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Comments on: Advanced 3D Multimedia Features Coming to Palm OS Cobalt

PalmSource today announced it has joined the Khronos Group as a contributing member to encourage the development and adoption of OpenGL ES as an important open 2D/3D graphics API standard for mobile multimedia applications. The company also announced to integrate OpenGL ES APIs into future versions of Cobalt to enable broad 3D and multimedia support.
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When?

rsc1000 @ 3/22/2004 2:00:06 PM #
Excellent - but i wonder how long before we see this happen? I mean - if this is included in future versions of Cobolt when devices that use the 1st version of Cobolt won't be out for months, i wouldnt expect to see any of this trickle down to the consumer for at least a year.

RE: When?
halcyon @ 3/22/2004 6:04:58 PM #
This is what I am wondering, too. How does this place PalmOne in comparison to PPC2003SE? Is Palm ahead of the competition or lagging behind? It sounds like some of the chipsets coming around the corner will be able to handle intensive 3D rendering, but when will developers and then the public be able to use this power on a Palm device?

RE: When?
JonathanChoo @ 3/22/2004 9:27:27 PM #
PalmOS is lagging behind PocketPC in terms of graphical ability in games. I don't know if it is because of technical reasons or developers just don't want to support the multiple PalmOS devices with incompatible APIs/Game controller etc. PPC is beginning to feel like a Windows PC with excellent games while PalmOS is like a MacOS with nice, friendly and useful interface.


---
PDAs: Psion 5> Vx > m505 > N770C > T625C > NR70V > Toshiba e310 > T/T > HP h2210 > T/T3/HP h4150 (est arrival 25th March)
Mobiles: StarTac > Ericsson T28m > T39m > T68m > T610 > T630
DigiCam: Minolta DiMage E323

RE: When?
abosco @ 3/23/2004 12:37:48 AM #
>>PalmOS is lagging behind PocketPC in terms of graphical ability in games.

It's tougher to crate them on the Palm OS because it's a bit harder to code, not that it can't be done. The tiny bit of Dragonball code required in OS 5 can be a pain for developers. For example, a couple PPC games recently ported have been Snails 2.0, Interstellar Flames 1.0, and the cross-platform demanding RTS Warfare Inc. Cobalt will make it easier to code these games and speed them up with native-ARM performance.

-Bosco
NX80v + Wifi + BT + T616

RE: When?
rsc1000 @ 3/23/2004 5:32:56 PM #
>>PalmOS is lagging behind PocketPC in terms of graphical ability in games.

Yes, but here is a chance to play catch up. correct me if i'm wrong - but Direct X for Windows Mobile isn't out yet - no? If PalmSource is able to get their OpenGL implementation out the door then we'll have a standard 3D API with hardware support (on at least high end models) - pretty cool. This with the 100% ARM native Cobolt code should - for example - make porting OpenGL games (like Quake 2, Halflife, etc) much easier.

RE: When?
JonathanChoo @ 3/24/2004 12:07:28 AM #
True true, but PocketPC developers has managed to get pretty darn amazing games (ie. Tomb Raider, Counter Sheep, Age Of Empires, Spawn, Rayman Ultimate etc) without DirectX. Just imagine how it would be like with DirectX. I am not writing off PalmOS platform's chance as a viable 21st century gaming platform. It is they have alot of catching up to do to reach PocketPC (or even GameBoy Advance) level. Hopefully this will happen soon with the port of the popular PocketPC game engine GapiDraw.

---
PDAs: Psion 5> Vx > m505 > N770C > T625C > NR70V > Toshiba e310 > T/T > HP h2210 > T/T3/HP h4150 (est arrival 25th March)
Mobiles: StarTac > Ericsson T28m > T39m > T68m > T610 > T630
DigiCam: Minolta DiMage E323
RE: When?
mikecane @ 3/26/2004 1:23:48 AM #
>>>PPC is beginning to feel like a Windows PC with excellent games while PalmOS is like a MacOS with nice, friendly and useful interface.

My God! And I thought I was the only person who felt that way -- and not about games, either!

OpenGL coming to Cobalt!

abosco @ 3/22/2004 3:07:48 PM #
That's all I can say! I'm in shock! :O

-Bosco
NX80v + Wifi + BT + T616

And yet...

mikecane @ 3/22/2004 3:29:05 PM #
... still NO icon in the Status Bar to call up the Command Bar, and still NO filesystem.

But look at how PRETTY they will make everything will look!

Some of us aren't so easily distracted, PalmSource!

RE: And yet...
RhinoSteve @ 3/22/2004 4:15:47 PM #
A flat file system would kill the performance of a handheld computer. You want a flat file system, to go PocketPC and let the file alloction table crash the system every day or so from geek-o-manic use.

Frankly, I'm glad there is not a flat file system, I can finally write code that has good performance instead of keeping a desktop mentality of assuming you have a hard disk to spin up and wait for those oh so precious track and sectors existing on mechanically moving media. Worst, you will want virtual memory next!

As far as the command bar, write a utility app and make some money off of it.
RE: And yet...
just_little_me @ 3/22/2004 5:32:30 PM #
Err Steve - don't you mean FAT file system... the Palm OS already has a flat file system... ;-)


JLM.

RE: And yet...
alanh @ 3/23/2004 9:22:27 AM #
I still wonder why anyone would want a file system on a PDA. Organizing the files is already done by the apps themselves. If I want to look at a Datebook entry, I go into Datebook or DateBk5 or Agendus or whatever. If I want to look at a DOC file, I go into TiBR, WordSmith, AportisDOC, iSilo, etc.... If I want to look at Plucker docs, I go into Plucker....

Etc....

With this granualarity, and the categories within each app, we should have as much organization as we need on a PDA.... Won't there be more categories available in future versions of PalmOS too?

-alan

RE: And yet...
mikecane @ 3/23/2004 10:35:45 AM #
Copy a JPEG to your SD card (not via a PalmOS device).

Not plop that SD card into a TT3's slot.

Now have fun pulling out your hair trying to get the Photos app to either *find* or *display* that JPEG.

Case closed.

Next!

RE: And yet...
mikecane @ 3/23/2004 10:37:07 AM #
Typo. Not = Now.

Obviously.

RE: And yet...
Wollombi @ 3/23/2004 12:59:59 PM #
Perhaps. I haven't tried with the native Photos app, as I am using AcidImage, which is head and shoulders above the native app to begin with.

AcidImage will pull just about any image format off the card and display it, and do it quickly.

_________________
Sean

Always remember that you are unique. Just like everyone else.

RE: And yet...
alanh @ 3/23/2004 3:00:28 PM #
Mikecane:

Sounds like your complaint is about the Photos app, not PalmOS. If you're dealing with cards, I currently have at least 6 different applications installed on my Palm T|T that can deal with multiple, arbitrarily specified directories on external media....

Now what was it about PalmOS lacking a Filesystem?

-alan

RE: And yet...
JKingGrim @ 3/23/2004 7:24:05 PM #
I don't think we need a file system. Just the ability to store arbitrary file types on the device.

Just my opinion.

RE: And yet...
bjh @ 3/23/2004 9:11:36 PM #
What am i missing? I have a T3 and use the built-in Photos app all the time to view jpgs that were stored on my SD card from my digital camera... I've also used other viewers to do the same (RescoView, etc...)


RE: And yet...
mikecane @ 3/24/2004 1:15:20 AM #
Perhaps my complaint is half with Palm apps and half with the lack of a filesystem.

What you are missing -- read my instructions again. Use *only* the T3 Photo app. You'll see.

When you plop in an SD from a camera, the *folder* and path has already been created. If you just drop JPEGs on an SD, the Photo app can't find them -- and it doesn't give you any way to find them. Nor does an out-of-the-box T3 give you any way to find them, either.

RE: And yet...
bjh @ 3/24/2004 2:18:42 AM #
wow, that really bothers you? i wish i had the luxury of being bothered by such things. As a user, all i know is that i'm able to take my card from my camera and view the images on my T3 (and even copy the ones that i want into RAM). The fact that the camera put the images in a place that the photo app could find (without me having to think about it) seems like a plus to me, not a minus.

RE: And yet...
rsc1000 @ 3/24/2004 2:52:49 AM #
>>If you just drop JPEGs on an SD, the Photo app can't find them -- and it doesn't give you any way to find them. Nor does an out-of-the-box T3 give you any way to find them, either.

That has nothing to so with the OS - it does its part fine except that the OS doesn't come bundled a file explorer app - though licensees can very easily add one. Sounds like your main beef is with the Photo app - they should have allowed users to browse the filesystem (the SD card) to find their photo.

Filesystem in PalmOS -- again!
mikecane @ 3/26/2004 12:38:27 AM #
>pulling my hair out<

For crying out loud! "Licensees can add ..." -- if I hear/read that term one more fekkin time, I will scream. I'm going to, with the following words, at least shout -- again!

Look, how far would desktop computing have gotten if CP/M, AppleDOS or MS-DOS had *not* had filesystems and depended on third-parties to *add* them?

As foolish as that idea sounds, that's *exactly* what you lot are arguing every time you use that ridiculous "a licensee can add a filesystem" argument. It should be part of the damned OS to begin with, period!

That your camera can create a folder that the T3 Photo app can see is beside the point -- how the fek can a *user* tell what that folder is, its name, and where it should be on an SD card? They *can't*. And there's no way to even *list* the photos on an SD card so a folder could be created and they could be moved into it. This is not The Zen of Palm. This is the MADNESS of Palm. Simplicity turned into Stupidity.

Just check any damned forum and you will *always* come across questions about how to display photos on a T3 or how to get the Movie Player or Audio Player on a CLIE to find and play video/.audio files. What makes it even worse is that there isn't even such foldername/pathname info included in Help. Sony has put a CLIE FAQ on their latest units -- and it is just about worthless because it doesn't even include such basic information.

For crying out loud, people have been using filesystems on their desktops for close to THIRTY YEARS! This is not something intimidating! The bloody *iPod* has a filesystem! It's time a filesystem was integrated into PalmOS and this "licensees can add it" nonsense was put not just to rest -- but put to DEATH!

Let's see how loud all of you start screaming -- joining my chorus -- when *hard drives* are finally put into PDAs.

Features, Feautures, Features.... but no Battery-Life

T.W.G @ 3/22/2004 3:44:58 PM #
Hi,

It's nice to see that we got even more powerful PDAs all the time.
But why should I buy a PDA that doesn't last as long as my Notebook??

It's a shame. Sonys Handheld-Engine is slow, ok, but they DO concentrate on battery-life, too!


Thomas

T.W.G www.twgmusic.de

Palm Powered Handheld Reviews from T.W.G at: www.pdaforum.de

RE: Features, Feautures, Features.... but no Battery-Life
orol @ 3/22/2004 3:55:13 PM #
not to mention HHE already supports Open GL!

RE: Features, Feautures, Features.... but no Battery-Life
rsc1000 @ 3/22/2004 4:27:25 PM #
>>not to mention HHE already supports Open GL!

What????

RE: Features, Feautures, Features.... but no Battery-Life
Dural @ 3/22/2004 4:45:29 PM #
> "Sonys Handheld-Engine is slow, ok, but they DO concentrate on battery-life, too!"

I don't get it, you complain, but you give the solution yourself. It's available for you in a Sony. Have fun with you SLOW PDA! :D

RE: Features, Feautures, Features.... but no Battery-Life
just_little_me @ 3/22/2004 5:34:26 PM #
Do you know something we dont? When did you test the battery life of a Cobalt device? Last time I looked they were pretty hard to come by...


JLM.

RE: Features, Feautures, Features.... but no Battery-Life
hotpaw4 @ 3/22/2004 5:53:00 PM #
The HHE may be slower in MHz, but how do you know it isn't faster in 3D/GL-like graphics rendering when the Cobalt graphics port is finished?

RE: Features, Feautures, Features.... but no Battery-Life
benixau @ 3/22/2004 11:25:55 PM #
>>What!!!

The HHE already supports OpenGL - look at the UX50, its launcher uses it for the spinning wheel effect that can be varied and for the little balls, that go arround the currently selected icon, in 3 dimensions (they go behind the icon and pop out again).

OpenGL is good but until there is an API for it - no one cares or even hears about it.

RE: Features, Feautures, Features.... but no Battery-Life
abosco @ 3/23/2004 12:35:29 AM #
>>The HHE may be slower in MHz, but how do you know it isn't faster in 3D/GL-like graphics rendering when the Cobalt graphics port is finished?

It has a video DSP for high FPS, not 3D rendering. You'll need a graphics engine like that, and preferably one more higher end than the 2D one in the Zodiac.

-Bosco
NX80v + Wifi + BT + T616

RE: Features, Feautures, Features.... but no Battery-Life
orol @ 3/23/2004 4:10:49 AM #
bosco, UX50 does have 3D rendering engine ... look some sony UX50 press release. the thing is, sony, as alaways, didn't release the API :-/

Cube

Galley_SimRacer @ 3/23/2004 1:34:38 AM #
When are we gonna be able to drop a different movie on each side of a cube, and then spin it in real-time, just like we could in BeOS on a 300MHz machine? ;-)

--
"I'm not a cool person in real life, but I play one on the Internet".
Galley
RE: Cube
just_little_me @ 3/23/2004 4:19:15 PM #

Yeah, when can we do that? I really really really need that for my business. Watching one movie ain't enough for my guys, they are so productive they can watch 6 and even keep up with them as they tumble across the screen... it really is the killer app for mobile devices.

If that's the telling of what made Be so great then it's no wonder they went nowhere so quickly and went arse-up even quicker.


JLM.

RE: Cube
rsc1000 @ 3/24/2004 12:44:54 AM #
>>When are we gonna be able to drop a different movie on each side of a cube, and then spin it in real-time, just like we could in BeOS on a 300MHz machine? ;-)

Im assuming yr joking here because that is apparently what they were in fact demoing on Cobolt at PalmSource in february.

>>If that's the telling of what made Be so great then it's no wonder they went nowhere so quickly and went arse-up even quicker.

Everybody has seen a 2 ghz system running Windows choke - so a demo such as this on the old BEOS (or Cobolt) shows off how real multi-tasking should be architected on modern PCs.

RE: Cube
mikecane @ 3/26/2004 12:52:12 AM #
The reports I read stated it was *one* movie playing on the sides of that cube. He asked for *4*.

I'll up the ante -- a cube actually has *six* sides.

But I won't be impressed until the movie is playing on a spinning *draydel*.

3-D, Schmeee-D!

Midknyte @ 3/23/2004 10:51:32 AM #
3-D, Schmeee-D! Build us a Tungsten with a harddrive!

I want my iPod killer...

RE: 3-D, Schmeee-D!
mikecane @ 3/23/2004 11:46:30 AM #
>>>I want my iPod killer...

Then don't look for it to run PalmSource's OS. The iPod *has* a fekkin *filesystem*.

Are you listening, Slotnick?

RE: 3-D, Schmeee-D!
just_little_me @ 3/23/2004 4:23:56 PM #
If mikecane mentions "filesystem" once more I'm going to scream...

Change the record mike... it's getting a bit tedious...

Are you listening mike?

JLM.

RE: 3-D, Schmeee-D!
hotpaw4 @ 3/23/2004 7:32:18 PM #
The PalmOS already has a file system. VFS. Just use a Tapwave, Sony UX, or any other model with a memory card in the slot. A completely orthogonal issue from any graphics API.
RE: 3-D, Schmeee-D!
mikecane @ 3/24/2004 1:19:15 AM #
>>>If mikecane mentions "filesystem" once more I'm going to scream...

I've got this horse I'm riding and I'm not going to stop until its hooves have made proper dents in the thick skulls of Nagel and Slotnick at PalmSource.

Hey, Nagel -- neat trick: PalmOS on a notebook -- and *NO* filesystem! Have you forgotten what Mac was like pre-HFS?

RE: 3-D, Schmeee-D!
rsc1000 @ 3/24/2004 2:06:06 AM #
>>Hey, Nagel -- neat trick: PalmOS on a notebook -- and *NO* filesystem!

WTF? If a liscensee put PalmOS on a notebook, they would use a hardrive for storage and write a VFS driver for the hardrive. When you run an app it copies to RAM - yes - but thats just like on a windows PC only here we are used to thinking of Palm RAM as also being for storage. But on the notebook you could easily deal with everything by not using the RAM for files storage - just use it to hold the 'copied' app (and for heap space of course) and leave the storage to the hadrvive via VHS. Whats the biggy? whats so crazy about that? VFS is everybit a real file system and with Cobolt extended databases - the whole picture is starting to round out nicely in terms of file management. Think about it.

RE: 3-D, Schmeee-D!
rsc1000 @ 3/24/2004 2:06:06 AM #
mike - i think you are confused on this point: lisensees are free to add drivers for things like VFS devices. Tapwave wrote a driver to use VFS with storage RAM - so could any company. True - PalmSource doesn't provide this but its relatively easy for companies to do.

Let me expound: the meta information in prc and pdb files such as the category the file belongs to, could still be utilized to provide a desktop/launcher view based on category in our hypo-thetical Palm OS notebook. easy cheesy. But you would also want an explorer type view of the file system so u could have that included in the device ROM too. Hmmm - when the hell is somebody going to do this Palm OS notebook? I want one.

BTW - the limitation of 1 process for UI and 1 for background threads is just policy. I just read posts from a PalmSource (and former BEOS) guy that stated that lisensees can support more processes for foreground apps if they wish - something that would make sense for this notebook concept.

RE: 3-D, Schmeee-D!
rsc1000 @ 3/24/2004 2:46:15 AM #
>>Let me expound:

I just realized i wasn't clear - I meant 'let me expound on the notebook with hardrive concept above'.

RE: 3-D, Schmeee-D!
mikecane @ 3/24/2004 1:04:31 PM #
>>>PalmSource doesn't provide this but its relatively easy for companies to do.

Swell. So *each* company will devise its own damned API and users will go nuts:

"Will that feature work on my Garmin?"
"Will that feature work on my palmOne?"
"Will that feature work on my Zodiac?"
"Will that feature work on my CLIE?"

There's already idiotic fragmentation that PalmSource was supposed to *do away with*.

And it is becoming increasingly apparent to me that only PalmOS *zealots* cannot see the sense in what I've been screaming about.

RE: 3-D, Schmeee-D!
freston @ 3/24/2004 1:55:11 PM #
> >>>PalmSource doesn't provide this but its relatively
> easy for companies to do.
>
>
> Swell. So *each* company will devise its own damned API
> and users will go nuts:

You are mixing two things here. Interface (API) and implementation. The interface is already there and defined. It is the same API that application use for accessing files in SD cards, etc. The system allows for pluggable file system modules that are transparently used by the apps through the same API. And this is not new in cobalt it predates OS-5.

In Cobalt this API (VFS) has been kept for backwards compatibility, and at the same time we have integrated it with the general IO subsystem. While previous versions of the OS filesystem and open files were a separate entity from devices, and a separate entity from network sockets, and a separate entity from ... in Cobalt open files, sockets, pipes, devices are integrated so they can be used interchangably by user code (the way it should be). You can still use the old API for accessing file systems. Or you can use the generic API. Or you can use posix APIs if you prefer for accessing them.. whatever fits the taste of developers.

PalmSource provides two FS drivers. A FAT driver (typically used with external storage media), and one for the simulator that redirects requests to the underlaying host fs. Again this is not new, and predates OS-5.

We are not currently providing a filesystem as an internal RAM storage option, some kind of memfs side by side with the database subsystem. While very easy to add, so far there has not been extremely compelling reasons for doing so since it colluded with the simplicity of use that most users love. And yes, not having it is a pain in the ass for power users.

I cannot talk openly about the future, but i can say that a lot of things are changing for providing the same simplicity while not limiting power users. Stay tuned.

> And it is becoming increasingly apparent to me
> that only PalmOS *zealots* cannot see the sense
> in what I've been screaming about.

It is not that, but that your usage model is not the same than that of the majority of other users. One only misses things when he needs them.

RE: 3-D, Schmeee-D!
hackbod @ 3/24/2004 10:12:04 PM #
>>>PalmSource doesn't provide this but its relatively easy for companies to do.

> Swell. So *each* company will devise its own damned > API and users will go nuts:

He was talking about -DRIVERS-. Writing a driver doesn't add new APIs, it allows existing APIs to work with new hardware. For example, to make Cobalt run on an ATI graphics chip, one would write a new graphics driver for it. None of the graphics APIs that developers see are changed.

In this case the APIs for working with filesystems are called VFS, and (whatever one may think of them) they have been around for quite a while. Look in VFSMgr.h if you don't believe me.


RE: 3-D, Schmeee-D!
mikecane @ 3/26/2004 12:56:39 AM #
>>>And yes, not having it is a pain in the ass for power users.

Well thank you for acknowledging that fact!

And since you're aware of that, isn't that possibly one aspect (there are others too!) that has caused PalmOS marketshare to *shrink* against PPC?

When you forget the power user -- or, worse, choose to ignore the power user -- you commit suicide. See my latest raging post about a filesystem above (cleverly titled "Filesystem on PalmOS -- again!").

Jeff Kirvin wrote an *excellent* column about the frustrating limitations of PalmOS here:

http://www.writingonyourpalm.net/column020211.htm

Quoting:

>>The answer's in the fine print. The PalmOS devices may have the Pocket PC edged out on task complexity, but they lose big time in systemic complexity.

>>What does this mean? It means that even if the Pocket PC is a little more complex at the task level, the overall system is far easier to use because it functions better as an integrated whole. PalmOS devices quickly devolve into a nightmare of complexity once you move past the basic PIM stuff.

-- go read the rest.

(And that Jeff has switched from a PPC to a Tungsten E is irrelevant. He is always doing weird stuff like that.)

I will be raging elsewhere in a continuing Q&A with hackbod (you're all invited) about the insanity of *not* having an icon in the Status/Task/Whatever the hell that bottom bar is called to invoke the Command Bar.


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