Unidentified Device Bears a Strange Palm Resemblance

Roteo Palm Nova PrototypeA somewhat unique and unidentified mobile computing device making the rounds in the blogosphere today bears a possible subtle resemblance to Palm device, which of course is leading to a lot of speculation. Some are even speculating it could be a possible Nova powered prototype. The device in question was first spotted in a Korean article about the failings of UMPC devices. It has since made the rounds by way of a post on engadget. The original photo appears to have been taken around early June, possibly during the Computex Taipei conference.

What is linking the device to Palm is the curiously similar thumboard. If you look closely the unidentified device thumboard, it matches up key for key with the thumboard on a Palm Centro or Treo (see the pic after the break). Even the arrangement of all of the various function keys, such as the @, #, brightness, find and other shortcuts are exactly the same.

Roteo Palm Nova Prototype?

At this point we can only speculate whether this is in fact a possible Palm prototype or just a copycat knockoff. However the absolute similarities between keyboards is unmistakeable. Another odd similarity to add to the mix, is the resemblance to PIC poster LiveFaith's recent Roteo mockup.

Thanks to Legodude522 and LiveFaith for the tips.

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Gekko @ 12/8/2008 10:46:06 AM # Q

boy those thumboards/keys/logos look very similar. but damn that phone is ugly! it looks like some reject from 2002.

question - who builds the centro for Palm? HTC? other? is that thumboard/keys unique to centro/treo?

RE: interesting
SeldomVisitor @ 12/8/2008 10:50:51 AM # Q
RE: interesting
mikecane @ 12/8/2008 11:37:42 AM # Q
1) Similarity of keyboard design means nothing

2) OTOH, Colligan is tasteless and clueless, so:

3) It looks like the kind of royally-screwed-up design he'd try to *cough* palm off as "breakthrough innovation."

It is already FAIL, even without software.

What would they call it? The Twisto?!

RE: interesting
palmit @ 12/8/2008 12:04:17 PM # Q
"Similarity of keyboard design means nothing"

Its pretty much a match of the Centro\treo keyboard inuse now.

RE: interesting
vetdoctor @ 12/8/2008 12:05:35 PM # Q
Must be a palm device. Just look at all the real estate wasted around the screen. You could plant a flower garden and a swimming pool there.

That being said, I'll take two. It has a bigger screen that I desperately need and a keyboard (I outgrew Graffiti years ago) . My business friends can laugh at me and the kids can go get their own toys, I'll take a machine that works.

RE: interesting
LiveFaith @ 12/8/2008 5:37:16 PM # Q
Nice screen finally. Ugly as mud in that form, but do you remember the original Centro pix? Looks fat and tons of wasted opportunity around the screen. ie, it must be a Palm!

Makes little sense to have a LS only keyboard when the Roteo design allows Palms excellent one handed instant use, portrait use, ls use, in a little longer device. Hopefully this is one that Rubenstein killed when coming in. This shows that Palm still doesn't get it from a design perspective. Hopefully better is in the Nova pipeline.

Pat Horne

RE: interesting
Gekko @ 12/8/2008 5:44:26 PM # Q

1. does anyone have a link/pic to the original centro leak pic? i don't recall it being even close to this ugly.

2. does anyone really want to deal with moving parts in 2009? i hated that f***ing slider on the T1, T3....i really don't want to rotate the twister every time i want to type something.

RE: interesting
Gekko @ 12/8/2008 6:56:33 PM # Q

found it. i have to do everything myself around here.


RE: interesting
LiveFaith @ 12/9/2008 9:42:19 PM # Q
>>> i hated that funny slider on the T1, T3....i really don't want to rotate the twister every time i want to type something.

Wait till the Roteo comes. Keyboard and instant use on board.

Pat Horne

Reply to this comment

Oh No!

ZireGuy31 @ 12/8/2008 11:59:59 AM # Q
Oh no, I sure hope that is not what Palm plans on "saving" themselves with! Those thumboards do look very similar, and that scares me! Cause if that is one of Palm's new devices for Nova, Palm is definitely going out of business. That thing looks like some kids electronic toy from 1999, what teenager is going to want that? Or what Business Professional is going to want that? I just don't understand Palm anymore, that looks like a step back to me, now something more like the iPhone, or Blackberry Storm would be a step forward. I just hope that similarity means nothing, and that's not a Palm!

Reminiscent of the early 'Oslo' days...
hkklife @ 12/8/2008 12:44:27 PM # Q
Remember the HUGE hype & chatter back in spring/summer '02? We were all waiting with bated breath at Palm's "revolutionary" new OS5 handheld, one that promised to offer BMW-esque styling and quality?

Instead we just got an underwhelming, overpriced, undersized RAM, non-MP3-playin' PDA with a wobbly or stiff (depending on which batch you got) slider that only served to hide the Graffiti area.

First off, I am calling "hoax" on this Roteo. If it's not a hoax, it's possibly some discarded prototype design from 2 years ago that got canned when Rubinstein came onboard. There were supposedly lots of those, remember?

But this thing looks like the bastard offspring of a classic white Zire, a white HTC Touch, a Tapwave Zodiac and a Sony Mylo. Ugh! This does not scream "Apple-esque" or even "Rubinstein-esque" the way the Pro does. My $ is on this device being a disacarded one-off prototype or at best a very, very early concept of a future Nova device (that might omit the keyboard entirely and be non-rotating).

Now, that said, I do like several aspects of this device.
First & foremost, the large screen device is supperb. Palm FINALLY decides to break out of the SSS box! Yay!
Secondly, I like the "squishy smile" keyboard. I said that the Treo Pro's greatest shortcoming is its keyboard that bears too much in common with the Centro's kb instead of the (IMO gold-standard) Treo 700 series design.

Look how atrocious the original Treo Pro & Centro spy shots looked. While the Centro isn't a beauty by any means, dressing it up in rubberized black paint at least has helped somewhat and the Pro ended up as a pretty spiffy little device. Redoing this thing in black with some matte silver accent trim would help immensely.

Ultimately, it's gonna boil down more to the OS, its included PIM apps and the 3rd party app base than the hardware. I mean, Apple & Palm's current Centro & 800w aside, anyone nowadays can spec a decently sleek handset in CDMA & GSM flavors with at least a 320x480 touchscreen, microSD slot, 3.5mm stereo jack and a removable 1500+ mAh battery. The BB Storm is pretty nice hardware that's ruined by its FrankenGarnet-esque patchwork implementation of touchscreen functionality. The various high-end WinMob handsets (Touch HD, Xperia X1, Omnia etc) out there have all kinds of window dressing in a feeble attempt to mask WM's archaic GUI & tedious input methods.

That I still don't think Nova exists and I still don't think it'll ever appear on a shipping device.

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: Oh No!
palmit @ 12/8/2008 8:03:37 PM # Q
I agree that it could be a discarded prototype design that was killed by Jon R. The timing of this story is interesting. Its creating some buzz regarding a possible new Palm device after Palm has been taking a beating. Let's hope we get some info regarding the new OS and other possible hardware designs based on it.

RE: Oh No!
ZireGuy31 @ 12/8/2008 8:48:51 PM # Q
"Let's hope we get some info regarding the new OS and other possible hardware designs based on it."

I couldn't agree more!

Reply to this comment

I dig it

abosco @ 12/8/2008 12:30:46 PM # Q
I think it looks pretty cool. I think white is a bad color choice for it. It looks more like a plastic toy. In high-gloss black, it would look a lot more professional and sleek. However, if there's one thing we can count on, it's Palm churning out additional colors.

For their first shot at entirely new hardware, it's not bad. It reminds me of the Sidekick. I was afraid they were just going to put Nova on a Treo Pro and call it innovation. At least they built something new here.

With that said, I still don't think this will do anything for them as a company. Unless there is really some spectacular software, this is not a breakthrough, and they're still toast.

m105 -> NX70v -> NX80v -> iPhone -> iPhone 3G

Reply to this comment

video camera in front

swieder @ 12/8/2008 12:45:32 PM # Q
It looks like the video camera is in the front. This would allow video conference calls where you can send you picture while you watch a similar image being sent to you.

Reply to this comment

Unless that guy has small hands, I have one word for this thing..

jeffhoward001 @ 12/8/2008 1:16:29 PM # Q


I dunno guys... Seems too "thick", but who knows these days...

Tungsten T -> Palm TX -> TX & Centro (Good combo so far!)

Reply to this comment

Great for shooting videos & pix of your face!

kfife @ 12/8/2008 1:31:04 PM # Q
Wouldn't you want the screen to be on the OTHER side of the camera so you have some sort of viewfinder when shooting pix & vidoes?

...Unless of course you're using it for mobile video conferencing.

IF this is a palm device I hope Palm's not planning to differentiate themselves with a 'mobile video conferencing' killer app. To some degree, like the flying car, videoconferencing is the solution in search of a problem.


Reply to this comment

Palm Quixoteo

analogue wings @ 12/8/2008 2:30:32 PM # Q
This is the new Palm Quixoteo.

The screen is not manually rotated, rather it is fitted with an electronic actuator. When the screen saver is active, the screen slowly rotates through 360 degrees.

Meanwhile the display shows a short video of a field filled with giant versions of the device being attacked by a crazed, white-bearded Ed Colligan.

IIIc -> M105 -> Zire 21 -> Tungsten T2 -> Treo 650

Reply to this comment
SeldomVisitor @ 12/8/2008 3:00:13 PM # Q
Yeah, someone somwhere (I forget!) said he was from Korea and this form factor is very popular for video watching.

LG makes sense.

Note - the original image is dated June 2008 and coincided with a Taiwan trade show.

Bunch of silliness or an inside look into the sinking Palm ship?
hkklife @ 12/8/2008 9:01:56 PM # Q

"The Development Staff seems to be taking direction from an Asian Company off Shore. The Asian Reigns seem to be driving the direction for Palm.

The Asian direction is what is keeping everything in turmoil."

As I've said here countless times before, would't it behoove HTC (or to a lesser degree, LG or Samsung or even a lesser-known firm like Pantech) to snatch up Palm for pennnies on the dollar right about when the company hits dollar stock status and/or gets delisted and teetering on the brink of chapt 11?

The carrier agreements Palm currently has in place + the "Palm" , "Centro" and "Treo" IP would be the main attraction and whatever else (perpetual Garnet license, still a bit of shelf space at retail etc) would be icing on the cake.

But I disagree with the claim from the link above that this is a Korea-centric handset. I still think it's an older design from '07 or '06 that was rejected by Rubinstein. Maybe it got far enough along in the approval process early on that a handful of prototypes are still making the rounds in the wild.

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

Poopie @ 12/11/2008 8:22:03 AM # Q

The Asian direction is what is keeping everything in turmoil.

I wonder if we can expect that Asian direction to extend into apps delivered with Nova, too.

I can't wait for nova to deliver the following apps:
- Mobile dating simulator
- 5000 emoticons for use in text messages
- Themes and wallpaper involving schoolgirl/animal chimeras
- Comic book viewer application
- Virtual dog/cat/hamster

SeldomVisitor @ 12/11/2008 8:32:51 AM # Q
Hello Kitty RULZ!

Reply to this comment

Yep, Ugly

DarthRepublican @ 12/8/2008 3:05:43 PM # Q
It's true that the original Centro spy shots looked pretty ugly but the actual Centro turned out to be rather cute but it's hard to imagine this phone turning out anything but ugly. And what's with that trackpad and mouse buttons on the bottom when the slider is moved out of the way?

Having said all that, I seem to recall that the original Treos, the 180 and 270 didn't exactly win any beauty contests either. They just happened to be functionally and intuitively light years ahead of anything else. I carried my 270 for years and only upgraded to the 600 because the hinge broke. So even if this device is ugly, I could see myself carrying it if the OS is up to snuff. I'm getting used to my T-Mobile G1 and while it is a pretty poor PDA, as a mobile application platform, it's sensational. The software scene for Android has the same exciting feel that the Palm software scene once had. Android's default browser is excellent and it's already facing competition from some excellent alternatives. When was the last time that there was a real competitor to Blazer on the Palm platform? Opera is kludgy and unstable and Universe seems to have disappeared from sight.

Ultimately, no one device will save Palm. They have to bring out Nova; it has to be the greatest mobile OS ever and it has to be backwards compatible with Garnet. Anything less will doom Palm to a permanent also ran status in the smartphone game.

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

RE: Yep, Ugly
kfife @ 12/8/2008 4:18:23 PM # Q
I think you hit the nail on the head. Android and IPhone both have unix/linux guts but they're hidden away. If palm leaves the *nix guts available for us to develop on, I can see the Palm OS once again becoming the platform of choice for power users. I'd love to run OpenVPN, SSH, MySQL, on my plam. Developers would love to use those tools to build powerful stable applications at the inevitable Palm Nova App Store.

RE: Yep, Ugly
danceman @ 12/10/2008 4:17:53 AM # Q
The touchpad could be cool, this way you may be able to put any linux distro because their all mouse based. A mimi mimi netbook, maybe its the mini folio

Reply to this comment

Uhh, did we go back a step?

hgoldner @ 12/8/2008 3:54:59 PM # Q
I'm not commenting upon whether this is an early prototype or not, but note that Garnet devices, i.e. the Tungstens, and especially the T|3 and T|X possess the facility to rotate orientation.

So why, pray tell, would PHYSICAL rotation suddenly become an advantage?


RE: Uhh, did we go back a step?
kfife @ 12/8/2008 4:24:34 PM # Q
The keyboard (duh)
The keybaord is not rotated, but the screen is. Try putting a physical keyboard on your T|X and then rotating it. Am I misunderstanding your question?

RE: Uhh, did we go back a step?
hgoldner @ 12/9/2008 2:46:57 PM # Q
Yeah, I thought about that, but the main complaint against the Android phone is that the keyboard only works in one orientation. It doesn't strike you that there's an easy way to rotate orientation and keyboard than this?


Reply to this comment

No way to justify such a contraption

Gekko @ 12/8/2008 11:28:38 PM # Q

no way.

RE: No way to justify such a contraption
freakout @ 12/10/2008 1:24:02 PM # Q
Agreed. I hate it.
Reply to this comment

Does no one f*cking investigate the source?!?!

robitaille88 @ 12/9/2008 2:54:55 AM # Q
Take a look at the actual source of the photos, when translated into english: http://translate.google.com/translate?u=http://media.blogtimes.org/86&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&sl=ko&tl=en

Basically it's a failed UMPC prototype.

In regards to the rumored codename of "Roteo", it appears that it was said by a forum poster on TreoCentral in regards to: http://discussion.treocentral.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=17423&d=1216235312

While that does share some similarities, there are numerous differences too.

As much as I wish Palm were this innovative, I think we're seeing things based on some coincidences.

RE: Does no one f*cking investigate the source?!?!
Gekko @ 12/9/2008 11:34:37 AM # Q

yes, that's our very own livefaith.

RE: Does no one f*cking investigate the source?!?!
SeldomVisitor @ 12/9/2008 12:18:04 PM # Q
RE: Does no one f*cking investigate the source?!?!
SeldomVisitor @ 12/9/2008 12:19:29 PM # Q
Or, n case youse guys don't scroll up and read the whole comment thread:

- http://www.palminfocenter.com/comments/9648/#144727

RE: Does no one f*cking investigate the source?!?!
Ryan @ 12/9/2008 12:20:30 PM # Q
The article source of this picture is in Korean and doesn't specifically mention the pictured device.
RE: Does no one f*cking investigate the source?!?!
SeldomVisitor @ 12/9/2008 1:29:51 PM # Q
The original picture itself has the information about when and how the picture was taken:

- http://www.engadget.com/2008/12/07/mysterious-t-swivel-handset-appears-on-korean-site-keeps-us-gue/comments/15987241/

RE: Does no one f*cking investigate the source?!?!
mikecane @ 12/9/2008 3:08:20 PM # Q
So, is this like a triple FAIL?

God, you're all so desperate and gullible.

RE: Does no one f*cking investigate the source?!?!
LiveFaith @ 12/9/2008 9:46:06 PM # Q
Just keep on doubting. The Roteo cometh in Foleo like proportions!

Pat Horne
RE: Does no one f*cking investigate the source?!?!
Ryan @ 12/9/2008 10:05:16 PM # Q
I don't think that solves anything. As far as I know now... no one has been able to identify who made this or what its purpose was at the show. That said, I'd continue to speculate it is simply a copycat design move or some kind of palm commissioned prototype.
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