5 lb laptop around even though I like the color screen, all the applications, power, etc.

I do feel the Dana is a bit pricey $400 (8 meg), no modem. When you start adding cards and modems, it can get expensive. However, for now, I love what it does.

SIZE and WEIGHT is everything to me.

I might add that I also own a desktop and a laptop.

Susan

Why not get a REAL Computer for a mere $150 more?

Gekko @ 10/19/2002 12:21:07 PM #
You can get a NEW DELL Dimension 2300 with warranty, 1.8GHZ, 128MB RAM, 30GB HD, 56K Modem, WinXP, and 15" Color Monitor for $549.

http://www.dell.com/us/en/dhs/offers/specials_m_dimen2300.htm

$399 for Dana is a joke.


RE: Why not get a REAL Computer for a mere $150 more?
Mathrocks314 @ 10/19/2002 12:38:59 PM #
It’s kind of hard to put a dimension 2300 in your backpack and carry it to school. The 2300 is a deferent kind of product for a different market.

-------------------
"WARNING - HOLE IN FLOOR ABOVE DOORWAY BELOW."
RE: Why not get a REAL Computer for a mere $150 more?
AlanF @ 10/19/2002 12:43:01 PM #
It might not be fair to compare a rugged two-pound "laptop" to a desktop. Maybe a better comparison would be some of the used laptops on the market. That does make $399 seem awfully steep given the extremely limited capabilities of the Dana. $199 might be fair.

RE: Why not get a REAL Computer for a mere $150 more?
Altema @ 10/19/2002 12:47:33 PM #
Because it would cost thousands of dollars more in maintenance and repairs. I myself would buy the Dell, but it's designed to be sitting on a desk or your knees, or in a padded case for protection.

A school would need to provide power outlets for each student, an I.T. technician for maintenance and updates, a shop area for repairs and software reloads, and a good relationship with their shipping company to deal with returns/exchanges resulting from breakage. These are students, and if the going got rough, the Dell would be needing service before the Dana needed its first recharge.

RE: Why not get a REAL Computer for a mere $150 more?
Gekko @ 10/19/2002 1:04:34 PM #
RE: Why not get a REAL Computer for a mere $150 more?
KRamsauer @ 10/19/2002 1:20:09 PM #
I just bid five bucks was just outbid. :-(

RE: Why not get a REAL Computer for a mere $150 more?
hotpaw4 @ 10/19/2002 6:38:27 PM #
You'll take the Dana over the "REAL Computer" desktop Dell if you have to put it in a backpack and carry it to school everyday (and needing it to work during your exams after surviving a drop onto the pavement). A cheap notebook computer is the nearest equivalen; and a lightweight one is almost 3 times as expensive new.
RE: Why not get a REAL Computer for a mere $150 more?
Gekko @ 10/19/2002 8:25:46 PM #
No, I'd take the Sony NR70.......

RE: Why not get a REAL Computer for a mere $150 more?
Timothy Rapson @ 10/19/2002 8:51:12 PM #
That's a really dumb comparison. You could also compare it to my 20 year old Atari, but....well, it's just a pointless comparision.

RE: Why not get a REAL Computer for a mere $150 more?
timewaster77 @ 10/19/2002 11:01:50 PM #
Being a student myself, in junior high, I personally know that are school is uses and is happy with previous AlphaSmarts. Let me put it this way, are school doesn't have enough room to make practical use of a 'real' computers for every student. This is a great bridge between a Palm and a laptop. This is definitely not aimed at the general audience. Also $150 times 100 is just a mere $15,000 more. You must understand that schools have limited budgets and limited room.

Happy Sony Clie User
RE: Why not get a REAL Computer for a mere $150 more?
nuopus @ 10/20/2002 3:14:41 AM #
Going on that basis ... im sure you went out and bought a PDA for about the same price. Why would anyone pay that much instead of just getting a desktop computer? THE FORM FACTOR NUMBNUTS. Lightweight notebooks cost more than the heavy ones because of the size.

Why the heck do you think there is such a large market for laptops and notebooks when they cost twice as much as a desktop machine! Why? Because there are thousands of people smarter than you with that stupid comparison. The laptop/notebook market is HUGE. And every single one of them are a heck of alot more than $399.

I work in an environment where I have to monitor and keep up a Unix network. I use a Sharp Zaurus because it has all of the networking tools I need to perform network intrusion, detection and administration via SSH. My Sony Clie T615 is great for its small form factor ... and I AM GLAD I bought both of them with a price value of over $600 combined over a $400 desktop PC because I would hate to lug my desktop around the building. And when I lug my $400 PC to another room, im going to have to crawl under a desk to plug the dang thing in ... do some monitoring and edit a spreadsheet or two ... then lug it to the next room doing the WHOLE THING OVER AGAIN. GIVE ME A BREAK.

RE: Why not get a REAL Computer for a mere $150 more?
Gekko @ 10/20/2002 7:31:26 AM #
Mark my words - I will be proven right when this POS soon ends up on eBay selling for $1.25 right next to the Audrey.

RE: Why not get a REAL Computer for a mere $150 more?
Timothy Rapson @ 10/20/2002 8:36:55 AM #
How would the Dana failing prove that the Dell is better? Maybe someone would already have a Clie NR70V like me and not need a Dana. OR someone could have a T615C and Zaurus and not need a Dana. The Dell is not competition with the Dana any more than a Ford Pickup competes with a Mazda Miata at construction sites.

Just a pointless comparison.

RE: Why not get a REAL Computer for a mere $150 more?
Gekko @ 10/20/2002 8:42:47 AM #
It is not pointless. My POINT is that any school administrator who buys Danas rather than real PCs given the small price differential relative to the ENORMOUS differential in overall computing power should be immediately FIRED. I look at "BANG FOR THE BUCK" and the Dana at $399 ain't no bang for the buck! If I had children in school, I would want them to have a modern, fully-functional PC at school - not some crappy oh-so-limited-in-function device like this Dana. The bottom line POINT is - a full PC based at school at almost the same price is better than this $399 glorified address book/calculator. The kids with the PC's will be so much more ahead of kids with this POS.


RE: Why not get a REAL Computer for a mere $150 more?
ganoe @ 10/20/2002 11:00:37 AM #
> given the small price differential relative

There is no small price differential. Even the cheapest decent PC for school use would cost twice as much, and that's not including the huge system administration and maintenance costs. Add in limited classroom space, which makes laptops a better but less reliable solution, plus system administration and maintenance and you're probably talking 6x the cost or more.

RE: Why not get a REAL Computer for a mere $150 more?
Gekko @ 10/20/2002 11:42:42 AM #
>"huge (PC) system administration and maintenance costs"

This is a MYTH created by IT Departments in order to increase their budgets, staff, and importance/power within their specific organization. It's all BS.

RE: Why not get a REAL Computer for a mere $150 more?
ganoe @ 10/20/2002 12:20:51 PM #
> This is a MYTH created by IT Departments in order to increase their budgets,
> staff, and importance/power within their specific organization. It's all BS.

Schools don't have IT departments, barely a budget to buy computers, and any so called IT staff is typically one or two people for a whole school district.


RE: Why not get a REAL Computer for a mere $150 more?
nuopus @ 10/20/2002 1:36:34 PM #
>> It is not pointless. My POINT is that any school administrator who buys Danas rather than real PCs given the small price differential relative to the ENORMOUS differential in overall computing power should be immediately FIRED. I look at "BANG FOR THE BUCK" and the Dana at $399 ain't no bang for the buck!

Again ... you can't compare the two. Sure .. if you are looking for a computer you get a cheap one for like $400. But thats just it. If you are looking at the Dana you are NOT looking at buying a computer. You are looking at buying something that is portable enough to take with you in a backpack and not bulky enough to be hindering.

That is why I say you cant compare the two. Nobody in their right mind who is looking at getting a computer would get a Dana. They look for cheap computers. And nobody in their RIGHT MIND that is looking for a portable device would ever get a desktop computer.

RE: Why not get a REAL Computer for a mere $150 more?
rcartwright @ 10/20/2002 2:08:46 PM #
Gecko,

I think others have made the point about the need for ease of use and the need for a durable product (I don't see many milspec laptops for $550) One thing that I have not seen is the fact that $399.00 is retail. I suspect that Joe Sixpack school district will get a discount for a bulk order. Another thing, this could cut down on school supplies. I fully recognize that the paperless anything is a myth, but I can see beaming taking the place of handouts and some tests and quizzes for that matter.



Life is a great adventure or nothing.

RE: Why not get a REAL Computer for a mere $150 more?
Gekko @ 10/21/2002 10:03:55 AM #
This is 1996 technology and should be priced accordingly.

RE: Why not get a REAL Computer for a mere $150 more?
ganoe @ 10/21/2002 11:28:08 AM #
> This is 1996 technology and should be priced accordingly.

OK, well it would've cost at least $1200 in 1996, so make it $1200 then.

Of course, SDIO didn't exist in 1996, nor did USB, and IrDA was still barely in its infancy. Forget 30 hour battery life with a slim form and 2 pound weight as well.

RE: Why not get a REAL Computer for a mere $150 more?
melopsittacus @ 10/21/2002 11:59:20 AM #
Gekko,

I do have children in school. No "if," and I think that desktops with all the bells and whistles are a WASTE of MONEY for schools. I want my kids reading books. I want them learning how to apply the scientific method in real experiments (not simulated). I want them learning mathematics (you don't need MathCad until college, Gekko). And I want them to learn how to write and efficiently use their time. Having not seen the Dana, I am not going to laud it's necessity, but your attitude that fancy computers are a must for schools is unfounded and reminds me of dot.com bubble hype.

Being formerly in IT support for schools, I can also assure you that it is no "myth" that such support requires a big chunk of change year in and year out. I am no longer in IT so I don't have a reason to add to any hypothetical "myth." Just the facts. Once a school district invests heavily in computers, then they need continual computer training, updates, repairs and so on. You've got liability issues with regards to viruses. You've got headaches about advertisements appearing on computers. You've got sky-rocketing power bills, and for what gain exactly?

RE: Why not get a REAL Computer for a mere $150 more?
amflores @ 10/21/2002 12:06:07 PM #
Well, now it seems Joe Sixpack has become a School District Administrator, good for him.

Wonder what Average Jane is doing these days...

RE: Why not get a REAL Computer for a mere $150 more?
ganoe @ 10/21/2002 1:14:42 PM #
Actually, Joe Sixpack has a whole school district named after him. See the comment above.

> I suspect that Joe Sixpack school district will get a discount


RE: Why not get a REAL Computer for a mere $150 more?
Timothy Rapson @ 10/21/2002 7:36:51 PM #
When the Dana was announced several users came on PDA Buzz to say they had previous models of AlphaSmarts. They were happy campers and at least one paid only $200 for his model. So, there is some room to get them for less than list price.

The other thing that makes this hugely different from Dell Desktops for Schools is the power, room and complexity. I know a teacher who has had 12 brand new Imacs sitting in the back of his classroom unopened for over a year. He can't set them up as there is not enough electricity for them. He got them with some of Al Gores education "hook every classroom to the Internet" program. Free Imacs that never get used. Ever.

Not that this would necessarily have fixed that problem. They would have just bought 20 Danas instead of the 10 Imacs and not budgeted money for batteries. Or maybe someone would use them.

I don't think the real question is whether AlphaSmart will sell a fair number of these to schools. They have shown that they can do that with even their current models. The real question to me is whether other consumers will buy them.

RE: Why not get a REAL Computer for a mere $150 more?
alexp @ 10/22/2002 2:20:58 PM #
>>"Again ... you can't compare the two. Sure .. if you are looking for a computer you get a cheap one for like $400. But thats just it. If you are looking at the Dana you are NOT looking at buying a computer. You are looking at buying something that is portable enough to take with you in a backpack and not bulky enough to be hindering."<<

Thanks for a rational post that considers all aspects of the issue.

Gekko: you really need to give this up. It's like you're simply trying to be more forceful in an attempt to seem right just because people disagree with you. You seem really desperate.

I'm a teacher who also happens to work in technology. Let me assure you, there's NO "IT Department" at my school. I'm it. And I teach a full schedule while trying to handle tech duties with about 1 spare hour per day. This for a staff of over 200 teachers, administrators, and support staff. Power? I'm not sure what schools you're talking about, Gekko.

With that in mind, I would say the Dana might be a useful purchase for some of the applications at my school. Obviously, we wouldn't use them for a digital graphics class. But I know plenty of English teachers who would jump at the chance to have a portable lab of, let's say, 35 of these machines that could be used for pretty basic word processing. Machines they could check out to students overnight so they could complete assignments.

I'd like to see a lower price on it, or I'd like to see it with 16mb of memory and a built-in web browser. Plus, I think they should go ahead and LEAVE OUT the PIM apps, unless they see these as being issued to students over the long-term.

RE: Why not get a REAL Computer for a mere $150 more?
Chippsetter @ 5/30/2003 5:42:20 PM #
As someone who has a desktop, a laptop, a Palm 515 WITH the keyboard, my wife is looking at it for writing only. It is lightweight, keyboard is full sized and not set way back from the front edge, accepts her memory cards, writes in Word format, and syncs to her PC.

If Sony had released it - everyone would be all over it ...

Token User @ 10/19/2002 12:52:55 PM #
Look at it -

2 SD slots (how many peple bitch and moan about that one?)

2 REAL USB ports for attaching external devices.
No grafitti area.
Full size keyboard.
Rugged enough for throwing into a backpack and taking it to school.

This is NOT a desktop computer. This is NOT a replacement PDA. It is NOT intended to be a web browser. It has the type of apps included that make it a great device for the average high school student to use at their desk. When they get home, they can sync it up, and surf to their heats content.

A lot of people on this board need to get off their high horse about what PalmOS is all about. I wish Dana luck on this ... they have twelve months to sell schools on the concept before the 2003/2004 academic year starts.

[ Time to get off my own high horse and mosey into the bar for a well earned Sasparilla ... ]



~ "Don't be too proud of this technological terror you've constructed." - DV ~

RE: If Sony had released it - everyone would be all over it ...
stupidnewpolicy @ 10/19/2002 1:12:17 PM #
Let us not forget the various Windows CE "Laptop" models that were sold in years past. IBM had a WorkPad Z50? that was essentially a Windows CE ThinkPad.

There is a private high school in North Carolina that actually REQUIRES all high school students to own a PalmOS device (3.5 or greater) and to use it during class for tests and the like. This would be an ideal device for them to use during tests, or for note-taking during class to synch with their PDA at the end of class. Also great for checking your email just prior to leaving school without having to unpack your backpack.

http://www.fcds.org/news/Plain_Dealer_Palm_article.htm


Ick

RE: If Sony had released it - everyone would be all over it
asiayeah @ 10/19/2002 1:19:58 PM #
The device is indeed very interesting.

It has dual SD slots, that means one could add a wireless connection card and a memory card to it simultaneously.

It also has USB ports. I just wonder how many USB devices would have drivers for it. It would be cool if it supports a USB mouse, that would probably be the first Palm OS device with a mouse?

I just wonder how a standard Palm 160x160 application will look on it.

--
With great power comes great responsiblity.

RE: If Sony had released it - everyone would be all over it
asiayeah @ 10/19/2002 1:25:51 PM #
BTW, the device provides graffiti input,

On-screen Entry: On-screen entry uses Graffiti® in the WritePad area and can be configured for right- and left-handed users.

--
With great power comes great responsiblity.

RE: If Sony had released it - everyone would be all over it ...
Qube @ 10/19/2002 4:32:08 PM #
I had a Z50 and it was a great device. Instant on and all that jazz. It had a built in modem which was great for browsing. Excellent battery life... color 10" STN screen... lightweight. I even bought the memory expansion for it. I got it on Egghead.com.

This Palm unit might make it if there were some kind of screen protection.

"Palm Pilots"
OcellNuri @ 10/20/2002 1:04:34 PM #
http://www.fcds.org/news/Plain_Dealer_Palm_article.htm

That article is pretty interesting. As a senior in high school, in NC no less, I wish they would do something like this in my classes.

Though... why does the reporter still call them "Palm Pilots"? I would understand if it was written a year ago, but this was written this month. It will never end.

I had something like this once

KRamsauer @ 10/19/2002 1:21:02 PM #
I had a device like this once. It was great. I could schlep it anywhere I wanted and type. The batteries last forever and getting the text back to the computer was easy. I'm not sure how big the market is for this type of device (I didn't know anyone else who had the device I had) but for some people, this is going to be a wonderful little tool.

eMate 300

Ben S @ 10/19/2002 1:43:09 PM #
Does anyone remember the Apple eMate 300? It was a very clever little design based on Newton that reminds me greatly of the Dana. Of course, the eMate was too little, too late to save Newton, but Dana, riding high on the popularity of PalmOS and indeed of PalmOS handhelds in education (which are way more prevalent than Newtons were back in the day), is far more likely to be a success.

Heck, even I want one. No one could look at that screenshot of Quicksheet and *not* want one :-)

RE: eMate 300
hotpaw4 @ 10/19/2002 6:46:19 PM #
IIRC, an eMate cost 2.5 times as much as a Dana. The eMate was more powerful, but I expect a next-gen Data running OS 5 with an ARM CPU to catch up in performance, and still cost less than an eMate.
RE: eMate 300
pinetree74 @ 10/21/2002 9:49:08 AM #
This is exactly what I was thinking about when I saw it. I said "Wow, it looks a lot like the eMate."

I don't see how much of a market there is for a device like this. Apple ended up dropping the eMate (didn't it run the Newton OS?).

Here is a link to the eMate. It's a lot like this device.

http://www.everymac.com/systems/apple/messagepad/stats/emate_300.html

Eston Bond
CEO Pine Tree Software

RE: eMate 300
chet-a-box @ 10/23/2002 4:06:33 AM #
>>I don't see how much of a market there is for a device like this. Apple ended up dropping the eMate (didn't it run the Newton OS?). <<

AlphaSmart is not Apple, and I'm sure they did their homework to know there is a market for the Dana. What is the basis for your comment?



RE: eMate 300
Ben S @ 10/23/2002 10:12:15 AM #
AlphaSmart already has huge penetration into the education market (so did Apple back when the eMate was released, but not for the same type of equipment). The eMate was also something like 3 times more expensive than the Dana.

I think the Dana will soon be coming to a school near you.

Almost There

Timothy Rapson @ 10/19/2002 2:51:31 PM #
I have almost bought things like this so many times.

There are a half dozen companies that make them. Laser PC, Quikpad, etc.

It needed a color screen and a size reduction to 1 by 8.5 by 11 inches.

Now, it also needs OS 5.

But with those additions I would have paid $400 for it. As it is I just got a NR70V and would more likely just get a Stowaway for the Clie.

But, lots of companies, schools, and individual information workers will find uses for the Dana.

The big improvements it has over the old CE, proprietary, and Newton OS predecessors is that it has a huge software library.

RE: Almost There
EdH @ 10/20/2002 9:28:20 AM #
>Now, it also needs OS 5.

Why? What does OS5 give the end user that Sony, Handspring or Handera wasn't doing in OS4.x or even OS 3.5?

RE: Almost There
Timothy Rapson @ 10/21/2002 7:52:30 PM #
RE:"RE: Almost There
EdH @ 10/20/2002 9:28:20 AM

>Now, it also needs OS 5.

Why? What does OS5 give the end user that Sony, Handspring or Handera wasn't doing in OS4.x or even OS 3.5"

A future. Especially if they made it color. Several software companies have already announced OS 5 versions of their software, notably Acid Software. Sony has new full-screen versions of their stuff. With an OS 5 Dana one could swap files directly from the ....... oh bugger, there are the Memory Sticks vs MMC cards!

Seriously, I think we will see luscious new versions of most Palm suites, some amazing photo editing software, and web browsers that don't just clip text, but actually show web pages. Now, of all those things all I really do is word processing and photo manipulating, but many others do more. The new OS and it's access to the ARMS power will bring stuff that may surprise us all.


One important thing missing is built-in modem

I. M. Anonymous @ 10/19/2002 3:50:41 PM #
It would be much more appealing if dana is net ready out of box.

RE: One important thing missing is built-in modem
hotpaw4 @ 10/19/2002 6:21:07 PM #
Someone needs to go back into the business of making inexpensive small IR modems. I think the Psion/Diamond Mako's are on close-out. My cell phone has an IR modem, but then I'm using up plan minutes.
RE: One important thing missing is built-in modem
ganoe @ 10/21/2002 1:37:47 PM #
Pegasus III Infrared Modem: PP2I-5600B
http://www.3jtech.com/Pegasus.htm


nice form factor, lousy everything else

mj6798 @ 10/19/2002 4:12:25 PM #
At $399, it should have an ARM or embedded x86 chip and USB, possibly color. PalmOS is also not exactly the best OS to run for something with a keyboard--very few programs are written for that kind of environment. They would have been better off running DOS or Linux and running PalmOS emulated under that.

RE: nice form factor, lousy everything else
KRamsauer @ 10/19/2002 5:48:27 PM #
Wow, I couldn't think of anything worse for something that is supposed to be simple and easy to use. I don't think I'd like a second grader dealing with an OS emulator.

RE: nice form factor, lousy everything else
mj6798 @ 10/19/2002 9:04:42 PM #
"I don't think I'd like a second grader dealing with an OS emulator."

What's there to "deal with"? A well-implemented emulator is completely transparent.

The real question here is: what good is PalmOS for this? There is plenty of educational software for Apple II, DOS, Mac68k, even UNIX, software that could run great on a low-end device like this. But PalmOS?

RE: nice form factor, lousy everything else
KRamsauer @ 10/19/2002 9:35:19 PM #
I just don't see the added benefit of having one more OS in the unit. If it were a high-end unit, perhaps, but we all need to remember exactly toward whom this is aimed. Palm OS will work just fine.

RE: nice form factor, lousy everything else
mj6798 @ 10/20/2002 7:05:43 AM #
One OS is fine; I just think that PalmOS is about the worst OS you could pick for this kind of device or this kind of user community.

TRS-80 Model-100

hotpaw4 @ 10/19/2002 6:25:31 PM #
This seems like a great TRS-80 Model-100 replacement. Full size keyboard that doesn't require unfolding/fiddling. No waiting for boot-up. No moving parts (except the keycaps). Much more rugged than a laptop. (But travelling journalists will need to carry in addition a IR equipped cell phone or pocket modem.)

How much was a Model-100 brand new? 3 lbs., 8-bit CPU, 300 baud modem and 48k of memory? (and software personally written by Mr. Bill Gates.)

RE: TRS-80 Model-100
Timothy Rapson @ 10/19/2002 8:56:30 PM #
Yes, the model-100 is the one that made all these devices legitimate. I wonder why Radio Shack kept trying model update after model update when the originals sold used for more than any of the Model-100 wannabes sold for.

There have been lots of them, but the Model 100 was about the only one that sold substantially outside the schools. Too bad, I wanted one for the longest time, and would have paid $400 for the Dana......three years ago.

RE: TRS-80 Model-100
bcombee @ 10/19/2002 10:03:18 PM #
If I remember correctly, the original Model 100 was updated to the Model 102, which was the same box, but more memory. Later, they replaced it with the model 200 and the WP-2

Cool fact: The Model 100/102 were originally created by Kyocera in Japan, and sold rebranded here in the US. Their software was developed by Microsoft. It is rumored that the BASIC for this device was the last big application that Bill Gates worked on as the primary developer. Kyocera is now a Palm OS licensee with their 6035 and 7135 smartphones, which are sold through many places, including Radio Shack stores.

Lots of fun Model 100 info at http://www.club100.org/index.html. The Dana looks to be the spiritual successor to this, running a much faster chip, with a much better OS.

--
Ben Combee, CodeWarrior for Palm OS technical lead
Programming help at www.palmoswerks.com

RE: TRS-80 Model-100
vvirtuous @ 10/20/2002 7:58:21 PM #
I still have my Model-100. One thing I liked about it was the full sized comfortable keyboard. I considered using it for note taking but the lack of a convenient sync function would be a stumbling block. Now if I could get a Dana for $250 and do syncs with it, and if the keyboard is as nice as the Model-100, I think that would be a great use for the device. (I got tired REAL QUICK of doing note-taking on a Treo-270 keyboard :).

Timex Sinclair 1000

sandbuck @ 10/19/2002 9:21:39 PM #
This little unit makes me think of the old TS 1000 anybody remember that "PC"? If it reaches a pricepoint of $199, it should sell well. $399 is steep for all but the most well off high schoolers.

Timex Sinclair 1000 - A memorium
orb2069 @ 10/20/2002 1:08:56 PM #
...I remember buying one for $100 when they came out, and learning BASIC and Z80 assembler on it...
...And I remember when they were selling for $20 with a free 16k expansion pack two years later.
...And I remember seeing one in a pawn shop last week - The guy wanted $5 for it, which was IMO, highway robbery. :)

My, how technology changes.

Palms in Education

robman @ 10/19/2002 9:37:32 PM #
As someone who has worked in Palm education research for several years, I can tell you that this product is very well designed for it's target market: elementary and junior high schools. These are enviornments where hardware needs to be tough and durable with a lifecycle of five to seven *years*. AlphaSmart is not the new kid on the block, either. The Dana is a natural evolutionary step in their long line of AlphaSmart word-processing tools, which they started building long before the Palm OS---back 1993.

Schools have been struggling with the problem of how to include computers as part of the curriculum since the 1980's. Until recently, the only real issue was cost---now, security and privacy are stepping up in importance. A product like the Dana is remarkably inexpensive for schools, not because of it's price tag (which is admittedly steep) but because of it's low maintenece costs. I would venture that most AlphaSmart's (Dana and all her precursors) will have passed from student to student for five or six years before any technology support staff has to perform any mainteneance whatsoever.

As versitile and powerful as desktop computers and laptops are, the cost to maintain them is enormous, and it's even larger among young users who tend to treat them a little more roughly. How many times have you had to reinstall your PalmOS? How many times have drivers for your peripherals suddenly stopped working and to be reinstalled? How many times has your Palm crashed (when you weren't running beta software or writing your own apps)? How many times have you lost critical data on your Palm inexplicably? These things just don't happen with the same frequency on Palms as they do on PC's. That represents a real advantage of the Dana over a laptop.

Everything about the AlphaSmart line, combined with core functions of the Palm like the PIM apps and eBooks, makes the Dana ideal for school markets. I predict, that with the right marketing campaign and good software support from the educational community, that the Dana will become one the most successful Palm OS devices ever produced.


Palm Researcher at the University of Texas at Austin
http://www.edb.utexas.edu/petrosino/pda

RE: Palms in Education
ska @ 10/19/2002 10:10:19 PM #
Cybeko does the same for $99. Even m100 with foldable keyboard are better than this. at $399 it can ony fly in rich suburban elementary school. But than again they all got laptop already.
RE: Palms in Education
asiayeah @ 10/20/2002 9:37:12 AM #
$399 maybe it a bit high. But this device has a wide-screen, dual SD slots and USB interfaces. The USB interface is so good for printing to a USB printer.


--
With great power comes great responsiblity.

RE: Palms in Education
timewaster77 @ 10/20/2002 12:10:59 PM #
I guess my school is from a rich suburban area because I am sure my school will buy these. However my school isn't foolish to waste it's money on laptops. There is no need for them, primarly we use computers for word processing and spreadsheet programs. Of course we also have computer labs when people needed to do more complex things like programming languages and slideshows. AlphaSmarts have never been designed for the general audience. They very well might be targeting rich suburban school and if they think they can make money doing so good luck to them.

Happy Sony Clie User
RE: Palms in Education
hoodoo @ 10/21/2002 9:06:33 AM #
Hey Mr. Palm Educator,

it's = it is
its = possessive

Alphasmarts = plural
Alphasmart's = possessive

Sorry, I couldn't pass up a comment on this; these grammatical errors are far too common!!

BTW, I love the idea of 160*560 screen. Using a spreadsheet on a 160*160 screen is brutal!!

RE: Palms in Education
asiayeah @ 10/21/2002 11:37:55 AM #
Now, it would be even better if Dana's AlphaWord provides a grammar checker as well. ;-)

Tony

--
With great power comes great responsiblity.

New Trend?

Midknyte @ 10/19/2002 10:05:20 PM #
"...and two SD/MMC slots."

Two SD slots in a Palm device, a Palm branded device no less. Here's hoping that this is a trend and not an anomaly!

RE: New Trend?
Bartman007 @ 10/21/2002 3:24:13 AM #
Just because a product is sold on the Palm website does NOT mean it is Palm branded.

-Bartman007

RE: New Trend?
Midknyte @ 10/21/2002 2:22:00 PM #
Good point. I glossed over that in my joy over the dual SD slots...

This looks great for clinical work

devildoc @ 10/19/2002 9:56:50 PM #
With 2 SD slots you could have memory [5MCC, DR Drugs, 5MEC, PEPID,patient notes.....] _and_ a wireless connection.

The Dana has better screen dimensions [I'd like to take a baseball bat to the idiots who decided on the PalmOS screen factors], doesn't take two days to boot [MacOS, Wintel] a built-in keyboard, sturdy design [wonder if it will hold up to some kid ralphing on it?], probably fairly good battery life [3 AA vice, my 4 AAAs], and can fit into my labcoat pocket.

It needs to come down in price though. <=$299 would be about right.

I'd like to see a PalmOS device [not necessarily from Palm, Inc.] that has the screen resolution of my circa 1993 Newton 110. It would be a step in the right direction for commercial PalmOS use. [the other thing would be inductrial design, are Sony/HandEra/Palm devices flimsy or what?]

BTW, I didn't see in the Palm.com description 2 USB ports.

RE: This looks great for clinical work
bcombee @ 10/19/2002 11:34:44 PM #
The device has two ports. One is a slave connection to allow the device to connect to a PC, while the other allows it to connect to USB printers. It comes with a version of PrintBoy that's been modified to support most common USB printer types, so you can just hook up your HP or Epson and directly print from AlphaWord.

--
Ben Combee, CodeWarrior for Palm OS technical lead
Programming help at www.palmoswerks.com
RE: This looks great for clinical work
chet-a-box @ 10/21/2002 11:03:20 PM #
Quote:
"The Dana has better screen dimensions [I'd like to take a baseball bat to the idiots who decided on the PalmOS screen factors], doesn't take two days to boot [MacOS, Wintel] a built-in keyboard, sturdy design [wonder if it will hold up to some kid ralphing on it?], probably fairly good battery life [3 AA vice, my 4 AAAs], and can fit into my labcoat pocket."

The test reports indicate 25 hours' battery life with the backlight on.

At 1.9" H x 12.4 " W x 9.3" D, I doubt the Dana can fit into your labcoat pocket. :)


$299 would be the number for me!
chrisabraham @ 12/28/2002 10:58:56 PM #
I would totally get the Dana if it were just under $300.

Direct link

achitnis @ 10/20/2002 2:09:56 AM #
RE: Direct link
jeffmwknight @ 10/21/2002 11:30:03 AM #
Here is the direct link at AlphaSmart also with data sheet and more specs....

http://www.alphasmart.com/products/dana_overview.html

RE: Direct link
jeffmwknight @ 10/21/2002 11:35:17 AM #
Also, here is a link to the Dana Product sheet.

http://www.alphasmart.com/pdf/dana_by_alphasmart.pdf

Pricing, performance, etc...

orb2069 @ 10/20/2002 1:09:53 PM #
I don't think comparing this to a laptop is valid - Just about the only thing the two have in common is a keyboard. The comparison to a TRS80 Model 100 is probably a lot closer to reality - A Model 100 that can use modern peripherals, and has access to a great majority of the PalmOS software, including the various print-to-IR programs.

As far as performance, I imagine that this thing is better by several orders of magnitudes as far as ruggedness and battery life are concerned. The only thing I can see here that the e-mate had over this was keyboard protection. (And hopefully the PalmOS was a little less confusing/cryptic than the OS on the e-mate I spent a week with last year.)

Personally, I've often thought near-modern design on laptops was kind of retarded. Who cares about DVD/Firewire/32bit color depth/graphic engine if you have to plug it into the wall every two hours? I thought the whole point of having a portable computer was that it be PORTABLE? To me, carrying around a power supply/extra batteries/cables/other crap makes it LESS portable, not more.

I think they've got a decent idea. If they package it with QuickOffice, or some other MS-Office(ugh) interface, it should be truly groovi.

RE: Pricing, performance, etc...
asiayeah @ 10/21/2002 11:34:15 AM #
> If they package it with QuickOffice, or some other MS-Office(ugh) interface, it should be truly groovi.

They do package the device with QuickOffice, which also has been modified to work on the wide-screen.

Tony

--
With great power comes great responsiblity.

Why is this being sold through Palm?

Scott R @ 10/20/2002 3:47:29 PM #
I can understand mention of this on the PalmSource site, but why would Palm's [mostly] hardware division be selling this directly? Seems a bit odd.

Scott

RE: Why is this being sold through Palm?
I. M. Anonymous @ 10/20/2002 8:22:15 PM #
well, they can get commissions and dana has no interest conflicts with them. I don't think anyone who want to buy a Palm handheld would consider dana.

RE: Why is this being sold through Palm?
KRamsauer @ 10/21/2002 12:11:03 AM #
Additionally, I bet some kind of agreement was signed before the split (back when Palm Solutions had a stake in seeing PalmSource succeed).

Developer Tools

potter @ 10/21/2002 10:38:28 AM #
For those who may want to adapt their applications to support the Dana: Has anyone found a source for Dana development tools, specifically a version of POSE that emulates this device and ROM images?

RE: Developer Tools
jeffmwknight @ 10/21/2002 11:40:49 AM #
RE: Developer Tools
ganoe @ 10/21/2002 7:51:14 PM #
I e-mailed AlphaSmart, and the response said, "There will be an SDK released soon."


this vs. normal palm + keyboard

kisrael @ 10/21/2002 12:27:57 PM #
Back in college (92-96), I took notes on some primitive machines...mostly this one Tandy....not as old school as teh 100, but it had no hard drive, just a 720 floppy, a decent b+w CGA screen (comparable in quality to first gen palms) and a good text processor hardwired in, so the lack of hardrive wasn't a problem when I could boot and be typing in about 5 seconds. (Later I got a 486 b+w laptop with a trackball so I could take notes w/ pictures in Win 3.1 "Write" plus paintbrush...a pretty powerful combo actually!)

But still, I'm not sure if this is much better than, say, my current Palm IIIc plus one of those folding keyboards. Yes, it has more screen real estate, and therefore is a much bette canidate for word processing, but still, since there's a tradeoff that you don't have a seperate PDA to put in your pocket...

I wonder, did my circa-1998 "dream app" for Palm ever get written, a progrm that lets you type and doodle graphical notes in the same document? (even if the 'doodles' were trapped in little embedded boxes). I've seen programs that kind of let you link sketches and documents, but that's not the same...

RE: this vs. normal palm + keyboard
Timothy Rapson @ 10/21/2002 9:06:21 PM #
There are a number of programs that do what you are asking about without mixing the actual text and graphics pages, but so far as I know there is none that does it completely as the Psion Epoc RevoPlus (actually rebranded as a Diamond Mako) I had did.

There is a program from TealDoc called TealNote (I think) that allows you to create and place a note in about any text program (WordSmith for instance). It will even link to TealPaint to allow you to use all the graphics features of that powerhouse.

But, if you want to mix editable drawings on the same page as text and manipulate them with fonts and such. Well, you can't even do that on a 400 MZ PPC yet. TextWare has a new word processort that may allow it next month, but as of right now. No, not even on PPC.
This may not be the place to discuss this at length. You might think of doing it on a PPC with Pocket Artist. But, that is not really a word processing program.

And I wonder why my 16 MZ Mako allowed this when no other PDA really does. If you really want to mix graphics in word processing files on a sub-notebook, Psion sells a small clamshell notebook through what is left of their hardware company, Tellegenix (sp.)

Whew, that was an odd diversion.

RE: this vs. normal palm + keyboard
Timothy Rapson @ 10/21/2002 9:20:00 PM #
Actually, rereading your post on mixing text with graphics even if they were in little boxes is exactly what TealNote does. So, I guess, yes, Palm OS did get there.

(I don't really like the way the software doesn't allow you to read from the original message or edit you post. oh well.)

RE: this vs. normal palm + keyboard
kisrael @ 10/22/2002 10:08:13 AM #
Huh, that's interesting...

Is there a corresponding desktop application?
Anyway to get to the images from your PC?

RE: this vs. normal palm + keyboard
Timothy Rapson @ 10/23/2002 1:25:00 PM #
I am certain that there is a sync portal for TealPaint to your desktop, but I don't know if the notes sync. Their web site is tealpoint.com

If you really wanted to do it right, you would get TealDOc, TealPaint, and Teal Note and then you should be able to do it all from there.

There is a new program out this week from overseas called PowerNote that is also designed to do exactly what you used to want. It is $20 and they don't offer a trial. I don't care to risk that much on a program that could be worthless for all I know.

DiddleBug and WordSmith work great for me. But DiddleBug does not sync so far as I can tell, so you can't work with them on the desktop.

Missing the point

Braja @ 10/21/2002 3:26:35 PM #
I think what makes this device appealing for schools is compelling:
1) Price. Even $150 less than the competition is considerable for institutional sales. And it is more like $450 less if you consider a laptop as an option.
2) Simplicity. It will perform the basic functions students need for writing papers and scientific calculations without the complexity of a desktop computer.
3) Durability. If the OS does crash, you can simply hard-reset the unit to restore full functionality.
4) Weight. 2 lbs is a lot more likely to be easily carried by 9 year olds around town.
5) Flexibility. The connectivity options are scalable: The teacher could simply beam the assignments from another Palm device, you could have a computer ho hotsync, or you could use Bluetooth cards or some similar network technology. My point is that it would be viable with different levels of infrastructure, from the minimalist to integrated networking.

I really do think this is a good device for grade school kids. It's a solution that even the teacher could maintain without much technical help.

RE: Missing the point
Don MacG @ 10/21/2002 4:04:17 PM #
Couldn't agree more!
RE: Missing the point
Braja @ 10/21/2002 8:33:32 PM #
I forgot to mention the flexibility of the 30 hours of battery power.

If I was in school, college even, I think it would be best to have something like this to take with me, and then that $650 desktop PC that has been mentioned. Total just over a grand, with a lot of flexibility and performance. That setup makes sense.

People seem to forget that Palm OS-devices really are pretty powerful computers when you consider everything. I bet these things would be great for doctor's offices and for clinics in third world countries. The 'clipboard' idea actually looks worthwhile. The amount of data that you could collect is far greater than with a regular Palm, and the added screen space makes spreadsheets and word processing really viable.

I wonder if communication peripherals and a web browser/mail solution are being considered. EudoraWeb/E-Mail would work well with this if modified for the screen.

Could USB modems or ethernet adaptors work? Hmm...

I think this is the type of computing device the world needs, something that has simplicity and environmental economy beyond 4-hour battery life. It won't replace my Powerbook, but it would be better for my kid than a Powerbook.

RE: Missing the point
ganoe @ 10/23/2002 9:10:33 AM #
> Could USB modems or ethernet adaptors work? Hmm...

There's a post on their website that implies there will be support for certain USB modems within a couple months. I hope they decide to add wired Ethernet support as well.

Since they got support from HandEra doing the large display, they should've licensed their CF card support as well and had one CF and one SD slot. It would have given them a lot more options for expansion, out of the box. Plus, I wouldn't be surprised if CF expansions are slightly more power efficient than their USB counterparts.


RE: Missing the point
Braja @ 10/23/2002 8:30:58 PM #
CF and SD: That would have been brilliant. If you could use the CF 802.11b cards, that would have been quite a flexible machine.

dana as a research tool

questionfear @ 10/21/2002 4:27:43 PM #
I was thinking about this in class today (i got bored, too dark in the room, too many econ graphs...) and i think the dana has a lot of potential for assignments and such, not only in the classroom but out of it. Teachers could beam assignments, or could arrange for students to pick up readings from the library through either infrared, bt, or even sd cards. It would make reserved readings and copying from things like encyclopedias much faster, and insure that a student could take home the article s/he needs without having to run a copy machine, etc. I think ti would even work on the college level, although my university has implemented electronic reserves as an option for non-textbook readings.
Still, you see the idea.
And, i wonder what the cost-effectiveness of one of these is over time...like, using a dana to transfer articles vs keeping a copy machine stocked and running...its a matter of the initial 399 investment versus maitenance on a machine that needs to be available for students...not that dana could replace them entirely, but certianly make that one extra one unnecessary. And speaking as a former student government kid, copy ink is expensive and difficult to deal with...copiers are much more finicky than palm os.
--carly

RE: dana as a research tool
I. M. Anonymous @ 10/22/2002 1:00:17 AM #
for that purpose, 8M is not enough

RE: dana as a research tool
chet-a-box @ 10/22/2002 1:18:10 AM #
You can always use the two expansion slots that come with the Dana. Pop in a couple of 128MB SD or MMC cards, and you have a total of 264MB storage. More than enough, I'd say.


All it needs is a floppy drive

Alslayer @ 10/21/2002 6:20:07 PM #
Basiclly what i said in title.

RE: All it needs is a floppy drive
Braja @ 10/21/2002 8:24:01 PM #
I think the SD card slots more than compensate. And small documents can be beamed.

RE: All it needs is a floppy drive
bcombee @ 10/23/2002 2:45:03 AM #
It does have a master USB port, so it looks like it should be possible to hook up a USB floppy drive to it, although the unit just comes with USB printer drivers right now. The SDK doesn't include information on writing USB drivers that use the host interface, but AlphaSmart may supply this information to parties that contact them directly.

One thing you may not know -- the device can act like a USB keyboard as well. If you need to upload a document to a PC, you can hook it up, run the keyboard emulator, and have it "type" your documents to the PC. This is a feature it shared with the earlier AlphaSmart 3000 device.

--
Ben Combee, CodeWarrior for Palm OS technical lead
Programming help at www.palmoswerks.com

RE: All it needs is a floppy drive
mrscarey @ 10/23/2002 7:55:24 PM #
What do you want a floppy drive for?

Floppy Disk capacity = 1.44 MB
SD Card capacity = 8.00 MB

USB Floppy disk drive= big bucks
SD Card = small bucks
SD Card Reader = small bucks

Hmmmm - not studying economics then?


mrscarey

palmist and visionary

Most of you do not get it

rw @ 10/22/2002 10:30:41 AM #
I'm amazed at the incredible posts in this thread. Most of you sound so critical, like you know everything about how anyone would want to use a device like Dana.

1. Dana is a product name. The Dana is made by AlphaSmart, Inc. which also makes a product called the AlphaSmart 3000.

2. I'd bet serious money that most of you would have been incredibly critical of the AlphaSmart when it first appeared (simple battery operated keyboard for writing) talking about Radio Shack model 100 and Timex Sinclair, etc. Well, there are over a million AlphaSmarts in the world. They are used by students, writers, journalists, and other professionals. I'm not saying this gives AlphaSmart, Inc. a crystal ball on which devices will fly but it gives them maybe a tad more credibility than many of you.

3. As some of you have noted, they decided on Palm OS for Dana because there's already an established software base for it and Palm OS devices are starting to show up in schools.

Given the number of you who use Stowaway or other keyboards on your PDAs and the number of people who choose to write with an AlphaSmart (full size keyboard) over a PDA the Dana is an interesting product that may fill a need. We don't know yet, it just started shipping.

4. I've spent some time with the Dana and I can tell you this:

- its sturdier than any PDA I know of (you can drop it from 4 feet)

- The Dana keyboard is quite nice for touch typing. Better in fact than an AlphaSmart.

- As a Palm/Stowaway user, I can tell you that you must have a flat surface to use a folding keyboard and they are fragile (cool engineering though). Dana can be put on a knee, on the ground, on any surface to type. This is very meaningful and a real difference if you plan to use a keyboard for text entry rather than a stylus or your computer and a sync. If you only occasionally use a keyboard with a PDA than maybe Dana is not for you. However, how do you know the reason you don't use a keyboard with a PDA more isn't because the Stowaway is so fragile and can't be used everywhere?

- AlphaSmart has modified many of the core Palm apps to take advantage of the wider screen and are releasing the new screen API to the developer community in the next week.

5. Will I toss my G4 out the window to use Dana full time? No and I doubt many of you have tossed your computers even though you use PDAs. However, there is a need as many of you have noted for a product that falls in between a PDA and a computer. Some folks see less expensive laptops like iBooks or cheap Windows machines filling that niche and for some that may be the answer (the state of Maine, for instance) but for others Dana will be an interesting alternative.

5. AlphaSmart, Inc. is not a backwater company; it's an incredibly well run company with some very smart, well connected folks at the helm. They do get it, whether or not Dana flies. They already have a very successful product as proof.

Give the product a chance. Many of you sound like you're worried it might prove successful and you might want one.

AlphaSmart 3000

chet-a-box @ 10/22/2002 8:16:55 PM #
>>With that in mind, I would say the Dana might be a useful purchase for some of the applications at my school. Obviously, we wouldn't use them for a digital graphics class. But I know plenty of English teachers who would jump at the chance to have a portable lab of, let's say, 35 of these machines that could be used for pretty basic word processing. Machines they could check out to students overnight so they could complete assignments.<<

alexp

You may want to check out the AlphaSmart 3000 for the uses mentioned above. It's from the same company that makes the Dana, and is meant specifically for writing. It's also cheaper, and many schools and libraries use it in the same way you suggested - allowing students and library users to check it out overnight.

There's a loaner programme available to let you try it out before deciding to buy. There are also discounts to schools for bulk purchases. Plus a Community Centre discussion board at the web site so you can read about what other schools and libraries have used it for, as well as ask any questions.

The loaner programme info is here:
http://www.alphasmart.com/ordering/evaluation.html

The Community Centre Board is here:
http://www1.alphasmart.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi


nytimes circuits article about alphasmart and new dana

elpgrrrl @ 12/31/2002 2:14:13 PM #
this article is currently on the website, dated, 12/26/2002.

for more information on the dana, see:
http://makeashorterlink.com/?I37D21CE2



Top

Account

Register Register | Login Log in
user:
pass: