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Comments on: Palm OS 5 Interview With David Fedor of PalmSource

PalmInfocenter Palm OS 5 Inverview There's a lot of excitement in the Palm User Community and Developer Community about the release of the next generation of devices running Palm OS5 on ARM processors, and there are also a lot of questions.

We're very pleased to have David Fedor, the Director of Developer Architecture and Disclosure and one of the most senior programmers at PalmSource Inc., here to enlighten us and answer questions about Palm OS 5 and the future direction of the Palm OS.

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Arrrrrgh, blue text!

stickboy @ 12/21/2002 4:09:36 PM #
Blue text is known to be poorly suited for reading. Due to the way receptors in the eye are laid out, humans can't focus on blue as well as other colors.

In the future, using bold/non-bold (or non-italicized/italicized) text for the questions/answers would be much easier on the eyes.

RE: Arrrrrgh, blue text!
skeezix @ 12/21/2002 4:51:12 PM #
Of course humans are terrible at reading italics (especially those with aging eyes). Course, humans aren't very smart..99% of text is black on white, which is generallty regarded as one of the worst combinations ever. (High contrast leads to eye strain, especially on light based delivery. At least with newsprint the paper is not really white per se). Heck, if any of us had half a clue we'd be using white on brown or white on blue or some useful display scheme.. but humans are stupid :)

jeff

The Shadow knows!

I have to agree that the blue text is terrible
I. M. Anonymous @ 12/21/2002 5:34:47 PM #
it is very hard to focus!

RE: Arrrrrgh, blue text!
Admin @ 12/21/2002 5:38:41 PM #
OK, I will change it...
RE: Arrrrrgh, blue text!
Ben C @ 12/23/2002 3:38:19 AM #
jeff: you could highlight the text. Blue or black on white becomes white on blue.

-Ben

Palm OS5.1 & 5.2

MDNY @ 12/21/2002 4:35:48 PM #
Since the split of the two companies it makes one wonder is there a gentlemens agreement for Palm Soultions to get access on par when they were owned?

Palm Solutions will need to get moving since they had oS5.1 for sometime, didn't release it and this ties directly into the downsampling issue and no MP3 from Real.

With OS6 coming out the TT better be upgradeable or I will drop them and wait for Dell to come out with Palm OS devices, at least they will be better, faster & CHEAPER.

RE: Palm OS5.1 & 5.2
bcombee @ 12/21/2002 5:02:27 PM #
I know from personal experience in talking with both Palm Solutions Group and PalmSource that they have taken this split very seriously. There is a very strong well of separation betweem the two groups, and I think that is helping grwo the credibility of PalmSource as an independent resource in the eyes of the licensees,

--
Ben Combee, CodeWarrior for Palm OS technical lead
Programming help at www.palmoswerks.com
RE: Palm OS5.1 & 5.2
anniemoss @ 12/26/2002 8:53:42 AM #
I think it really's sad that the licensees cannot clearly tell us whether the TT is upgradable to OS6. I mean c'mon, the question begs a binary response - either a "yes" or a "no". Silence merely leaves one to assume the worst. What bad PR.

Great interview!

Massman82 @ 12/21/2002 4:58:28 PM #
Thanks PIC and thanks David!

It is very nice to know that things are moving steadilly and that PalmSource employees visit this site!

Roman Pedan
Palm V/Vx
Will get a Palm OS 5 handheld

RE: Great interview!
bcombee @ 12/21/2002 5:05:12 PM #
Agreed! David is always a good person with which to talk; the efforts of him and his team in the Palm OS development community are well-known I doubt there's been a serious developer for Palm OS who hasn't been helped at some time or another by his developer support organization.

If you want more good info on Palm OS 5, I'd recommend reading Fedor's talk slides from PalmSource 2002. All of the talks are posted at http://www.palmsource.com/about/events/expo/2002/postdev.html

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

RE: Great interview!
Massman82 @ 12/21/2002 5:36:45 PM #
The only thing I will ask for is that OS 6 is on time or early.

I have emailed some developers that develop for only the Pocket PC platform and asked for them to port some of their software. A majority said that they are waiting for OS 6 to be released.
If this is the case, then many Pocket PC titles will find their ways into Palm owners hands hopefully next August!

Roman Pedan
Palm V/Vx
Will get a Palm OS 5 handheld

RE: Great interview!
gfunkmagic @ 12/21/2002 9:36:55 PM #
Great interview!! Very imformative!!! Good job PIC!

RE: Great interview!
funngunn2 @ 12/21/2002 11:00:11 PM #
One word: Awesome!

This is an amazing interview that answered most(if not all) of my questions and cleared up a lot of things about OS 5. I can't wait to get an OS 5 device!!

Keep up the great work PalmSource and PIC!!

RE: Great interview!
helf @ 12/22/2002 12:28:49 AM #
woah!That was a great interview! Answered a lot of my questions.

RE: Great interview!
TDS Computer @ 12/22/2002 1:37:28 AM #
Originally posted by Massman82
"I have emailed some developers that develop for only the Pocket PC platform and asked for them to port some of their software. A majority said that they are waiting for OS 6 to be released.
If this is the case, then many Pocket PC titles will find their ways into Palm owners hands hopefully next August!"

GREAT! At that time we will have another 50 or so useful Pocket-PC ported applications to add to the 15,000+ applications we already have! :)

Visit us at www.tdscomputer.com

RE: Great interview!
Schorsch @ 12/22/2002 6:10:26 AM #
funnqunn2,

You write:This is an amazing interview that answered most(if not all) of my questions and cleared up a lot of things about OS 5. I can't wait to get an OS 5 device!!

How do expect to get an OS5 device! If you have problems to get one, probably you should put five or six hunded Dollars in you pocket, walk in an Comp USA or BestBuy etc. shop, give to the cashier your dollars, and than - you will walk out with an OS5 device!!!!!! Itīs just such easy!!!! :-)

You will have an great X.mas day, with playing OS5


Georg

RE: Great interview!
mashby @ 12/22/2002 11:41:54 PM #
Nice job Dan. Good interview.

Michael T. Ashby
Director
InterPUG
http://www.interpug.com
RE: Great interview!
kempokaraterulz @ 12/23/2002 12:25:30 PM #
as always quite excellent!

_______________________________________
http://kempokaraterulz.ip2dns.org/
___________________

Wow, do you feel special? Do you want a cookie?

Money can't buy you happiness but it does bring you a more pleasant form of misery.

RE: Great interview!
Palm_Otaku @ 12/24/2002 4:57:03 AM #
Thanks folks :)

And again a HUGE Thank You to David, who wrote his responses on his flights to and from China just before the holidays!

Have a great holidays all!

Dan

bogosity alert

mj6798 @ 12/22/2002 2:12:29 AM #
The spin on "it's not an emulator" is worthy of some of the more sleazy politicians we have. Of course, it's an emulator: most application code is expressed 68k code not native ARM code, and that makes it an emulator, in the same way that Virtual PC for the Mac is a PC emulator.

In any case, that's not the worst about Palm OS 5. The worst is that it has still the same primitive APIs as Palm OS 4: a non-existent window system, hard coded sets of resolutions, severe limitations on file storage, severe limitations on memory access, etc. Even if you could write native ARM applications more easily, the OS really makes writing more high-end applications a huge chore.

Palm OS 5 is a mostly useless stop-gap measure. And while the Tungsten hardware looks nice, its limited memory means that it will likely be useless for future versions of Palm OS. If Palm doesn't shape up and deliver a decent, modern set of APIs with Palm OS 6 soon, I think they are finished.

RE: bogosity alert
asiayeah @ 12/22/2002 2:34:21 AM #
Fair enough. But still with the current Palm OS API, developers are still enable to create so many useful applications, e.g. many networking and multi-media applications are already available on the Palm OS platform.

Of course, the latest ARM hardware is still not 100% leveraged until with a more modern set of API and OS 6. Nevertheless, the future is positive and PalmOS is moving in the right direction.

--
With great power comes great responsiblity.

RE: bogosity alert
helf @ 12/22/2002 10:01:29 AM #
troll...

RE: bogosity alert
Gekko @ 12/22/2002 1:45:24 PM #
mj6798 - nice, honest comments. thanks.


RE: bogosity alert
Eric S @ 12/22/2002 4:54:15 PM #
I want to state up front that this isn't an attack, because it could be construed as one. While I think you're overstating the issue, I can see your point.

Do you work in the Tech industry? I do, and I can explain Palms reasoning. Trust me, every company "spins" to this degree, thanks to the dumbing down of America and internet rumor mongers.

Quite often corporate policy dictates that unless you're talking to technical people under an NDA, you don't give answers that the majority of people wouldn't understand, and unfortunately that pretty much limits you to "yes" or "no" when discussing technical details. If you don't answer this way, someone else will "interpret" your answer this way. Even tech-literate magazines publish articles with statements in them that offend the people that the article is about, because in boiling down statements made to feed to the masses, important points get dropped, misconstrued, or otherwise twisted, even if the original interviewer got the idea. The reason for this is if you try to answer a technical question in precise terms, quite often the listeners eyes will glass over long before the explanation is done. I'm not allowed to talk to anyone but the technical departments of our customers at work, for precicely this reason. I don't give yes/no answers, I explain why the question can't be answered with yes or no.

From an engineering standpoint, the answer to this question could in fact be yes or no if those are the only options allowed, as from an engineer's point of view emulation commonly implies hardware emulation, possibly even circuit emulation. Old school EE people would say that if you're not emulating to the circuit/microcode level, you're only simulating. There isn't any emulated hardware on the PalmOS5 units. Second, PalmOS5 itself is pure native ARM code. This is why most hacks don't work. Even in application space, they're not emulating the dragonball, just that portion of the instruction set that applies to user space. Do people make issue out of the fact that JavaVM implementations are emulating some fictional CPU? If you asked Sun if they're doing emulation, they'd say no. The only difference is that the Sun JVM targets a virtual machine that at least originally didn't exist, whereas PACE targets a instruction set that's been around for over 20 years in hardware. The line between emulation and simulation isn't fine, it's grey and wide.

Now, what it mean to a typical non-tech person if Palm said "Yes, we're emulating." It would mean "Oh, no, it's going to be slow and buggy!" I can assure you that it isn't. I've got a few games that I registered that are quite playable on older 66Mhz dragonball PDAs, but on my NX60, are so fast that they were unplayable. Aside from hacks and programs that violated PalmOS programming standards, my NX60 is compatible with more programs than my PalmOS 3.5 HandEra 330. Admit it, there were technically savy people that prior to the release of real PalmOS5 PDAs were claiming that the PalmOS5 PDAs were going to be slower, sometimes even much slower, than existing PalmOS PDAs. That has turned out not to be the case.

They could have said "There is some emulation happening." This would get filtered down to the masses as "Yes."

Instead, they said "no" which while not 100% technically accurate, is at least as accurate as saying "yes" without giving detractors who aren't going to bother checking the facts more ammunition. This is not an accusation that you fall into that catagory either.

I remember a time when companies sent technical people to COMDEX and I could get actual hard information out of people. I haven't bothered going to COMDEX in years because of this effect, since most companies don't send anything but sales people any more (with the possible exception of someone to work behind the scenes in case a demo fails).

RE: bogosity alert
ska @ 12/22/2002 6:00:07 PM #
lol. so much for direct answer.

(YES....PACE is a BIG FAT emulator)

RE: bogosity alert
sr @ 12/22/2002 6:35:32 PM #
Emulator or not, it's quite pointless arguing about it. You cannot compare it to VirtualPC example since the two do very different things. The proof is in the pudding, and let me tell you - it tastes sweet! :)
I think Palm delivered backward compatibility beyond what I expected.

RE: bogosity alert
Palm_Otaku @ 12/22/2002 11:16:52 PM #
Hmm. I made the comment "OK, so it's more of an on-the-fly Translator, rather than an Emulator."

(mj6798 - is that the line that inspired your "bogosity/spin/sleezy politicians" remarks?)

That was merely my summary understanding of David's description of PACE. Granted, my expertise is much more on the hardware side, not the inner workings of the Palm operating system and precise definition of emulators. I may have misunderstood and misstated; maybe not. I'd like to know.

I don't know if David will be monitoring this article over the holidays and have a chance to clarify things, but assuming not, perhaps someone reading this page who DOES have a deep understanding of PACE and emulators in general can lay this out for PIC readers (skeezix - you there?? :)

Peace on Earth, goodwill to Netizens.

Dan

No bogon zone.
Palm_Otaku @ 12/22/2002 11:47:46 PM #
Heh, another comment -- there were a few areas I wanted to dig into more deeply in the interview, but it was getting awfully long already.

If we can try to distill and collect any follow-up questions here, maybe we can convince David to do a return visit in the new year? :)

One of the finest things about this site IMNSHO is that the community here works to explore and clarify issues. This is a good opportunity!

[Raising a mug of eggnog]

Cheers,

Dan

RE: bogosity alert
mj6798 @ 12/23/2002 2:04:11 PM #
(mj6798 - is that the line that inspired your "bogosity/spin/sleezy politicians" remarks?)

No, it's not your fault; Palm has been trying to cloud this issue since day one, and they are succeeding.

There is nothing wrong with delivering backwards compatibility through an emulator. Apple has done it, and so have other companies.

The reason why Palm is trying to cloud the issue is because an emulator is all they are delivering; other companies doing the same thing have usually given users the ability to emulate the old environment while developers could deliver new, native applications.

The Tungsten is a reasonably nice industrial design. It may be worth $500 just for its size and Bluetooth support. But the fact that it has an ARM chip is pretty much irrelevant given the current state of Palm OS 5.

My recommendation would still be: don't bother with the Tungsten--get one of those nice 320x320 Sonys for about half the price.

RE: bogosity alert
mj6798 @ 12/23/2002 2:11:59 PM #
"I do, and I can explain Palms reasoning. Trust me, every company "spins" to this degree, thanks to the dumbing down of America and internet rumor mongers."

Why do you think people don't bother checking the facts anymore? If most companies are lying or trying to mislead you about their products, then there is no point. But that still doesn't make it OK on the part of companies.

"Second, PalmOS5 itself is pure native ARM code."

So? When I run VirtualPC on the Mac, Mac OS is running in native code. When Macs were running 68k applications on PPC, that's what they were doing. When I run Bochs or POSE on Linux, Linux is running in native code. PACE is no different.

"Old school EE people would say that if you're not emulating to the circuit/microcode level, you're only simulating. There isn't any emulated hardware on the PalmOS5 units"

We aren't talking old-school EE people, we are talking about modern software consumers and developers. There is a pretty wide understanding of what "emulation" means: it's what all those other systems that I mentioned above do as well.

"They could have said "There is some emulation happening." This would get filtered down to the masses as "Yes.""

And the masses would basically be right. The Tungsten is a nice handheld, but you are buying an ARM chip to run applications in emulation. I think at $500, that's too much, in particular since there are plenty of other ARM-based handhelds that run their applications natively.

Note that I think Palm's basic mistake was not that they are providing emulation, and pretty good one it appears, but that they are failing to provide the ability to deliver fully native applications. And that makes Palm OS 5 a bad and overpriced choice in my book. My recommendation is to go with Sony's Palm OS 4 devices for now: they are a much better value.

RE: bogosity alert
lemketron @ 12/23/2002 5:50:25 PM #
>"Second, PalmOS5 itself is pure native ARM code."
>
>So? When I run VirtualPC on the Mac,
>Mac OS is running in native code.

Yes, Mac OS is running in native code (well, more or less of it may actually be 68K emulated code depending on what version of Mac OS you're talking about). However, the Windows (or whatever) operating system you're running *inside* Virtual PC is *fully* emulated at the x86 instruction level. So, every x86 instruction in both the application AND the operating system itself is emulated by the Virtual PC code on the Mac's PowerPC processor.

>When Macs were running 68k applications
>on PPC, that's what they were doing.

Actually, that's not exactly true. When Macs were running 68K applications on PowerPC, the applications were emulated, but they were calling through to a single copy of the Mac operating system -- some of which was also emulated, and much of which was re-compiled to be PowerPC native for better performance. An emulated application that called into PPC-native Mac OS APIs would typically run much faster than emulated code that tried to do all of the work itself (in 68K code).

However, it's important to note that Mac OS was *not* 100% PowerPC native. Only certain portions of Mac OS were recompiled to be PPC native -- the rest of the OS was 68K code and ran in the emulator just like the 68K applications. In addition, hardware interrupts caused (at least one) round trip into and out of the slower 68K emulator "mode" (among other reasons) to avoid the possibility of interrupting the emulation of a 68K instruction. This happened on every interrupt, even if the processor was executing PPC-native code when the interrupt occurred. [This may be a bit technical for some folks, but bear with me for a moment...]

Contrast that with Palm OS 5 on ARM: The *entire* Palm Operating System (which is almost entirely written in "C") was recompiled into 100% native ARM code, including exception and interrupt handling and all hardware drivers. PACE is essentially an ARM application that sits on top of the native OS, and is used *only* to run 68K applications -- that's why it's called the "Palm *Application* Compatibility Environment". It emulates the 68K application code, but most applications spend much of their time either waiting for the user to do something, or making calls into the fully ARM native Palm OS. The OS is where the User Interface APIs, the Memory and Data Managers, communications libraries, floating point engine, etc. all reside, and they're all fully ARM native.


>When I run Bochs or POSE on Linux, Linux is
>running in native code. PACE is no different.

Yes, Linux is running in native code. However, POSE is a Linux (and Mac and Windows) application, which contains pure 68K instruction emulator, which uses a 68K device ROM and emulates a Palm OS device at the hardware register level. Hopefully after reading the above, you may now see how this is *very* different from what PACE is. PACE does not need a 68K Palm OS device ROM, nor does it contain (or emulate) any 68K Palm OS code. PACE does not know (or need to know) about how real 68K hardware devices work.

In summary, POSE is more like Virtual PC in that they each run both emulated applications AND an emulated operating system. PACE runs only emulated 68K applications (not the OS). It is in fact an API translation layer between the emulated applications and a fully native ARM-based Palm OS.

For those developers who wish to take advantage of some of that raw ARM horsepower, it's certainly possible to do so. Check out Kinoma Player, Mapopolis, SplashPhoto for some great examples of apps that take advantage of the ARM while still being able to run on 68K devices. In addition, it's also possible to write applications like XCade that require ARM-native performance and just aren't feasible on the 68K.

By the way, I'm an engineer, not a marketing person so I apologize if this is too technical or confusing (or too long-winded) for some folks. This is not marketing fluff or "spin", but the technical details some folks have asked for.

That said, I think people should decide for themselves if a particular device is right for them by actually trying it (if possible) -- it kind of reminds me of buying hi-fi speakers: some folks shop online or in a catalog for speakers with the best specifications, while others listen to various models and buy the ones that sound best.
--Steve

RE: bogosity alert
Palm_Otaku @ 12/23/2002 7:14:19 PM #
Wow, thanks a *lot* Steve, that's exactly the kind of informed explanation I was hoping we'd see posted!

I guess I can stand by my non-technical summary statement "OK, so it's more of an on-the-fly Translator, rather than an Emulator." :)

Hoping you and your family have a wonderful Christmas!

Cheers,

Dan

PS I was just checking the latest AcidImage (v2.2t) which uses Arm-lets for native jpeg handling and it's wickedly fast: http://www.red-mercury.com/aibe.html

RE: bogosity alert
rsc1000 @ 12/23/2002 9:50:13 PM #
>>>The reason why Palm is trying to cloud the issue is because an emulator is all they are delivering;

How the heck do you figure that "an emulator is all they are delivering" when OS 5 also means unified hi-res graphics API and new sound API?

>>other companies doing the same thing have usually given users the ability to emulate the old environment while developers could deliver new, native applications.

And what do you think ARMlets are? Oh yeah - they allow for native code execution to boast performance of Palm OS applications on OS 5 devices. Obviously its nicer to have a totally new API with complete ARM support (and updated dev tools to go with it). But honestly - there is very little limiting developers from doing just about anything you can think of - ARMlets allow for the speed.

RE: bogosity alert
mj6798 @ 12/24/2002 7:24:22 AM #
"However, the Windows (or whatever) operating system you're running *inside* Virtual PC is *fully* emulated at the x86 instruction level. So, every x86 instruction in both the application AND the operating system itself is emulated by the Virtual PC code on the Mac's PowerPC processor."

I'm sorry, but you don't know what you are talking about. I/O and drivers in Virtual PC and VMware, of course, happen through the host operating system in native code because only native code can talk to the actual physical device.

There are three ways in which guest operating systems can talk to those devices. First, through I/O ports using the native driver of the guest OS. That's slow. Second, through special shim drivers in the guest OS that just hand off the request to the host OS. That's fast and equivalent to what PACE is doing. Third, through DMA using the native drivers of the guest OS. That's just as fast as the special drivers.

"which contains pure 68K instruction emulator, which uses a 68K device ROM and emulates a Palm OS device at the hardware register level. Hopefully after reading the above, you may now see how this is *very* different from what PACE is."

No, I don't. What you call "operating system" is just a bunch of application libraries that happen to be bundled with the device: some GUI stuff, some in-memory databases. Sure, PACE runs some of that code natively.

"That said, I think people should decide for themselves if a particular device is right for them by actually trying it (if possible)"

Yes, they should decide for themselves--after they have heard all the arguments. Most people, however, just get to hear the marketing fluff from Palm. You seem to want alternative views to shut up.

I maintain: $500 for the Tungsten T is too much, compared to both Sony's OS4 devices and the variety of PPC devices out there. Furthermore, Palm's claims that the Tungsten T will be upgradable seem dubious given its limited amount of memory, and whether Palm OS 6 will be decent or a dud remains to be seen, as well as whether it comes out before Palm goes under.

My recommendation is: save your money and buy a Palm OS 4 device. The Sony SJ30 is a great little handheld that makes as good an organizer as the Tungsten. Put off buying an ARM-based Palm until Palm delivers a more coherent platform than OS 5.

RE: bogosity alert
mj6798 @ 12/24/2002 7:43:18 AM #
"[while developers could deliver new, native applications.] And what do you think ARMlets are? Oh yeah - they allow for native code execution to boast performance of Palm OS applications on OS 5 devices."

ARMlets don't allow you to deliver native applications, they allow you to deliver 68k applications with ARM subroutines.

"Obviously its nicer to have a totally new API with complete ARM support (and updated dev tools to go with it). But honestly - there is very little limiting developers from doing just about anything you can think of - ARMlets allow for the speed."

Yeah, it's all only a "small matter of programming". Many projects and developers have neither the time nor the resources to develop special purpose ARMlets for the Palm OS 5 platform. And all that effort will be wasted anyway when Palm OS 6 comes out.

And that's my point: OS 5 is a stopgap measure for Palm to be able to ship ARM hardware now, but it's a poor solution for both developers and end users. Get an OS 4 device for half the money or wait for OS 6 and see whether that is any good.

RE: bogosity alert
mj6798 @ 12/24/2002 7:55:26 AM #
[sorry, that paragraph got posted prematurely]

"which contains pure 68K instruction emulator, which uses a 68K device ROM and emulates a Palm OS device at the hardware register level. Hopefully after reading the above, you may now see how this is *very* different from what PACE is."

No, I don't see that. Sure, PACE runs a bunch of libraries natively, but so do many other emulators. Other emulators do that by translating it into native code on the fly. That is insufficient reason to call "PACE not an emulator". "Emulator" doesn't mean "interpreter".

(I also disagree that those libraries should be considered part of the operating system: they are application support libraries, stuff that runs in user mode and needs no special privileges.)

RE: bogosity alert
skeezix @ 12/24/2002 11:42:40 AM #
Silliness. You think Palm OS 6 will drop support for PACE? Not likely. why would you guess whats in Palm OS 6, and why would you assume ARMlets will all be broken in OS6? Palm has a logn hsitory of trying very hard to not break things (witness OS5).

ARMlets are pretty damned handy and make a lot of things possible. They are not wasted effort, nor are they really difficult to make.

So whats wrong with making a 68k app with ARM subroutines? Its not a big deal theres a 1k 68k app at the front and the rest acvn be all ARM code? Woopee.

As a user, why do you care what is going on.. you just care abotu the services delivered. As a developer, this is all great stuff, so we can deliver apps for both ARM and non-ARM units.

Palm OS 5 is a stopgap, but its a good one. You think any other OS hasn't done stopgaps? We call it "upgrades" normally. Get over it :)

jeff

The Shadow knows!

RE: bogosity alert
jjsoh @ 12/24/2002 12:09:20 PM #
While, I thank all the well-informed engineers and developers who have given me, and probably much of the PIC readership, a little more insight on how PACE/POSE work (along with a healthy ongoing debate about emulators), in the end, how does this affect my productivity and lifestyle?

In my personal experience, I've used and love Palm OS based PDA's because of the ease of use and peace of mind, not caring about API's and emulation or what have you, as long as I can work and play without fuss. Yet, despite being satisfied, I still yearn for something more once in while depending on my needs/wants. In this case, it was in the way of higher resolution, integrated Bluetooth to free up memory expansion slot, and voice recorder while maintaining the best, IMHO, form factor out there. Sure these are all luxuries, but if it makes my life a little easier and fun, I'm all for it.

But when I consider upgrading, I rarely find myself asking if it still uses primitive API's found in vOS4 or whether it will be emulating instead of other programming methods to ensure backwards compatibility with programs I've already paid for without breaking them. I just want to know if it works and runs faster. And if the answer is a resounding 'yes,' with all the extra features I want (and then some), that's all I need to know. Does it really matter if the task is completed using a "stop-gap" measure?

The SJ30 certainly comes close with a great price of MSRP $250 and good form factor. Unfortunately it does not have voice memo, or integrated BT, let alone the option for audio playback via headphone jack (though as an added accessory, it might). The DragonBall processor is fine, as I've had no complaints so far, but I've noticed that Docs2Go (which I uses daily for work) run much faster on my Tungsten, than my m505 ever did, so productivity in my eyes is higher. And with BT MemStick almost non-existent in the U.S., you're sure to spend at least a good ~$200 just to get it, at which already puts the SJ30 along the same price tag of the Tungsten.

It's great to be informed, as I've learned a lot today, but that still doesn't change my mind about the Tungsten|T, or any future PDA (Palm or other), based on whether the OS which runs the PDA is native or not, which are totally transparent to me anyway, as long as it fits my needs TODAY. Otherwise, I'll be waiting forever.

I'll admit that I've spent a little more money on the Tungsten|T than I would've liked, but that's the price to pay for "me first" in technology, isn't it? Value is in the eye of the beholder, not the API's in the OS (er.. that is, unless you're a developer/engineer, but I suppose that's another story ^_^).

Maybe this whole thread should've been taken place in a Palm developer's forum? :/

Jim

RE: bogosity alert
mikecane @ 12/24/2002 2:12:40 PM #
What's interesting in this discussion is the fact that the CLIE NX runs *damned* fast, and even the TT is quite speedy. Just beam over a fat Memo to either of them and then hit the bottom arrow the slider. You will be impressed. I think that speed is worth the price difference over the OS4.x devices and their lower prices.

And let's not forget here, that even if OS5 is "nothing but emulation" -- it can at least take more advantage of the XScale's power than Pocket PC seemingly and currently can.

RE: bogosity alert
mj6798 @ 12/25/2002 3:07:23 AM #
"You think Palm OS 6 will drop support for PACE? Not likely. why would you guess whats in Palm OS 6, and why would you assume ARMlets will all be broken in OS6?"

I said that writing ARMlets will be "wasted effort", not that they will be "broken". The effort will be wasted because Palm promises that in Palm OS 6, you can just compile your applications into all native ARM code directly.

"So whats wrong with making a 68k app with ARM subroutines? Its not a big deal theres a 1k 68k app at the front and the rest acvn be all ARM code? Woopee."

That's not how it works. You can't just write all your application in ARM code and call it from a 68k shim. There are lots of restrictions on what you can do from ARMlet code. Codewarrior tried to work around that a little, but it's still a chore. And if you are using other development tools, there is no easy workaround at all.

"Palm OS 5 is a stopgap, but its a good one. You think any other OS hasn't done stopgaps? We call it "upgrades" normally. Get over it :)"

Some OS upgrades are worthless, and some are worse than worthless because they require expensive new hardware to be purchased without giving you many new capabilities that you would care about. Palm OS 5 falls into that category in my opinion. Get a Sony SJ-30: it does everything you might want to do on a Palm for half the price of a Tungsten.

RE: bogosity alert
mj6798 @ 12/25/2002 3:19:19 AM #
"in the end, how does this affect my productivity and lifestyle?"

It affects you in the following way: given the limitations of OS 5, given the amount of effort needed to create native ARM code for it, and given the limited amount of memory available on the Tungsten T, you will see only a very narrow range of applications that take advantage of the ARM chip in it. If that range contains an application you really want and if you have $500 to spare, go ahead and buy it.

However, I think for most Palm users, the Tungsten T is a bad purchase. There are much more cost-effective handhelds out there and they will continue to run all the traditional Palm software for the foreseeable future.

As for built-in Bluetooth support, that's sort of nice. But having tried to get Bluetooth working between various devices (including Palm), I have to say: it's not ready for prime time yet. IR works much better at this point. By the time Bluetooth is ready (and I think it's going to be a very convenient system), the Tungsten T will be obsolete.


RE: bogosity alert
helf @ 12/25/2002 12:57:48 PM #
Jeez mj. you really don't like os 5 ;)

Personally I'm happy with my os 4 palm and am not planning on getting a new one until os 6 is released.



RE: bogosity alert
rvdw @ 12/28/2002 11:37:15 AM #
> Get a Sony SJ-30: it does everything you might want
> to do on a Palm for half the price of a Tungsten.

Eh? Where's BlueTooth? The D-pad? The voice recorder? The overall increased speed? And don't tell me that nobody cares for those properties anyway.


RE: bogosity alert
alanjrobertson @ 1/2/2003 9:20:19 PM #
>As for built-in Bluetooth support, that's sort of
>nice. But having tried to get Bluetooth working
>between various devices (including Palm), I have to
>say: it's not ready for prime time yet. IR works much
>better at this point.

Interesting - in my experience, although I've had some issues getting my Palm (m505 & BT SD card) browsing the web over my TDK USB BT adapter, I've had no issues whatsover using it with my T68i (for both GPRS & CSD connections) - I regularly use it on the train to meetings, with the T68i still in my jacket pocket and the Palm on the table (using the portable keyboard) to send e-mails, etc. Have BT built-in rather than as an SD card would be great, as I could then still access documents that I've stored on SD card!

Cheers

Alan

SUDS/ EDS

peterl1966 @ 12/22/2002 7:15:16 PM #
You should have asked him if OS 5 does anything to address SUDS/EDS that plagued their 500 series and cost loyal users thousands of dollars and countless hours in agrevation.
RE: SUDS/ EDS
asiayeah @ 12/22/2002 9:07:28 PM #
I think the SUDS/EDS issue is a hardware issue, not a software one. So it's basically not related to the OS 5?

--
With great power comes great responsiblity.
RE: SUDS/ EDS
Altema @ 12/23/2002 1:23:36 PM #
Yes, SUDS was a hardware issue even though it scrambled the USB comm software on the Palm. I had it hit a few of my own M505's. The static zap when you put the device in the cradle may have been made worse by the motherboard being grounded to the metal case of the M505. A zap strong enough to feel, discharging right through the motherboard and the UC... I'm kind of surprised it did not do any physical damage, as I've see PC system boards fried with similar jolts. It was less of an issue on the M500 perhaps because of it's plastic case. I forget how long I've had the M515, but it has no such plague. Strangely enough, my wife's 505 has never had SUDS even after more than a year of hard use.

PalmTipsheet

Palm_Otaku @ 12/23/2002 12:03:20 AM #
A heads up for people who are interested in this area - the January PalmTipsheet is going to have an OS5 article and it promises to be a good one too!

Check http://www.palmtipsheet.com/ sometime next month :)

Dan

Ben's OS5 Article in PalmTipsheet
Palm_Otaku @ 1/6/2003 8:58:28 PM #
Whoo! Ben has written a great article on OS5 - I highly recommend that you check out this link:
http://www.palmtipsheet.com/html.texts/tipsht38.html#palm-os5

Audio & Video

Rhauer @ 12/23/2002 9:28:00 AM #
I was hoping there would be a little more discussion regarding the audio & video capabilities. Did I miss something? It seems from the postings that one of the biggest question marks out there is how good or bad the audio will be after the patch.

RE: Audio & Video
Altema @ 12/23/2002 1:41:36 PM #
Yes, I have been keeping my eyes on this issue as well. I don't do as much free-lance pro audio as before, but it would be nice to plug my Palm into a system to check EQ in situations where I'm not using my own gear. Could not do this with the TT as-is, so I'll keep my MD player handy till then.

RE: Audio & Video
Palm_Otaku @ 12/23/2002 5:13:21 PM #
I'm not sure what the question is exactly.

I'm aware of the moderate sound quality when using Aerodrome or Pocket Tunes on the TT, and that seems to be an issue with how the OMAP's DSP is handling the audio - it's a Palm Inc. / TI issue not PalmSource. (and hopefully the fix will be posted before too long...) I think the other OS5 device lines (Clie NX-series) are using a MediaQ DSP for audio processing and the sound quality there is great.

In terms of a follow-up question for PalmSource, can someone refine it in terms of the operating system capabilities?

RE: Audio & Video
MP3 @ 12/24/2002 2:07:54 AM #
Well, my first questions would be this: When the heck will we be getting RealPlayer already?! And when will the audio downsampling bug be fixed?!

Oh, yeah: BTW, what's this business with the SD driver doing a very crappy job with the high-capacity SanDisk SD Cards?

RE: Audio & Video
Palm_Otaku @ 12/24/2002 4:45:49 AM #
Those are questions for Palm Inc. - who make the Tungsten T (and the os4 devices that have SD).

PalmSource Inc. makes OS5.

RE: Audio & Video
Palm_Otaku @ 12/24/2002 5:03:04 AM #
Altema - have a look at the developer OS5 docs that discuss sound APIs.

http://www.palmos.com/dev/support/docs/palmos50/#Sound

Sounds like there's some pretty cool capabilities just waiting to be exploited! (pun intended)

Dan

RE: Audio & Video
asiayeah @ 12/24/2002 5:22:55 AM #
Can we get an interview with Palm about the Tungsten T's problems?

If there's such an interview, I have a list of problems ready for them. ;-)

--
With great power comes great responsiblity.

RE: Audio & Video
JKingGrim @ 12/24/2002 5:45:46 PM #
>>When the heck will we be getting RealPlayer already?

Did Real actually say or hint that they were making a Palm OS Product?

Hey, I've heard of the TV chip, but have they ever made a AM/FM chip? that is a more practical investment for a Palm OS device.

RE: Audio & Video
MP3 @ 12/26/2002 1:49:10 AM #
>Those are questions for Palm Inc. - who make the Tungsten
>T (and the os4 devices that have SD).

>PalmSource Inc. makes OS5.

Well, that's exactly what I meant - according to some dissatisfied SanDisk customers, SanDisk is blaming the whole "slow write speed" issue on Palm - they claim Palm's driver needs to be updated (although the strange thing is that all other brands work fine). Doesn't that (a driver issue) fall into PalmSource's domain?

Oh, and BTW, I wasn't talking about OS4 devices (regarding the SD) - I'm referring to my trusty T|T. ;-)

RE: Audio & Video
Altema @ 12/27/2002 11:20:43 AM #
Dan, thanks for the link. Pretty interesting stuff indeed! 16 channel 16 bit mixing on a Palm? Won't replace ProTools or CakeWalk (is cakewalk still around?), but I can see someone with headphones playing around with a mix just to get a feel for what they want in the studio. Another option is for someone who performs with a partial band. Bass player and drummer not show up? Fine, pass the Palm and a headphone to stereo pair adapter :-)

Paul

OS6 Upgrade-ability

Palm_Otaku @ 12/23/2002 5:46:46 PM #
Two parter regarding David's statement on this subject: "it can sometimes raise device costs to ensure they're upgradable, not to mention the costs of administering an upgrade program anyway."

[1] A follow-up question: I'd like to have clarification what hardware requirements a current OS5 device will have to be upgradeable. If it is merely having flash ROM then things look good - if it means needing a large amount of flash there may be issues (e.g. the T|T has 8MB; the NX-series might be OK with 16MB of flash). Or maybe there are other factors???

[2] Regarding the admin costs of an upgrade program, I have a modest suggestion (Licensees please take note!!)
I've done numerous flash upgrades on my TRGPro and HandEra 330 using their CF-card method - it is very fast and reliable and extremely straight-forward. It's far better than any of the Palm Inc. upgrades that I've done that require a PC (and I'm pretty sure I've done them all...)

I would strongly recommend that Licensees work with HandEra to adopt this technology and implement it something like this: once a flash upgrade is available, device owners can order a memory card (SD or MS or whatever) preloaded with the new ROM and flashing utility. After the upgrade is done, the user can erase or reformat the card and have a spare for backups or whatever. (Of course, for advanced users the ROM and utility would be freely downloadable for use on an existing card.)

Ideally, the flashing utility would be seeded for beta testing to ensure that it's as easy and reliable as possible. Also, the cost of the "upgrade card" should be priced at no more than the SRP of a blank card.

I think this would be a win-win solution, but I'm open to any valid critiques!

Cheers,

Dan

RE: OS6 Upgrade-ability
leland @ 1/2/2003 10:19:32 PM #
Sony has already stated that the NX series will not be upgradable. That leaves only the TungstenT as a possible candidate at this point. Seems kinda silly not to make the high end Palm upgradable, but that seems to be the way Sony does things.

RE: OS6 Upgrade-ability
Palm_Otaku @ 1/3/2003 6:55:28 PM #
Interesting -- where did Sony say this?

I've posed the question to some people I know at Palm Inc. regarding the T|T and will post the info to PIC once I have an answer.

Cheers,

Dan

RE: OS6 Upgrade-ability
Bytter @ 1/4/2003 9:02:23 AM #
I don't believe it would be upgreadable... I like my tungsten very much but I don't believe...

Simply because it would be a very good move of markting to sell it telling it would be upgreadable. More people would buy the TT!

Also telling it won't, it would drop sales...

So they choose to don't say... This way some people, like us, have hope... and buy...

But, if Sony says their hardware wouldn't be... Well... They have 16MB of ROM.... What else could the OS6 need that the NX and Tungsten don't have?!?

My best to You,

Hugo Jose Ferreira

Hacks

JKingGrim @ 12/23/2002 6:42:55 PM #
In the article it says hacks don't work, but TealMaster says that it can support OS5.

RE: Hacks
Ben S @ 12/23/2002 7:02:10 PM #
TealMaster uses notifications to emulate a few of the most patched APIs: EvtGetEvent(), SysHandleEvent(), SysUIAppSwitch(), Find(), EvtProcessSoftKeyStroke(), SysKeyboardDialog(), and SysSleep(). Hacks which patch these particular calls may work. Hacks which patch other calls won't.

So at best, TealMaster allows *some* hacks to be emulated. Whether or not they'll run stablily in this emulated environment is another thing entirely.

RE: Hacks
JKingGrim @ 12/23/2002 7:07:51 PM #
Thanks for the tip (I only understood it because I am a programmer).

RE: Hacks
SW Geek @ 12/24/2002 12:04:22 AM #
"Hacks" (in the pre-OS5) sense do not work in OS5. You can go about "hacking" the PalmOS in an OS5 compatible way, but this does not work in all cases.

One bugaboo

mikecane @ 12/24/2002 2:17:05 PM #
I wish there was more info on who this Fedor *is*! How long has he been with Palm? What is his programming background? Did he come from Be, Inc? And the like...

Otherwise, it was very interesting reading. Well done.

RE: One bugaboo
msharp @ 12/30/2002 4:22:21 PM #
Here is some info on David (I have worked with him for 7+ years...) I have included his Bio from PalmSource 2001 developer conference below (OK, so I changed one word from four to five).

On a more personal note, I first encounted David while at Newton. He had written a program (Paperback if memory serves), that showed a deep understanding of the environment, and we decided that we needed to hire him into our Developer Technical Support (DTS) group. He also developed a Bible reading program for Newton, and later, for Palm OS(R) (currently distributed by Laridian as MyBible). He is a very good (fast, thoughtful, good design, supportable code, etc.) programmer who is now able to influence Palm OS for the developer community. He is also a good human being.

The Bio...

David has been the primary technical advocate and representative for developers whithin Palm for over four years. His job is two-fold: helping define the architecture of Palm OS(R) Software, particularly from a developer's perspective, and then leading the communication of that new information to the developer community.

David started in the Developer Technical Support (DTS) group at Palm, Inc. in 1997, in the "PamloPilot" days. In addition to representing developers on the Palm device teams and other normal DTS activities, he ran the developer mailing lists and Devzone area of the Palm Web site.

Prior to joining Palm, David worked in DTS in the Newton group of Apple Computer, Inc. and at other companies writing traditional desktop software. David holds a bachelor's degree in computer science from Brown University and grew up primarlily in Europe.

Regards
Maurice Sharp
Manager Worldwide Devloper Programs, PalmSource, Inc.
(former Senior DTS engineer/evangelist Newton)

Nice Interview ...now where is the audio player...

aod @ 12/25/2002 2:50:42 PM #
Still awaiting an audioplayer for my palm TT. The vendor said that it would be out by early December ... still no audio software recommended by palm...I might have bought the Clie otherwise.

Dissapointed
Jag

RE: Nice Interview ...now where is the audio player...
helf @ 12/25/2002 7:50:32 PM #
dude. Theres several apps out already.. pocket tunes and AeroPlayer.

RE: Nice Interview ...now where is the audio player...
asiayeah @ 12/25/2002 9:42:11 PM #
There are AeroPlayer and PocketTunes for TT already, but their audio playback quality is only at AM radio due to a bug in the TT's ROM that causes downsampling.

RealPlayer for Palm was promised before the end of this year. I think it is going to delay, partly because of this downsampling bug. I once wish the player would be ready before Christmas, now I just hope it's ready before the Chinese New Year. ;-)

Tony

--
With great power comes great responsiblity.

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