MobileInfocenter

PalmSource Publishes Expert Software Guides

PalmSource today released the first series of their new expert guides. The guides are composed of tutorials and lists of top software applications, websites and e-books for different topics, interests and occupations.

The topics include interests (like aviation or games), professions (like medicine or real estate), and tools (like spreadsheets or databases). The first series of guides has just been posted and additional ones will be posted roughly every six weeks.

PalmSource is currently accepting applications for guides on open topics.  Members of the program receive prominence, private contact with PalmSource, and $200 in gift certificates toward the purchase of handheld gear of their choice.

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Age
UZI4U182 @ 7/26/2003 12:06:41 AM #
I think that's pathetic that you have to be 16 or over to do this.

UZI4U182@suscom.net | Main PDA: Sony NX70v
http://clieflash.shorturl.com
Free Flash Downloads for your CLIÉ
RE: URL typo
abosco @ 7/26/2003 1:19:38 AM #
I second the age comment. I've found myself in a bit of a predicament here. I know a ton about browsers, but I'll be 16 in three weeks. At the bottom of the page, it says accepted candidates will be notified in one month. Should I say I'm 16, knowing I'm not 16 now but will be in less than a month, or should I wait it out risking someone else gets the job?

Only I can get into a ridiculous situation like this.

-Bosco

RE: Age
Michael Mace @ 7/26/2003 2:00:58 AM #
The age thing was just my effort to make sure we don't run into any labor laws, but I don't know the exact limits on what we can and can't do.

Tell you what -- please go ahead and apply, and mention your age in one of the comment fields of the form. I'll check with our legal folks and see what we can do. Bosco, we'd love to have you in the program if we can do it.

Mike
CCO, PalmSource Inc.

RE: URL typo
mikecane @ 7/26/2003 10:02:39 AM #
My God! abosco isn't even 16! That would then make *ska* how old...?

RE: URL typo
abosco @ 7/26/2003 3:39:16 PM #
Awesome, thanks!

Cane, I don't know how old that makes ska, but you must be 11, 12 tops. And with ADD, at that! "I want a PPC! I want a Palm! I want a PPC! I want a Palm!" ;)

-Bosco

Mr. Mace: a few suggestions.
The Ugly Truth @ 7/27/2003 4:51:31 AM #
Let me see if I understand this. Palm has been losing millions of dollars a month for years and one of their senior executives is posting to Palm Infocenter recruiting a child to write articles for Palm? Articles Palm could have had done properly by their own in-house staff years ago with minimal effort? Is this to show everyone that Big Corporate Palm actually listens to the "little guy"?

Since Palm is apparently now so open to suggestions, here are a few:

1) Release a 320 x 480, Vx-sized (thin, LIGHT) Palm ASAP. If you can't make it as small as a Vx, forget it. Despite what they say, size matters. Only a few fanatics will be submitting to those big, thick, heavy monsters that Sony is trying to ram down peoples' throats. Let Sony cater to suckers that want Monster Palms. Palm needs to get back to designing simple, elegant hardware that works for the way most people actually use their handhelds.

2) Make the Treo 600 available for $300 or less. If it's priced right, the Treo could become the new executive toy du jour - like the Vx was a few years ago. Price it much higher than $300 and watch it be ignored by everyone except the few hundred people that read Palm fan sites. The Treo 600 (or its immediate successor) may save Palm as long as the desire for quick profits doesn't win out over The Big Picture.

3) Stop the redundancy in Palm's software portfolio. Pick the best of breed apps and stick with them. If you really want to show what Palms can do, get users Hooked On Palm by creating a licensed suite of the best freeware and shareware Palm apps/games/utilities and bundling them with every Palm sold. I'd suggest looking at including as many of these as could be licensed for a reasonable price: Bejeweled, DiddleBug, HandyShopper, iSilo, Open, Vexed, Vindigo, YAUC, Zagat. Others - like APCalc, DateBk5, FindHack, LauncherX, McFile, TealLock, TealScript, To Do PLUS, Ultrasoft Money and Uninstall Manager - would make good replacements for those ancient original Palm ROM apps that do the same job. Sure, bundling hurts other developers, but it's all about survival of the fittest. Just look at what Microsoft has done over the years.

4) Stop skimping on the RAM. Yes, I know you want to sell SD cards, but at this point there's no excuse for releasing any PDA with less than 64 MB RAM.

5) Want to get innovative? How about pushing Palms as a low cost laptop alternative? A clone of the CLIE UX50 with a slightly bigger screen, CompactFlash and SD slots, 802.11b, Bluetooth and Word/Excel/Powerpoint apps is all the "laptop" a lot of employees really need. Cheap to buy, cheap to support. A TCO dream come true.

6) Hire what's left of the HandEra software engineering staff and use them to make some real improvements in the Palm OS. The "Zen of Palm" spin just doesn't cut it these days. Unfortunately, I envision a whole lotta current apps breaking if Palm finally advances the OS to where it needs to go.

7) Fear Microsoft. Palm's historical dominance in handhelds won't mean much if Microsoft starts giving away basic PPCs with every copy of Office. Don't think they can't or won't just buy the PDA market outright. The petty cash fund in Redmond could probably cover what was spent on worldwide sales of all PDAs last year.

8) Fear Nokia. Cellphones are already doing what most people use their Palms for. The average Joe isn't going to buy a Palm if their "free" cellphone comes with an address book, to do list, memo pad, date book, digital camera and games. Only geeks will be willing to carry two devices.

9) Adhere to the KISS principle: Keep It Simple, Stupid. Most Palm users never even use any programs other than the built in apps for a reason: Palms are almost perfect "as is". Just make them smaller, lighter, faster and more integrated with cellphones, digital cameras and MP3 players. Sound easy doesn't it?

10) Don't wait too long before selling out to Sony. A purchase for 800 million within the next six months - say, January 15, 2004 - sounds like a good way to exit stage left. Don't let me down - baby needs new shoes...


(The invoice for my consulting fee is in the mail and is due upon receipt. Remit cash payments only please - no checks or Handspring stock accepted.)

Armchair analyst

RE: URL typo
helf @ 7/27/2003 9:25:42 AM #
erm.. If they bundled launcher X with their palms I'd screen. A more deserving launcher needs that honor. Like zlauncher.

RE: URL typo
mikecane @ 7/27/2003 10:00:03 AM #
"TUG" is yelling at the wrong Palm. At has been pointed out to me many times, Mace is of PalmSource. The hardware people -- like, Todd Bradley! -- are Palm Solutions Group. Palm SG apparently doesn't listen to anybody... except for maybe Eric the Red.

RE: Mr. Mace: a few suggestions.
The Ugly Truth @ 7/27/2003 4:45:44 PM #
erm.. If they bundled launcher X with their palms I'd screen. A more deserving launcher needs that honor. Like zlauncher.

Most people would probably be happy if they got an intuitive, tabbed launcher like Launcher X (or even Launcher III 3.0.6) as the default launcher instead of the current Palm launcher. Launcher X isn't perfect and devepolpment has stalled due to "unforseen circumstances" with Bozidar Benc, but in my experience it is currently the most functional launcher available for the Palm OS. Like everything else, personal taste (or lack of same) may mean that others prefer different launchers. The point is that Palm could simply have hired Benc - and a few other good Palm OS programmers out there like C. E. S. Dewar of DateBk3/4/5 fame - to improve the Palm OS programs a long time ago. Instead they blew millions buying useless companies and pushing dead end technologies.

The "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" mentality that has pervaded Palm for years is why the OS stagnated for so long. And given Palm's history with OS development, what do you think the likelihood is of seeing a truly advanced new OS any time soon? Hopefully they'll at least do it right and completely rewrite the OS rather than simply rushing out a refried version of Palm OS 5. Multitasking and better wireless stability need to be inclded if Palm is serious about moving forward.

RE: Mr. Mace: a few suggestions.
The Ugly Truth @ 7/27/2003 5:19:16 PM #
Mr. Mace, I don't expect you to have the cojones to reply to questions that expose Palm's mistakes, but I hope that you and any other Palm employees lurking here think about what I pointed out in the original post. I believe you know what needs to be done. My concern is that the Bureaucracy of Palm will prevent this from occurring.

You're now running out of time - tarted up cellphones are going to erode your traditional customer base so quickly over the next year you won't know what happened. I hope Palm at least doesn't sabotage the Treo 600 by cutting corners in its construction (a la Treo "x") or pricing it out of the market.

Evolve or die. That's how the world works.

RE: URL typo
helf @ 7/27/2003 8:37:55 PM #
Some people LIKE the "stagnated OS" as it is. But I guess we are to few.... Launcehr X is realyl buggy and has less functions by far than zlauncher. But lets not get into a launcher war again. You use was you like. And what "dead end" techs are you talking about?

*prepares to get flamed and have a million things forcefully pointed out to him*

RE: URL typo
The Ugly Truth @ 7/27/2003 10:20:57 PM #
Some people LIKE the "stagnated OS" as it is. But I guess we are to few....

If all you want is an address book/appointment book/to do list, even a PalmPilot™ 1000 would work very well for you. It all boils down to what you use your Palm for. Many power users don't want to be constrained by the Palm OS's current limitations.

Launcehr X is realyl buggy and has less functions by far than zlauncher. But lets not get into a launcher war again. You use was you like.

I won't waste time debating what amounts to personal taste. The point is that better solutions are available and should have been incorporated into the OS several years ago.

And what "dead end" techs are you talking about?

Are you yet another teenager? I would suggest you do a little reading into Palm's history. Start with the VII and Palm's initial tragic attempts at wireless. Then read about all the companies and services Palm acquired and then dumped over the past four years.

Here's a site that can answer a lot of your questions:

www.google.com


RE: URL typo
Michael Mace @ 7/28/2003 1:51:39 AM #
TUT wrote:

>>one of their senior executives is ...recruiting ...articles Palm could have had done properly by their own in-house staff years ago with minimal effort?

Thanks for the feedback. About 90% of it is applicable to Palm the hardware company, not PalmSource, but I'll try to pick out the things we can affect.

I would, though, like to comment on the statement above. With more than 18k apps for the Palm OS, there's no human being on earth who understands the full range of what you can do with a Palm OS handheld. And there's no way that in-house employees could write those guides as well as folks on the outside who are actually using the devices -- doctors, lawyers, salespeople, even 16-year-olds if they show that they know a particular topic really well.

A lot of people in our user base are extremely smart, extremely well informed, and I think it's appropriate to showcase a few of them. Sorry you don't agree.

Mike
CCO, PalmSource

RE: URL typo
helf @ 7/28/2003 10:07:18 AM #
Oh.. I guess I'll go do some research later.

RE: URL typo
Michael Mace @ 7/28/2003 2:46:00 PM #
I wanted to respond in a little more detail to some of the issues TUT raised. Unfortunately, we're in a "quiet period" because of the upcoming spinout of PalmSource from Palm Inc. So I can't go into as much detail as I'd like, especially regarding the future. But here goes...


> 1) Release a 320 x 480, Vx-sized (thin, LIGHT) Palm ASAP. If you can't make it as small as a Vx, forget it.

Given the power demands of a color screen (constant backlight), it's hard for any company to hit the exact specs of the Vx and still have decent battery life. (I presume you'd want some other features like ARM, SD, and perhaps Bluetooth?) But I agree that thin and light are critical features for huge numbers of customers.

This one's mostly a hardware issue, though, not OS.


>2) Make the Treo 600 available for $300 or less.

Totally beyond PalmSource's control, but I agree that price is important. One of the reasons Nokia's Symbian phones are selling in Europe is that they're very cheap after the operator subsidy.


>3) If you really want to show what Palms can do, get users Hooked On Palm by creating a licensed suite of the best freeware and shareware Palm apps/games/utilities and bundling them with every Palm sold.

I think there's the nucleus of a good idea there, in terms of getting more visibility for apps and having it go along with every device.


>Sure, bundling hurts other developers, but it's all about survival of the fittest.

It IS all about survival of the fittest, but I think the winners should be chosen by the users, not by us manufacturers. I also think the marketplace needs to be kept open to new software entrants, so everyone has an incentive to keep innovating. The loss of effective competition in many categories of PC software has, in my opinion, led to stagnation.

I think it's better to make users aware of the full range of software and make the programs easy to obtain. Maybe as a start we could compile a much more complete guide to everything you can do with a Palm Powered handheld. I know, we could call it an "expert guide" and post it on the web...


>Just look at what Microsoft has done over the years.

You mean, cripple the commercial developer community? Sorry, I just don't agree with this one.


> 4) Stop skimping on the RAM....at this point there's no excuse for releasing any PDA with less than 64 MB RAM.

That one's for the hardware folks, not for PalmSource. But I should mention that RAM doesn't just add cost, it adds power consumption. So the decision may not be quite as simple as it sounds, and different customers might make different tradeoffs.


> 5) Want to get innovative? How about pushing Palms as a low cost laptop alternative? A clone of the CLIE UX50 with a slightly bigger screen, CompactFlash and SD slots, 802.11b, Bluetooth and Word/Excel/Powerpoint apps is all the "laptop" a lot of employees really need.

I like this one, although you have to be careful to market it as a device for certain tasks people do with a laptop, rather than as a full PC. Otherwise you end up with the HPC syndrome.


> 6) ...make some real improvements in the Palm OS.

There's a lot going on with the OS, and for obvious competitive reasons we don't talk about all the details of our future plans. The quiet period also makes this one harder to discuss. Sorry.


> 7) Fear Microsoft.

Check.


> 8) Fear Nokia.

Check. I would have said "Symbian" rather than "Nokia," but one is really an arm of the other.


>Cellphones are already doing what most people use their Palms for.

Actually, when we've surveyed Palm OS users we've found a fairly high usage rate for additional apps, most of which are not available for phones.


>The average Joe isn't going to buy a Palm if their "free" cellphone comes with an address book, to do list, memo pad, date book, digital camera and games.

This is an interesting one. A fair number of people in Europe are buying camera phones with Symbian built in. They are capable of acting like a handheld, more or less. But are they being used that way? No one really knows yet, but a lot of developers tell us that sales of Symbian Series 60 software is pretty disappointing so far. It looks like many people are buying those phones as just camera phones, not handhelds. We'll know more in another six months.

I think a lot also depends on how well those phone features work. For example, huge numbers of mobile phones these days come with an address book and calendar, the two most heavily used Palm OS apps. But they're often very hard to use and you don't see people using them in the same way Palm OS users do.

But I agree with you that being in phones is important.


>Only geeks will be willing to carry two devices.

That's true if the one device is a true superset of both individual devices, with no compromises. Once you look at the compromises needed to make one device, things get a lot fuzzier. I don't think anyone really knows what'll happen, but there's some research (from Jupiter Research) that says many people are willing to carry more than one device, depending on price and features. I think we'll find that the users split on this issue.


> 9) Most Palm users never even use any programs other than the built in apps

A majority of users add something (often from the CD that came with the device), but everyone adds something different, so you don't see a few dominant apps out there the way you do with PCs.


>The point is that Palm could simply have hired ...a few other good Palm OS programmers out there .... to improve the Palm OS programs a long time ago.

For most of Palm's history, the company deliberately left the built-in personal information management apps (calendar, address book, etc) alone because it felt users could always buy third-party apps if they wanted more features. We've modified that policy now, and the PIM apps are getting some attention. I expect that the third party products will continue to be out ahead on features, though. Small enterpreneurial companies can always move faster than larger companies, and they also don't have the same testing burdens as big companies. A small company can ship a program that generally works, or that runs on most of the installed base. If PalmSource ships something, it has to work all the time, and it's not supposed to crash at all. The testing burden to make sure that's the case is enormous.


> The "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" mentality that has pervaded Palm for years is why the OS stagnated for so long.

Actually, the mentality was more like "make sure the OS supports the latest hardware device." That enabled the creation of some very nice devices, but it inhibited basic OS innovation. That's one reason why we've split into two companies.


Mike
CCO, PalmSource

Mr. Mace: I'm impressed
The Ugly Truth @ 7/28/2003 5:40:04 PM #
I'm actually very surprised that you were willing to try to counter the points I made. I wish you good luck in your attempts to fix Palm's problems. I definitely disagree with many of your responses, but then I'm not CCO, PalmSource...


I wanted to respond in a little more detail to some of the issues TUT raised. Unfortunately, we're in a "quiet period" because of the upcoming spinout of PalmSource from Palm Inc. So I can't go into as much detail as I'd like, especially regarding the future. But here goes...


> 1) Release a 320 x 480, Vx-sized (thin, LIGHT) Palm ASAP. If you can't make it as small as a Vx, forget it.

Given the power demands of a color screen (constant backlight), it's hard for any company to hit the exact specs of the Vx and still have decent battery life. (I presume you'd want some other features like ARM, SD, and perhaps Bluetooth?) But I agree that thin and light are critical features for huge numbers of customers.

This one's mostly a hardware issue, though, not OS.

I believe with current technology it is in fact possible to do a PDA as described with "acceptable" battery life. The real challenge would be adding dual SD/CF or SD/SD slots and still keeping it thin. If your hardware engineers say it's impossible, you need to get some new engineers.

>2) Make the Treo 600 available for $300 or less.

Totally beyond PalmSource's control, but I agree that price is important. One of the reasons Nokia's Symbian phones are selling in Europe is that they're very cheap after the operator subsidy.

Come on now. PalmSource = Palm, no matter what the "official" stance is. The Treo 600 and its follow up will be critical to Palm's future, so Palm needs to do whatever is necessary to avoid the mistakes Handspring made with previous Treo models. If it's priced too high, the Treo 600 simply will not sell, no matter how good it is. This is easily the best new design since the Palm V and it would be a shame to see it fail simply because of overly-optimistic pricing. From what I know about the current market, I believe the phone will need to be positioned at $300 or less (with contract) in order to have a chance.

>3) If you really want to show what Palms can do, get users Hooked On Palm by creating a licensed suite of the best freeware and shareware Palm apps/games/utilities and bundling them with every Palm sold.

I think there's the nucleus of a good idea there, in terms of getting more visibility for apps and having it go along with every device.

The average user isn't going to waste time hunting around the web looking for apps. They need to be spoon fed and Palm could do this very easily by including a separate folder on the Palm Desktop installation disc with 20 or so top apps, including links to authors' websites. If you want to go the cheap route, just include freeware programs. Keep it simple by including only a select few programs - the best of the best. (While there are probably over 20,000 Palm apps available (including endless "list" programs), most of them are detritus. The number of real, well-coded Palm programs is probably less than 1000. Speak to 10 veteran Palm users and you'll be able to compile a list of the top 100 apps within a day.)

>Sure, bundling hurts other developers, but it's all about survival of the fittest.

It IS all about survival of the fittest, but I think the winners should be chosen by the users, not by us manufacturers. I also think the marketplace needs to be kept open to new software entrants, so everyone has an incentive to keep innovating. The loss of effective competition in many categories of PC software has, in my opinion, led to stagnation.

I think it's better to make users aware of the full range of software and make the programs easy to obtain. Maybe as a start we could compile a much more complete guide to everything you can do with a Palm Powered handheld. I know, we could call it an "expert guide" and post it on the web...

No - consumers are naturally lazy and need to be spoon fed. I'm sure you know that. Instead of including a simplistic app (e.g. Calc) in the ROM and expecting users to find a better substitute (e.g. APCalc) themselves, Palm should have done the work for them. I believe the real reason for keeping the the native apps as simple as they've been is to avoid the expense of technical support to clueless end users. Saying Palm doesn't want to alienate developers is an easy way to spin this, though.

>Just look at what Microsoft has done over the years.

You mean, cripple the commercial developer community? Sorry, I just don't agree with this one.

No - they've taken the best ideas from others and incorporated them into their own programs. Or simply bought leading companies and rebadged the apps as Microsoft products. This is what is expected in a mature platform. Palm has done this in the past (e.g. MultiMail PRO), so it seems hypocritical to not fully embrace the concept. It's not like Palm would have to cover every niche app in existence. My previous post listed a few suggestions. Palms that came standard with those apps would make a mockery of the current PPC software suite. Again, it all probably boils down to whether or not Palm is prepared to provide support for more advanced apps .

> 4) Stop skimping on the RAM....at this point there's no excuse for releasing any PDA with less than 64 MB RAM.

That one's for the hardware folks, not for PalmSource. But I should mention that RAM doesn't just add cost, it adds power consumption. So the decision may not be quite as simple as it sounds, and different customers might make different tradeoffs.

How much does bulk quantities of RAM cost in 2003? To increase the RAM to 64 MB would probably add less than $5 to the price of a Palm. And the added power consumption is negligible compared to that of color screens. I'd glaly make those "sacrifices" for a more functional PDA. But then I probably wouldn't be buying too many expansion cards if my Palms had adequate RAM...

> 5) Want to get innovative? How about pushing Palms as a low cost laptop alternative? A clone of the CLIE UX50 with a slightly bigger screen, CompactFlash and SD slots, 802.11b, Bluetooth and Word/Excel/Powerpoint apps is all the "laptop" a lot of employees really need.

I like this one, although you have to be careful to market it as a device for certain tasks people do with a laptop, rather than as a full PC. Otherwise you end up with the HPC syndrome.

Instead of "laptop", it could be called a "palmtop". Again using the KISS principle, the goal would be to replace the main (not all) functions of business laptops: email, simple web searches, Word and Excel. While many people need the features/programs of real Windows laptops, for a significant number of employees, laptops are expensive overkill. Marketing a bulletproof, idiotproof alternative may be a sustainable revenue source for Palm. (In my opinion, the traditional PDA market is already almost saturated, so Palm would be well advised to explore other paradigms. Part of the problem is that most people have little need to ever upgrade their PDAs, leading to limited growth in the market.) Schools, sales, medical and legal workplaces are a few other obvious markets for "palmtops". This might hurt one or two current Palm OS licencees, but then again I don't see too many tears being shed for HandEra...

> 6) ...make some real improvements in the Palm OS.

There's a lot going on with the OS, and for obvious competitive reasons we don't talk about all the details of our future plans. The quiet period also makes this one harder to discuss. Sorry.

It's obvious that multitasking and wireless need to be optimized. The question is whether or not Palm OS 6 can adequately support legacy apps while still evolving into what it needs to become.

> 7) Fear Microsoft.

Check.

We'll see.

> 8) Fear Nokia.

Check. I would have said "Symbian" rather than "Nokia," but one is really an arm of the other.

Nokia, Sony(Ericsson), etc., etc. If I had never used a Palm before, these are the devices that would seem to make the most sense (again showing why the Treo 600 needs to succeed).

>Cellphones are already doing what most people use their Palms for.

Actually, when we've surveyed Palm OS users we've found a fairly high usage rate for additional apps, most of which are not available for phones.

Really? Most people I know use their Palm for schedule and contacts. I wonder if you did the survey in Silicon Valley or the "real world".


>The average Joe isn't going to buy a Palm if their "free" cellphone comes with an address book, to do list, memo pad, date book, digital camera and games.

This is an interesting one. A fair number of people in Europe are buying camera phones with Symbian built in. They are capable of acting like a handheld, more or less. But are they being used that way? No one really knows yet, but a lot of developers tell us that sales of Symbian Series 60 software is pretty disappointing so far. It looks like many people are buying those phones as just camera phones, not handhelds. We'll know more in another six months.

I think a lot also depends on how well those phone features work. For example, huge numbers of mobile phones these days come with an address book and calendar, the two most heavily used Palm OS apps. But they're often very hard to use and you don't see people using them in the same way Palm OS users do.

But I agree with you that being in phones is important.

I wouldn't use software sales as an indicator of Symbian's acceptance - what percent of Palm owners actually buy software? I'd guess less than 10%.

T9 may be brutal for text enty, but don't be surprised to see Symbian phones with Treo 600 style keyboards showing up next year. Then what?

>Only geeks will be willing to carry two devices.

That's true if the one device is a true superset of both individual devices, with no compromises. Once you look at the compromises needed to make one device, things get a lot fuzzier. I don't think anyone really knows what'll happen, but there's some research (from Jupiter Research) that says many people are willing to carry more than one device, depending on price and features. I think we'll find that the users split on this issue.

Again, I see Symbian-based phones perfecting the essential features of Palms very quickly. Then price/size become the deciding factor. And phones will always win that particular battle. I've used Palms since the beginning and lived on the bleeding edge, but even I would be willing to give up a few features in order to carry a single device. I think most new users will be even more willing to accept compromises since they don't have preconceived ideas about the ideal PDA form factor.

> 9) Most Palm users never even use any programs other than the built in apps

A majority of users add something (often from the CD that came with the device), but everyone adds something different, so you don't see a few dominant apps out there the way you do with PCs.

I should perhaps have said, "Most Palm users mainly use the built in apps"

>The point is that Palm could simply have hired ...a few other good Palm OS programmers out there .... to improve the Palm OS programs a long time ago.

For most of Palm's history, the company deliberately left the built-in personal information management apps (calendar, address book, etc) alone because it felt users could always buy third-party apps if they wanted more features. We've modified that policy now, and the PIM apps are getting some attention. I expect that the third party products will continue to be out ahead on features, though. Small enterpreneurial companies can always move faster than larger companies, and they also don't have the same testing burdens as big companies. A small company can ship a program that generally works, or that runs on most of the installed base. If PalmSource ships something, it has to work all the time, and it's not supposed to crash at all. The testing burden to make sure that's the case is enormous.

Well spun.

> The "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" mentality that has pervaded Palm for years is why the OS stagnated for so long.

Actually, the mentality was more like "make sure the OS supports the latest hardware device." That enabled the creation of some very nice devices, but it inhibited basic OS innovation. That's one reason why we've split into two companies.


Mike
CCO, PalmSource

Well spun.

RE: URL typo
abosco @ 7/29/2003 2:26:14 AM #
I'm struggling to understand why you're pressuring the CCO of PalmSource to answer questions about hardware. Is it hard to understand? It's not in his control. He can't decide whether Palm SG wants to put out a new m500 series style Palm tomorrow. He can't control what Sony wants to put in their UX Series. He can only influence the OS.

Last night, I wrote up a whole list of comments that backfire on what you've stated, where you contradicted yourself, and once I spent 15 minutes on it, you know what I did? DELETED. It's a waste of time. If I say something in PalmSource's defense, "Oh you're just 16, what do you know," or "Well spun," or something stupid that says, "I don't know what I'm talking about and wish I did." I mean GOD one of the things you said was FEAR MICROSOFT. Wow, it sure took a genius to think up this one. You must have spent all night writing up that thoughtful comment. I'm sure nobody in the PalmSource staff bothered to think about PPC when designing the next OS. Yeah, PalmSource should be enthusiastic about giving money to someone giving hardware suggestions to a software company. "Hey Microsoft, why doesn't Dell bundle Kazaa with their computers? It's a great program but a lot of PC users don't download it! I think you should spoon-feed them because consumers know nothing!"

Idiot.

-Bosco

RE: URL typo
mikecane @ 7/29/2003 1:57:29 PM #
abosco, you crack me up today.

Stop that!

Real World Experience can't be beat
rcartwright @ 7/29/2003 8:54:10 PM #
>I would, though, like to comment on the statement above. With more than 18k apps for the Palm OS, there's no human being on earth who understands the full range of what you can do with a Palm OS handheld. And there's no way that in-house employees could write those guides as well as folks on the outside who are actually using the devices -- doctors, lawyers, salespeople, even 16-year-olds if they show that they know a particular topic really well.<

Hear, Hear! I get so hacked off reading things trying to tell me how to do my job better written by people who have never had to make a living, meet a payroll, etc. in the area they profess to be an expert in.

Life is a great adventure or nothing.

Ugh, please let it be
Miss Clie @ 7/30/2003 9:01:01 AM #
Posted prior: "The average user isn't going to waste time hunting around the web looking for apps. They need to be spoon fed and Palm could do this very easily by including a separate folder on the Palm Desktop installation disc with 20 or so top apps, including links to authors' websites. If you want to go the cheap route, just include freeware programs. Keep it simple by including only a select few programs - the best of the best. (While there are probably over 20,000 Palm apps available (including endless "list" programs), most of them are detritus. The number of real, well-coded Palm programs is probably less than 1000. Speak to 10 veteran Palm users and you'll be able to compile a list of the top 100 apps within a day.)"

Ugh! Look, with respect to Palm's native applications, Palm got to the level of sophistication that it has today by being open and friendly to developers. You think there are 20,000 programs out there because Palm/PalmSource dictated who is best and jammed them down users' throats?!

The beauty of the Palm is that newbies can very easily use the bundled simple programs, and most could use them forever. But for everyone with an itch for something else, there are thousands of choices, many of them highly individualized toward specialty professions (real estate, medical, teaching, etc). In fact, you can whip one up yourself, and if enough people like it, you too can be a star in the Palm development world.

Leave it alone! It's NOT broken. The more you want it to be like PPC, the more you alienate the users.

Hell, I taught a couple about downloading Palm software at the supermarket last week when they noticed me using Splashshopper. New converts. But there's no reason they have to have Splashshopper OR Handyshopper or anything else preloaded for them. They may pick something totally different for their style of shopping.

RE: URL typo
The Ugly Truth @ 8/2/2003 5:29:06 AM #
Ugh! Look, with respect to Palm's native applications, Palm got to the level of sophistication that it has today by being open and friendly to developers. You think there are 20,000 programs out there because Palm/PalmSource dictated who is best and jammed them down users' throats?!

Actually, Palm has 20,000 + apps available because:
A) Palm OS devices were the first to sell well enough to achieve the critical mass of users needed to make development worthwhile.
B) It is very easy to code for Palm OS. Unfortunately, it's so easy to code a basic Palm OS app that the market has now been flooded with thousands of pathetic programs "written" by amateurs hoping to make a quick buck off naive users. Of those 20,000 apps it would seem that 10,000 consist of programs whipped up in two or three hours using PDA Toolbox http://www.pdatoolbox.com/. Separating the wheat from the chaff is a daunting task, even for those of us experienced with the platform.

The beauty of the Palm is that newbies can very easily use the bundled simple programs, and most could use them forever. But for everyone with an itch for something else, there are thousands of choices, many of them highly individualized toward specialty professions (real estate, medical, teaching, etc). In fact, you can whip one up yourself, and if enough people like it, you too can be a star in the Palm development world.

Just because the built apps are functional does not mean that they should not be improved. Palm has allowed the OS to stagnate, but at the very least they could have improved the software that is included with each unit. As posted previously, it's not imperative that Palm attempts to cover every niche market. The core functions of contacts, schedule, to do list, memos, calculator, finance ane email are the obvious areas Palm needs to look at. Niches are probably best dealt with by smaller companies with specific interest/experience in those areas, as smaller companies are more likely to be able to effectively support + develop these niche apps.

Leave it alone! It's NOT broken. The more you want it to be like PPC, the more you alienate the users.

If everyone followed your "don't fix it if it ain't broke" suggestion, we would all be using pen + paper instead of Palms. Palm's initial design was an exceptionally good one and the original Pilots are as functional today as they were the day they were released. However, if Palm continues to push the status quo ("Zen of Spin Doctoring") instead of innovating, they run the risk of meeting the same fate as the dinosaurs. People like Mr. Mace are fully aware of this fact, even though it's unlikely they would ever admit this publicly.

Mr. Mace - re: Palm's future
The Ugly Truth @ 8/2/2003 6:26:57 AM #
I hope you are able to effect some positive changes at Palm over the next two quarters. Your company is about to face a pivotal challenge and how you respond will ultimately decide whether or not Palm OS remains the dominant platform in portable devices.

Since you're evidently unable to counter the points I have made, I'll simply wish you good luck in trying to keep Palm's future alive.

As usual, just for Americans....

Be3G @ 7/26/2003 6:39:53 AM #
Americans aren't the only people who have knowledge about PDAs. As much as I'd love to do one of these "articles" for PalmSource, the payment, while nice, is a bit useless to people outside America or France (MobilePlant does have a French branch). It would have been much better IMHO if PalmSource had said they'd give you Amazon vouchers in your currency or something like that (seeing as Amazon work worldwide).

Oh well.

Thomas

Check out the *updated* Palm Tungsten|T review at www.comp-talk.co.uk

RE: As usual, just for Americans....
vesther @ 7/26/2003 11:15:50 AM #
I have to say that the Development should be open to all nations (provided that the nation is not within the US Embargo List) because we have some foreigners who are very knowledgeable and/or fluent within the PDA world and Palm would use the immense help they need in order to expand the Palm Economy Universe IMO.

Established Consumer Palm Handheld Possessor since 2002
NOT just for Americans....
Michael Mace @ 7/26/2003 1:40:29 PM #
Be3G wrote:

>>Americans aren't the only people who have knowledge about PDAs. As much as I'd love to do one of these "articles" for PalmSource, the payment, while nice, is a bit useless to people outside America or France


The program's not open only to Americans, and in fact some of the people who have already signed up are from outside the US. We'd love to see more.

As for the "payment," we'd be glad to make the gift certificates from a vendor who's appropriate to the author's country.

The one restriction in the program so far is that it's all in English. We want to get it working well in one language before we look at doing others.

One more thought: I want to caution everybody that you shouldn't view this as a quick way to get some swag. Building one of these pages is a lot harder than it looks -- collecting all the URLs and screen shots, double-checking each one to make sure it works, editing, and especially doing the web searches for good web pages and user stories. The most frequent comment we get back from the participants is that it's more work than they thought.

View the gift certificates as a grant to help you keep up to date on the latest handheld stuff. The main reason to do this is because you're passionate about the chosen topic and want to share your knowledge with other people.

Thanks,

Mike
CCO, PalmSource Inc.

RE: As usual, just for Americans....
achitnis @ 7/26/2003 1:44:16 PM #
Well, I am not so sure whether the honorarium (and that is what it is) is as useless as you make it out to be.

I write a lot of articles for publication, so I understand the difference between an honorarium and "payment". ;-)

I for one would welcome a $200 voucher for the Palm Store to allow me to buy some stuff that is only available in the USA anyway (or rather, not available in my country, that is India). $200 would buy me a new keyboard, a sync/charge USB cable and cover shipping to India - very nice for a couple of hours of work.

I for one will definitely take up this offer - not because I want the $200 but more because I like writing, I love PalmOS devices and I feel I can contribute.

Let's see how this works out.


Atul Chitnis
http://atulchitnis.net

Expert Guide this

mikecane @ 7/26/2003 10:12:46 AM #
Will there be a WiFi Expert Guide? I hope it will cover the various browsers available for PalmOS PDAs. This is something I'd like to read.

RE: WiFi
Michael Mace @ 7/26/2003 1:38:06 PM #
Mike Cane wrote:

>>Will there be a WiFi Expert Guide? I hope it will cover the various browsers available for PalmOS PDAs. This is something I'd like to read.

We're open to almost any reasonable topic. You're wlecome to join the program, Mike -- just go to the signup form...

Mike
CCO, PalmSource Inc.

RE: Expert Guide this
Fernando @ 7/26/2003 3:34:57 PM #
woah that's 2 many mike's for me.... anyways, when is the deadline for applying? i just got a bluetooth dongle and would love to share my knowledge in that field, however at current it is almost non-existent due to the dongle not set to arive till early this week.... damn mail system... if however there is still availability of applications in one weeks time i would love to share whatever knowledge i have on the topic... bluetooth vpn, web browser, bugs, etc...
RE: Expert Guide this
mikecane @ 7/26/2003 3:41:30 PM #
God, no, Mace. I can't handle writing that. *Reading* it, yes. That's why I want someone to write it -- to de-ignorance me on the topic. (I'd been staring at PPC too long, you see...)

RE: Expert Guide this
abosco @ 7/26/2003 3:52:35 PM #
Cane, if I'm chosen and if it's allowed, it might be a good idea to branch off some sub-categories for different ways to use browsers, like Wifi, Bluetooth, IR, or Serial/Cradle. Would be helpful in giving people ideas on how they might be interested in connecting and using these programs.

And then there are PQA's.. oh God. I hope I don't have to go through the 300-some PQA's..

-Bosco

RE: Expert Guide this
mikecane @ 7/26/2003 4:41:29 PM #
Just make sure it covers:

1) MP3 downloading
2) MPEG video downloading
3) .PDB downloading
4) .PRC downloading
5) handling .zip files

RE: Expert Guide this
Michael Mace @ 7/27/2003 12:15:24 AM #
Fernando wrote:

>when is the deadline for applying?

No deadline. We'll keep the applications open indefinitely -- you never know when someone will cook up a good new topic. (We've already been pleasantly surprised by some of the creative ideas people proposed.)

Mike
CCO, PalmSource

RE: Expert Guide this
mikecane @ 7/27/2003 10:01:46 AM #
Here's The Burning Question for that WiFi Expert Guide:

WHY does the Tungsten C have a *different* browser than the Tungsten T2?! And, man, that TT2 browser is not only ugly, it has spam at the bottom that looks like it'll leave less room for the display of web pages!

abosco explained

mikecane @ 7/27/2003 10:03:40 AM #
So *that's* how come this guy can post so much. Mommy and Daddy are paying for his room and board.

Wait til he hits the real world of paychecks and rent and taxes -- and sex! THEN you'll see his postings drop.

ska *must* be in his cohort.

How disgusting!

RE: abosco explained
mikecane @ 7/27/2003 10:05:22 AM #
You know, it also makes me wonder about foo...

RE: abosco explained
abosco @ 7/27/2003 1:23:01 PM #
>Wait til he hits the real world of paychecks and
>rent and taxes -- and sex! THEN you'll see his
>postings drop.

Thanks for the info. Hmm, let's see what I can check off from that list. Check and check and check -- and check. Indeed. I work two jobs part time, I pay bills, I pay taxes on one job, and I've.. WHOA wrong forum. Imagine that.. I have a life after all and I'm getting information on something I plan to major in when I'm older. Shame on me for trying to get a head start on college. You're right, I'm living in a fantasy land. Definitely not the real world.

There are more teenagers here than you may think. Sometimes they're more helpful than the *ahem* adults. Might want to rethink your stance on this issue.

-Bosco

RE: abosco explained
mikecane @ 7/27/2003 5:54:06 PM #
My stance on this issue is the same as everyone else my age: Youth is wasted on the young!

RE: abosco explained
pbratland @ 7/28/2003 12:25:19 AM #
>>My stance on this issue is the same as everyone else my age: Youth is wasted on the young!

And not missed until to late.

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