Quickies: OS 5, Freeware Palm, eBook, 321Contact

Cnet Asia has a comparison of the features of Palm OS 4 and OS 5. It's very useful for those who want to know what's new in OS 5. -Ed

Freeware Palm is back up. It was offline for a few days while it changed service providers. -Jony

Interactive E Books has released The Flame Of Illean, the first interactive fantasy adventure in the Legends of Mystaris series. The inspiration for this game comes from the adventure gamebooks that were popular in the 70's and 80's, but taken to the next level - over 1200 pages of text, 130 full color images and multiple scenarios ranging from the challenging to the almost impossible. The Flame Of Illean is $10. -PR

321Contact 1.02 is a new contact manager that automatically dials phone numbers via infrared or Bluetooth. Contextual menus are used throughout to app to make common tasks easier. It is $20. -Ed

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CNet Asia comparison slightly wrong

bcombee @ 4/26/2002 10:05:03 AM #
Most of the CNet Asia comparison of 4.0 and 5.0 was right, based on what was released at PalmSource 2002, but they err in the "multi-threaded" column. Palm OS, since version 1.0, has supported mulitple threads and those are all used by the operating system and licensees, with only one thread supporting applications. This model has not changed in OS 5 -- you still are only running one application at a time, and there are no new API calls to create additional threads in your app. This is a planned feature for the next OS version which will support native ARM applications, not OS 5.

CodeWarrior for Palm OS technical lead
Programming help at www.palmoswerks.com
RE: CNet Asia comparison slightly wrong
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/26/2002 10:12:25 AM #
What do they even mean by, "extends the native support to include 802.11b"? Extends by what, adding drivers and some forms to set parameters like HandEra did?

Resolutions other than 320x320 and 160x160 are "supported". Is there even planned support in 5.0 for video-type multimedia?

Sounds like they took a bunch of press info off of Palm's site and possibly some info from this site and stuck it in a pretty table. This is not news.

RE: CNet Asia comparison slightly wrong
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/26/2002 10:28:36 AM #
>> Sounds like they took a bunch of press info off of Palm's site and possibly some info from this site and stuck it in a pretty table. This is not news. <<

Maybe this isn't "news" by some people's very restrictive definition, but it is a very useful service. Not everyone has the time to wade through the thousand words of text on OS 5 and dig out the most important points.

Now if they had only been able to get all of the points correct.

RE: CNet Asia comparison slightly wrong
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/26/2002 11:04:42 AM #
It's funny that Palmsource plans to include a browser in its operating system... the Microsoft antitrust case began with their inclusion of IE in windows operating systems...
RE: CNet Asia comparison slightly wrong
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/26/2002 11:59:45 AM #
>>It's funny that Palmsource plans to include a browser in its operating system... the Microsoft antitrust case began with their inclusion of IE in windows operating systems...

Yes, and microsoft is still doing this with PocketPC and nobody is stopping them - so Palm would be foolish not to.

RE: CNet Asia comparison slightly wrong
Wollombi @ 4/26/2002 1:45:52 PM #
It's funny that Palmsource plans to include a browser in its operating system... the Microsoft antitrust case began with their inclusion of IE in windows operating systems...

Not entirely true, this just happens to be the horse that Justice chose to ride in on. The antitrust issues actually sprang from licensing schemes that M$ forced on hardware vendors like Dell and Compaq, forcing them to buy a license for every PC sold whether it had Winblows installed or not. Sell a PC running Linux, buy a Windows license anyway, or they won't license it to you at all.

Then there is M$'s "holy war" on Java...


It is not very comfortable to have the gift of being amused at one's own absurdity.
-Somerset Maugham-

RE: CNet Asia comparison slightly wrong
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/26/2002 2:37:43 PM #
Yes, I'm confused as well for the functions in OS5 compared with the ones in OS4. Someone even throws in OS5.5 & 6 to make it more complicate.
RE: CNet Asia comparison slightly wrong
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/26/2002 2:52:06 PM #
It seems like from user experiance perspective, there won't be much different between OS4 and 5, beside web browsing ability, just slightly faster apps.
RE: CNet Asia comparison slightly wrong
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/26/2002 4:01:25 PM #
I think "slightly wrong" is a gross understatement.

Processor Support:
Palm OS 4 (and the AMX kernel underneath) are 32-bit. The Dragonball is a 32-bit hybrid processor (it has 16-bit memory addressing).

Program Execution:
I was unaware Palm OS 5 was going to have a multithreading API I thought that was a so-called OS 5.5 feature. Plus, multithreading normally means an application can do 2 or more things at once running 2 or more applications is usually called multitasking.

Palm OS since 3.0 has supported screen resolutions other than 160x160. Problem is, there has been no standard API to support changing fonts, text and icon sizes, etc., and practically all apps are written to use 160x160 resolution because that's the screen size of the majority of devices. Obviously, the HandEra QVGA and Sony HiRes APIs were written to work around this problem, but are not completely successful. Regardless, the API to handle multiple resolution graphics capabilities is supposed to be in OS 5.5, not 5.0.

Web browsing:
What happened to the browser Palm was going to introduce for use on the i705?

OK, so maybe I'm splitting hairs in places here, but OS 5 devices will be here relatively soon (doubtless why C|Net put up this article), but OS 5.5 machines won't be out until this time next year, and that's assuming PalmSource ships OS 5 and 5.5 on time (5.5 shipping by the end of this year could still be a stretch). Raising the public's expectations beyond what PalmSource has promised helps no one. Actually, that's incorrect it helps Microsoft and the Pocket PC crowd, the Symbian crowd, and now even the Zaurus crowd.

RE: CNet Asia comparison slightly wrong
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/26/2002 4:45:11 PM #
Hey I was pretty impressed with Zaurus btw, the apps is smoother than i thought. Hope they will write more apps soon. Hey with all those Linux geek now have so much time ontheir hand maybe they cn start writing silly apps soon. I mean how hard is it to write Tetris with built in calorie calculator plus network hack.

BTW: it seems PIC was so hype up about publishing Jan/Feb sales of Palm, but seems shy about publishing the entire European Q1 handheld sales. (It's very dysmal for Palm. Surprise, surprise... )

I love freeware palm

visorprismman @ 4/26/2002 11:15:05 AM #
When I clicked there on Monday and got an error I was sad...

OS5 sounds good, but...

I.M. Anonymous @ 4/26/2002 12:22:04 PM #
How does the programming model change? Can one more easily work with chunks of memory that are bigger than 64k now?
RE: OS5 sounds good, but...
montyburns @ 4/26/2002 12:25:12 PM #

64k Memory thing ADDRESSED?
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/12/2002 6:22:16 PM #
The memory thing is huge in a few ways. Can we handle blocks of memory larger than 64k? Can we store chunks larger than 64k? Can we have a hierarchical file system, so file naming is not such a problem? I'm pretty sure the file system was skipped, and the current .pdb format will be hard to change (maybe pd5 or somethign now), but as a developer these are the hard questions for designing software for the Palm today. Is Palm fixing these solutions, or do we need to write elaborate work arounds to reach the 32 bit addressing? I'm hoping the 32 bit addressing allows us to handle and store large chunks of data, and that Palm produces a respectable memory manager this time.....but they have released the OS without updating the commercial development system (Codewarrior). I'm sorry I'm not a huge Palm insider and don't can't pay the special fees to get the tools and information. Starting to sound like Apple here...some internal tools to start(MPW), some crap tools for the market second(Borland, Think...then MW), and then a new system next. If Palm doesn't address the small memory access, this developer will move to the smaller market share, because MS will win for now. Is it to much to ask to have a chunk larger than 64k? Is this the 21st century? I've worked on smaller embedded processors with larger memory chunks available.

When do we expect new OS5 devices?

I.M. Anonymous @ 4/26/2002 1:38:25 PM #
I was reading the comparison chart over at CNETasia. Great differences exist compared to OS4. When do we expect new OS5 devices to appear in stores? I'm saving up already!
RE: When do we expect new OS5 devices?
Ed @ 4/26/2002 3:17:24 PM #
PalmSource is on track to have the final version of OS 5 sent to the licensees in June. Palm has promised to have its first model running OS 5 out before the fall. Some of the other licensees are expected to have handhelds out running it at about that same time.

News Editor

This is crap!

I.M. Anonymous @ 4/26/2002 6:53:22 PM #
Why do I have the feeling there is still going to be some big ugly "pad" at the bottom for writing. If Palm stays with Grafitti, I will never buy a P/OS handheld again! We want more screen space, and TRUE handwritting recognition. Palm has had 2+ years now to fix their garbage. People are so pschyed (sp?) about ARM processors. THEY'VE BEEN HERE FOR TWO YEARS! Palm is introducing NOTHING NEW to the PDA industry. Oh well, what is new right? Thanks for letting me vent, and any comments is welcome.
RE: This is crap!
TDS Computer @ 4/27/2002 1:11:02 AM #
I have always found that Graffiti is superior to handwriting recognition. It is a really easy alphabet to learn, and quite fast. I have worked with a Fujitsu "Tablet" PC with handwriting recognition and found it awkward and innaccurate. You also have to "train" most Handwriting Recognition programs for your style of writing. This makes it awkward to use other users handhelds or provide training.
Just some thoughts...

Visit us at www.tdscomputer.com

RE: This is crap!
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/27/2002 2:13:10 AM #
you can always train the handwriting recognition to handle grafitti.
RE: This is crap!
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/28/2002 2:55:28 AM #
Dear Mr PPC Troll,

I have a nice (almost new) iPAQ 3680 which is gathering dust in a drawer because the HWR is unbearable. By comparison Block Recogniser (a Grafitti clone), works OK but I decided to go back to my trusty old Palm Vx instead - why put up with the PPC quirks?


RE: This is crap!
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/28/2002 4:02:44 AM #
Dear dorky Leonard,

I am talking about HWR in general. If it is trainable, than you can certainly train it to recognize grafitti like alphabet.

wake up and smell the technological progress. You are still touting the exact same technology from Palm Pilot era.

PALM start making some sense?

I.M. Anonymous @ 4/27/2002 3:22:01 PM #

after several weeks Palm actually write something that make sense about the PALM OS 5.0 overview, aside from marketing drivel.

OK, tumbs up for this one.


bottom line of OS 5

I.M. Anonymous @ 4/28/2002 2:25:55 AM #
...is that Palm devices will have hardware parity with the PPC crowd without a bloated OS that sucks up the RAM. A Clie with 64 megs will be able to much more than an ipaq with similar configuration
RE: bottom line of OS 5
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/28/2002 3:03:46 AM #
What do you mean by "do more"?

If you mean more multimedia garbage, please count me out.

What many users are looking for is a small, powerful and simple to use device to help them cope with the hundreds of things they have to do every day. If OS5 provides a faster and simpler way of juggling data, well and good. If OS5 handhelds are going to be crammed full of "entertainment" apps which clutter up the user interface and require too much horsepower in terms of the hardware, then this is a backward step.

No doubt Sony will go bersek with cameras, MP3 and video players and other useless stuff for their OS5 units. Fine. I'm not in the market for a multimedia brick, so they won't get any sales out of me.

RE: bottom line of OS 5
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/28/2002 3:56:08 AM #
What more do you want in PIM feature? there is only so many ways to organise "get milk on monday before filing gas, than call Boss"

In the end program like Datebook will require true "multimedia feature, ie. web browser, graphic animation, multimedia reminder, etc. all the basic data juggling feature are pretty much here.

otherwise really, ... with DSP like in OMAP or Xscale, there is enough computing power to do mpeg4.

RE: bottom line of OS 5
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/13/2002 11:07:58 PM #
I personally don't give half a hoot about new multimedia features. Those would be a welcome bonus. I'm a devout Prism user, and love the palm os, but rather than add bloat, lets take some queues from true palm os inovators and knock out some basics:
My Dream PALM OS Device:

A higher res screen ala Sony
A standardized connection ala Palm Universal Connector
A software graffiti area ala Handera
Longer Battery life on a 16bit color screen
No useless miniature keyboards! For ordinary input Graffiti or an alternative does the trick and nothing beats the Targus full sized fold up keyboard for taking notes in class and at meetings!
SD/MMC with FULL SDIO (frigin Treo90 crap!)
Jog Dial
Forward Facing "Enhanced" IR port for universal remote usage
Make the damn IR connection able to Network through a computer, not just hotsync.
16MB Ram
Flashable ROM (4 meg would be nice, just to sneak an app or two in there...)
As LARGE a screen as possible on as small a device as possible. ;)

Petr K



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