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How Palm Could Change Everything Editorial

As mentioned yesterday, the Motley Fool concluded 2008 with several Palm-related articles. The first of the two covered here is entitled "How Palm Could Change Everything". The article is considerably more optimistic than its following partner piece and rather surprising in that it focuses not entirely on Palm's anticipated Nova OS January 8th announcement at CES in Las Vegas, but rather on Palm carving out an exclusive new niche in the market by revisiting the company's roots.

Long-time Palm OS fans still cling to fond memories of the efficient, speedy Graffiti stylus-based character input system that debuted on the original Pilot handheld and helped that device rocket to the top of the market but died a quiet death amidst heated litigation with Xerox (the implications of which are not addressed anywhere within the Fool article), changes in Palm OS product development, and of course, Treo QWERTY mania.

Written by Fool contributor Tim Beyers, this editorial suggests that Palm abandon the hard button QWERTY keyboards popularized by their Teo line and return with a modern take on the classic Graffiti stylus-based input system.

Original Graffiti on a Tungsten T2Beyers suggests a revamped version of Graffit, simply "3.0" debut alongside the new Nova OS as a "new Graffiti for a new era". Beyers goes on to say that such a stroke of genius (pun intended) could unite Palm's product line while adding support for multiple new formfactors. Such rationale would make a larger wireless tablet-sized device a logical extension of the product line and would assist Palm in breaking out of the tired square screen + QWERTY thumboard mold popularized by 2003's Treo 600 but depressingly revisited time after time in subsequent years. In fact, Palm has not released a device without a conventional QWERTY keyboard since their final two Palm OS-based handhelds, the Z22 and Palm TX, which were released with Graffiti 2 in October 2005.

At this point in piece, Beyers begins to lose track somewhat of his main focus, in advocating a return to the Foleo netbook-esque formfactor on the heels of the revamped Graffiti system. A touchscreen netbook would be limited by the limited accessibility of the screen, unless Palm were to make a tilting and swiveling screen, like HP's larger Windows Vista-based TX2500Z notebook tablets or, perhaps, Gigabyte's swiveling Atom-based touchscreen netbooks seen here but tragically currently unavailable in the USA. Indeed, a fairly low-cost, lightweight tablet-style device sized somewhere in between Nokia's N-series Internet Tablets and the Apple Newton would be a unique device from Palm, especially if it could combine Palm's superb PIM applications with strong media and online functionality.

Such a device would also give Palm an opportunity to bring in revenue from devices not dependent on carrier support and certification, perhaps even dipping a toe into the WiMax waters, as many users have suggested over the years. Unfortunately, much like how the Palm Foleo's thunder was stolen in 2007 by a slew of low-cost EEE PC netbookss from Asus, recent rumors have emerged to suggest that Apple is preparing a larger iPod Touch tablet device to be announced at MacWorld and launched sometime later this year.

Of course, it's easy to see the original Graffiti system with rose-tinted glasses, especially since a model natively utilizing the classic Graffiti unistroke system has not been released in over 6 years (the original Tungsten T). Both the classic Graffiti, alongside its Graffiti 2 replacement system derived from CIC's Jot, were love-it-or-hate-it affairs with a fairly steep learning curve. This aspect is unfortunately not touched upon by Beyers in the article, as Palm's earlier products devoid of keyboards were likely responsible for alienating nearly as many users as they garnered fans. Of course, a modern Linux-based, robust OS mated to larger LCDs and much more powerful hardware could make it possible for Palm to toggle seamlessly between stylus-based strokes or finger-based taps and onscreen keyboard input.

Beyers' advocacy of a new Treo utilizing Graffiti, assuming the conventional Treo formfactor is maintained, would likely be seen as a nice nod to nostalgia by a few longtime Palm OS users with little actual benefit in everyday usage. Such a device would see minimal gains from a modern take on Graffiti due to the small square touchscreen dimensions and the thin styli used on most recent Palm devices (regardless of OS). A distinct reference by Beyers to future Palm smartphones running Nova would have been appreciated here, as the specific "Treo" term is apparently going to be synonymous with "Windows Mobile" in Palm's future product roadmap, with the 755p seemingly the final Palm OS-based device officially carrying the Treo moniker. Of course, in what is truly an ironic twist to many former Palm OS users migrating to the Windows Mobile platform, let's not forget that Windows Mobile 2003, 5.0, and 6.x devices (including Palm's very own WM-based Treos) still are capable of utilizing a nearly-forgotten method of onscreen character input via stylus known as "Block Recognizer" method that is essentially identical to classic Palm Graffiti.

Fans of this piece would also be well-served to check out a slightly older and less technical Motley Fool article from December 18th entitled "Palm About to go Nova". Also written by Beyers, this piece was published on the heels of the "new" Palm mobile store announcement last month and immediately prior to Palm's most recent quarterly earnings announcement.

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Ying and Yang articles

CFreymarc @ 1/2/2009 4:58:59 PM # Q
I have seen competing view articles like this before when the editor staff couldn't decide which way to go. It is nice to see the positive article come second ending on a high note.

I do agree that nobody has done a definitive notebook sized device yet. They are either shrunken laptops or oversize hand held devices. What to do with the keyboard if any? What "common device" should it follow?

It is one of those things no one has the answer for 'til someone does it right and then it is obvious to everyone. I'm still not holding my breath and will no be at CES next week.

RE: Ying and Yang articles
scstraus2 @ 1/3/2009 3:06:40 AM # Q
Yeah, I think the format to win the "alternative form factor" wars will be an e-ink e-reader based device with a battery life in page turns which also has a touch screen and classical palm type functionality (but that the touchscreen can be disabled while using the reader to save batteries). There's still no web and documents iPod. the iPod's screen is still too small, and laptops' keyboards limits their portability.

Palm Pilot 5000->Palm Pilot Professional->Handspring Visor->Handspring Visor Prism->Handspring Visor Neo->Handspring Treo 180->Handspring Treo 270->Palm Treo 600->Tapwave Zodiac 2->Palm Treo 650->Palm Treo 680->...

Samsung i780!

Goodbye Palm

Reply to this comment

I really hope so

scstraus2 @ 1/3/2009 2:27:51 AM # Q
For as much has palm has pissed me off in the last 5 years, I would be really happy with something of android level quality which had outlook sync, palm apps, and a front facing keyboard.

Palm, I hope you finally manage to pull your thumb out.

Palm Pilot 5000->Palm Pilot Professional->Handspring Visor->Handspring Visor Prism->Handspring Visor Neo->Handspring Treo 180->Handspring Treo 270->Palm Treo 600->Tapwave Zodiac 2->Palm Treo 650->Palm Treo 680->...

Samsung i780!

Goodbye Palm

RE: I really hope so
DevPOV @ 1/3/2009 9:08:32 AM # Q
I really DO hope they do something great. It would be neat to hear Palm buzz again. I just worry it's too late. A shame, but just too late for them.

Reply to this comment

Nice to see mention of grafitti one

joad @ 1/3/2009 10:08:31 AM # Q
As much as I've gotten used to the Treo keyboard, if Palm removed it in favor of a large screen I'd have to vote for grafitti one over a crappy software keyboard like the itouch has. My Treo typing has finally caught up with my grafitti (one) speed, but after two months it takes 15 times longer to accurately type out a post on an itouch.

But knowing Palm and how good they are at destroying what works well, I expect CES will bring us the Palm version of an iPhone or its retarded stepchild. (PLEASE prove me wrong, Palm).

Reply to this comment

I just saw the presentation of Palm's CES announcement. :-(

Carl Yankowski @ 1/3/2009 11:40:15 AM # Q
While the Palm world waits with bated breath, NorCal is yawning. I guess living in Silicon Valley has its advantages. ;-)

I gave up on Palminfocenter last year after the site started going downhill, but decided to come back again for a look a couple of days ago. My mistake. I won't bother making any more posts here and no doubt this one will get deleted, but I thought those of you who have been holding out hope for Palm would be interested in hearing in advance of the CES whether or not your hopes were in vain.

I just viewed the trial presentation of Palm's CES demo. Unfortunately, Palm has failed to deliver, as you all expected they would. The last 6 months has seen Palm in pure panic mode, with key members of the platform team routinely pulling 16 hour days. Everyone is unbelievably stressed, as they knew this was the company's last hope of survival. Unfortunately, everything that happened with the Foleo project has now happened again. In fact, many of the exact same people from the wasted Foleo initiative have been leading the work on the new platform. Ironically, had it not been for the 2 1/2 year distraction and drain on Palm's precious resources, Palm might just have had the time needed to pull this one off. Unfortunately, you can't do 18 months of work in a six month time span. Not unless you're Google, Apple or Microsoft. Palm simply didn't have enough horses to pull the load. At least this time around (despite the gloomy atmosphere triggered by the layoffs) people really came together as a team. The exact opposite of the nightmare happened with PalmSource and Cobalt (shoutouts to my buddies JZ and the Lemke-Man! Slanted Door rules, Jonno!) I still think it would have made more sense to assemble everyone in-state (bunker-style) rather than trying to develop via collaboration, but no doubt the Monday morning quarterbacks will have more to say about this later on.

I wish Google had just bought Palm and PalmSource two years ago and brought out the gPhone everyone had hoped for. Instead, we saw two parrallel, redundant pathways. So much time and money wasted. The sale of Palm will be the best thing to happen to the company since the IPO glory days.

One important thing to remember that I hope won't get lost in the shuffle: the Palm Centro is an AMAZING bargain (free with contract these days!) and anyone willing to spend an hour or two and $100 or so on third-party software can easily create what is - in my opinion - the slickest little smartphone on the market. (Marc's Chatteremail, Rick Whitt's tryda, USBModem, TCPMP, Comet, FontSmoother, NVBackup, FileZ, Kinoma, DiddleBug and Butler are all KILLER apps that belong on EVERY Centro from Day 1.) Centro as iPhone-killer. David vs. Goliath. What a concept.

The grass is really (Olive) greener on the Palm side.

Sarah, B, Flash, You-Know-Who and MF



RE: I just saw the presentation of Palm's CES announcement. :-(
bhartman34 @ 1/3/2009 12:43:25 PM # Q
I don't get it....

You start off saying you just saw the presentation of Palm's CES announcement, and then you fail to say anything about what that announcement actually is, other than that Palm has "failed to deliver". How about sharing with the class? :)



RE: I just saw the presentation of Palm's CES announcement. :-(
twrock @ 1/3/2009 1:05:26 PM # Q
BS, it's that simple. Anybody can post anything to this forum.
Just wait until you see the announcement for yourself and reach your own conclusion.


"twrock is infamous around these parts"
(from my profile over at Brighthand due to my negative 62 rep points rating)
RE: I just saw the presentation of Palm's CES announcement. :-(
mikecane @ 1/3/2009 1:37:48 PM # Q
Hm. Sounded like a former insider to me.

Ah, that's so disappointing.

And WTF about Colligan's "revolutionary" and "breakthrough" stuff?!

RE: I just saw the presentation of Palm's CES announcement. :-(
SeldomVisitor @ 1/3/2009 1:58:37 PM # Q
There are some items in the post making it more believable, but "former" didn't come across to me...

RE: I just saw the presentation of Palm's CES announcement. :-(
rcartwright @ 1/3/2009 2:58:01 PM # Q
This is total BS. I suspect VoR has emerged from under some rock somewhere.

"Many men stumble across the truth, but most manage to pick themselves up
and continue as if nothing had happened."
- Winston Churchill
RE: I just saw the presentation of Palm's CES announcement. :-(
Nycran @ 1/3/2009 3:49:59 PM # Q
I somehow doubt that the real Carl Yankowski would be posting on this forum, using his real name. Yup, this is probably VoR or similar claiming to know everything and actually knowing nothing.



RE: I just saw the presentation of Palm's CES announcement. :-(
SeldomVisitor @ 1/3/2009 4:00:23 PM # Q
Good grief. The ID means nothing.

Unless you think some folks have strange parents and name their kid "seldomvisitor"...

RE: I just saw the presentation of Palm's CES announcement. :-(
LiveFaith @ 1/3/2009 4:10:33 PM # Q
** no doubt this one will get deleted **

About as accurate as the rest. CY was worthless for Palm and doing no better on PIC it seems.

Pat Horne

RE: I just saw the presentation of Palm's CES announcement. :-(
mikecane @ 1/3/2009 5:34:09 PM # Q
Of course, it could always be one of those pigs at the Yahho Board looking to further depress the stock so he can gobble up more shares in anticipation of a pop.

Looks at Certain People here on PIC.

RE: I just saw the presentation of Palm's CES announcement. :-(
mikecane @ 1/3/2009 5:34:44 PM # Q
*Yahoo Board - as in the Message Board always bewailing and salivating over Palm's fortunes and stock price.

RE: I just saw the presentation of Palm's CES announcement. :-(
kfife @ 1/3/2009 8:46:57 PM # Q
Simple BS. Anyone smart enough to be on the 'A-List' for a sneak peek of the presentation would have been SMART ENOUGH to remember the big NDA they had signed. (Sorry Carl, don't mean to use big words: that's Non Disclosure Agreement for you)

A shout out to skinny-g. My buddy J-dog, and the rest of my homies with tired fingers at the Palm NOVA team. Wheel show em [sic]. Raise a glass! Cha-chink!


RE: I just saw the presentation of Palm's CES announcement. :-(
SeldomVisitor @ 1/4/2009 4:43:22 AM # Q
> Of course, it could always be one of those pigs at the Yahho Board
> looking to further depress the stock ...

Nah, very few posters of the Yahoo Palm message board appear to have programming knowledge and NONE of those who appear to have programming knowledge are (overtly) Palm/Palmsource employees/ex-employees. The post above theoretically shows real knowledge of Palmsource employees, minimally (as the post immediately before THIS one theoretically shows real knowledge of Palm employees!).

If this IS an attempt to lower Palm's stock price from its already-way-low level, then it would probably be by someone who doesn't post on the Yahoo Palm message board at all.

Here's a post from there that discusses hedge fund activities and how a former hedge fund manager "used to do it":

http://tinyurl.com/infamouscramervideo


RE: I just saw the presentation of Palm's CES announcement. :-(
mikecane @ 1/4/2009 4:24:11 PM # Q
Either way, we'll know in just a few days now.

Still keeping fingers crossed. Eejit me.

RE: I just saw the presentation of Palm's CES announcement. :-(
SeldomVisitor @ 1/4/2009 5:35:05 PM # Q
As noted elsewhere: http://tinyurl.com/palmslider

Giggle.

RE: I just saw the presentation of Palm's CES announcement. :-(
SeldomVisitor @ 1/4/2009 5:36:14 PM # Q
Addendum: http://www.flickr.com/photos/44432840@N00/3142231559/

RE: I just saw the presentation of Palm's CES announcement. :-(
SeldomVisitor @ 1/4/2009 5:37:57 PM # Q
Let's try that link with tinyurl instead: http://tinyurl.com/palmslider2

[and this is exactly the location a MOD icon would come in handy!]

RE: I just saw the presentation of Palm's CES announcement. :-(
hkklife @ 1/4/2009 7:03:27 PM # Q
I call fake, fake and more fakery on that one. That "stacked" hard button arrangement is reminiscent of the Zire 72 from 2004 and I also don't see Palm going back to the "smile" keyboard after the relative popularity of the straight QWERTY on the Centro & Treo Pro.

Again, my $ is on the Treo Pro hardware (maybe with a few very small differentiating factors) as the debut (and only!) Nova hardware, available exclusively with Sprint for at least 3-6 months and running $299 w/ contract.

Pilot 1000->Pilot 5000->PalmPilot Pro->IIIe->Vx->m505->T|T->T|T2->T|C->T|T3->T|T5->Zodiac 2->TX->Verizon Treo 700P->Verizon Treo 755p

RE: I just saw the presentation of Palm's CES announcement. :-(
DarthRepublican @ 1/4/2009 11:43:29 PM # Q
"Fake" is an unnecessarily harsh term since it implies malice on the part of the creator of the image. It's a mock-up created by somebody from Treocentral which he also posted on his own personal blog:

http://palmdoc.net/?p=2084

Note the similarity between the name of the blog and the Flickr user name. It's not like there are no people around here who like to create mock-ups of devices they'd like to see.

The only reason why Palm appears to have dropped the smile keyboard in favor of the straight one is that the straight design occupies less vertical space, allowing for a more compact keyboard. While individuals might prefer one design over the other, there is little reason for Palm to favor either. I would guess that Palm would go with the Centro/Treo Pro design mainly because it is popular and recent but there is nothing else stopping Palm from reverting to a smile keyboard. The smile might even be preferable for a wider device since Palm would be under less pressure to make such a device more compact. And from a marketing standpoint it would make sense for Palm to differentiate its new models from last year's models. (I suppose a frown keyboard would send the wrong message to customers.)

Oh, and the stacked hard button arrangement? My Treo 680 has it too and it is from 2006. For that matter, you might want to take a closer look at you Treo 755p. The Treo 750 and 755p are both from 2007 and they have that button arrangement too. (Incidentally, the 750 appears to be the basis for the mock-up in the above Flickr link.)

Personally, I'm hoping for another unlocked GSM model. And while we're at it, how about a $99 credit card sized Nova PDA? Yes, I know that the PDA market has matured blah, blah, blah. But Palm could still stick 8GB of RAM and full versions of PocketTunes and CorePlayer (or Kinoma) into it, and position it as an MP3/video player with PDA functions.



Screw convergence
Palm III->Visor Deluxe->Visor Platinum->Visor Prism->Tungsten E->Palm LifeDrive->Palm TX
Visor Pro+VisorPhone->Treo 180g->Treo 270->Treo 600->Treo 680->T-Mobile G1
http://mind-grapes.blogspot.com/

RE: I just saw the presentation of Palm's CES announcement. :-(
SeldomVisitor @ 1/5/2009 3:42:27 AM # Q
> ...The only reason why Palm appears to have dropped the smile
> keyboard in favor of the straight one is that the straight design
> occupies less vertical space, allowing for a more compact keyboard...

For some reason that has faded into ancient eons, I have a faint memory that the "smile" keyboard has royalties to pay behind it while the "flat" one does not.

RE: I just saw the presentation of Palm's CES announcement. :-(
CTSLICK @ 1/5/2009 1:42:00 PM # Q
hkklife sez; "...Again, my $ is on the Treo Pro hardware (maybe with a few very small differentiating factors) as the debut (and only!) Nova hardware, available exclusively with Sprint for at least 3-6 months and running $299 w/ contract.
"

dingdingdingding...winner winner chicken dinner. Expecting anything more is just being mean to yourself

RE: I just saw the presentation of Palm's CES announcement. :-(
mikecane @ 1/5/2009 2:20:02 PM # Q
Reply to this comment

Graffiti 2 Learning Curve Not That Steep

DarthRepublican @ 1/3/2009 1:28:48 PM # Q
Graffiti 2 strokes resemble "normal" English handwriting more closely than the Graffiti 1 unistrokes which were optimized for speed of input. As a result it's a lot easier to pick up a Palm TX and learn its Graffiti input than it was with older models like the Palm III for example.

I'd hate to see the Treo keyboard go away for smartphones but for a more PDA-like device like a web tablet or a camera with a touchscreen for annotations would make a good candidate for a hypothetical Graffiti 3. Palm probably missed its window with the Foleo. If they had released it a year or even six months earlier and had better specs, it would have been a fairly popular device before netbooks took over the tiny laptop market.

I'm starting to wonder if there is even room for alternative form factors anymore. I already carry a Smartphone and a PDA which are basically the same form factor. I have big laptop at home and carry netbook which is basically a tiny laptop when I need to. That would seem to cover all of the form factor bases for me.

Screw convergence
Palm III->Visor Deluxe->Visor Platinum->Visor Prism->Tungsten E->Palm LifeDrive->Palm TX
Visor Pro+VisorPhone->Treo 180g->Treo 270->Treo 600->Treo 680->T-Mobile G1
http://mind-grapes.blogspot.com/

RE: Graffiti 2 Learning Curve Not That Steep
mikecane @ 1/3/2009 1:38:58 PM # Q
G2 is Satan's Tool.

G Classic forever!

RE: Graffiti 2 Learning Curve Not That Steep
LiveFaith @ 1/3/2009 4:12:50 PM # Q
G was less "bloated" and had less character issue confusion. Never got to see NVFS Palms run it, so some of it's crispness was platform.

Pat Horne
RE: Graffiti 2 Learning Curve Not That Steep
DarthRepublican @ 1/3/2009 4:36:14 PM # Q
I've owned three G2 PDAs: a Palm TE, a LifeDrive, and a TX and four G1 PDAs: a Palm III, and three Visors (Deluxe, Platinum, and Pro). The LifeDrive and TX were both NVFS devices and only the LifeDrive ever suffered from any kind of character confusion. I think it was just the sluggishness and bugs from early NVFS implementations which affected the input. I never have problems with character input on my TX and I appreciate having dedicated cut, copy, and paste strokes. That IMHO, is good trade off versus the faster but harder to remember G1 strokes.

Screw convergence
Palm III->Visor Deluxe->Visor Platinum->Visor Prism->Tungsten E->Palm LifeDrive->Palm TX
Visor Pro+VisorPhone->Treo 180g->Treo 270->Treo 600->Treo 680->T-Mobile G1
http://mind-grapes.blogspot.com/
RE: Graffiti 2 Learning Curve Not That Steep
mikecane @ 1/3/2009 5:33:11 PM # Q
>>>only the LifeDrive ever suffered from any kind of character confusion

You are sooo right. I have 50-60% up to 80% recognition errors with G1 shoved into it. Frustrating as all hell.

RE: Graffiti 2 Learning Curve Not That Steep
hkklife @ 1/3/2009 5:47:57 PM # Q
Does anyone here remember the sterling experience that was Graffiti 1 on the original Tungsten T? Not the T3, not the T2, but the original battleship grey OS5 debut T|T of Oct '02.

It was Palm's final Graffiti 1-enabled product and the only time G1 was used on an OS5/100mhz+ ARM CPU device. It was fantastic. That combination of OS, digitizer, CPU & boing-boing telescoping stylus made for incredibly so fast & efficient Graffiti input. To date it was probably the most productive time I ever had on a "modern" Palm device, though the m505 with its incredible backlit Graffiti input area comes a close 2nd. A shame the rest of the device was a total letdown (audio quality/volume, battery life, overly stiff slider, weak screen, little software support).

G1 was kinda painful to learn back in the early days (Giraffe was a helpful & fun tool to use!) but once I mastered it, I was brutally efficient!

The LifeDrive was atrocious in every way other than its physical build quality. It lagged horribly for Graffiti input. I remember my T5 also being terrible until the 1.1 ROM update finally brought it reasonably up to par peformance-wise. Both of my current TX's aren't so hot, probably due to the mushy screen & plastic digitizer and the relatively slow CPU.

Pilot 1000->Pilot 5000->PalmPilot Pro->IIIe->Vx->m505->T|T->T|T2->T|C->T|T3->T|T5->Zodiac 2->TX->Verizon Treo 700P->Verizon Treo 755p

RE: Graffiti 2 Learning Curve Not That Steep
mikecane @ 1/3/2009 6:30:14 PM # Q
Man, my old CLIE and PIII were *joys* to use to enter G. With the LifeDrive, sometimes I don't even bother. And when I do, it's with dread - because of the *inevitable* frustration.

RE: Graffiti 2 Learning Curve Not That Steep
hkklife @ 1/3/2009 6:37:02 PM # Q
I also remember using one of the later OS4 Clies with the 66mhz Dragonball CPU. I remember being surprised at how good & fast its Graffiti accuracy was, even with a crummy little toothpick stylus! Amazing what a little horsepower bump can do!



Pilot 1000->Pilot 5000->PalmPilot Pro->IIIe->Vx->m505->T|T->T|T2->T|C->T|T3->T|T5->Zodiac 2->TX->Verizon Treo 700P->Verizon Treo 755p

RE: Graffiti 2 Learning Curve Not That Steep
BaalthazaaR @ 1/3/2009 7:00:42 PM # Q
>> I've owned three G2 PDAs: a Palm TE, a LifeDrive, and a TX

Thanks for reminding me that my TX didn't originally come with G1. I gave up on G2 within a week a loooong time ago.

RE: Graffiti 2 Learning Curve Not That Steep
kfife @ 1/3/2009 8:38:31 PM # Q
G2 was a train wreck by itself, but COULD have been great. The shame of it was that it was all about licensing, not about productivity or someone's quest to design a good product. YES, YES G1 was many times faster, better, more accurate etc. YES, YES G2 was easier to learn, and gave the devices broader appeal. HOWEVER there was no ambiguity between them-that is you could have made ONE interpeter that was easy to learn, and had discreet faster strokes for anyone caring to learn them. There were many unpublished variants on letters that were OUTSTANDING alterntives to the 'real' ones. I PERSONALLY HACKED my Tungsten T grafitti rom all the way forward to my T|X before I went TREO. In other words I've had G1 on ALL of my palms. However I pitty the people who palm unceremoniously give the finger to when they didn't give them (or sell them) the G1 rom. Inexcusable.

RE: Graffiti 2 Learning Curve Not That Steep
LiveFaith @ 1/3/2009 9:51:22 PM # Q
OT Nostagia I know. But I wonder what the design progression was ike on the LifeDrive?

#1 Did Palm have a multi-step "Mobile Manager" plan of which the LD was the baby and the upgraded "beasts" would follow. This MM bit would be "Palm's" 3rd lightening strike after Pilot & Treo?

#2 Was the LD architecture designed by a group of engineers, who had passed the point of no return when their dreams of a functional PDA w/ OS running solely from partitioned HDD to NVFS RAM, were dashed. At some point they had to realize that they had a functional disaster on their hands. Right?

#3 Were the bean counters so utterly in control that extra real memory in the device architecture was not allowed for costs sake?

#4 Did Palm really think it was an acceptable product?

#5 I wonder if anyone ever found one of those Pa1mOne LifeDrive video conversion boxes that we saw pics of but never arrived to market. I'm sure by then Palm knew the dog had fleas, so they changed course once again.

... fodder for another interesting book.

Pat Horne

RE: Graffiti 2 Learning Curve Not That Steep
DarthRepublican @ 1/4/2009 3:34:46 AM # Q
OT Nostagia I know. But I wonder what the design progression was like on the LifeDrive?

Well, it's purely speculative but what else is there to do around here while Palm gets around to actually shipping something new?

#1 Did Palm have a multi-step "Mobile Manager" plan of which the LD was the baby and the upgraded "beasts" would follow. This MM bit would be "Palm's" 3rd lightening strike after Pilot & Treo?

I'm guessing that the plan was LifeDrive -> Foleo -> full fledged Palm mini-laptops. Hawkins' long-term plan was probably to do an end run around the PC with a new, legacy-free architecture that was controlled by Palm. The current popularity of netbooks suggest that he was on to something.

#2 Was the LD architecture designed by a group of engineers, who had passed the point of no return when their dreams of a functional PDA w/ OS running solely from partitioned HDD to NVFS RAM, were dashed. At some point they had to realize that they had a functional disaster on their hands. Right?

Eh. Early iPods were barely more than a hard drive with a head phone jack so it's not altogether implausible that a simple device with a simple OS could run off a hard drive. Of course PalmOS hasn't been particularly simple since at least version 4.

#3 Were the bean counters so utterly in control that extra real memory in the device architecture was not allowed for costs sake?

This sounds like a more plausible. In fact, I'd wager money that this is exactly what happened. The Foleo was probably crippled for the same reason.

#4 Did Palm really think it was an acceptable product?

As someone who used a LifeDrive for two years, I'd say that it was an acceptable product if you used it in a certain way. I used mine for music, video, to carry pictures, and to browse mobile websites while also carrying a Treo 600 which was my real PDA. Now if Palm had also included a gig of RAM to serve as memory for the OS and as a cache for the hard drive, the LifeDrive would have been a great PDA and a great media player which Palm could have refreshed with a bigger hard drive every year in much the same way that Apple does with the iPod.

The Foleo could have been similarly great if Palm had upped the specs and created it as a hub for mobile devices instead of as a smartphone accessory. If the Foleo had been able to sync with and stream music and video from iPods as well as smartphones out of the box and had a stand alone e-mail client added to its document handling web browsing abilities would have made it a compelling alternative to a traditional laptop at a time when netbooks still didn't exist as a product category.

#5 I wonder if anyone ever found one of those Pa1mOne LifeDrive video conversion boxes that we saw pics of but never arrived to market. I'm sure by then Palm knew the dog had fleas, so they changed course once again.

I ripped and converted a bunch of my old DVDs using DVD Decryptor and AGKnot and they looked great in TCPMP on my LifeDrive. This was perfectly doable on the LD's much maligned hardware and software. Palm just didn't know what they wanted to do with the LifeDrive. They wanted it to be all things to all people and didn't have a focused idea of what the market for this device was supposed to be.

They probably would have been better off if they had offered specialized editions of the LifeDrive with different software bundles (or the bundles seperately) depending on the market they were targeting that built on the core features of the plain vanilla LifeDrive. Imagine if you will: a media edition with better music and video players (full versions of PocketTunes and Kinoma), a photographer's edition with a multi-megapixel camera, and photo-editing software, a student edition with note-taking software, a graphing calculator, and 1001 Ramen Noodle Recipes, a doctor's edition with medical databases, and finally a business edition with accounting software and coupons for free upgrades for the half-dozen new versions of Documents to Go that Dataviz releases every year.


Screw convergence
Palm III->Visor Deluxe->Visor Platinum->Visor Prism->Tungsten E->Palm LifeDrive->Palm TX
Visor Pro+VisorPhone->Treo 180g->Treo 270->Treo 600->Treo 680->T-Mobile G1
http://mind-grapes.blogspot.com/

RE: Graffiti 2 Learning Curve Not That Steep
LiveFaith @ 1/4/2009 11:22:04 AM # Q
Wow. Good thawts. I feel like I should tip for that? Then again. :-D

Pat Horne
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