Rumors Circulate on Handspring and Palm Products

Some unconfirmed reports have come in on about future Handspring and Palm products.

Palm employees using Treo 180 smartphones that have been upgraded to GPRS have been seen in Europe. The Treo currently supports GSM but a software upgrade is necessary to allow it to connect to much faster GPRS networks, offering 144 Kbps connections and always-on access. Handspring has not yet committed to a release date for this upgrade but if this report is correct it is at least in beta.

The latest infoSync newsletter has a hint about the hardware of the OS 5 handheld coming from Palm this fall. "It's a step up from the form factor and button layout that's used in the company's devices today; I'll even go as far as saying someone's finally figured out gaming is an important part of a handheld experience," said Jorgen Sundgot.

Thanks to Dan Royea for the infoSync tip. -Ed

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things that make you go hmmmm.....

GregGaub @ 6/17/2002 12:59:17 PM #
The GPRS update is waiting on the tweaking and certification of about 27 wireless networks/carriers around the world. Getting it to satisfy that many companies is bound to be tough. It's most definitely being worked feverishly on, but they can't release it until it will work for all of them. If they release it before John Doe's carrier supports it, imagine how many support calls they'd field from upset users who installed the upgrade and can't use it?

As for the new Palm hardware, that sounds interesting. a D-pad would certainly be useful for all those side-scrolling web pages and spreadsheets. I just hope it doesn't actually LOOK like an iPaq (shudder).

RE: things that make you go hmmmm.....
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/17/2002 1:14:09 PM #
While I applaud Palm for getting a clue, WindowsCE devices had such a button layout for years!
RE: things that make you go hmmmm.....
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/17/2002 1:37:34 PM #
Yeah, and the Casio Zoomer had a d-pad on it years and years before both Palm OS and Win CE/PPC!

Remember, Hawkins, AFAIK, played a large role in the design of the zoomer, which was certainly ahead of its time. I'm sure one of the reasons he didn't include a D-pad on the original Pilots was that the processor was not up to handling action-intensive games. Had he not jumped ship to start Handspring, I'd assume that Palms would already be shipping with a D-pad built in. Also, Jeff knew that the Pilot was basically his big (and last) gamble and he did not want the Pilot to be perceived as anything other than a serious work/executive-style device.

I agree with the poster below, just give us a reasonably fast cpu, good battery life and a D-pad and a good majority of the vocal PIC users will shut up and be happy.

It almost makes you wonder if the staff at Palm really do read PIC and take the suggestions to heart. Haven't we been b***hing practically forever now about the lack of decent gaming-support (both in the OS and with the hardware)? Of course, as always, I'll believe it when I hold it in my hands. Remember, the everyone had high hopes for entertainment possibilities on the Sony handhelds, and those button layouts have only gotten worse with each new generation!

RE: things that make you go hmmmm.....
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/17/2002 1:39:00 PM #
yea, except they would only accept one button push at a time...
RE: things that make you go hmmmm.....
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/17/2002 2:45:12 PM #
> yea, except they would only accept one button push at a time...

Just goes to show your ignorance. That was a hardware flaw with the first-generation iPAQs. All of the current PPC's support multiple button presses.

RE: things that make you go hmmmm.....
Altema @ 6/17/2002 2:57:07 PM #
>> yea, except they would only accept one button push at a time...

> Just goes to show your ignorance. That was a hardware flaw with the first-generation
> iPAQs. All of the current PPC's support multiple button presses.

I think the poster was just trying to show that, even though they had it first, it did not work properly back then.

RE: things that make you go hmmmm.....
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/17/2002 5:35:36 PM #
It is ignorance. Indeed, the new Ipaq's shipped with the backlight flaw. Rubbish.
GPRS delays not due to 'standard conformity issues'
iain.collins @ 6/18/2002 2:53:39 AM #
There are plenty of GPRS phones available, just not in the US. The standard is already operational and working now for many users across europe (including me, for about 4/5 months now).

The delay is due to lack of support for GPRS in general amongst the fragmented US wireless operators. It is not a case of 'wrinkles waiting to be ironed out' but one of insufficient demand for mobile products in the US at this time (indeed the US has always had comparatively weak demand). As a result US wireless operators are dragging their heels and making excuses (after all, admitting insufficient demand and bemoaning the large amount of capital investment they would be required to stump up wouldn't do much to increase demand or confidence in the market!)

In Europe, we have a much more advanced network, having had widespread GSM support before it even reached many mainstream US cities (but this network comes at the cost of billions of euro's worth of debt to the carrier companies and hundreds of millions of euro's worth of debt!).

The 'lack of sufficient demand issue' is directly linked to the cost of the service, as it is extremely expensive to install (requiring large amounts of capital investment by the telco's) so the cost of the service for early adopters is high and the technology, though fated to take off and become mainstream, has yet to prove itself.

I smell Nirvana

sandbuck @ 6/17/2002 1:08:46 PM #
the Place, not the band....

I want as many of the features we're always yacking about packed into a 5-series or better shell.

''Palm employees'' or Handspring employees

robrecht @ 6/17/2002 2:02:25 PM #
"Palm employees using Treo 180 smartphones" or "Handspring employees ..."

Thanks, Robrecht
RE: ''Palm employees'' or Handspring employees
Ed @ 6/17/2002 2:04:20 PM #
The person definitely said "Palm employees". This probably means they are past the internal beta stage and are widening their test group.

News Editor

Step up?

zigzago @ 6/17/2002 2:07:31 PM #
> It's a step up from the form factor...

Does this mean bigger?

RE: Step up?
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/17/2002 2:16:13 PM #
No, "stepped up" means improved, not larger. If I said I had a stepped up engine in my car, it means its faster, not bigger.


abosco @ 6/17/2002 2:29:10 PM #
Palm is getting it right. D-pad, OS 5, small size, and new models scaling the entire market from entry-level, to power user, to smartphone. The needs of most Palm users should be satisfied. Quick question: Since Palm has high aspirations and attainable goals, does anybody think that investing in this company now would bring in a return?


I.M. Anonymous @ 6/17/2002 2:36:48 PM #
i jus hope the screen looks nice...better than a NR70v screen...
cyruski @ 6/17/2002 2:45:02 PM #
> better than a NR70v screen

how? it is far the best..


I.M. Anonymous @ 6/17/2002 2:45:05 PM #
I want battery life.
Altema @ 6/17/2002 2:59:57 PM #
I want both!

I.M. Anonymous @ 6/17/2002 3:05:56 PM #
i want good color screen, good battery life, phone (GSM/GPRS please), tiny size and great price!
Spock9 @ 6/17/2002 6:22:22 PM #
You might just ask for Whirrled Peas too! :-)

Universal connector

I.M. Anonymous @ 6/17/2002 3:09:07 PM #
any word as to the next generation of Palms still using the Universal Connector?? Palm stated that they would use the UC for the next several years, but things might have changed... If anyone has the inside scoop it would be good to hear one way or the other...
RE: Universal connector
cyruski @ 6/17/2002 3:22:57 PM #
it would be very foolish of palm to change the connector. IMHO, they'll keep it for as long as they can do.

RE: Universal connector
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/17/2002 4:05:14 PM #
It takes the Palm R&D engineers 5 years to change their pants. It'll take 'em at least 10 years to come up with a replacement for the universal connector.

I just can't wait until they tout all of these revolutionary new features - the things that the Pocket PC and Sony PalmOS units have had for years...

RE: Universal connector
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/17/2002 11:48:22 PM #
I asked a Palm rep this question recently and he said that Palm is "firmly committed to the U.C. for the next several generations of devices".

Virtual Graffiti

I.M. Anonymous @ 6/17/2002 4:10:25 PM #
Please tell me there will be a soft input panel rather than a silkscreened hardwired one, that's all I ask....
RE: Virtual Graffiti
Ed @ 6/17/2002 4:14:48 PM #
Virtual Graffiti is not built into OS 5, but neither is it built into OS 4 and you will notice it is included in several models.

HandEra offers its 240 by 320 version out for licencing and says several companies have shown an interest, though it hasn't specified which ones.

If the NR series is a hit, it seems likely that Sony will include virtual Graffiti on future models.

News Editor

RE: Virtual Graffiti
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/18/2002 12:28:33 AM #
To me, Palm coming out with a powerful high-res OS5 device with multimedia, joypad etc in a small form factor would totally be ruined if they keep the stupid hard-wired Graffiti area. This isn't 1995... Soft Graffiti makes for better graffiti recognition - you can actually see your strokes! Its not rocket science to figure that one out.
RE: Virtual Graffiti
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/18/2002 7:59:09 PM #
An overlooked benefit to a Hard Graffiti area is that you can stick a sticky note over the area and leave it there.

It protects against scratches and gives you and feeling of writing on paper,

and its essentially FREE.

Extra Screen room is nice, but high resolution (small pixel size) is better.

Game Pad.... *Yawn*.

orb2069 @ 6/17/2002 4:18:07 PM #
As long as they allow me to link the buttons/directions directly to programs, ala the current hardware buttons, it'd be cool - But I don't see the point in eating up PDA real-estate otherwise.

I /am/ the eggman.
I like the idea, actually.
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/17/2002 11:45:57 PM #
This is a simple idea which makes gaming a lot better without really having any downside.

I don't see that a D-pad has to be any bigger than the standard up/down buttons, they just need to be laid out differently.

Frankly, one of the major reasons why I'm not interested in a Sony is because the thin buttons would be worthless for gaming.

Jon Acheson

RE: Game Pad.... *Yawn*.
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/18/2002 9:28:38 AM #
Remember those old Nintendo Game & Watch units? They nad a nice little D-pad controller built in. It was still quite usable and much smaller than even a current Gameboy pad. So it can be done. The buttons on the m500s are already at least (sort of) a step in the right direction.

Also, instead of the micro-chicklet keyboards Palm has released for the m5xx and i7xx series, they should have come up with a well-built, rugged, lightweight and stylish mini d-pad type of device that clips on to an m500 similar to the way the modem sled does (like the old Widget Works gamepad, but much sturdier). Then they could have bundled it with all of the old m505's and m500s in inventory, tossed in an SD card chock full o' games, and sold it in a nice retail box or blister package and targeted the executives/graduates who also happen to like games. It'd probably outsell that current m125 "dads&grads" package. Such a device would also nicely pave the way for this rumoured built in D-pad in the next generation. Remember, to people used to squinting at a dark GBA screen, a dim m505 is still better than nothing!

If this D-pad rumor turns out to be true, having Sega onboard as a licensed Palm developer will be a bigger plus than anyone imagined a year or so ago when they signed up.

RE: Game Pad.... *Yawn*.
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/18/2002 10:59:06 PM #
i actually emailed palm today about 5 and directional pads...i should have read this first. i'll message again with details!

That might be TRUE

I.M. Anonymous @ 6/17/2002 5:41:24 PM #
>the OS 5 handheld coming from Palm this fall.

From my rumor resource , Taiwan will start to OEM palm OS5 handhelds recently so that means these OS5 thing will be available very soon.

RE: Vaporware...
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/17/2002 7:31:35 PM #
To the second poster: The "drinking meals through straws" and "Tickle me Elmo" comments were damn funny and I thank you wholeheartedly for a well-earned chuckle!

Sure I'm stating the obvious...

Strider_mt2k @ 6/17/2002 6:18:34 PM #
...but it looks like things are going to change dramatically for ALL handhelds. And for the users as well.
IMO whatever happens happens, it's bound to be interesting if nothing else. And at least we can call each other names about it on good ol' PIC.
RE: Sure I'm stating the obvious...
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/17/2002 10:48:01 PM #
go for it!

Techxny show

Sweetlu @ 6/17/2002 11:04:53 PM #
I wonder if any of these new models will be shown at next week's computer show in NYC.

All I know is that I will not upgrade my m505 until Palm comes out with a hanheld containing a soft graffiti area. What a waste of real estate.

Palm OS 5 goes gold (here is the story URL in InfoSync)

I.M. Anonymous @ 6/18/2002 12:06:00 AM #
RE: Palm OS 5 goes gold
Ed @ 6/18/2002 12:20:25 AM #
Thanks but you are a bit behind the times. Here's the announcement from last week:

News Editor


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