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Palm.net Wireless Service Ceasing Operations

After more than five years in existence, Palm.Net, is ceasing operations. The wireless service which powered the Palm VII and i705 handhelds is shutting down permanently at the end of August.

In a recent letter to current subscribers, palmOne has announced the Palm.net service is ceasing operation. The service will close and no longer be available after August 31, 2004. All wireless handheld functionality that utilizes the Palm.Net network will not be available after the closing.

Owners can continue to use the Palm VII, VIIx and i705 devices in non-wireless mode, however, the handheld’s wireless capability is only compatible with the Palm.Net network and can't be transferred to another network. PQAs (web clipping applications) and the palmOne gateway proxy for the WAP Browser service is being also discontinued.

palmOne is offering remaining subscribers a $100 discount on a Treo 600 purchase.

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Although inevitable, still a bad move...

gfunkmagic @ 8/9/2004 5:33:09 PM #
IMO, there is still a viable market for "always-on" wireless connectivity based on pager network systems upon which Palm.net was based. Afterall isn't that what PalmSource lisencee's like Hunetec and Percomm are developing based on ReFlex 2-way pager networks?

The hardware specs of the i705 may be dated, but wouldn't it be interesting if PalmOne could shrink the technology into the size of a minute 2-way pager-like device with alway-on email connectivity via a more reliable wireless network at dirt cheap prices compared to gprs or cdma? IMO, the more wireless options the better and the passing of Palm.net into the dustbin while understandable is unfortunate. Hopefully, Percomm etc will soon fill this void and release those PalmOs pager devices soon...:)

I support http://Tapland.com/

--------------------
GNM

RE: Although inevitable, still a bad move...
JonathanChoo @ 8/10/2004 2:09:32 AM #
While I don't really care whether Palm.Net services continue to exists or not seeing that it is only a US service, I do hope that more web clipping applications or applications that have some web clipping features come to the PalmOS market. Applications like WorldMate on PalmOS and JournalBar on PocketPC pull down information snippets from the net.

With GPRS becoming more common and now 3G do we need a premium service to get web contents?

--
PalmOne Tungsten T3/256Mb Panasonic SD; HP h4150/512Mb Sandisk Ultra-II, Sony Ericsson T630

RE: Although inevitable, still a bad move...
WebMarc @ 8/10/2004 9:27:33 AM #
"IMO, there is still a viable market for "always-on" wireless connectivity "

Totally agree, GFunk. Blackberry devices keep popping up everywhere I look (metro DC area). And I access the web from my cell phone *far* more than I would have thought.

WebMarc

RE: Although inevitable, still a bad move...
rsc1000 @ 8/11/2004 2:09:30 PM #
>>Totally agree, GFunk. Blackberry devices keep popping up everywhere I look (metro DC area).

I agree that Blackberrys fulfill this need in a great way but Blackberrys aren't 'based on pager network systems' anymore (from GFunks original quote). I don't think there is room for Palm to compete in the market here - not in this way using pager network technology. Everything is going high-speed and although Palm's .net devices and web-clipping technology filled a niche at the time, it really wouldn't make sense to continue with it now. Afterall - there were not that many of these devices sold, and having an entirely non-web standard way of doing web apps doesn't make sense given this limited market. It would be completely non-viable to continue this way.

>>And I access the web from my cell phone *far* more than I would have thought.

Exactly - and that's why Palm sees its future is the treo 600 line.

Just some thoughts:)



That sucks.

Strider_mt2k @ 8/9/2004 5:55:51 PM #
Sign of the times I guess.

I feel bad for the users who have to get new hardware now.
Both of them.

painful

digichimp @ 8/9/2004 6:40:27 PM #
This announcement is just plain sad.
I had a palm VIIx for about about a yr and was emailing and webclipping to google, United Airlines, etc. even did palmgear prc downloads quite briskly. Those were the days of Coola, AnyDay, Yodlee. How times have changed and not necessarily for the better. The quickest road to extinction is lack of diversity. The technology of the past is not paved with obsolescence but rather short-sightedness.
I can understand the subscriber base couldn't sustain the business model, but I think there is still some value in web via proxy in these pre-3G days (US)
Good grief.

RE: painful
Scott R @ 8/9/2004 9:27:22 PM #
I agree. The era of "high-speed" wireless has not arrived yet. I have access to Sprint's so-called high-speed network and, at least via my handheld, it's pretty darn slow. The PQA technology was, and still is, smart. It was based on the client/server model where the graphics and unchanging content was stored locally so as to allow for good speed when switching from screen to screen and only sent the variable text data to and fro across the network. Here we are, several years later, and the wireless networks still seem so slow. Sure, the bottleneck is with latency, but what does it matter? The end result is the same.

Scott

http://Tapland.com
- Tapwave Zodiac News, Reviews, & Discussion -

RE: painful
ocspub @ 8/10/2004 1:15:41 AM #
Scott, actually, the palm.net service didn't just ship the "variable text data" across the network. The server that the device connected to was a regular webserver, and it served (mostly) standard HTML, so it would serve a regular (handheld-optimized) webpage with all the markup you find in other mobile handheld sites. True, you could embed the static images and even entire pages into the PQA "app" itself on the device, but with a regular web browser and an appropriate caching strategy you can achieve pretty much the same without requiring a PQA to be installed first.

Oh, and Scott, if you were to download comperable chunks of data over Mobitex and 1xRTT (e.g., a forum page of your mobile Tapland site), you'd definitely notice a significant difference.

I always thought that the marketers of the "Web Clipping" technology did a very poor job (Scott Adams probably covered it somewhere in a Dilbert strip). By using the term "web clipping", they basically shot themselves in the foot as there was no "clipping of web pages" involved in this technology, yet everyone and their mother complained (without understanding the concept) that it "wasn't the real web and just snippets taken out of pages."

Oh well, it was fun while it lasted. How will I now find the nearest Starbucks in an unfamiliar city?

Oliver


Work Smarter, Play Harder. Visit http://www.tapland.com for the latest Zodiac information.

RE: painful
Scott R @ 8/10/2004 8:19:27 AM #
So Oliver, you couldn't have a PQA form that resided internally and just populate the text boxes and such via data coming from the server? I thought you could. Oh well. Even without that, there were still some big advantages, IMO...

1) Application-model with icon offering direct access to the applet. So, using your example, you have an icon for "Starbucks finder." You can assign that icon to a hard button if you want, or launch to it quickly via various other means. With a web browser, I open up the browser first, then I pull up my favorites, then I find the the "Starbucks finder" favorite and click on that. So, faster to launch.
2) When I do pull up the "Starbucks finder" applet, the initial form page is all contained locally, so it pulls up immediately. I would then populate the necessary fields (e.g., my present location), click "Find it" and it would then access the network. With a web favorite, even the initial blank form would require a fetch across the network (unless this data was cached). So, again, faster there as well.

Another advantage which was specific to the Mobitex devices (i.e., i705) was the ability for an app to know your present zip code. So, again, with the "Starbucks finder" you theoretically shouldn't need to tell it where you currently were. Another time saver.

What I'd like to see is a standalone IDE for developing similar apps, but with the advantage which apparently was not a part of PQAs: being able to send/receive variable text information (and variable images, if applicable). Of course, I'd like this to be free, but I could justify paying $99 for it. The nice thing about the PQA concept was that Palm allowed developers to come up with these apps for free, but that also hurt them as they were hosting these apps on their servers and only receiving revenue from whatever profit margin they were adding to the Mobitex rate.

One thing that would be needed with my idea would be for you to host the server-side stuff on your own server, rather than relying on one single centralized server.

Scott

http://Tapland.com
- Tapwave Zodiac News, Reviews, & Discussion -

RE: painful
Patrick @ 8/10/2004 1:44:22 PM #
> How will I now find the nearest Starbucks in an unfamiliar city?

By tossing a stone in any direction?


RE: painful
lamp @ 8/10/2004 2:04:44 PM #
>> How will I now find the nearest Starbucks in an unfamiliar city?

You can always use the Tungsten C's web browser. Just walk into a Starbucks to get a T-Mobile connection. :-P



RE: painful
ackmondual @ 8/11/2004 1:07:37 AM #
With Starbucks all over the world, you don't find it. It Finds You.

[signature0]the secret to enjoying your job is to have a hobby that's even worse[/signature0]
[signature1]My PDAs: Visor --> Visor Neo (blue) --> Zire 71.... so ends the "marathon", for now[/signature1]

It is about time this sick horse was shot.

RhinoSteve @ 8/10/2004 12:23:43 AM #
I frankly feel that the killing of Palm.net is long overdue. With most service providers are allowing access to the entire Internet. Palm.net was legacy less than a year after it started. Frankly, I was surprised that the i705 even made it into production.

I bet it came down to Business 101. That is when you have a business losing money, do anything but stay the course. You either need to invest more money with new management or kill it and write it off. The intrinsic design of the server farm at Palm.net was so specialized and non-standard, moving the design to another service provider was almost impossible. Also, hard coding in the service provider information at the ROM level was a very, very bad move from the start.

The big winner of this one is the free market and the end user. Now PalmOne can concentrate on what they did best, good hardware and software -- not on line content. This reminds me of AppleLink and ePlanet getting killed at Apple. Both were first do to something but when the product concept matured, it was time to let the free market do it right.

I wonder how many PalmOne employees have been transfered to the Palm.net group in a "loser corral" and then everyone was laid of en mass with no specific blame. That is a classic corporate political maneuver.
RE: It is about time this sick horse was shot.
hkklife @ 8/10/2004 9:10:24 AM #
I agree. By the time the i705 was released, Palm.net seemed like an afterthought. Had the i705's specs been a little better (it was in development at Palm for eons, IIRC, and they'd put so much $ into it that they had to get something into the market to show for it) The best thing about the i705 were its nice slightly recessed buttons and non-peeling plastic finish (not too shiny, not too dull and not white!).

That said, I still maintain that there's definitely a market for a no-voice GSM/GPRS data-centric handheld. Take the T|C, shoeshorn the cellular portion of the T|W into it, lose everything voice-related and just have a dual wireless data device. Wi-Fi for roaming around your office or campus and GPRS when you're on the go. It might take a bit longer but even with a Wi-Fi AP around you'll be able to pull up the nearest Starbucks location with WebPro in full-screen mode.

I'd personally rather have Wi-Fi+GPRS over the "other" dual wireless of BT+Wi-Fi. Now that just leaves battery life as the main obstacle...

RE: It is about time this sick horse was shot.
JonathanChoo @ 8/10/2004 10:46:19 AM #
The T/W was a great idea. Just because it has voice function does not mean everyone will have to use it. I am planning to get a PDA phone when I update my yearly contract with o2. If I get the XDA III, I would still use my T630 as a voice phone while the XDA as a data centric PDA. It just so happens that it has voice.

That is what people are doing with their BlackBerry's. A data centric (but voice capable) PDA while keeping their old mobiles for voice.

--
PalmOne Tungsten T3/256Mb Panasonic SD; HP h4150/512Mb Sandisk Ultra-II, Sony Ericsson T630

RE: It is about time this sick horse was shot.
hkklife @ 8/10/2004 11:11:50 AM #
Right but sometimes just the mere presence of a feature can lead to more support headaches or user aggravation. I recently saw an older exec who was wielding a Blackberry and his old cellphone in a lobby. The Blackberry rang and it was hilarious to see the ensuing chaos when he tried to "answer" the blackberry call on his Nokia ;-) The poor guy must not have been told his BB could send & receive calls as well as e-mail and someone from the office tried to call him. I tried to advise him appropriately but by this time the "gadget overload" factor had already set in.

Ideally, like the camera & camera-less Treos & cellphone they currently offer, two next-gen T|Ws could be offered: one w/voice capabilities and one w/o voice for $50 less.

At the very least, the T|W's price should be cut down to next to nothing ($100) to clear out existing inventory. I'd still take a T|W over a BlackBerry if I had a choice.

Credit Card Processing - Bummer

rickdaustin @ 8/10/2004 9:04:47 AM #
I hate to see this service go since I've been using this for credit card processing for the last three years. My wife is an artist and after we were hit with a couple of stolen credit cards at one art show I looked into wireless processing. A company called Merchant Anywhere provides an attachment and software for Palm VII devices which allows a credit card to be swiped, signature taken and then approval using the Palm.net network. This only cost around $250 (I already had a Palm VII which I "donated" to my wife) which was a steal compared to the standalone credit card units which, three years ago, were $1200 and up.

This system has served us well and over three years we've only had one location that did not have Mobitex service. There are a number of solutions available that use a phone but they all seem to be expensive than this Palm VII solution and frankly not as easy to use. The Merchant Anywhere solution was inexpensive, elegant, self-contained and a breeze to use.

Anyone in the market for a used Palm VIIx???

RE: Credit Card Processing - Bummer
Scott R @ 8/10/2004 11:13:20 AM #
You're probably already aware of this, but that same company seems to have a device that can work with other PDAs (like the Treo 300) for $299 here:
http://www.merchantanywhere.com/PocketMerchant/default.htm

They also have a version with Bluetooth (for $449). Pretty cool stuff.

This one looks even cooler (it actually snaps onto the device itself):
http://flyservers.registerfly.com/members5/handheldpayments.com/

Scott

http://Tapland.com
- Tapwave Zodiac News, Reviews, & Discussion -

RE: Credit Card Processing - Bummer
rickdaustin @ 8/10/2004 1:39:11 PM #
I had not seen the second one you listed. Thanks for that info.

I would prefer to go with a bluetooth solution since I already have a bluetooth phone that I use with my Tungsten. That would save me the expense of purchasing a Treo. It looks like the Merchant Anywhere product does not support my Sony Ericcsson. They use AppForge for the application and the Sony Ericsson T616 is not listed as a supported device at the AppForge site.

I'll have to do something soon since the Palm.net service will be histroy in a few weeks.

Again thanks for the info.

Call me a traditionalist but...

eston @ 8/10/2004 2:37:17 PM #
...the Palm .net service is one of the things I remember from back in the day. Sure the business model sucked, but I really do feel like a part of the original handheld culture is dying with this. Sure, we all have Bluetooth phones (and Treo smartphones) now, but who can forget the guys in the Manhattan subways with their Palm VIIx'es?

I remember my Vx with a Minstrel and the OmniSky service too. :( Ah, those were the days.

..: eston
http://www.hyalineskies.com/

RE: Call me a traditionalist but...
ackmondual @ 8/11/2004 1:09:39 AM #
I was suprised to hear Palm.Net died. Frankly, I thought it already died. I believe the biggest turn off was the HIGH RATES. For example, the Palm VII only had 2MB of RAM, was relatively clunky, didn't have rechargeable batteries, and high service plans. Some of these were much more on par with the norm for the day, but still quite a stab at your wallet.

$9.99/mo for 50KB/month info
or
$24.99/mo for 150KB/month
+$0.30 per extra KB

30 emails, 20 stock quotes, 10 sport scores, 10 traffic reports and 10 weather reports per month. Dive all numbers by 30 to get daily usage and u'll see what I mean. THAT was the $9.99 plan. For the other one, x3 on all figures again.


[signature0]the secret to enjoying your job is to have a hobby that's even worse[/signature0]
[signature1]My PDAs: Visor --> Visor Neo (blue) --> Zire 71.... so ends the "marathon", for now[/signature1]

RE: Call me a traditionalist but...
Dolmangar @ 8/11/2004 9:22:45 AM #
I really liked the Omnisky servive. On many a job site you could see me with my Palm Vx and minstrel pushed against the window to get a signal to retreive my email or use the AIM client.

Unfortunitally the service never came down in price, even with the beta user discount it was high compared to data service on cell phones. And my Vx started to wear out. I picked up a VII with Palm.net and used it for one day and decided that it wasn't better then Omnisky, and that it wasn't a better device then my worn out Vx.

I went for a while with no service at all, now I carry a Blackberry from AT&TWS and my T|T. The BB is fantastic for getting/sending email, but I don't really like it as a PDA.



RE: Call me a traditionalist but...
Altema @ 8/11/2004 10:43:51 AM #
> $9.99/mo for 50KB/month info
> or
> $24.99/mo for 150KB/month
> +$0.30 per extra KB

Man, that is high for the amount of KB. Compare below for $7.99 per month from Cingular:
250 text messages
50 multi-media messages
1MB, +$0.01 per extra KB.

And I don't have to hold my device to a window to get a signal either!


Boo hoo

atrizzah @ 8/16/2004 7:55:06 PM #
All 3 Palm.net users shake their heads in disappointment

Peace Out
Alan
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