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Comments on: Top 10 PDA "Failures" Named

MLAagazine has published a list of their top ten PDA Failures. Over the past twenty years, there have been many false starts in the PDA business. Many companies released viable products that flopped, while others peddled mediocrity and flourished. MLA Author Flop made a top ten list of devices or initiatives that failed and shouldn't have.
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FIRST POST AGAIN.....

ackmondual @ 1/19/2005 5:56:38 PM # Q
.... !! I've certainly jumped on the PDA bandwagon a little late (back in '01). The only ones I've heard of were the Apple Netwon and the "Palm" PC. I'm surprised, i thought I was gonna see at least one WindowsCE and Palm Inc. device. There really were worse devices than some I thought were bad enough

[signature0]the secret to enjoying your job is to have a hobby that's even worse[/signature0]
[signature1]My PDAs: Visor --> Visor Neo (blue) --> Zire 71.... so ends the "marathon", for now[/signature1]
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And the T5...?

adamsmark @ 1/19/2005 6:30:52 PM # Q
Really thought the T5 would enter that list, but I suppose Palm has mastered the successful failure. The Newton, as exceptional as it was, deserved to top off the list.

RE: And the T5...?
joad @ 1/19/2005 7:30:47 PM # Q
I guess the Treo 650 wouldn't count because it's a "smartphone" and not just a PDA... but bringing out such a miserably underpowered followup to the Treo 600 ought to count as some sort of "failure" even though PalmOne will sell a few of them. Guess PalmOne is simply telling us - "hey, we bought out Handspring, Sony's out of the US market (and doing Symbian on their phones - you have nowhere to turn but PalmOne for a PalmOS smartphone." Trying to con us into believing the T5 isn't simply an E2 probably aligns with that same hubris.

Why oh why did Handspring have to sell out to PalmOne? They had finally created a platform of the future, and PalmOne is driving it right into the ground... Guess they made some money, that's apparently what drives companies to lose all hopes of innovation nowadays... Fat and happy because in the absence of serious competition people will settle for anything, even a Treo 650 with woeful memory or a T5/E2 with no vibrating alarms and several other backward steps for 3/4 the price of a laptop...

RE: And the T5...?
Frenchie @ 1/19/2005 7:44:43 PM # Q
the newton started the PDA fab but people never really liked the idea till the Palm Pilot came out. And now the Palm handheld engine will eventually become consumed by Micro$oft

The world will end in 2006. Just as it was predicted in the bible along with the release of Microsoft Longhorn.... :p
RE: And the T5...?
gidora @ 1/19/2005 8:22:05 PM # Q
Funny, I was expecting Gekko to jump in with a tirade on the T5, but I guess he didn't have to. Have any of you actually used a T5? You know, connect via WiFi, run Blazer while listening to MP3s, swap cards, write documents....Did you know that it runs almost twice as long as my TT and has a fine display. I for one am glad that I don't have to waste my time with the slider anymore.

Casio(256k)>Psion Siena(1M)> Visor Prism(8M)> TungstenT(16M)>T5(256M!)
RE: And the T5...?
voice of chaos @ 1/19/2005 8:29:02 PM # Q
"Why oh why did Handspring have to sell out to PalmOne? They had finally created a platform of the future, and PalmOne is driving it right into the ground..."

Um, if you look carefully you'll see that the Handspring folks are the real folks calling the shots at palmOne - the previous Palm Soulutions Group regime has pretty much ceded the future of the company to them.


RE: And the T5...?
adamsmark @ 1/19/2005 11:25:19 PM # Q
<<

Funny, I was expecting Gekko to jump in with a tirade on the T5, but I guess he didn't have to. Have any of you actually used a T5? You know, connect via WiFi, run Blazer while listening to MP3s, swap cards, write documents....Did you know that it runs almost twice as long as my TT and has a fine display. I for one am glad that I don't have to waste my time with the slider anymore.>>>

Yes, I tried it. But my main point is that while PocketPC makers are unloading products that have the PDA community wired, Palm comes out with the tepid T5. It's really not a ground-breaking PDA, and in an age of ground breaking, that makes it a loser.

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Poor research if they didn't even mention Penpoint

Plane Sailing @ 1/19/2005 7:39:45 PM # Q
I'm disappointed with the quality of their research, since they didn't even mention Penpoint by Go. This was the software that PenWindows was released as a spoiler for, and there are aspects of Penpoint from 1991 that are only now being built into desktop operating systems.

Penpoint: handicapped by the then state of hardware, smothered in it's cradle by Microsoft.

Cheers

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...and the Sharp wizard...?

joad @ 1/19/2005 7:44:41 PM # Q
I wonder if the Sharp Wizard was a candidate for this award? I recall paying about $200 in the late 1980's for one of these. Never interfaced with a computer, openeed like a book with an "ABCDEF..." keyboard layout on one side and a small monochrome screen on the other. I could see the potential of these things, but the wizard was too early out of the gate to be more than a really expensive electronic address book.

My experience with the Wizard did lead me to be an early adopter with the Palmpilot - as technology and innovation had finally caught up to the potential of a truly useful handheld organizer. Graffiti was the secret to efficient and accurate handheld input. Too bad we've come full circle back to keyboards only (and/or the horrendous Graffiti 2!) on many PDAs.

These devices may have been "failures," but only in the sense that they didn't catch on to the point companies made tons of money with them.

Out of their ashes, many of their innovations have been resurrected into present day PDAs ie: the lack of a vibrating alarm on the Tungsten 5 was an innovation taken from many early failed PDAs, the 16MB of useful internal memory in the modern-day Treo 650 is possibly PalmOne's homage to the "failed" WINCE "Palm PC" specifications.

RE: ...and the Sharp wizard...?
batmon @ 1/19/2005 10:10:27 PM # Q
>Graffiti was the secret to efficient and accurate handheld input. Too bad we've come full circle back to keyboards only (and/or the horrendous Graffiti 2!) on many PDAs.

==

I agree with you. Graffiti is just fast and easy to learn. I use Newton before Palm and it takes 1 sec to process each letter I wrote, and gets like 75% of the time only... Once I bought my PalmPilot, I throw away my Newton back in 90s.


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Palm PC and Helio

dq @ 1/20/2005 5:18:25 AM # Q
From my own experience with these products, I cannot agree with the article.

Palm PC had a very bad UI (like using double taps everywhere) and was very slow in the hardware available at the time. Pocket PC had a better UI (more like PalmOS and less like desktop Windows) and was used in faster machines with more memory. Palm III and Palm V were not only cheaper than Palm PC, but they were also faster, easier to use and a battery life greater by one order of magnitude. It is a shame that Palm could not evolve PalmOS as fast as processors speed, memory density and battery life increased. Microsoft bet on Moore's Law while Palm bet against (remember the "there is no need for color displays" era?).

The Helio had great hardware specs and a good price, but the software was terrible. Bugs everywhere. They tried to get the comunity to fix the software for them, but it did not worked out.

Daniel

RE: Palm PC and Helio
ardiri @ 1/23/2005 5:49:29 AM # Q
we did a stint of work on the helio:

http://www.ardiri.com/index.php?redir=helio

as a platform; it was great to program for - the devkit wasn't that bad to setup (but, you had to like gcc) :P it was very similar to coding with prc-tools for palmos :)

we ported a bunch of games and even the gameboy emulator - but, the general "applications" that were in the rom sucked. i still have two working helio units in my collection :) or, maybe i butchered one of them..

most of our games were free if i remember - vtech paid for a lot of development (namely the gameboy emulator); it still gets downloaded today :) so, there are a few using the device.

great hardware; good OS (had a real timer) but poorly written applications :)

---
Aaron Ardiri
PalmOS Certified Developer
aaron_ardiri@mobilewizardry.com
http://www.mobilewizardry.com/members/aaron_ardiri.php

RE: Palm PC and Helio
Saad @ 1/24/2005 6:52:28 PM # Q
I am the author of the article. I really liked the interface of the Palm PC's, aside from the double tapping. The active desktop was far better than the Newton's Agenda View (which I use primarily), and the Palm's view (haven't used it for a while).

The Helio was pretty nifty, it was my first PDA. It was fast, stable and had lots of free ebooks on the CD.

I've never used a Go machine, so I did not include it.

http://www.mlagazine.com/

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Well, lets look at the HP LX

Tamog @ 1/20/2005 9:34:04 AM # Q
and compare it with the new Sony OQO and how all of trhese Windows XP-PDA's are called. Since a desktop OS always is optimized for-well-a desktop abnd handheld CPU's always are slower than their desktop counterparts, I think that all of these devices will go the same way the PalmPC and the HP handhelds went...
Just my 2 cents!

Find out more about the Palm OS in my blog:
http://tamspalm.blogspot.com
RE: Well, lets look at the HP LX
LiveFaith @ 1/20/2005 11:28:30 AM # Q
How about the HP Jornada's that they thankfully were able to jettison by buying the the awesome iPAQ team? Only to destroy them and introduce that new line of Darth Vader Pez dispensers (rx1715 etc) that now disgraces the iPaq name.

Pat Horne; www.churchoflivingfaith.com
RE: Well, lets look at the HP LX
joad @ 1/20/2005 10:36:05 PM # Q
Please do not disgrace the Pez name by mentioning it in the same sentence as "HP."
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I wish somebody maintained a public museum of these things..

orb2069 @ 1/21/2005 6:26:37 PM # Q
...so all the grousing types here could actually sit down and try a few of them, and realize how many things have been gotten RIGHT.

I owned a Magic cap for a few months - They're not kidding about 'Big' - It's about the size of your average bible and a half-inch bigger, and ran on camcorder batteries - To the tune of about an hour of solid runtime on a charge.

I'm also kind of surprised that they didn't include the Franklin eBookman - some of the really hair-raising bugs it exhibited on release (complete information wipe with a gentle bump that broke momentary contact of the batteries) combined with the software problems (Microsoft never released the version of Reader they promised - the most intrusive DRM system, ever - a RAM-installed OS that required you to redownload it in it's entirity every time you wiped the machine - a 6MB OS download onto machines that only had 8MB RAM....) pretty much smothered this thing in it's cradle. It was a much bigger flop than the Helio, which actually worked fairly reliably.

1000->Personal->IRUpgrade->TRGPro->HE330->Treo 180

RE: I wish somebody maintained a public museum of these things..
Gekko @ 1/21/2005 6:42:14 PM # Q

>Treo 180

It looks like you're still using a museum piece.



Yeah, pretty much.
orb2069 @ 1/22/2005 8:06:56 PM # Q
But I was sick of dealing with a cel AND a pda. It does the job, and I'm not going to get too upset if it gets run over by a truck - I've already toasted one of them.

I still get pangs of nostalgia when using the 330 for GPS stuff, but I think I can hold out until the 650 drops down to $200 or so. :)

1000->Personal->IRUpgrade->TRGPro->HE330->Treo 180

RE: I wish somebody maintained a public museum of these thin
twrock @ 1/23/2005 6:50:24 PM # Q
"I still get pangs of nostalgia when using the 330...."
TRG/HandEra could have made the list as well. Sweet devices. Innovative. They had a lot to offer, and their "failure" was most unfortunate.

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The REAL top ten devices that didn't deserve to die:

The_Voice_of_Reason @ 1/23/2005 8:47:19 PM # Q
From the comments above it looks like some people didn't really understand what the article was about.

Here's a "corrected" list of the top 10 PDAs that should never have been killed off:

1) Apple Newton

2) TRG TRGpro

3) Psion Series 5

4) Sony CLIE UX50

5) Palm Vx

6) VTECH Helio

7) Handspring Visor (or more accurately, Springboards in general)

8) Xircom REX

9) HandEra 330

10) Sony CLIE TH55


Honorable mention goes to the Sharp Zaurus SL-C760 (actually never really lived in America. Reincarnated in Japan as the Zaurus SL-C860.)




******************************************************************
Sony CLIE UX100: 128 MB real RAM, OLED screen. All the PDA anyone really ever wanted.

RE: The REAL top ten devices that didn't deserve to die:
Gekko @ 1/23/2005 10:07:20 PM # Q

hey birdbrain - they're all fossils for a reason.

RE: The REAL top ten devices that didn't deserve to die:
twrock @ 1/24/2005 1:42:03 AM # Q
Re: TVoR's #2 & #9. I like how you got both devices on the list. Appropriate.

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Article translated into Spanish

albertc @ 1/24/2005 12:56:11 PM # Q
CanalPDA has translated the '10 failures' article into Spanish, adding some reference links to each failed unit. It can be read here:

http://www.canalpda.com/displayarticle279-flat.html

regards

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Devices That Should Have Been

mikecane @ 1/24/2005 1:18:36 PM # Q
Palm Pilot-sized Newton

CLIE S320 with color screen
(don't throw the 320x320s at me -- they had lousy styli!)

A color HandEra with a shell that didn't look like it was done by high school design dropouts.

Xircom REX running PalmOS
(hey, p1, there's still time to snap up those assets from, I think it might be, Intel!)

Sharp Zaurus with slide/hide-away keyboard running PalmOS

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