Handspring Says People Want Built-In Keyboards

At the CIBC World Markets investor conference yesterday, Handspring CEO Ed Colligan said his company has seen more demand for devices with built-in keyboards than it has for ones that use Graffiti, according to a report in Cnet. This has led company executives to an important decision. "We'll go forward with keyboard-based color products," Mr. Colligan said.

A built-in keyboard has been part of three of the last four products announced by Handspring. Except for the Treo 180g, the entire Treo line has one, including the just announced Treo 270 and Treo 90. According to leaked info, the CDMA version of the Treo, which the company is expected to announce soon, also has a built-in keyboard.

Apparently, Handspring isn't alone in coming to this conclusion. Sony's NR series also has a keyboard integrated into its design.

Mr. Colligan also said his company believes color screens are what customers prefer, too. The Treo 180g could be the last model Handspring releases with either a monochrome screen or a Graffiti area.

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Handspring Bad

I.M. Anonymous @ 6/12/2002 8:30:59 AM #
I still think this is bad, when you already have a stylus in your hand after tapping the screen it seems way easier to me to just go on and scribble graffiti instead of using the keyboard.
And what about graffiti shortcuts?
RE: Handspring Bad
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/12/2002 8:40:54 AM #
Agreed. On top of that, it seems that some people simply are not aware of recognition software like Jot, TealScript, Simpliwrite or word completion software like WordComplete, TextPlus, QuickWrite, etc. I can achieve a far better input rate with TealScript/QuickWrite than I ever could with a thumbable keyboard.

RE: Handspring Bad
Beavis @ 6/12/2002 8:41:50 AM #
No Handspring. Don't give your potential customers a choice of what they want. Tell them what they want. I for one, am proficient at Grafitti, and will continue to purchase only color hanhelds that have grafitti.

Guess that leaves you out, Handspring.

RE: Handspring Good
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/12/2002 8:52:59 AM #
You make it sound like it is easy and cheap to make two versions of a handheld. It isn't. It costs big dumptruck loads of money. Handspring has to make the best use of its cash that it can.

I'm sure Hawkins, Dubinsky, and Colligan didn't make this decision on a whim. Like the article said, they did customer research and found more people prefer keyboards to Graffiti. Once they knew that, NOT making handhelds with built in keyboards would be very irresponsible.

They will get what they deserve
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/12/2002 8:53:40 AM #
No Graffiti, no future. People want keyboard ? Live long and prosper , Handspring.
RE: Handspring Bad
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/12/2002 9:01:09 AM #
"Don't give your potential customers a choice of what they want. Tell them what they want."

I belive they are reacting to what customers "do" want by looking at their sales data. While I agree they should try to leave the Graffiti option available to consumers, someone new to the Palm OS has a little trouble imagining how to enter data in a Graffiti device when they are looking at PDA's in the display case.

Maybe the ideal would be making Graffiti devices and offer a cheap/free add-on keyboard like the ones that currently take advantage of Palm's "universal" connector.

Handspring Good, Fire Bad
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/12/2002 9:14:56 AM #
> Don't give your potential customers a choice of what they want.

Beavis, I think you are doing what far too many people do: assuming what you want is what everyone wants. They talked to those "potential customers" and more of them wanted keyboards so keyboards it is.

I could easily turn your arguement on its end. I want a T615C with a built in keyboard. Should I be posting angry messages because Sony won't give me what I want?

RE: Handspring Bad
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/12/2002 9:59:58 AM #
The future is with keyboards. Handspring gets it. Sony gets it (although the NR is too big) and even Sharp gets it. Seems Palm is also coming out with a keyboard model. Sure, I guess you can use that ARM power for "real" handwriting recognition but why do that when everyone knows what a keyboard looks like? In fact, many people have terrible penmanship because they use their computer to do everything.
RE: Handspring Bad
PR @ 6/12/2002 12:23:56 PM #
i totally disagree that the future is with keyboards. i used to have a sharp 32kb organizer with a keyboard about 5 years ago. i never used it, and got a palm solely because it was easier to enter info via graffiti than a keyboard. i think they're dead wrong. some people like keyboards, but i don't think the majority.

RE: Handspring Bad
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/12/2002 1:38:32 PM #
what if handspring were to include jot or something like it for onscreen (grafiti-area-less) recognition, for use either way?
RE: Handspring Bad
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/12/2002 2:58:14 PM #
Why not have a Graffiti area with a slide-out keyboard like the Zaurus has. That would be the best of both worlds.
RE: Handspring Bad
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/12/2002 5:28:06 PM #
No No, what HandSpring is doing to trying to grab more shares in never-used-PDA-before group, so they can extend their market share. People who have never learn Graffiti before perfers keyboard because they are already familiar with it.

So, the keyboard thing is not for us, it's for newbie.

RE: Handspring Bad
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/12/2002 6:48:56 PM #
I agree that Handspring should bundle a program like Jot. Go for the "best of both worlds" approach.
RE: Handspring Bad
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/12/2002 9:01:01 PM #
Wholeheartedly agree with u my friend...it's always much easier to use shortcuts with grafitti. Want a keyboard? Get a notebook...still need one...the on-screen keyboard is there...handwriting recognition is what makes a PDA a PDA.
RE: Handspring Bad
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/12/2002 11:26:06 PM #
keyboards are not for newbies only. try posting your usual comments to PIC with a stylus (any method of handwriting recognition and as much practice as you want). It will be very tiring. That's why you probably used a keyboard on your computer. But if you had a wireless Palm with a keyboard you can post from anywhere (a big plus for me because I don't always have access to my PC yet I'd like to respond to emails, forums etc anytime and anywhere)
RE: Handspring Bad
Weyoun6 @ 6/13/2002 12:35:36 AM #
I would like to point out that the founders of handspring invented and if they are dropping it im listening

RE: Handspring Bad
Kesh @ 6/13/2002 6:51:45 PM #
>So, the keyboard thing is not for us, it's for newbie.

I disagree entirely. I'm certainly no newbie to PalmOS handhelds, and I'd much rather have a thumbboard than Graffiti.

Making My Next Move Clearer

chbarr @ 6/12/2002 8:39:52 AM #
ight now, I have no need to replace my Visor Platinum. It is serving me well, and unless, heaven forbid, something happens, it should continue to do so for the foressable future.

That's not to say I don't engage in my share of what-iffing, daydreaming, and general window shopping.

I don't think I would buy a PDA that didn't offer some form of handwriting recognition. I don't find the keyboards a handy option when standing somewhere jotting down an appointment, and it becomes more awkward (as someone noted) to have to bounce from stylus to keyboard in some of my typical PDA settings (standing at someone's desk, in a meeting, etc.).

(This opinion was formed using an early, keyboard-based WinCE device. I know it is not the same thing, but more oranges and tangerines--I believe you'll experience many of the same quirks.)

Perhaps it is an industry trend? True, though there seem to be two schools of thought on the built-in keyboard. The Treos I've seen so far don't really have a Graffiti option. The Graffiti area is taken up by the keyboard, and the screen is, IMHO too small as it is--I couldn't imagine doing virtual Graffiti on it.

The second method is that of the Clie or the Sharp Zarus. This is to offer a screen that supports a virtual Graffiti area (or the analog in the Zarus world), but have the keyboard available (either by twisiting the screen, having a slide down area, etc.). This would provide the best of both worlds.

For me, with the trend away from being pen-based, I think I probably won't replace my Handspring with a Handspring. Of course, in two years (when it is more likely), who knows what the market will look like? Who knows what I will want.

(I do admit my bias is probably also due in part to being a pen collector, and having just gotten a Cross Matrix.)

Graffiti is NOT handwriting recognition
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/12/2002 9:37:59 AM #
Let's get things straight. Graffiti is *not* HWR, not by any stretch of the imagination.

Graffiti is character recognition. For anyone who has used good HWR, Graffiti is still a ten-year-old band-aid for the first generation Newton.

Good HWR, like I had on my Newton 2100 is completely different. It interperted entire words, not just characters. It recognized actual roman characters instead of stroke hierogliphics. It recognized cursive. It learned my vocabulary and added it to it's built-in dictionary. It let me write notes quickly without interpertation and let me convert them later.

Since no PalmOS machine yet has the horsepower to handle a real HWR engine, (4 years ago, my 2100 had a 166mhz ARM, *way* faster than any current Palm OS device) keyboards really are the best option.

RE: Making My Next Move Clearer
chbarr @ 6/12/2002 10:11:23 AM #
I acknowledge the distinction you make--I was trying to contrast pen vs. keyboard. I supposed I should have used "pen-based entry" (vs. "keyboard entry") rather than HRW.

I suppose, to continue the thought, the heirachy (for me) would be first true HRW, then Graffiti, then keyboard.

One thing I did like about some of the more recent Pocket PCs I've seen has been that it does both HRW and Graffiti (and swap with ease). If the HRW just wasn't working for me at that moment (perhaps I wasn't on a stable base, or I'd been drinking :) ), I could swap to a Graffiti-type system, and go at it that way.

Handspring Good

I.M. Anonymous @ 6/12/2002 8:48:56 AM #
To voice the countering opinion, and joing Handspring's "silent majority": I think the move to keyboards is a very positive one.

First, it gets past the "Mom factor". Yes, my mom is smart enough to learn Graffiti. But it's intimidating to her nonetheless, wheras a keyboard is very familiar.

Second, it's just easier, especially for composing longer documents. I used to use Graffiti to take notes during meetings, and compose emails, but my writing hand suffered for it. I switched to a Targus keyboard, and then a thumbboard, and am much, much happier for it.

I do agree that handwriting recognition is useful for jotting a quick note or entering a letter or two in a search field. Hopefully we'll soon move to "virtual graffiti" or PPC-style scrawl-anywhere, so we can have both a keyboard and handwriting recognition.

Actually, that reminds of me of a question: Does a hack like Graffitaid (sp?) or Jot allow you to also use Graffiti on keyboard Treo?

RE: Handspring Good
jonecool @ 6/12/2002 9:12:33 AM #
Here are some helpful links on Handspring's website that answer this question and more:



Don't drop Grafitti support

sandbuck @ 6/12/2002 9:34:31 AM #

If you don't want the silkscreen, fine. But keep support for it in the OS so 3rd party on-screen grafitti enhancements will still work if you choose to use them.

RE: Don't drop Grafitti support
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/12/2002 11:36:43 AM #
GRAFITTI WILL still be avaible, to all the idiots above - Grafitti is still avaible as a pop-up!

Flawed result...

I.M. Anonymous @ 6/12/2002 9:39:38 AM #
Handspring has wholly pushed their models with a keyboard, without putting any media effort or in some cases even making the graffiti models available in certain outlets. For them to read sales numbers as people preferring built-in keyboards is a flawed anaysis. This along with not supporting flash OS upgrades, and/or completely screwing people who supported the Springboard concept is just one more reason why I'll never buy a Handspring product. Their gimmicks are designed for the unknowing general population, and they could care less about anyone who knows anything about PDAs.
RE: Flawed result...
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/12/2002 10:43:12 AM #
Oh, and I forgot their latest big gimmick, pushing the subscription-based ownership model with the Treo. It is truly disappointing to watch the founders of Palm fall so far off the mark of desiging a device for the consumer and so far into trying to trick them with gimmicks.
RE: Flawed result...
Scott R @ 6/12/2002 11:02:57 AM #
Agreed. Handspring designed this entire "trial phase" for their desired outcome. Graffiti was designed with a purpose. It was designed as a sort of shorthand to allow writing quick short notes. It still accomplishes this faster than a thumbboard, IMO. Further, the entire Palm OS GUI is designed to be used by a stylus. Having to juggle a stylus and using the thumbboard is a usability problem. That said, in the context of a mobile communicator where writing emails and IM, a thumbpad does make sense. The problem comes when they incorrectly assume that it now makes more sense for the rest of their non-wireless devices.


RE: Flawed result...
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/12/2002 2:48:22 PM #
I agree as well. The customers they base this on are phone users, not PDA users. They may gain a slight edge in the shorterm for folks who have never used a PDA, but in the longterm they'll be unable to compete with phone giants like Samsung, Symbian and Nokia with their Smartphone lines.

So they'll alienate those of us who actually use the Palm for it's intended purpose (organization and portability, which graffiti works quite well), and in the long term won't have the capital to make a dent in the phone industry. Bad move based upon a narrow view of the market.

RE: Flawed result...
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/12/2002 11:22:10 PM #
the first treo came out in a keyboard version and a grafitti version. So if the keyboard version outsold the grafitti, Handspring has a good case for going with keyboard
RE: Flawed result...
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/12/2002 11:32:11 PM #
> the first treo came out in a keyboard version and a grafitti
> version. So if the keyboard version outsold the grafitti,
> Handspring has a good case for going with keyboard

You missed the entire point to my post. All of Handspring's ads have shown the keyboard version. The only stores I've even seen the Treo in (which it doesn't seem to be in many) only have the keyboard version. So, of course they're going to sell more of the keyboard model.

RE: Flawed result...
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/13/2002 10:22:17 AM #
Plus tru PDA users may have been waiting on the color version to get the "G" version. Now there wait is in vain.

Customers, SONY & Handspring

robrecht @ 6/12/2002 9:53:32 AM #
I have tried to use the Treo thumbboard and have found it unusable. SONY's keyboard seems a lot easier for me to use but I, for one, would still much prefer to have a folding, full-size keyboard and grafitti.

Thanks, Robrecht


ssummer @ 6/12/2002 10:02:35 AM #
They're just scared of the Xerox lawsuit...

RE: Blah
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/12/2002 10:41:54 AM #
you is rihgt my brother
graffiti and xerox..
cyruski @ 6/12/2002 11:55:44 AM #
what -do you believe- is the possibility of xerox winning the case?



I.M. Anonymous @ 6/12/2002 10:09:56 AM #
Handspring is a company that has shown over and over agin that they have no idea what the customer wants. First they try to gouge everyone on Springboards (how dumb was that?), then they release slighlty warmed over models of their current designs over and over. The Treo? Wouldn't touch it with a 10-ft pole. Can you imgine that their color model is STILL the Prism? Please.
RE: Handspring
mrscarey @ 6/12/2002 10:22:17 AM #
Re: "Handspring is a company that has shown over and over agin that they have no idea what the customer wants. First they try to gouge everyone on Springboards (how dumb was that?), then they release slighlty warmed over models of their current designs over and over. The Treo? Wouldn't touch it with a 10-ft pole. Can you imgine that their color model is STILL the Prism? Please."


TREO 270 !


palmist and visionary

RE: Handspring
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/12/2002 10:42:00 AM #
> Can you imgine that their color model is STILL the Prism?

If you don't want wireless, the Treo 90, the Prism replacement, was introduced last month. It looks good. Color screen, keyboard, 16MB of memory, OS 4.1, all for $300.


RE: Handspring
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/12/2002 11:37:53 AM #
Prism still the only colour PDA by Handspring? Where have you been sleeping??? Treo 270 and 90 are colour PDAs! Do your research. I am a Sony user (NR) but I totally support Handspring and Palm. Springboard although too big and proprietary showed Palm the right way towards expansion slots. They created what was to be VFS support on OS 4.0 Idiot...this forum is full of one-sided biased idiot big wits who only think their PDA is the best.
RE: Handspring
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/12/2002 1:50:02 PM #
*initiate mimickry*
HELLO? HELLO? According to you Handspring has no color models, other than the Prism. You're just talking about coloUr models!


Maybe he got confused?

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