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Comments on: Sony CEO Wants to Buy PalmSource

In a week full of Sony news and reviews, comes a very interesting interview with Sony's CEO, Nobuyuki Idei at AlwaysOn. In the discussion he reveals that he would buy PalmSource, if they would sell.
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Is this is a good thing?

HiWire @ 3/5/2003 3:05:04 PM #
Pros
- Sony merges its enormous engineering and technological resources with an elegant platform
- Sony is already invested, so it is the "next step"
- Sony has already shown leadership with the Clie lineup; many choices for different needs
- lower product prices without the licensing overhead (?)

Cons
- Possibly less innovation and choice in the Palm hardware market
- Sony's proprietary technology "forced" upon Palm customers - Memory Stick, Jog Dial, Clie buttons, etc.
- layoffs (?)

Palm m505 User

RE: Is this is a good thing?
Morph @ 3/5/2003 3:13:19 PM #
Those are some good questions to ask. It would be interesting to see if they would blend the 2 devices. The size of the Palm, and the sound of the Sony, etc. Could come out with a really good PDA. Yeah they might make all the devices use Sony memory but I don't think that's a bad idea. I for one am tired of many deivces and dozens of different memory to have to use. Some standardizations wouldn't be too bad.

But as we all know that's just pipe dreams.

Probably wouldn't happen anyways. many users like the Palm over the Sony so some seperations would have to be kept

************************************************

For what shall it profit a man if he were to gain the whole world, but lose his own soul.

RE: Is this is a good thing?
ganoe @ 3/5/2003 3:14:59 PM #
No, it's not a good thing. Sony buys PalmSource and I buy a Zaurus the next day.

PalmSource as it is offers as independent as possible of a base for the Palm OS as we could hope to get. It is in PalmSource's current interest to keep the OS as flexible and attractive to as many licensees as possible.

Even from the interview it's obvious that his only interest in buying PalmSource is to save money (and bring in money from other licensees) not to better the platform. Sony would love to get its hands on PalmSource, so it can play the Microsoft game for a change.

RE: Is this is a good thing?
JKingGrim @ 3/5/2003 3:17:14 PM #
I hate SONY. A purchase like that would be the worst thing that could happen to Palm OS. Palm OS is fine where it is. I don't want it to be run by some big ugly monster.

RE: Is this is a good thing?
hudsonhawk @ 3/5/2003 3:21:08 PM #
I think this would be absolutely terrible. At the very least, it would make me switch devices (but that's because of a personal grudge against Sony), but I also think it would criple the platform (dropping SD support for memorystick, etc).

I find it odd that he talks about the inherent apple-like conflict of interest of being the hardware manufacturer and owning the os - but wants to buy PalmOS?

I just don't trust a company with a history off refusing to license their products out to other manufacturers (minidisk, beta) with keeping an OS available and friendly.

RE: Is this is a good thing?
mashoutposse @ 3/5/2003 3:31:04 PM #
Sony has done more to advance things than any other PDA manufacturer. Hi-res, mp3, REAL speaker, native MPEG support, Virtual Graffiti, etc...

I would love for them to buy PalmSource just to piss off guys like one above :D

RE: Is this is a good thing?
HiWire @ 3/5/2003 3:34:10 PM #
I keep forgetting the difference between PalmSource and the Palm Solutions Group. I guess some of those points still apply :-P

Palm m505 User
RE: Is this is a good thing?
ganoe @ 3/5/2003 3:38:41 PM #
> Sony has done more to advance things than any other PDA manufacturer.
> Hi-res, mp3, REAL speaker, native MPEG support, Virtual Graffiti, etc...
>
> I would love for them to buy PalmSource just to piss off guys like one above :D

Only someone like you would say such a silly thing since every PDA "advancement" you listed above came from companies that were not Sony.

No.
sdf @ 3/5/2003 3:41:16 PM #
Sony makes good products, but their developer program is absolutely terrible.

RE: Is this is a good thing?
mashoutposse @ 3/5/2003 3:45:17 PM #
I'm talking about for PalmOS only. Sony brought hi-res first, mp3 first, a real audio experience first, native MPEG support first, and the first widely accepted virtual graffiti scheme. This is correct.

RE: Is this is a good thing?
ganoe @ 3/5/2003 3:55:28 PM #
> I'm talking about for PalmOS only

Well the real speaker and virtual graffiti were HandEra, so it's not correct.

I believe PalmSource dropped pretty much all the Sony APIs for everything you claim they did in your list because their design wasn't generic/general enough. VFS is the only major OS thing I could credit them for.

Anyhow, I could care less about how much hardware Sony can cram into their PDAs. This is about building an OS that MANY licensees will want to put on their platforms. It is not a give the Palm OS to the company who can cram the most gimmicky features into a PDA sized case contest.

RE: Is this is a good thing?
cbowers @ 3/5/2003 4:17:31 PM #
Jeeze I was wary of this (and posted such) when they first invested in PalmSource, and everyone said there was nothing to worry about... I'm still not convinced.

The only thing to stop Sony becoming the Microsoft of the PalmOS market, is PalmSource now. We'll see if they sell out...

"Sony has done more to advance things than any other PDA manufacturer. Hi-res, mp3, REAL speaker, native MPEG support, Virtual Graffiti, etc..."

Bah. Sony has merely copied much of those.

-HandEra originated a PalmOS PDA with a card slot with the TrgPro (at the same time that Handspring brought out the SpringBoard concept). Sony's first card slot enabled PDA didn't come out for another 9 months.

-HandEra originated what was to become the concept of VFS, with their version, FFS, to function with the TrgPro's CF slot

-HandEra originated the first REAL speaker on a PalmOS PDA with the TrgPro. And even way back then, gave it the ability at the OS API level to play native .wav files on cards. HandEra's two PDA models are still among the loudest of PalmOS PDA's, only recently having to share that distinction with Sony models of the past few months. This test was done prior to their arrival:
http://www.deeptec.com/info/misc/alarm.html

-Symbol was way ahead of everyone with integrated wireless in their PalmOS PDA's back in May 1999.

-HandEra released their 330 model with a high-res screen 2 months before Sony's first high-res model. And still the HandEra 330 offers the widest and most numerous font selection at the OS level, from tiny to huge.

-The Virtual graffiti originated with the HandEra 330, and it's only been in the last few months that Sony has copied that feature.

Taken altogether, only recently has any other PDA included a substantial number of the features found in the HandEra 330, 18 months ago. Only in recent Palm and Sony models have you been able to get a device with many of these features in a single device; High-res, real speaker, card slot, virtual graffiti, voice recording, alternate navigation control (Jog dial, nav pad), wireless expansion, replaceable rechargeable Lithium ion battery, a reset pin slot that you can hit with the tip of the stylus...


All of those and more are available in the 330. All of those can be had in other models now too, but you'd have to combine features from the Tungsten T, SJ33, and the NZ90 to get them in another single device.

And yet, due to their lack of CF slots, the immaturity of SD and MemoryStick expansion options, the demise of support for Springboard, and the total disarray of the clip-on/sled market, there remains no other PDA's with the expansion options available to the TrgPro and HandEra 330. Further, those CF expansion options (with driver support) are available in a multitude of brands and models, many of which are available cheaply at your local brick and mortar...

And Palm may well have jumped the gun on BlueTooth. I'm still rooting for it to be an IRDA successor, but they and PalmSource missed the boat on WiFi thus far. Only HandEra supports WiFi solutions from multiple vendors, and offers (while still limited), most complete 802.11b experience with their own OS driver layer, and LAN Status app (allowing the browsing of nearby networks, the signal strength, WEP ennoblement, etc). While Bluetooth continues to strive to get to it's famed $5/chip level in volume, 802.11b is approaching that at the *retail* level, with the expectation of US$10 retail pricing per card this year (already as low as US$16). See:


And for all that, does HandEra assume they do things better than any other licensee and angle to take over the market? Not that they could if they wanted to, but instead they continue the tradition they started in the early days of Palm by contributing designs, specs, and innovation to other licensees to further the platform as a whole (including Palm, Symbol, Alphasmart, and others).

I value Sony's contribution to the platform, but I don't think they need any more favors, or control of the market than they already have. Moreover it's time for PalmSource to allow/court additional *strong* competition to keep Sony honest.

RE: Is this is a good thing?
hotpaw4 @ 3/5/2003 4:39:23 PM #
>Sony would love to get its hands on PalmSource, so it can play the Microsoft game for a change.

Sony is *already* playing the Microsoft game with its Playstation franchise. Either company would love to find a way to take a bite out of the Gameboy franchise.

RE: Is this is a good thing?
sr @ 3/5/2003 4:47:17 PM #
"I just don't trust a company with a history off refusing to license their products out to other manufacturers (minidisk, beta) with keeping an OS available and friendly."

Actually, only Beta was not licensed, after that they've learned their lesson and licensed pretty much everything else. That includes Minidisk (I own a Sharp, Panasonic and Pioneer MD players!) and MemoryStick (it's not only available on Sony devices). And think of other things Sony brought us that you are most likely enjoying today, some of which include: CD, DVD+R, SPDIF digital audio standard, etc.

That said, I'd prefer if PalmSource stayed independent.

RE: Is this is a good thing?
M3wThr33 @ 3/5/2003 5:28:08 PM #
Buying Palmsource would be stupid.
It broke up for that sole reason to prevent bias in development.
And if Sony DID make a gaming handheld to compete with the GBA, it'd use Magic Gate sticks at $60 a pop, have horrible buttons with a battery life of 5 hours without a backlight. Did we forget Nintendo co-developed the first Playstation with them?
Sony has very little ideas in SOFTWARE and sometimes hardware as well.

I don't think you understand the gravity of the situation. We're in space.
RE: Is this is a good thing?
Zuber @ 3/6/2003 2:35:23 AM #
It's not that Sony don't license their ideas that bugs me. They are willing to do so in some areas.

My problem is that they insist on inventing their own standard (and often reinventing the wheel) rather than just using perfectly good current standards allowing interoperability. Memory Stick,Memory Stick Duo, Wi Fi slot being exellent examples.

They would probably continue with the same agenda if they owned PalmSource.

Zuber

RE: Is this is a good thing?
anjrober1 @ 3/6/2003 10:38:30 AM #
While I agree that HandEra first implemented high res, VFS, virtual graffiti, etc. Sony was the first to really make it work. I had a 330 from the first day it was interoduced and it was by far the flakest Palm device I have ever had (which is nearly all of them). I exchanged it a few times with HandEra and they were all flakey. We recommended them to a customer who ended up ditching them. They ARE flakey devices, period. It was the only Palm device that I ever lost data using.

In contrast my Sony devices have been some of the most stable devices I have ever had. My NX70V takes a licking. Apps work well. When I install odd ball apps, it doesn't lock up. Sony makes rock solid devices.

It doesn't necessarily matter who invented a feature, it's who is able to market and deliver the total solution. Thing PARC here, they invented everything and delivered nothing. I give HandEra credit for some great work, but they are not going to lead the Palm community. Sony could.

As for their developers community, they need to get to work. Getting information out of them is nearly impossible. Our local Sony rep barely returns my call.


RE: No.
mikemusick @ 3/6/2003 12:15:54 PM #
>Sony makes good products, but their developer program is absolutely terrible.

Bingo. When it comes to support in all flavors, Sony consistently gets an "F". They build fabulous hardware, but there is a corporate arrogance on par with Microsoft, "If we don't already provide it, you don't need it, so how dare you ask for it. Next."

RE: Is this is a good thing?
JKingGrim @ 3/6/2003 2:36:50 PM #
Also, Palm Source maintains tradition. Palm OS 5 has extrodinary new features, but looks just like Palm OS 1. Sony has a 'go against the grain' attitude that I don't like.

RE: Is this is a good thing?
fleegle @ 3/6/2003 3:10:09 PM #
Response to comment from anjrober1:

I've owned the HandEra 330 since they first came out. I haven't had any "flakiness" problems and have never lost data. Maybe I am lucky.

However, I have friends that have been having problems with their Clies. Mainly, the problem where it looses contact with the Memory Sticks. I know others that access this website have had this problem. This I call "flakey". The workaround is to shove a folded piece of paper in the slot along with the Memory Stick. What a joke! Above all that, Sony doesn't even acknowledge/recognize that there is a problem.

Yes, you may have had some flakey H330s. And I know there are some out there. But all the PDAs out there: Clie, Palm, PPC, etc. are far from "perfect" and have their own problems whether or not you want to recognize them as a problem.

RE: Is this is a good thing?
HiWire @ 3/6/2003 8:41:31 PM #
I just checked out the new SJ33 Clie at The Sony Store tonight... those buttons are just ridiculous. Nice screen and built-in cover though. The cover idea should be copied by more manufacturers; it saves the consumers money that they would waste on a case. They should make sure that the cover can be replaced, though, in case of accident.

Palm m505 User
RE: Is this is a good thing?
Fat_Man @ 3/6/2003 8:50:26 PM #
HandEra this and HandERa that...blah, blah, blah

What ever happened to HandEra anyway? If they are so revolutionary, then why have they not release a new handheld since the 330?

Weren't they working on a color handheld?



KAY

RE: Is this is a good thing?
Fat_Man @ 3/6/2003 9:19:27 PM #
Oh yeah, speaking of HandEra's innovations:

While HandEra may be the first to introduce these, they are all dead-ended.

1. High resolution: only HandEra uses they whacky 360x240 resolution scheme. As you might have noticed, the new palm OS standard is 320x320. Dead-end.

2. External Cards: The auto-card (or whatever) they use is not in the new palm OS, instead it is the VFS developed by Sony. Dead-End.

3. Virtual Graffti: Sony's virtual graffti is skinable and much more developed than HandEra's, if palm is to go with a VG scheme...which do you think they will pick? Dead-End.

If you want to talk about important contributions to the Palm OS and hardware, the contributions have to be carried over to future models, and so far I don't see ANYTHING HandEra has done that showed up in any of the later palm OS models, well maybe that replaceable battery.

The HandEra 330 is a Dead-End device, maybe that's why they have not released an updated model. They would have to drop most of their OS modifications to adopt to Palm OS 5.

KAY

RE: Is this is a good thing?
fleegle @ 3/7/2003 9:46:33 AM #
Fat_Man,

Where do you get your information about the HandEra 330?

You can skin the virtual graffiti area. You can even modify the virtual graffiti area to display the time, date, free memory, etc. on the icon bar when it is minimized. I don't know if it can be done on the Clie, but it is very customizable.

As far as not seeing "ANYTHING HandEra has done that showed up in any of the later Palm OS models"... now what is that other slot on the Clie NX series?!? A concept that HandEra innovated. So... what does Sony decide to do with it? Make it only compatible with their WiFi card. Why did they do it? To force people to use their Memory Stick rather than have a choice of which media to use. Is this really a good thing?

RE: Is this is a good thing?
cbowers @ 3/7/2003 5:14:01 PM #
KAY, shhhhh. You're wearing your ignorance on your sleeve (on all points).

THIS WAS EXPECTED

navomaal @ 3/5/2003 3:34:27 PM #
IT was going to come down to this anyway - give how palm has been doing business...so good...however this might not be a good idea for the users - without competetion - there will be no need to come out with new producs.


pot calling kettle black

ganoe @ 3/5/2003 3:31:28 PM #
"there are monopoly companies like DoCoMo. [...] This is very scary because they want to control every layer of the business."

and then

"My problem now is that as Palm licensee we have to pay them lots of money. [ interviewer asks if he would like to buy Palm's software business ] Yes, if they want to sell."

So you could control every layer of the business. Wow, wouldn't that be "scary"!

Well, at least he was honest.

RE: pot calling kettle black
mashoutposse @ 3/5/2003 3:39:50 PM #
I thought he was talking about the DoCoMo being a 'scary' situation as a competitor, not as some odd ethics or moral issue like you're hinting.

RE: pot calling kettle black
Tungsten @ 3/5/2003 7:34:50 PM #
>So you could control every layer of the business. Wow, >wouldn't that be "scary"!

Now, don't you get ahead of yourself. Sony controls every layer of WHAT business?

PDA's? No - there's still Palm, HP, Dell, Toshiba, and the smaller players. Note that there are only two companies left making *mainstream* PalmOS PDAs: Palm and Sony (Treo & the Garmin iQue don't count as they are niche products).

Digital cameras? Canon, Kodak, Nikon, Olympus to name a few.

Game consoles? obviously not.

Sony does not control every layer of the PDA business. They do have a thing for competing in every consumer electronics category possible, and having their products interoperate with each other. Sony is not who I'd call anti-competitive.


RE: pot calling kettle black
ganoe @ 3/7/2003 7:40:49 PM #
If Sony owned PalmSource, they would own essentially every layer of the PDA business. They would own the primary OS being used, a major portion of the hardware used in production, and one of the major brands to end users. Plus, owning the OS would allow them to influence what hardware is used, forcing companies to buy Sony parts.
RE: pot calling kettle black
JKingGrim @ 3/8/2003 8:29:03 AM #
Memory Stick! NOOOOOOOOOOO!

Might be the best thing.

Stann @ 3/5/2003 3:33:15 PM #
I know quite a few will disagree with me, however a merger with Sony might be the best thing that could happen to Palm/PalmSource.

Maybe then there might be some true innovation, and more frequent OS updates. So far what I see from OS5 unless I'm going wireless I see no need to upgrade.

Let's not kid ourselves, all the bells and whistles that PPC's have is attractive to a lot of people. Palm has been slow to adopt these innovations, and is in some respect stagnet.

Don't read into the statement, I'm no fan of PPC's but some of the features are attractive and wish they were available in Palm.

RE: Might be the best thing.
JKingGrim @ 3/5/2003 3:45:27 PM #
>>Maybe then there might be some true innovation, and more frequent OS updates. So far what I see from OS5 unless I'm going wireless I see no need to upgrade.<<

Maybe there would be more frequent updates, but SONY would not give them to the users.

RE: Might be the best thing.
cbowers @ 3/5/2003 6:38:34 PM #
You couldn't be any more wrong Stann.

RE: Sony vs. M$
Cheetah @ 3/5/2003 10:47:05 PM #
In the end, if Palm does not sell out, they will disappear. How many competitors of Micro$oft have survived for very long against a full frontal assault from M$?

Sony has the resources, brand name and marketing to go head to head with Micro$oft.

PalmSource does not.

Can SONY do it?

JKingGrim @ 3/5/2003 3:42:19 PM #
Does Sony have the cash? Even if they do, it is ultimately PalmSource's choice. Isn't it? [shifts in his seat]

RE: Can SONY do it?
dickius @ 3/5/2003 4:05:59 PM #
Sony has plenty of cash. They could also pay in stock. Technically, it's not PalmSource's choice; it's PalmSource's SHAREHOLDERS' choice. Palm stock is currently trading around $10. If Sony came in with an offer of, say, $16, the shareholders might very well accept the offer. Sony would own the whole company (including hardware), for less than half a billion. Sounds like a bargain.
RE: Can SONY do it?
hotpaw4 @ 3/5/2003 4:30:32 PM #
Why would anyone with the cash TALK about buying a company and risk running the price up, instead of just quickly buying a controlling interest before anyone notices? Perhaps they have a reason to talk the price up (to keep some other potential suitor at bay)?
RE: Can SONY do it?
dickius @ 3/5/2003 4:51:11 PM #
You can't just buy a controlling interest in a company without anyone noticing. Under US law, you have to make a public filing with the SEC if you acquire more than 5% of a publicly traded company. Also, if you want to buy more than $50 million worth of a company's shares, you have to make a premerger filing with the Department of Justice and the FTC, and wait a minimum of 30 days before acquiring the shares.

Does anyone know if Palm is incorporated in Delaware? If so, once the company is "in play" (i.e., someone wants to buy it), the company's board of directors is obligated to hold an auction to find the buyer willing to pay the highest price. Sony can't just sneak in and buy the company for a song.

RE: Can SONY do it?
kidA @ 3/5/2003 10:45:05 PM #
i don't know if they're incorporated in Delaware, but i would imagine that they probably are since a good portion of corporations are incorporated there because of their laws and stuff.

RE: Can SONY do it?
hoodoo @ 3/6/2003 9:04:31 AM #
Quote from 2002 annual report:

Palm, Inc.
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
Delaware 94-3150688
(State or other jurisdiction of
incorporation or organization)
(I.R.S. Employer
Identification No.)
400 N. McCarthy Blvd. 95035
Milpitas, California (Zip Code)
(Address of principal executive offices)

There you go, incorporated in Delaware!

It all comes down to $$$...

i2oadi2unnei2 @ 3/5/2003 4:30:20 PM #
Theres only so much we "consumers" can say about mergers, acquisition, etc., but when comes to business strategy, its all about MONEY. I guess the saying "Cash is king" is just about the answer to everything...*sigh*


...|3eep |3eep!!...

Good move

awdr @ 3/5/2003 4:42:27 PM #
Erricson pushed Symbian. Sony and Erricson develop as SonyErricson mobilephones, like the new P800 which runs Symbian.

I donīt think Erricson likes the idea of dropping Symbian, but on the otherhand this cooperation isnīt successfull, there are a lot of tensions!

So perhaps Sony drops Erricson, buys the PDA Marketleader PalmSource, stalls Symbian as long as its smalland enhances pressure on Nokia, the biggest mobilephone company!

RE: Sony and Erricson
Cheetah @ 3/5/2003 10:49:35 PM #
I've never figured out why Sony partnered with Erricson. I'm sure it had something to do with speed to market (Sony would have taken alot longer to get into the market without a company like Erricson).

My guess is that Sony will go out alone in the cell phone market, leaving their partnership with Erricson.



RE: Good move
Fly-By-Night @ 3/6/2003 5:13:09 AM #
Sony has been in the mobile phone market a very long time -- I remember having an excellent (and tiny) Sony analogue mobile years ago.

As for Symbian, it is very unlikely SE would drop it. The modularity of the OS makes it very attractive for mobile device manufacturers -- everything from a basic phone (eg. running Nokia Series 60 interface), to PDA like devices like the P800 or Nokia Communicator can be built. It should also be noted that Symbian devices have already sold over 10 million units -- not bad for an OS that has only just become readily available, and then only in a limited number of devices.

Thirdly, I think everyone is reading too much into what was basically a throw away comment. If a business came up for sale upon which your business relied, you are likely to want to buy it -- that is all the Sony CEO was stating.

FBN

-----
Ceci n'est pas une signature.

It's just a conversation!

Fammy @ 3/5/2003 5:36:46 PM #
"he would buy PalmSource, if they would sell."

He never said I am looking into it. It's just his personal feelings on the markey, etc, in an interview. Sometimes, just sometimes, in interviews people talk about how they feel instead of the company the represent!

I'm sure Sony might be interested, but this is one man speaking.

_____
Fammy

RE: It's just a conversation!
kezza @ 3/5/2003 5:48:35 PM #
yeah, but this is one man who should know how to conduct himself in a public situation, and should realize that whatever he says that will be widely distributed will be widely taken as the opinion of the company. like the a king, he speaks for all when he speaks in public, whether he likes it or not. he knows this. he wouldn't say "i'd like to buy them if they'd sell" if he wasn't speaking for all of Sony, for better or worse. the sony stockholders may not necessarily agree, nor may the board of directors, but he knows enough to know not to say things like that without considering the overall gravity that will be lent to them.

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

This is only fair

ray00pal @ 3/5/2003 11:57:44 PM #
After all, Sony is why Palm OS still alive today. Sorry, not the HandEra OK? The only purpose for HandEra to exist is such that Plam is not the last in the game.
So why Sony pay Palm source when they are the guy who actually do the work?
It is only fair that Sony buy Palm sourse.
Those who think there will be less inovation, please look at Palm OS. Where is the innovation anyway? If I did not tell you it is OS5, you really don't know. Sony's launcher is also much better.

RE: This is only fair
hkklife @ 3/6/2003 9:16:21 AM #
Uhhh, sorry, but I'm going to really have to disagree with most of your statements.

"After all, Sony is why Palm OS still alive today. "
That might be true, and it is still your most reasonable assertion. However, it's still an arguable claim for most. If it weren't for Sony, Apple or IBM might have invested in Palm and produced a unique (ie not rebranded) device of their own (imagine an IPOD with real PDA functions!). At least it certainly wouldn't have used Memory Sticks! Also, Handspring would probably be in much better shape were it not for Sony and we'd probably see Acer-branded Palms here in the US.

"The only purpose for HandEra to exist is such that Plam is not the last in the game".
No I think you meant to say "..so that Handspring is not the last in the game". Palm still sells a *lot* of units, regardless of whether they are Zires or Tungstens.


So why Sony pay Palm source when they are the guy who actually do the work?
"Sony invests a tremendous amount into R&D, yes, but the vast majority of it only benefits them. For example, I don't see them bending over backwards to "share" their remote control software with any of the other manufacturers, even though it would be a cinch to implement. Nor do I see them lending a helping hand to Garmin to make sure their mp3 capabilities are up to snuff. No, Sony are quite content to sit back and let PalmSG, Handspring, etc. learn from their own mistakes. IIRC, Handspring and Handera have actually shared quite a bit of info with Palm in the past...HandEra's expansion card experience and Handspring's 16-bit color implementation and springboard technology in OS 3.x, to name a few.

"Where is the innovation anyway?"
Sometimes innovation does not have to dazzle everyone with over-the-top multimedia. For example, do you know how nice of a small touch the "normal" sized reset button opening on the back of the T|T is? Or the backlit grafitti area on the m505 is (which I hope will carry over to other Palms soon enough). Or even having decent button design and a D-pad...something that Sony should be tarred and feathered for allowing to get progressively worse with each new family of Clie. You'd think someone from the PSX gamepad department could drop by for a few pointers.

"If I did not tell you it is OS5, you really don't know."
This depends on the familiarity and knowledge each individual user has with the Palm OS in general. For me personally, using a friend's IIIc last week was quite a shock after getting used to the nicely colored and shaded OS 5 icons. Also, isn't that the point of incremental OS upgrades--to avoid confusing everyone who has become accustomed to the interface? Win 95 didn't change that much in Win 98..and XP can be droped back to "classic" mode. What exactly does OS 5 need to "prove" that it's not OS4 that won't just end up hampering usability, legibility, and battery life? (please don't tell me screensavers, wallpapers, animations, and other novelty junk that all cell phones are starting to go overboard with)

"Sony's launcher is also much better."
Again, debatable. I like Palm's new-style Preferences menu, myself, and find Sony's icons & fonts a bit too thin and reedy looking


RE: This is only fair
swinginjonny @ 3/7/2003 3:29:09 PM #
"Innovation"--what an overused term on this site! Innovation is not always adding more bells and whistles. I think, (and since I train on Palm OS, I know a lot of people who agree,) that the tiny design of the Tungsten T and the price of the Zire are just as progressive and innovative as many of the "innovative" features that Sony has implemented, with one difference--people want these innovations. People know they want small or cheap. They don't always know that they want the ability to run powerpoint directly to a TV from the cradle (a la NZ90). People get caught up in a narrow view of what innovation is. Innovation is something that changes the way the product is viewed from then on.
The Palm V was innovative. Just a few really new features but it changed the way the world looks at handhelds. Technological innovation doesn't always mean market share...look at Macintosh.

(Self-confessed Palm Geek)

What does this mean for Macs?

gulmatan @ 3/6/2003 1:07:04 AM #
Hi all.

If this goes forward, what happens to Macintosh support? Does this mean than the only way for Macs to work with these new devices is to buy a third-party package such as "Missing Sync"?

Matt A.

Yes.
mikemusick @ 3/6/2003 12:23:19 PM #
And no. Given Sony's track record, if they don't want something to be reverse-engineered for compatibility (such as the CF-slot-that's-not-a-CF-slot in their newest devices), it won't happen. I would not put it past them to make it difficult for an independent developer to build a Mac HotSync solution if they had the market cornered. My inquiries with Sony developer reps about Mac support was met with both sympathy and belligerence.

That said, while I had to use MissingSync under OS 9, I have no trouble sync'ing my T615 using the stock Palm USB drivers under OS X.

RE: What does this mean for Macs?
gulmatan @ 3/6/2003 3:05:26 PM #
Well then, this raises a new question--If the new units come from Sony then this means there will be NO Mac software or PalmDesktop for Mac in the box AT ALL. If so, where can Mac users go to get the necessary PalmDesktop software?

Matt A.

Sony "Support"

sempai @ 3/6/2003 12:28:54 PM #

If Sony buys Palm Source, this means the following will occur:

No more hotsync on Mac OS systems because Sony engineers can't figure it out.

No more downloadable Palm Desktop on the website. (I can't download my software for a Clie NR70 anymore, I have to buy another CD-ROM)

No more Mac support period.

Sony has the worst record with me regarding technical support. I got rid of all of my Sony gadgetry with the exception of a minidisc deck and a portable because I can't trust them to do anything good by the customer.

My VAIO was sold, my A/V receiver was sold. Good riddance to bad rubbish.


slacker!

Maybe AOL should buy Palm?

goofrider @ 3/10/2003 2:44:21 PM #
Here's a nice subject line for you flamers. :)

Well, seriously though, Sony buying PalmSource isn't gonna do much for us consumers, it only serves Sony one purpose - to drop the licensing fees. Worse yet, Sony might put an end to Palm OS licensing altogether. (Though this is a distant possibility.)

AOL probably should have a stronger interest in PalmSource. Palm OS (and maybe even BeOS/BeIA that Palm acqquired from Be, Inc.) can fit sqaurely into their AOL Everywhere strategy, PalmSource can use AOL's cash to speed R&D on OS 6.

How about syncing your address book data with AIM?Making AIM a full-blown PIM service? Slap a corporate IM infrastructure at the back-end and sprinkle some IMAP and you got an Outlook/Exchange/Pocket PC 2002 killer. Oh, an maybe they can make the Mozilla team port their baby to OS 6 too.

AOL wants to compete with Microsoft, PalmSource can be a great asset to them. I think we the consumers would probably benefit more if PalmSource were aquired by AOL instead of Sony.

But that's just my theory.

- Jeff


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