Comments on: AvantGo Survey Names Top PDA Features

The results of the AvantGo 2004 Mobile Lifestyle survey reveal that when it comes to device functionality, early technology adopters want to have their cake and eat it too. When asked to imagine the must-have features of an all-in-one "dream device," survey respondents chose a surprising combination of "bells and whistles" and standard options.
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AvantGo? Still alive?

JonathanChoo @ 9/21/2004 12:51:53 PM #
Who still uses AvantGo here?

Generic PDA > 5mx > Vx > m505 > N770C > T625C > NR70V > e310 > m550 > h2210 > T/T3 & h4150
StarTac > T28m > T39m > T68m > T610 > T630 > K700i
RE: AvantGo? Still alive?
hkklife @ 9/21/2004 1:24:50 PM #
*Raises hand*

I still am, even though my usage habits of AG aren't as often or as ferocious as they were 3 years or so ago with the service. It took them a long time get external storage support added , a long time for the OS5 client to get out of beta, and they still haven't added support for 320*480 screens. Not a sterling track record by any account.

Still, if you don't care for Plucker, it's the only game in town for those without a BT-enabled cell phone or wi-fi in their handhelds.

RE: AvantGo? Still alive?
achitnis @ 9/21/2004 3:02:40 PM #
I agree - AG has been pretty tardy with their client software, and I hate them for not giving us 320x480, though the service itself rocks my planet in more ways than one.

I have been an Avantgo user for like forever, and can frankly say that while there are alternatives out there, and I have tried them all, nothing is quite as convenient *for me* as AG. I pick up more than 20 channels per sync, and they provide me news, info and entertainment for a long time.

External storage used to be a major complaint, but these days, with 32MB or more available in most Palm PDAs (64 MB in my T3), I prefer working out of RAM anyway. Storage cards are for static stuff.

In many ways, Avantgo was an influencing factor in my PDA adoption. You may be interested in this multi-part article of mine that describes the process:

And no, I don't work for Avantgo. They work for me. :)

Atul Chitnis

RE: AvantGo? Still alive?
markgm @ 9/21/2004 6:47:56 PM #
AvantGo was the reason I got my Handspring Visor, and remains one of the best apps I have on my NX80. It was a bit of a wait for the hi-res version, but well worth it, and for the price, I can't complain. It might be one of a handful of programs I have used on every PalmOS device I've had.

RE: AvantGo? Still alive?
Strider_mt2k @ 9/21/2004 6:53:44 PM #
AvantGo was great for quite a while, but my usage really dropped off when I got a WiFi enabled handheld.
One day I looked at how much I was getting out of it, and how much room it was taking up, and I deleted it.

RE: AvantGo? Still alive?
palmdoc88 @ 9/21/2004 7:22:57 PM #
I still do user AG but haven't bothered to upgrade to the pay version as I merely switch new channels to Plucker which in many ways is much better - can get AG channels as well as RSS feeds AND it supports 320x480 which is taking AG forever to implement!

T3 user

RE: AvantGo? Still alive?
hkklife @ 9/21/2004 9:24:31 PM #
They had a promo deal a while might still be running, actually. If you filled out a 5 minute questionnaire you were automatically "bumped" up to a 3mb account at no charge. I did it and while my 2mb account was just a tad small for all of the stuff I wanted to get channel-wise, 3mb is more than plenty. I've actually taken to wirelessly updating AG over my BT cell connection when I have some downtime just so I will have some fresh content to read when I don't want to burn up minutes or if I'm somewhere where it's not convenient or possible to get a good signal.

RE: AvantGo? Still alive?
sford @ 9/22/2004 12:14:31 AM #
Aye, I still use AG, although I do agree that development has been a little slow. For me though, it's just a lot easier and more intuitive than Plucker; so, for what it does and since it's free, it is still my main app in its arena.

Pilot Pro -> III -> IIIe -> Nino (yeah...oops!) -> IIIc -> VIIx -> m505 -> NR70V -> NX60 -> T3
RE: AvantGo? Still alive?
otter @ 9/22/2004 4:56:06 AM #
I gave up on them about 6 months ago after I got one too many "wrong version" errors.
RE: AvantGo? Still alive?
Sho-Bud @ 9/22/2004 6:52:29 AM #
I stopped using AvantGo after their policy change one or two years ago, I bought Isilo and never looked back.

RE: AvantGo? Still alive?
mdquerng @ 9/22/2004 2:54:20 PM #
Lots of people have been talking here about the lack of 320x480 support in Avantgo. I am currently using version 5.3 build 77 and I'm looking at 320x480 on my screen right now. My handheld is a Clie TH-55 but I assume it should work on any handheld that supports 320x480.


RE: AvantGo? Still alive?
Altema @ 9/22/2004 4:11:25 PM #
"AvantGo was great for quite a while, but my usage really dropped off when I got a WiFi enabled handheld.
One day I looked at how much I was getting out of it, and how much room it was taking up, and I deleted it."

With the exception of using GPRS instead of WiFi, I went through the exact same thing. It was crucial on my earlier devices, then it became sort-of necessary, then redundant.

RE: AvantGo? Still alive?
Haber @ 9/23/2004 4:45:22 AM #
I use AvantGo on my Palm Vx, and is the application I use most frequently. It is handy to read news and articles while on break from work. I do wish the software would be upgraded, that channels such as CNN wouldn't disappear, and that every single channel was actually well designed, but I find it quite useful and important, despite its shortcomings.

RE: AvantGo? Still alive?
peitron @ 9/23/2004 7:41:56 PM #
"Lots of people have been talking here about the lack of 320x480 support in Avantgo. I am currently using version 5.3 build 77 and I'm looking at 320x480 on my screen right now. My handheld is a Clie TH-55 but I assume it should work on any handheld that supports 320x480."

? I use version 5.5 build 95 on a T3 and I've never been able to use the stretch display. Only works on a 320x320 screen.

IIIx > m130 > m515 > T|T > T|T3
"Why should I care about posterity? What's posterity ever done for me?" - Groucho Marx

RE: AvantGo? Still alive?
killah fury @ 9/26/2004 6:24:33 AM #
I'm still using AvantGo and love it - been using it since 1998! :-) It doesn't natively support landscape hi-res+ but I registered CodeDiver just for that reason and it works perfectly on my Clie UX50 (and CodeDiver is only $10).


critic @ 9/21/2004 12:58:19 PM #
Not surprisingly, Mac compatibility didn't show up on the list - because we want to pony up for Missing Sync, we have to jump through hoops just to get AvantGo to work with MacOSX.

What do you think, sirs?
RE: Heh.
ogun7 @ 9/21/2004 5:38:40 PM #
Suprisingly, most people I know here in NYC don't use AvantGo for that reason. Most of my hardcore technogeeks that overuse the PDA's use Macs most of my geek PC weenie friends that use Palms and PocketPC's don't even know what AvantGo is

And yes, I AM A MAC GEEK!!
RE: Heh, Why bother with Missing Sync?
ChiA @ 9/22/2004 4:40:09 AM #
Why should OS X users bother with Missing Sync for Avantgo when this is available:

It works seemlessly within a Hotsync and it's freeware! It works perfectly for me. Apparently it even syncs the OS 5 devices with the hi-res screens. Sadly I've not got an OS 5 device to tell you; I'll let you know soon as I get hold of one of those new Treos! ;-)

RE: Heh.
iain.collins @ 9/24/2004 2:57:56 AM #
I've tried the MAL condiuit on two of my Mac's with two PDA's and found it's never worked at all for me, it simply errors and crashes during the Hotsync. Given they are two seperate installs, running two differnt OS versions (one 10.2, one 10.3) and with two differnt PDA's it's unfortunately hard to see the software as anything other than flakey.

The new Missing Sync client is particularly nice and works every time however.

Sadly performance of Avant Go is dire on my OS5 Clie TH55 for some reason. I have no 3rd party hacks installed, so I can't see why it should be like that, it was fine under OS 4 on my old Clie (and my old Palm IV). Poor client software is my main reason for not using AvantGo any more (though I still really want this kind of functionality in my PDA).

Missing Sync vs. MAL Conduit
ChiA @ 9/24/2004 12:00:25 PM #
Maybe it's an Palm OS 5 issue? I've got a Palm OS 4 device with OS X 10.3.5 and it works quickly with no problems at all. It may also be your version of MAL conduit - the latest version is 1.0.4. Having said all that, ian.collins, you already have a solution that works!

Wrong conclusion

mikecane @ 9/21/2004 12:59:29 PM #
>>>"Most surprising, however, is that 8 out of 10 users are sticking with the same operating system. That's brand loyalty."

Well, no, it's not.

Brand loyalty would be buying Palm after Palm. If a person bought a Palm and then went to a CLIE, he'd be switching *brands*, but not OSes. Just as if someone once bought an iPaq and then bought a Toshiba PPC, he'd (OK, she'd) be switching *brands* too.

RE: Wrong conclusion
Tere @ 9/21/2004 3:01:57 PM #
# >>>"Most surprising, however, is that 8 out of 10 users are
# sticking with the same operating system. That's brand loyalty."
# Well, no, it's not.

Sure it is. "PalmOS" "PPC" and "Symbian" are certainly brands.
They were talking OS brand loyalty, not (necessarly) machine brand.

- Tere

RE: Wrong conclusion
Captain Hair @ 9/21/2004 3:05:38 PM #
Not quite. This is a more general brand loyalty, i.e. Palm OS vs Windows Mobile, same as Windows vs Mac. Even if you buy a Pa1mOne Tungsten|T3 and then later buy a Sony Clie UX-50, you're still remaining loyal to the Palm Source OS brand. Understand?

"People who think they're smart annoy those of us who are."
RE: Wrong conclusion
ishore @ 9/21/2004 4:20:31 PM #
Well I had 3 Palms before going to a Clie'. Then just about 2 months ago the battery died. So I started to look. Now I have the Zire 72 and happier.

Got tired of the small screen, low memory, and the cost to replace the batter after a year and a half.

Give me my Palm.

RE: Wrong conclusion
mikecane @ 9/21/2004 5:50:40 PM #
I know what they *meant*. Geez. I'm saying it's WRONG.

Go out and ask everyday people with Palms what OS their "organizer" runs on and to name at least one other such OS.

Like that blank stare?

RE: Wrong conclusion
Sho-Bud @ 9/22/2004 6:54:45 AM #
I'm brand loyal: After a Palm Vx, M515, T2, T3 I switched to a Garmin Ique 3600, but I still refer to it as my Palm. :)

Mombo #5

e_tellurian @ 9/21/2004 2:37:20 PM #
Many choices are possible starting with 5.



completing the e-com circle with a people driven we-com solution

IQ #5
Strider_mt2k @ 9/21/2004 6:50:52 PM #
Back in your closet with the stuffed animals, ET.

RE: Mombo #5
Gekko @ 9/21/2004 8:07:24 PM #

ET - Give my best to Hinckley.

RE: Mombo #5
Winter_ @ 9/22/2004 3:24:38 PM #
Note to self: start lava lamp, Floyd before reading his messages...

A mansion, a yacht, a private golf course...

Calroth @ 9/21/2004 7:52:30 PM #
Asking what people want in their dream device is pointless, because a dream device is just that: a dream. Ask people whether they would pay $1000 for their dream device ('cos that is what it would cost), and I bet 90% of people would say no.

It's like asking people what they would buy if they had $100 million. They'd buy a mansion, a yacht, a private golf course... Of course, none of this bears any resemblance to reality. You don't see thousands of private golf courses being built, even though everybody says it's part of their dream future.

RE: A mansion, a yacht, a private golf course...
Calroth @ 9/21/2004 8:00:17 PM #
Further to this, if people really did get their dream device, I doubt they'd use all the features. They'd say, cool, an MP3 player. Then they'd listen to a few files and never use again. They'd say, cool, wireless. They'd use it for a while, then decide that a laptop would suit them better for what they wanted to do. They'd say, cool, GPS. Then they'd never use it.

It's like if you had your own private golf course. Would you go down every afternoon and play on it? Or would you maybe play on it every Sunday for a month, then once every few weeks, then get bored of it?

What people want and what they need are two different matters.

RE: A mansion, a yacht, a private golf course...
Gekko @ 9/21/2004 8:03:23 PM #
None of the PDA features listed are unreasonable (except maybe the 20 Gigs) so yours is an apples to oranges comparison.

RE: A mansion, a yacht, a private golf course...
Calroth @ 9/22/2004 7:51:06 AM #
No. They are all reasonable features. And I think $1000 is a reasonable cost to put it all together into one unit. But will people buy it at that price?

Besides, some of them contradict. Large screen yet compact size? What do they expect, folding screens? And, on top of all those features, great battery life? You wish.

RE: A mansion, a yacht, a private golf course...
Calroth @ 9/22/2004 7:57:50 AM #
Let's play hypothetical. Take the Treo 600 as a baseline, and add features to it until it's our dream device.

Treo 600 - $600
20GB built-in hard drive - $200
Wi-Fi and Bluetooth - $50
GPS - $50
Larger screen - $50
Upgraded battery to power the above - $50
Miniature parts to fit it all into the current case - $200

Using this device for the date book, memo pad and to-do list - Priceless.

RE: A mansion, a yacht, a private golf course...
Strider_mt2k @ 9/22/2004 2:50:41 PM #
Coming soon:

Virtual Golf Course Yacht for Palm OS!

The wackiest vessel in the fleet just got wackier with this smash hit new Palm OS release!

Get everything you've always dreamed of ON YOUR HANDHELD, FINALLY!

Chip one off the main deck and watch the fun as 32,000 courses and over 45 yacht configurations make for entertaining and thought provoking gameplay.

Only 1,000.00 dollars at a PalmOne Airport location or kiosk near you!

RE: A mansion, a yacht, a private golf course...
Winter_ @ 9/22/2004 3:20:30 PM #
Calroth, I would expect the price increase to be somewhat more exponential with each feature...

Complete Survey

oseiampadu @ 9/22/2004 2:32:40 AM #
Where can I read the complete survey? I guess the features guys want to have integrated in PDAs was only one of the questions. I can find nothing on the AvantGo website.

Michael Osei-Ampadu

Kind of meaningless

JonAcheson @ 9/22/2004 12:36:02 PM #
I think that while these were the most asked-for features, hardly anyone wants one handheld with all of them. They're contradictory in most cases.

A logical next step would be to make up a half-dozen sample dream PDAs with most of these features, choosing ones that would fit particular "missions," and have a vote-off.

You could have:

- the supercameraphone PDA (Treo 650)

- the laptop replacement with wifi, keyboard, big screen, big battery, and a larger-than-PDA footprint. Maybe a hard drive, plus 2 SD slots and one compact flash.

- The iPod beater with hard drive, small screen and great battery life.

- The business class with thumboard, email, wifi and NO CAMERA.

- the adventurer model with GPS, camera, 320x320 screen, good battery, and a water resistant shockproof metal case.

- the palm watch with a 160x160 OLED touch screen.

Jon Acheson

"All opinions posted are my own, and not those of my employers, who are appalled."

Whats not to like?

skeezix @ 9/22/2004 4:16:29 PM #
I liked Avant-Go many many many years ago when I first tried it out, though I didn't keep it around for long (just didn't use it that much); for awhile I've been using Plucker (though there is also the old HandStory, and of course iSilo and other similar things.) The advantage to AG at the time was that its synctimes were pretty low, yet you got useful data. (With Plucker it often takes a loooong time to pluck websites, since its spidering like mad.. so I tend to pluck large sites only once in awhile, so its not really valuable to me.. but plucking PDA-formatted sites or RSS is way cool.)

However, with AG, I remember they did some evil policy change years ago which totally turned me off, and I don't recall what it is; taking a look at their site now, I don't see any obvious details.. the service is "free", so obviously they have to pay for it somehow.

Do they make their money..

1) Purely by selling "larger sync sizes" to you? Looks like they offer you 2MB now, or you can buy 8MB (or more?) channel sizes?

2) Selling your channel history.. which channels you like, what your habiuts are, etc? Is this spyware on your desktop, your handheld, or just spying on the channels you're collecting?

3) Something else; anything weird?

I'm naturally very paranoid about spybots, and this sets a bell off in my head, but I don't remember any details :)

I'm half tempted to try it again for fun, but not if its spyware :)


The Shadow knows!

RE: Whats not to like?
coop @ 9/23/2004 12:40:52 AM #
It costs money to set up a channel for others to read. The more viewers, the more the channel owner pays. That's why the NY Times is there, but not Joe's Bait shop, although both have websites.


RE: Whats not to like?
superme @ 9/23/2004 4:59:18 AM #

RE: Whats not to like?
alanh @ 9/23/2004 5:23:54 PM #
AvantGo also sells an "intranet" server product to companies. My guess is that the server didn't sell well enough to finance the free service, so they started charging content providers.



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