MobileInfocenter

Washington Post Asks Is the Palm OS Dying?

The Washington Post has published an interesting but bizarrely flip-flopping editorial from PC World Contributing Editor James A. Martin entitled "Is the Palm OS Dying? Should You Care?" The piece discusses the uncertain future facing both Palm Inc. and the Palm OS, now owned by Japan's Access Software. In short, Mr. Martin makes no bones about Palm's gradual, protracted decline due to its aging OS and increasingly unglamorous hardware specs, calling Palm Inc. a "third-tier smart phone vendor" but ultimately asserts the platform as still viable and offering a compelling combination of friendliness, flexibility, and value.

Some of the key reasons offered by Martin for sticking with the tried and tested Palm OS are its unparalleled ease-of-use and efficiency, as well as the questionable classification of Palm's hardware as "reliable and sturdy". He then goes onto curiously point out certain deficiencies and quirks of Apple's iPhone and iPod Touch as reasons to stick with the Palm OS. The sensitivity of Apple's finger-based touchscreen UI is called into question but, strangely enough, not the platform's more glaring flaws, such as the lack of a stylus, 3G wireless, full-featured PIM apps, removable expansion cards, and Apple's strict guidelines on 3rd party applications.

Additionally, the article touts Palm's "tons of useful software preinstalled" as being a positive aspect. But nearly every modern smartphone (and many feature phones/dumb phones) now has native support for all of the activities listed (voice memo, camera, text messaging, web browsing, calculator), reducing Palm's OOBE strengths to primarily Documents To Go and Palm's threaded SMS app, although the clunky WM interface, BlackBerry's lack of standard DTG and the iPhone's myriad missing features (voice memo, video capture etc) are all admirably highlighted.

Palm V PlatformThe mixed signals continue as the article progresses, as excuses are given for Palm's inexplicable lack of integrated GPS functionality in their products. The author strangely chides current GPS systems for giving "clueless" driving directions (my experiences in the past 2-3 years have been quite to the contrary), yet then touts the crude directions offered by Google Maps as a workable alternative when absolutely necessary. Then, despite knocking the Centro's minuscule keyboard several paragraphs earlier, the article takes a 180 degree turn and concludes with a strong recommendation of the Palm Centro at $99.

Mr. Martin claims to have been a "Palm loyalist" since he got a Palm V in 1997 and still uses a 755p. Interestingly, the Palm V was not released until February 1999, with the only Palm OS devices available in 1997 the original Pilot and the newer Palm Pilot line.

Also, while he cites Ed Colligan's promise to add wi-fi to its smartphones, Martin fails to distinguish between "Palm" being Palm Inc. products running Palm OS Garnet that will likely never support wi-fi or the Palm Inc. products running Windows Mobile that are expected to have integrated wi-fi, such as the rumored 800w and "Palm Drucker".

Article Comments

 (42 comments)

The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. PalmInfocenter is not responsible for them in any way.
Please Login or register here to add your comments.

Start a new Comment Down View Full Comment Thread

First paragraph fits in with comments on freeware articles

SeldomVisitor @ 5/2/2008 12:53:17 PM # Q
== "Recently, I was talking to an executive at a smart phone
== software developer. The company had recently released new
== versions of its software for RIM BlackBerrys, Windows Mobile
== Smartphones, and other devices-but not for Palm OS smart
== phones. I asked why.
==
== "It's a dying platform," she replied, matter-of-factly...

Reply to this comment

iPhone/iPod touch's 'glaring flaws, such as the lack of a stylus'

pmjoe @ 5/2/2008 2:36:58 PM # Q
ROTFLMAO!

Are you serious?!? Styli suck. What the iPod touch has taught me is that the only time I ever want to use a stylus is for a DRAWING application. I've been fiddling with a UMPC recently trying everything to avoid to dealing with the freaking stylus.

Aren't the rumors that the iPhone will go 3G in June? Yeah, those two months will save Palm till their next-gen OS release ... end of this year, beginning of next?

Evolve. Get out of the dark ages. The Palm OS is dead with that mentality. I do like card slots and more open application opportunities, but those things alone don't win customers.



RE: iPhone/iPod touch's 'glaring flaws, such as the lack of a stylus'
hkklife @ 5/2/2008 2:51:33 PM # Q
That's fine but there are still many users who equate touchscreen with a stylus.

And I would personally prefer having the option to toggle between an onscreen thumboard and some kind of stroke-based, Graffiti-esque input system by stylus.

Palm OS is too antiquated. iPhone/iPod Touch are too limited/constrained. WM is too clunky, slow, and unintuitive and BB lacks (for now) a touchscreen. There is no "idea" smartphone/mobile platform OS at the moment IMO.

Access, hear our cries--come from out of nowhere and save us with ALP! Please!!



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

RE: iPhone/iPod touch's 'glaring flaws, such as the lack of a stylus'
rcartwright @ 5/2/2008 3:10:09 PM # Q
One thing that i have always wondered about with the iphone is using it in cold weather. I have been able to dial my treo with a field expedient stylus in a wind chill of -15 below (thank God for headsets) I sure would not have wanted to take my gloves off to dial and from what I udnerstand about the iphone it will not work any other way.

"Many men stumble across the truth, but most manage to pick themselves up
and continue as if nothing had happened."
- Winston Churchill
RE: iPhone/iPod touch's 'glaring flaws, such as the lack of a sty
dagwud @ 5/2/2008 3:14:59 PM # Q
Styli don't suck. They're just not always necessary. And just because one person doesn't have a need for something doesn't make it a stupid feature.

I've tried navigating spreadsheets and database records on my Palm TX by finger, and a stylus makes the whole process easier. If that's not your concern, then good for you.

Presence or absence of a stylus, however, is a weak criticism. I like the iphone though I have no intention of buying one. The absence of a stylus isn't even on the list of cons. Similarly, not everyone uses a handheld to tote around spreadsheets.

-
PalmPilot Pro (1997) -> III (1998) -> Vx (1999) -> m500 (2001) -> m515 (2002) -> Tx (2007)

RE: iPhone/iPod touch's 'glaring flaws, such as the lack of a sty
yugadp @ 5/4/2008 2:03:12 PM # Q
Whether or not a stylus should be included with a device really varies a lot from person to person. Some people use styli for everything while some would rather just use their finger. I generally use my finger for most everything and only pull out the stylus when I need to enter data or manipulate small on-screen stuff. But I would hate not having the stylus option.

I'm DaCheez most other places...
Reply to this comment

A Few Years Ago...

DevPOV @ 5/2/2008 3:14:33 PM # Q
...There would have been 10 pages of replies and comments by this time.

RE: A Few Years Ago...
SeldomVisitor @ 5/2/2008 3:57:32 PM # Q
Dying is dying, huh?

RE: A Few Years Ago...
PacManFoo @ 5/2/2008 5:24:03 PM # Q
Who would have thought this would be the last man standing?

http://tinyurl.com/6rqb55

PDA's Past and Present:
Palm TX (Number 2)
Palm - IIIxe, Vx, M500, M505, Tungsten T, TX
Handspring - Edge, Platinum, Deluxe
Sony - SJ22, UX50
Casio-EM500
Apple - MP110, MP2000, MP2100

RE: A Few Years Ago...
twrock @ 5/2/2008 6:51:04 PM # Q
Wow, that's great battery life! ;-)


"twrock is infamous around these parts"
(from my profile over at Brighthand due to my negative 62 rep points rating)
RE: A Few Years Ago...
cstamper @ 5/3/2008 2:03:48 PM # Q
You make me sick. I had one of those things, not the same model but close.

Disgustingly useless.

http://tinyurl.com/39h3eg

Reply to this comment

Funeral Pyre

hawkspy @ 5/2/2008 5:37:24 PM # Q
I was a long term Palm OS user and developer. I last bought a Palm 680 - (Palm never released anything more current in the Australian market - apparently we didnt need it). Then I bought an apple iphone. 3 inch color screen, incredible GUI, Wifi, bluetooth and amazing itunes-based multimedia that Palm could only dream of. And with the release of the iphone 2 SDK the writing is on the wall. The ipod touch is like the Lifedrive - except more capable. The iphone hardware smashes the capability of the treo. Software lacks - but will come - in massive droves as developers seek to leverage the market that only apple can bring these days. What were you thinking Palm?
- No international releases of current Treo models (eg 755p) - but thanks for the crimson 680...
- No update to Palm OS for years
- Bizarre forays into linux and Cobalt and god-knows what else

I can't wait for apple apps to become prevalent - and they will - anyone who has not used the iphone yet is depriving themselves of what a smartphone can be - and more importantly - will be in years to come.

Is Palm OS dying? I believe that they just have no idea at all at Palm about how the landscape has changed overnight with the advent of the Mac OSX in portable format.

Where do We Go Nowwwwwww?!

- Sir Axl de Rose, 1986

RE: Funeral Pyre
SeldomVisitor @ 5/2/2008 6:39:11 PM # Q
> ...I believe that they just have no idea at all at Palm
> about how the landscape has changed overnight...

I think they do and I think they haven't had any intention of trying to port PalmOS to the new OS for about a half year or so at least.

RE: Funeral Pyre
sungod @ 5/3/2008 1:44:58 AM # Q
No international releases of current Treo models (eg 755p)

In Palms defense this would be a little difficult since Telstra was one of the few providers with a CDMA network outside of America and they never upgraded it to UTMS(the CDMA equivalent of 3G)the standard that is required to get the full benefit of the 750p and 755p.
And now Telstra's CDMA is dead anyway so you would only have gotten a year out of the unit and that is only because the Gov has forced Telstra to keep CDMA open.
If Telstra had there way it would have been shut down 6mths ago.

All your other points I agree with the lifedrive was half baked and doomed from the offset.
I still don't understand why the Centro has not been released downunder yet.

I think they do and I think they haven't had any intention of trying to port PalmOS to the new OS for about a half year or so at least.

I realy think this will be suicide.
The only thing Palm will have to distinguish it's self from all the Linux OSs now coming onto the market will be there back catalog of software.

Att Palm:
I am one of many T|X owners who would happily be Beta testers for Nova.
We could give you valuable feedback without ever having to go threw the networks for approval.
RE: Funeral Pyre
twrock @ 5/3/2008 4:22:58 AM # Q
anyone who has not used the iphone yet is depriving themselves of what a smartphone can be

Only time will tell if the iPhone will be really "smart". Of course if you only define "smart" as "that-which-Steve-tells-me-is-smart", then you are absolutely right. And in that case there has never been a phone as smart as the iPhone, and the iPhone is the only true "smart"phone to have ever been delivered.


"twrock is infamous around these parts"
(from my profile over at Brighthand due to my negative 62 rep points rating)
RE: Funeral Pyre
grg @ 5/3/2008 12:19:17 PM # Q
The fact that the "industry" believes that PalmOS is dying is positive one, I 've assumed everyone thought that PalmOS was already dead. Actually, make that Palm=dead instead of PalmOS.
BTW, iPhone has had neglible effect on Palm. They were already dying years before when, uninsightfully, they handed over the PDA business to Micro$oft (Palm used to be a monopoly back then).

RE: Funeral Pyre
twrock @ 5/3/2008 9:06:19 PM # Q
What I find most interesting is that there is somehow supposed to be something noteworthy about the Palm OS dying. Of course it is dying! This isn't news. Palm has been working on it's next gen OS for how long now? For how long have they told us they were building it and moving on? And somehow people are surprised to find out that the old Palm OS is dying? I think that is a little strange.

My only questions are whether or not Nova will be any good and whether or not it will include some kind of Garnet VM/emulation so that I can at least have the option of start off using a few of my old apps until something new comes along to replace them (although SV and some others think this is already settled). I hope they do, but in the end it might not help anyway because ALP and Maemo have got the Garnet VM already.

Yes, Palm Inc. (the whole company) is in deep doodoo. But I still can't figure out why the dying of Palm OS is somehow news. Wake me up when Nova is born, and we'll have something to talk about.


"twrock is infamous around these parts"
(from my profile over at Brighthand due to my negative 62 rep points rating)

RE: Funeral Pyre
SeldomVisitor @ 5/3/2008 9:10:03 PM # Q
> ...Wake me up when Nova is born, and we'll have something to talk about.

True.

RE: Funeral Pyre
twrock @ 5/3/2008 9:37:55 PM # Q
BTW, I don't want people to misunderstand. I'm not suggesting that posting this article on PIC was somehow not newsworthy. I thought is was newsworthy and quite interesting, particularly because Kris took the time to do some good critique of the WP's article. Martin is all over the place! I'm only talking about making some big deal about "Is the Palm OS Dying?"

Funny how even though it is dying, the Palm OS still delivers what it does, and in at least some areas still beats "really smart OS's" like the iPhone. It's been an amazing ride. We'll see if there is any more "journey" left to be had in Palm.


"twrock is infamous around these parts"
(from my profile over at Brighthand due to my negative 62 rep points rating)

RE: Funeral Pyre
twrock @ 5/6/2008 2:56:20 AM # Q
(I noticed Mike's post first. With that massive "TWROCK" in the title, it caught my eye. My reply is there.)


"twrock is infamous around these parts"
(from my profile over at Brighthand due to my negative 62 rep points rating)
Reply to this comment

nobody cares anymore

Gekko @ 5/2/2008 10:31:38 PM # Q

nobody cares anymore. what a shame.

RE: nobody cares anymore
joad @ 5/3/2008 5:23:04 PM # Q
When the user community tells Palm these things, Palm lashes out at us as though we're trying to manipulate their stock prices, pick on them, etc. ANYTHING but to hear what their customers need and want.

Wonder what words Palm will have for the Washington Post for saying essentially the same thing?

|
**Another vote for a >100MB RAM Treo**

Reply to this comment

Sad

M3wThr33 @ 5/2/2008 10:47:11 PM # Q
I just want a 320x480 screen and a slide-out keyboard. But no. We just keep getting square screens on an antiquated os.

I miss the Cliés.

I don't think you understand the gravity of the situation. We're in space.

Reply to this comment

I will buy the whole company in a minute

banker @ 5/4/2008 3:51:18 AM # Q
Dying? I felt the same. I am a PDA nut from the simple days of Packrat and the HP200LX (doubt if most of you even know where and when the PDA was born). Palm was then the only worthwhile platform with the most versatile utility (at least to me). Note: Smartphones are basically PDAs with communication capabilities.

Last year, I began to feel that Palm is just not going anywhere. So I tried Windows Mobile 6, played with Nokias, Sony Ericssons, Iphone....I was still unable to find the same utility in any other platform. All the bells and whistles but none came close to the same utility a person can derive from a Palm OS device.

Then I upgraded my 680 to a Centro last month and discovered SkinUI. With all the other capabilities I have on my Centro, the experience revealed to me what great potential there is with this platform.

My thoughts changed.I would buy the whole company in a minute. Why? I am not telling...wont be smart of me to say if I might actually make a bid.

I cant believe the amount of thoughtless people (close to being stupid?)out there who claim to be authority in these products and markets and talk authoratively to the ignorant masses.

And Palm...your management and marketing strategies for this platform and products are horrendous. Shareholders should have you all fired. You sit on a gold mine and you cant see it. (or maybe you did...so came the Centro)

Objective

RE: I will buy the whole company in a minute
bhartman34 @ 5/4/2008 7:32:30 AM # Q
And Palm...your management and marketing strategies for this platform and products are horrendous. Shareholders should have you all fired. You sit on a gold mine and you cant see it. (or maybe you did...so came the Centro)

I agree with this. The most upsetting thing to me about the Centro has been the way Palm has marketed it. "It's not for meetings. It's for meeting up." has to be the stupidest slogan for a smartphone I've heard in a long, long time. They're basically reinforcing the idea that the Centro isn't a serious smartphone, when what they could be doing is demonstrating all the ways the Centro is "smarter" than Apple's current iPhones (especially with the iPhone's draconian SDK restrictions).

I understand that they don't want to cannibalize their Treo sales by suggesting the Centro as a cheaper alternative. But they could be convincing young professionals who can't yet afford a 755p to go with a Centro, if they really tried. Instead, they're marketing the Centro for the teenage set...

RE: I will buy the whole company in a minute
vip_m @ 5/4/2008 12:01:41 PM # Q
What's killing Palm:

1. the idiocy to give in to Telcos and not provide WiFi
2. believing in market tests rather than hiring someone with good industrial design/user interface design skills-I'm sure there are thousands of people out there with a Steve Jobs/John Ives skillset, why not hire that person? As a user interface designer I could've designed a really good Palm smartphone that would've looked cool, worked great (easy to type on, easy to find functions-must be able to do so in 3 clicks or less), and supports all the old Palm programs while providing future functionality (tap into Internet/WiFi, motion sensing).

Steve Jobs doesn't rely on surveys and market tests, he hires the best people, the best artists and inspires them to come up with the best designs. Doing market surveys means you'll rely on consumers who aren't exactly trained to come up with good designs.

3. not concentrating on reliability (no need to keep rebooting; hanging OS) of OS. They should've come out with a Linux core and did Palm emulation years ago (so hangs will only hang apps, and not the whole OS so you don't need to reset).

4. using cheap hardware-if they'll provide a camera, provide a useable one (that can record video and sound, or have a flash) or don't provide one at all and just cut the price; some of the keyboards are so lousily designed (too close together, hard to type); and some Palms break so easily, one drop on a carpet and the phone's speaker stops working except when you turn on speaker phone

RE: I will buy the whole company in a minute
rpa @ 5/5/2008 8:28:59 AM # Q
banker: agree completely. I looked for months to find something to compel my to scrap my T|E and cheap Moto flip phone. Nokia makes great hardware (bought an E51) but the O/S is a nightmare compared to Palm (much like Win is to a Mac user). I gave the E51 to my wife and bought an unlocked GSM Centro and find it to be a great replacement.

rpa
Palm Pilot >> Palm Vx >> Tungsten E >> GSM Centro
RE: I will buy the whole company in a minute
ewl @ 5/5/2008 8:47:40 PM # Q
Agree with most of comments above.
It would be nice if palm forced some innovation on telco but palm is working from a point of extreme weakness. Every model they offer is crucial for their survival. Their delay of the 755 almost killed them.
The palm os is still workable. I use the blackberry 8830 verizon and can't say the interface is better. In fact, it's less usable. Hate the way I can't do memos with the touch screen. What I do like is the stability of the blackberry. My T X used to reboot esp using the trashware versamail to try to work with my work's outlook server. so I passed on the treo even though it has the software I use.
The Centro is doing well because the size and thinness is competitive and the cost is low. But the competition is moving. Getting on another carrier is good but palm has to keep keeping up or moving past the competition.
The Iphone is intriguing but I need solid 3rd party software (medical in my case) to be useful. The Iphone browser is the best around and palm has to kill blazer which is as bad as the blackberry browser. Email and texting can't be done efficiently on a virtual keyboard (at least I don't want to try). Texting on the average dumb phone is bad enough.
The average consumer doesn't care about the os other than it has to be stable, fast, and intuitive. Multitasking would be nice but limited capabilities would be sufficient for a while. The last 2 characteristics are still palm's strength. No one, let alone professional users, want to have a crashing smartphone. Hopefully Nova will come out in time before Palm's complete demise. I would be sad to see Palm disappear completely.

RE: I will buy the whole company in a minute
hkklife @ 5/7/2008 10:21:32 AM # Q
What would make a lovely send-off for FrankenGarnet/POS would be a device in this formfactor but running Garnet. Stuff it with as much goodness as Garnet can manage-128mb RAM, Centro NVFS optimizations, 2gb of onboard flash + microSDHC slot, 2mb camera, EVDO etc.

Plus give it a few niceties that are OS-agnostic (3.5mm stereo headphone jack, huge software bundle, high capacity battery etc). Then keep this FF around for one last whirl with Nova in both GSM & CDMA formats.

Palm could then theoretically cover all of the bases (WM CDMA, WM GSM, Garnet CDMA, Nova GSM, Nova CDMA) in a single FF without too much trouble. THEN they'll be out of excuses for sticking with 320x320 and will be FORCED to move to larger, higher res screens or get totally flattened by the competition.

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

Reply to this comment

Forget Palm! Go see Iron Man!

mikecane @ 5/4/2008 12:04:49 PM # Q
Palm: tired
Iron Man: wired!!!!

http://mikecane2008.wordpress.com/2008/05/03/how-good-is-the-movie-iron-man/
http://mikecane2008.wordpress.com/2008/05/04/its-iron-man-sunday-baby/

The difference between Ed Colligan and Tony Stark? If terrorists captured Colligan, they'd soon set him free - or even PAY us to take him back!

RE: Forget Palm! Go see Iron Man!
Ironhide @ 5/5/2008 7:36:22 AM # Q
Ha ha Mike.

But seriously. I saw that movie this weekend and was floored by the user interface of most of the systems Tony used. same with Minority Report.

Why can't someone hire the guys who design that stuff?

I am of the opinion that the quest for backwards compatibility is keeping us from the next generation.



PDAs:
Sorry, can't reveal the whole list cause my wife will kill me for not being able to settle on one for very long. Suffice it to say that the list is long, and goes back 10 years.

Current Iphone user.

Reply to this comment

TWROCK, You're getting an iPhone!!

mikecane @ 5/5/2008 3:39:10 PM # Q
Apple Includes Chinese Handwriting Recognition in iPhone 2.0 Beta
http://www.macrumors.com/2008/05/05/apple-includes-chinese-handwriting-recognition-in-iphone-2-0-beta/

Welcome to the Light!

Join the 21st Century!

Now go get a pair of those touch-friendly gloves for this coming winter.

RE: TWROCK, You're getting an iPhone!!
SeldomVisitor @ 5/5/2008 3:42:00 PM # Q
Tsk tsk tsk...must still be in the theater, huh?

So so s...l...o...w...

RE: TWROCK, You're getting an iPhone!!
twrock @ 5/6/2008 2:53:16 AM # Q
Heh? What's this? Can I really get my hopes up? It might be........

Seriously, that will be great! So if they really do deliver this, the iPhone will have caught up to my TX in at least one more critical function. And this is the critical function that means the iPhone just moved off of my "nope" list over to my "maybe" list.

But Mike, it's unlikely I'm getting an iPhone quite yet. That's mucho dinero for a device that admittedly does give me convergence (important, but not the most critical issue), but otherwise doesn't exceed my current PDA's functionality any other significant way. ("Significant" to me, that is; I know plenty of other people can't imagine going on living without the iPhone.) But if/when my TX dies, you bet I'll be looking long and hard at the iPhone. Hopefully by then, I won't be stuck with only one good option.


"twrock is infamous around these parts"
(from my profile over at Brighthand due to my negative 62 rep points rating)

RE: TWROCK, You're getting an iPhone!!
SeldomVisitor @ 5/6/2008 7:22:21 AM # Q
In quite a few more countries, the iPhone is a Vodafone exclusive:

- http://www.vodafone.com/start/media_relations/news/group_press_releases/2007/vodafone_to_offer0.html

RE: TWROCK, You're getting an iPhone!!
SeldomVisitor @ 5/6/2008 8:21:54 AM # Q
Apologies - I went with what a Me-Too Media article had said about the Vodafone deals rather than getting a broader set of datapoints about them; apparently the Vodafone deals are not necessarily exclusives.

RE: TWROCK, You're getting an iPhone!!
mikecane @ 5/6/2008 11:38:49 AM # Q
twrock, wait until all the apps start to flow in June.

It'll go from your "Maybe" list to your "Hasta La Vista, Palm Bay-bee" list!

And you'll have 3G too.

So what's not to like?

RE: TWROCK, You're getting an iPhone!!
twrock @ 5/6/2008 8:50:55 PM # Q
>>So what's not to like?

The cost, lack of expandability, and "pseudo-openness". Mostly the cost though. I have to reconcile putting out that much cash just to get convergence and while losing some other functionality I already have. So at least for me, it's not a "given" that the iPhone is the right solution.

OT: Did you see that new HTC "iPhone killer"? They didn't include a standard headphone jack because it would have made it "too bulky". Whatever!
http://www.reghardware.co.uk/2008/05/06/htc_diamond/


"twrock is infamous around these parts"
(from my profile over at Brighthand due to my negative 62 rep points rating)

RE: TWROCK, You're getting an iPhone!!
mikecane @ 5/7/2008 8:11:04 AM # Q
Bah! Your objections are trifles. Once you hold it, do some Chinese HWR, you'll spit on your Palm.

HTC released something? Does anyone care?

Reply to this comment
Start a New Comment Thread Top View Full Comment Thread

Account

Register Register | Login Log in
user:
pass: