Cambio Sneak Peek
By Davy Fields

Cambio Title ScreenAt a recent Silicon Valley PUG Meeting, PalmSource employees displayed an application they have been developing. An extremely early version was shown at the PalmSource conference in February, but it’s come a long way since then. In its most basic form, Cambio (meaning swap in Spanish) is a program designed to facilitate exchanging and sharing programs on your handheld. It makes for easy browsing of the applications on another persons Palm, and allows you to view a star rating, description, and other myriads of information. It allows you to pick and choose what you’d like to get, and easily transfer them over infrared or Bluetooth. The current version (still in early beta) already has some exciting functionality, but the future promise of this application is quite amazing. On a side note, Cambio is apparently the name of another data-transfer application, so think of Cambio as PalmSource’s code name for now.

Cambio currently has two main modes: One where you rate your applications on a 1-3 star scale, and one where you exchange ratings and programs with other people. Rating is ridiculously easy; you can rate any application in your main memory with one to three stars to represent quality. The description section can either be written in by the developer, or the palm user can write one, or both. The current version doesn’t let you beam hacks, .pdbs, or anything off the VFS card, although the developers said that they would consider adding this in the future. Anyway, when you hit the “Swap Ratings” button, it reaches out to connect with another Cambio user (both users must use Cambio, it’s freeware, and easily beamed from inside the program. The current version is only 66k) and download a list of programs they have, descriptions of them, as well as the other Cambio user’s ratings. You can then peruse through their list seeing descriptions, file sizes, and of course, the ratings, and pick which applications they’d like to receive, and then finally beam over the applications. The cool things is that it allows you to set up a chain of things you’re downloading (multiple files in one beam), instead of a tedious one-at-a-time beaming, and it even allows you to beam both ways (not at once, but in the same queued system). After that happens, you’ve got your applications, and you’re on your way. It saves the last 14 people you’ve exchanged ratings with, along with what programs are on their palms. If you later discover an application you’d like to have, you can set it up to automatically download it next time you come in contact with them. Overall, it has a lot of promise, and greatly speeds up the process of sharing your favorite apps.

Cambio ScreenOf course, there are some things that need to be mentioned. The inability to transfer .pdb’s is a curse, but also a blessing. This mainly means that none of your personal data will transfer with your applications. The applications also automatically don’t transfer any registration information, so it’s almost like downloading a fresh copy of any application over, which is great for anyone concerned with security. On the flip side, it doesn’t allow you to easily transfer databases that might be associated with a program (like a spell checker with Wordsmith), at least not for the time being. This program does not in any way allow anyone else to access your data, or download anything other than an application in unregistered form.

Cambio ScreenSo, for now the program shows a lot of promise. What got my attention was when they talked about the future. In a few years, when Bluetooth is expected to be integrated with most palms, the developers said that you could seamlessly explore the app lists of multiple people around you, transferring programs without ever having to sit there slowly beaming and pointing at each other. It’s almost like a small, localized Peer to Peer network of Palm OS programs. Imagine if at a large meeting someone could merely pick up a Palm and transfer a new sales program to everyone in the room in a matter of mere seconds!

So, for now, Cambio isn’t commercially available, but this is a sneak peek at what could very well be a killer app. This is the kind of program that demonstrates what Bluetooth was designed for, and shows a bright future for the creative developers at PalmSource.

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In other news....

I.M. Anonymous @ 9/28/2002 2:21:38 PM #
Kazaa will be released for PalmOS 5 in the late 4th Quarter 2002.
RE: In other news....
Eric2000 @ 9/28/2002 3:31:39 PM #
Lol, Kazaa for the palm. I don't know about the security of this. If you could connect and then take files from a person that you have been in contact with before just by being 30 ft away from then. It gets king of scary thinking of how this can be missused. I understand right now the program has been crippled so that no files that might contain personal information can be sent, but that is not acceptlable because there are other files that might not have important or personal information that need to be sent.

RE: In other news....
I.M. Anonymous @ 9/28/2002 8:44:35 PM #
I saw this running the other night. You can't connect unless the other person accepts the connection, and you only 'see' ratings for programs the other person wants you to see, and only get programs that they have rated. So there is no way you can get things from someone else without their knowledge.

The person giving the demo also said that Cambio is designed to help beginners (NOT the folks on this forum :-)) who don't know about beaming. I think the idea is to provide another way for people to try out new software.

RE: In other news....
I.M. Anonymous @ 9/28/2002 10:14:07 PM #
How is pulling down the menu and press "beam" any more complicated than this !? ... it would be nice if you could explain how complcated the Beam function is ...
RE: In other news....
I.M. Anonymous @ 9/28/2002 10:19:08 PM #
It is only easy if you

a. know that your device CAN beam programs
b. know where the command is that lets you do it.

Once you know - you are correct: piece of cake.

Makes me think that PalmSource has something else up their sleave for this app...

RE: In other news....
I.M. Anonymous @ 9/30/2002 9:32:24 AM #
>>Makes me think that PalmSource has something else up their sleave for this app...

well...the article mentions Bluetooth - the best reason for this software.


I.M. Anonymous @ 9/28/2002 2:32:16 PM #
Will Cambio need to be running on the "program giving" palm, or just the receiving palm?

RE: Multitasking?
I.M. Anonymous @ 9/28/2002 3:05:26 PM #
I expect it would run equivalently to a hack - running in the background - but you bring up a good point...

if someone connects to me and starts grabbing files, it'll slow down my handhelds data transfer speeds...

still, I expect you could continue to do other things, if you made the 'server' piece run in the way that a hack does - but maybe not, when you IR beam it doesn't let you do other things. Definately want to make it easy to disable :)

This would be excellent for commercial stuff too I think.

Strider_mt2k @ 9/28/2002 2:32:30 PM #
Imagine having an IR/Bluetooth booth selling apps/E-books or distributing tour or event information!
That would be very cool as handhleds become more common. I am still looking for that e-book booth to show up in an airport!

Why, even some poor slob with a White Elephant Zire could get in on the fun!
Okay, that was a shot, but it is true. If it works over IR, your're in!

RE: This would be excellent for commercial stuff too I think.
I.M. Anonymous @ 9/30/2002 12:45:52 AM #
This is one of the great feature I've been looking for. It really make me think back before purchasing PPC to replace my very old PalmV.
However, the Bluetooth features might be make using our Palm is prohibited on air plane. :(

I dunno....

sub_tex @ 9/28/2002 2:58:12 PM #
I think when i ask a friend for a new app he has, he tells me which is great and then beams it to me.

It's never me going through the apps on his pda and then deciding which i want based on his ratings. The "ratings" is a lot faster if he just tells me which.

For the time it takes me to stand in place with our pdas lined up for IR and go through his apps, he could have just sent the ones i was interested in already.

The one cool thing i DO like about this app, though, is the ability to cue up mutliple items at once.

I.M. Anonymous @ 9/28/2002 3:18:35 PM #
I'm sorry - but this is one of the dumbest programs I've ever seen. It overcomplicates simple software sharing. Now we know what the geniuses at PalmSource have been up to. What are these guys thinking? Sheesh...

RE: Dumb
I.M. Anonymous @ 9/28/2002 4:19:37 PM #
Totally agreed. If that is where development hours are spend, PalmSource seems doomed to me.


RE: I dunno....
I.M. Anonymous @ 9/28/2002 5:48:44 PM #
I agree, the scope for this app seems limited.

I wonder if it can be used to beam multiple apps simultaneously from a laptop to Palm (ie, without having to accept each one and start the process again)?

RE: I dunno....
I.M. Anonymous @ 9/28/2002 6:08:21 PM #
I agree that there's a lot better things the folks at Palm Source should be working on. Still, I doubt this program took much effort to write, and it's a good Bluetooth demo.
Way to go PalmSource!
I.M. Anonymous @ 9/28/2002 7:32:01 PM #
Not... What a dumb program. Why complicate something as simple as sharing a file with a rating system?
Think Bluetooth
I.M. Anonymous @ 9/28/2002 8:39:34 PM #
At PalmSource in February someone mentioned that the final version would use IR or Bluetooth, and was meant for beginners who wouldn't know about beaming or IR or even that the device has a menu.
RE: Way to go PalmSource!
I.M. Anonymous @ 9/28/2002 8:55:31 PM #
Well, maybe dumb for you, but for many new Palm users, finding the Beam menu item or even knowing that it exists (or that you can 'beam' something) makes sharing programs a non-starter.

I like the idea, but I'd like to get a copy and have a chance to play with it before I could really say.

RE: Way to go PalmSource!
I.M. Anonymous @ 9/28/2002 9:07:49 PM #
I think that if new users are that inept that they can't find/operate the built-in beam function, they won't know how to load/run or care to use this program. Thank you.
I.M. Anonymous @ 9/28/2002 9:09:37 PM #
> Now we know what the geniuses at PalmSource have been up to. <

A typical PIC troll comment. At PalmSource in February, the guy in the keynote address said that Astraware had built this for them (those guys write some pretty cool stuff).

If the writer has such low regard for PalmSource, it kinda makes you wonder why he/she spends any time on this website... :-)

RE: Way to go PalmSource!
Fzara2000 @ 9/29/2002 1:53:23 AM #
Why not use BeamPRO!??!?!?!??
Transfer applications that way!?

"Now thats just PRIME!"
RE: Way to go PalmSource!
bcombee @ 9/29/2002 5:17:12 AM #
The key thing this does is let the user who is going to receive the applications make the choice about what to beam (or send, when using Bluetooth). You can beam your app list over to someone, then later after they've made choices, they can grab all the apps they want from your device. They can also beam back the catalogs of other people, so you can find out about programs you might have missed.

It's a nice tool for people that tend to evangelize Palm OS, but its probably not something you'd use everyday.

Ben Combee, CodeWarrior for Palm OS technical lead
Programming help at

RE: I dunno....
I.M. Anonymous @ 9/29/2002 10:14:49 AM #
It's a nice way to spread trojan horse and virus too. And since when this sort of rating has any meaning over time?
RE: I dunno....
I.M. Anonymous @ 9/29/2002 11:37:10 AM #
I think the real key to this app will be with BlueTooth and a device that is essentially always on (think treo/new i705 replacement). I can set a list of programs to share to anyone, and with little (hopefully no) effort by me, individuals can be downloading programs from me. It's PAN based Napster.
RE: I dunno....
bcombee @ 9/29/2002 12:17:12 PM #
Well, the current version does not live in the background -- you have to be in the Cambio application to support a transfer of applications. Someone could start a session to you while you were in another app, but the device would have to switch to Cambio to finish things.

Ben Combee, CodeWarrior for Palm OS technical lead
Programming help at
RE: I dunno....
sandbuck @ 9/30/2002 2:28:41 PM #
Running on some sort of BT hub, maybe. But novices that would have trouble beaming are not going to be buying high-end BT devices. Even less likely they'll have even one friend that is BT-enabled.


UZI4U182 @ 9/28/2002 4:20:54 PM #
1-3 stars? thats kind of dumb. Most things are rated with up to 5 stars.

--Devan-- | Email me:

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RE: stars
I.M. Anonymous @ 9/28/2002 8:53:26 PM #
At the demo someone said that they were considering more stars but wanted to keep things simple until more people saw and used it. I agree I'd like to see at least 4 stars or even 5 if there is room.
RE: stars
I.M. Anonymous @ 9/29/2002 12:30:33 PM #
i agree... more stars please.
RE: stars
I.M. Anonymous @ 9/30/2002 4:15:34 PM #
Obviously it should go to eleven.
RE: No Universal Connector
Kesh @ 9/28/2002 10:23:35 PM #
Not to mention that you can queue transfers, and take advantage of Bluetooth with this. Not such a bad little app.

Now, if Palm will just integrate Rendevous networking via Bluetooth into OS 5.x, I'll be happy. :)


I.M. Anonymous @ 9/29/2002 5:09:59 PM #
I am not going to spend the time rating all of the apps on my PDA and then let other people, even friends, browse a list of what's on my Palm. Might be a good app if you're in junior high and have a PDA and want to swap games with your buds.
Palm seems to be putting a lot of effort in the wrong direction.
RE: Pointless - totally
nrosser @ 9/29/2002 10:01:17 PM #
Could not agree more. This is mostly useless. Rate my apps? (why? - that's insane). and the auto-beam/Ir/BlueTooth? I mean - c'mon. Even other super Palm geeko's like me don't do a ton of app beaming.
Surely there's more here than meets the eye. Maybe.

RE: Pointless
I.M. Anonymous @ 9/29/2002 11:48:48 PM #
This is Palm Source supprting the palm software developer community. This is Palms way of pushing one of its leads over MS.

Its the software!. I have found myself often beaming the same 4 or 5 programs to every newbie I meet in the hospital. This would just make it easier.

Anything Palm can do help spread 3rd party software should be hailed as great.

Campio also mean Exchange

I.M. Anonymous @ 9/29/2002 10:37:58 PM #
I think Exchange would be the appropriate term but it already taken by MS Exchange.

If you are traveling, I think you have seen this Campio in your Money Exchange kiosk.

RE: Campio also mean Exchange
I.M. Anonymous @ 9/30/2002 8:18:23 AM #
It's "CamBio" with a "B", not "CamPio" with a "P". I may be remembering wrong from when I took Spanish in school, but I thouth "Cambio" meant something more like "walk". Any Spanish speakers who can clarify this?
RE: Campio also mean Exchange
I.M. Anonymous @ 9/30/2002 11:39:50 PM #
Cambio means 'swap' or 'exchange' - the project name was assigned by a manager at PalmSource who was originally from Mexico.

Can Bluetooth be turned off to save battery life?

I.M. Anonymous @ 9/30/2002 12:42:50 PM #
I remember one of the first tips that I give out is to turn off beaming.

I hope that bluetooth is not constantly "On" and scanning the airwaves. I know that my wireless phone needs constant charging.

Even if that is very low power, having someone wake my device to broadcast will be a drain. This is more of a problem if anyone can wake the pda. For instance, someone sits at Starbucks and checks what everyone else likes.

That makes it feel like an unusual popularity contest for Palm software.

Picking Nits

Pipedaddy @ 9/30/2002 3:08:37 PM #
A "PEAK" is the top of a mountain.

A quick look is a "PEEK".

RE: Picking Nits
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/1/2002 3:26:52 AM #
you really have no life.
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