MobileInfocenter

mOcean 3 Review

By: Tim Carroll
December 28, 2006

mOcean ReviewIf you can't beat 'em, join 'em. That appears to be the philosophy behind mOcean, a Treo audio player whose interface bears a striking resemblence to a certain Pod I can't quite recall the name of. I believe it's made by a fruit company. This month MotionApps released version 3.0 of mOcean, with several new features including: Internet radio streaming, Live Podcast support, audiobooks, video and photo viewing, visualisers and skins.

Don't Say The "i" Word

If you haven't already been able to tell from the screenshots, mOcean is an iPod clone. And I mean "clone": it's identical right down to the touch-wheel. In a spirited entry for Understatement Of The Year, the mOcean manual notes that it is "similar to many commercial mp3 players on the market." Let's hope they don't get sued by Creative.

You've never used an iPod or seen one in action? Let's go through it then, briefly. Upon launching mOcean, you're presented with a menu. At the top of the heap is Music, followed by Internet Radio, Podcasts, Audiobooks, Photos, Videos, Random Play, Sync, Tips, Settings, Downloading, My mOcean and Now Playing. You "burrow down" through these menus to get to what it is you're looking for, which is represented by an attractive sliding animation.

To navigate the menus, you can use either the 5-way navigator or the on-screen scroll wheel. In a very nice touch, you can also type a few letters and jump to the corresponding menu item, a feature I've been clamoring for in pTunes. But in an irritating oversight, you can't touch-tap menu items nor drag the scrollbar on the side of the page unless you have the interface set to "Classic" mode. To make a selection, tap the centre button on the wheel, or hit Right on the 5-way. To go back through the menus, you press the onscreen back button or Left on the 5-way. The scroll wheel works just like the famous iPod wheel: move your finger/thumb clockwise to scroll down, or counter-clockwise to go back up. It's here we run into mOcean's first major problem...

Spin the Wheel of Fortune, and hope you get lucky

The touchscreen on the Treo is just not as sensitive as the wheel on the iPod. I simply couldn't achieve satisfactory results with the on-screen wheel on any of the three sensitivity settings. There are a few different reasons for that. Firstly, the iPod wheel is located at the bottom of the device, where your thumb naturally rests. It's easy to navigate one-handed, whereas the mOcean wheel is by necessity stuck in the middle and thus is a lot more awkward to spin. Secondly, the mOcean wheel is much smaller than the iPod wheel, which doesn't help matters. Finally, there's a lag between your touch and the on-screen response that makes it difficult to judge when to stop spinning.

It's a far cry from the iPod's instant, smooth reaction. Frequently you'll scroll two or three items past what you meant to select, and the small wheel size makes those small backward steps very difficult. If you're like me, you'll quickly find yourself growing to hate the wheel and just turning it off.

mOcean ReviewIf it comes to that, then you have a few different "Interface Modes" to choose from. My personal preference, Classic mode removes the wheel from the screen completely and leaves you the 5-way navigator and on-screen scrollbar to get around with. This is also the only mode in which you can directly manipulate the scrollbars. Unfortunately, it removes the onscreen playback controls. Wheel mode enlarges the wheel to fill the screen, which solves the aformentioned size problem, but can make it difficult to read the text. The same goes for Vertical mode, which replaces the wheel in favour of a fat vertical scroller on the right-hand side of the screen that presents a new problem: constantly stroking the screen from top to bottom gets tiring for your thumb and still suffers from a laggy response. Finally, you have the default Mini modes, allowing you to place the wheel at the center, left or right side of the screen. Kudos to MotionApps for remembering that left-handers like myself are not just creatures of myth and legend.

On-screen playback controls are accessible on all Interface Modes except classic. Volume is adjusted via the Treo's side buttons or pressing up/down on the 5-way on the Now Playing screen.

Sound--s awes--ome. Shame about the sk--ipping

So, now that the interface is out of the way, we can get down to the meat and bones: how well does it play your music?

mOcean ReviewWell, the good news is that mOcean sounds fantastic. Right out of the gate, I could hear the difference between this app and pTunes: instruments are more clearly defined and easier to tell apart. Bass especially sounds cleaner and doesn't bottom out or blend into the background. Even on a budget headset like the Palm Hybrid Headset, it's a noticeable difference and a big tick in its favour.

Even better are the equaliser options: there's 22 different presets built in, meaning less tinkering with fiddly sliders to get that perfect sound. If you do choose to set it yourself, however, you'll find that you can happily crank the various frequencies to the max without any clipping or distortion at all. pTunes take note!

Navigating your song collection is sublimely easy; as mentioned earlier, all you need to do is type a few letters and the correct song will leap out at you. It's almost good enough to negate the pain inflicted by the insensitive scroll wheel.

The bad news? Playback skips and stutters constantly, although not consistently. It'll skip when you navigate some menus; it'll skip in the background when you're switching apps. The problem is most prevalent when the screen is off; here it will skip every 30-60 seconds on almost every song you throw at it. Some particular songs will bring it to its knees: for instance, I have a high-bitrate copy (224kbps) of U2's "Everlasting Love". The opening guitar chords are so choppy as to be unlistenable and it doesn't get much better after that. I tested it on the Treo 680 and 650 with different SD cards and had a similar experience with both. Obviously, this a major flaw and one that needs to be corrected quickly.

Another problem presents itself with the playlist management. As with the iPod, you can flag songs, which adds them to an "On-The-Go" placeholder playlist. Once you've picked your songs, you then have to wade back to the music menu, open the Playlist menu, and save the On-The-Go playlist as a new playlist. Oh, you've changed your mind and want to delete a particular song from the list? Too bad: the delete button is all-or-nothing. You can clear the list, but not individual songs. What's more, the Save and Delete options are listed at the bottom of the On-The-Go list, so if you've flagged a lot of songs then you'll have to rev up that spin finger. This is another area where cloning the iPod Way is not the best choice.

In addition, when browsing by Album, songs are listed alphabetically rather than by track number. The only way you'll be able to view songs in track order is by flagging the album to the On-The-Go list, then sorting it by track number.

One final niggle: there's no way to control playback from another application. If you want to adjust the volume or skip tracks, then you'll have to press the side button to jump back into mOcean. And if you don't want to give up your side button, you're stuck. I recommend McPhling to ease the pain.

Internet Radio (or, Wireless Wireless)

As with the recently released pTunes 4, mOcean comes with a number of Internet radio stations preset and ready to go. I couldn't find any information on what streaming formats it supports, but the various Windows Media streams I tried wouldn't load up. I believe that like pTunes, it is limited to the Shoutcast network, but without the sweetener of pTunes' AAC stream support.

mOcean ReviewAudio quality is quite good, but again the skipping issue comes to the fore and gets very irritating. I also occasionally had to rebuffer, which didn't happen on pTunes in any of my tests, although it wasn't frequent enough to be a real issue. As always, I'd like to see much broader streaming support present in these applications. Shoutcast is decent but there are many other good stations out there using different technologies.

mOcean also contains links to recommended podcasts and audio books, in addition to the ones you've added youself. It's a nice implementation: files will download in the background and you can set it to auto-update as often as you like. Treo 700p owners with 3G connections should find this especially handy.

Photos & Videos

mOcean can display any pictures or videos that are supported by the Treo's built in Pics & Videos (or Media on the 650) app. It's basically just a different way of navigating them; there are no special options or abilities afforded by viewing these files through mOcean rather than Pics & Videos and the latter has a superior interface for this purpose. However, you may appreciate being able to manage all your media from one program.

iTunes Sync. Sort of

When you download mOcean, it comes with an installer program that will allow you to sync mOcean with iTunes. Well, kinda. Rather than appearing inside the iTunes program like an iPod would, mOcean just pops up a dialogue box asking which iTunes playlists you'd like to synchronize. There's no handy Autofill options or the like. Also, it refused to work for me, claiming there wasn't enough space left on my memory card, although it sure looked like there was a few hundred meg left to me...

Much better news is that it can also present itself to your PC as a USB drive, thus saving you from having to shell out extra money for a third-party program like Mobile Stream's Card Reader or Softick's Card Export. The fastest results, as always, will be gotten by using an SD card reader to copy files directly.

Pimp Your Ocean

mOcean has a good range of options. You have to option to download new skins and visualisations directly to your Treo via the My mOcean menu, although at present the selection is a bit limited. Unlike pTunes, new skins don't completely re-create the interface: the scroll wheel and playback buttons are ever-present. It just changes the font, colours and background to something a bit more pleasing to the eye. I also couldn't find the Visual Effects menu that the manual said would allow me to access my visualisations. It just wasn't there. Anyone got a solution?

Besides the eye candy, there's also a number of different playback options, allowing you to configure your experience to your heart's content. One issue: the Treo appeared to ignore my auto-off preferences, no matter what I set them to.

The Gavel Comes Down

So, all in all, how close does mOcean come to replicating the smooth iPod experience on your Treo? The answer: very close. Too close, as a matter of fact.

mOcean ReviewOn paper, cloning the iPod sounds like a pretty good idea: the iPod didn't become the world's most popular digital audio player by accident. The sleek, simple and intuitive design had a fair bit to do with it too. However, by sticking so closely to the iPod style, mOcean has handicapped itself with the iPod's user input limitations: the laggy touch wheel and clunky playlist management are but two examples. And I found the skipping issue unforgiveable, particularly when pTunes runs on both my Treos with nary a squeak. Even worse, the free trial doesn't allow you to actually play anything, so there's no way to test out how it fares on your device without ponying up the bucks.

It's definitely not all bad news: mOcean sounds absolutely fantastic and the equaliser works exactly as advertised. It's easy to navigate your music library and the "find-as-you-type" feature means that even the most vast of collections will present no difficulties. The auto-downloading of podcasts is a definite plus. And despite the interface's iPod-induced handicaps, you'll be swimming through mOcean like a pro in no time. If you're looking for better audio quality than that offered by pTunes, or just love the iPod interface style then this is a must-have. And aren't those sliding menus pretty!

Bottom line? Pocket Tunes can rest easy. The crown isn't going anywhere. For now.

mOcean 3 is available from the PIC software store and costs $29.99. There is a free trial available that will allow you to test out the interface, but does not allow audio playback.

(This app was reviewed on the Treo 680 and Treo 650.)

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mOcean performance

dancohen21 @ 12/28/2006 4:35:38 PM # Q
Hi - I recently purchased mOcean and have been very pleased with it. I have 2 GB of music and I had very few problems with the music skipping - I used it for 6 hours in one sitting recently. My files are mp3s encoded at 192 or higher - I think it may have paused twice, and it was because I received text messages. My 2 cents.
RE: mOcean performance
freakout @ 12/28/2006 10:23:05 PM # Q
^^ I wouldn't have been so harsh about the skipping, if they offered a trial that allowed you to play back your music. But since you can't actually test it out for yourself, I figured I should make it clear that there are potential issues.

I tried it on both my Treo 680 and 650, with my Transcend 4GB card and the 1GB Palm card that came with the mobile music bundle. When the screen was off, it skipped on both devices and both cards. The problem seemed slightly worse on the 680 than the 650.

I really wish I knew why this was happening, because pTunes and other apps run fine.

Tim
I apologise for any and all emoticons that appear in my posts. You may shoot them on sight.
Treo 270 ---> Treo 650 ---> Crimson Treo 680

mOcean review update (version 3.0.18)
freakout @ 8/7/2007 8:39:16 AM # Q
While I await a new SDHC card reader - hoping it will solve the problems I'm having with my new 8GB card and write protection issues - I revisited mOcean in order to use its built-in SD exporter.

I'm pleased to report that the trial version now allows you to play back your music, so you can now test out its audio quality before you pony up the money.

Unfortunately, the skipping issue is still present on the 680, and is absolutely hideous in conjunction with Softick Audio Gateway 1.12. Hopefully MotionApps are working on it.

No other major changes I could see.

Tim
I apologise for any and all emoticons that appear in my posts. You may shoot them on sight.
Treo 270 ---> Treo 650 ---> Crimson Treo 680

mOcean review update update
freakout @ 8/7/2007 9:09:41 AM # Q
Bah. Forgot: you can now touch-tap menu items in all interface modes.
Reply to this comment

Support for more devices please!

fdis2005 @ 12/28/2006 7:17:24 PM # Q
"Has this feature-packed little app got what it takes to knock Pocket Tunes off the top of the Palm audio player heap?"

Probably not. mOcean only supports Treo devices (Treo 650, Treo 680, Treo 700p) while pTunes supports alot more.

Right now I am using pTunes but I am missing a way to change the playlist without using the stylus (e.g. using only the navigation pad). mOcean seems to be the answer but unfortunately it doesn't support TX or TE. Why are only Treos supported?

RE: Support for more devices please!
hkklife @ 12/28/2006 8:53:45 PM # Q
This is sickening.

It's probably for the same "reasons" that the TX/LD/E2/T5/T3 etc. are not supported officially (and if it does run on the above, it's not optimized for them) by TomTom Navigator 6---Palm is "leaning" on the developers to slowly phase out support for non-Treo devices so *EVERYONE* is forced to either buy a Treo or just abandon the platform. There is NO technical reason for ANY piece of software to run on a Treo and not on a Palm handheld. Aside from the larger DBCache/heap on the recent Treos, the TX and equivalent devices walk all over the Treos--especially the 650.

I've never seen prophecy so self-fulfilling (at least in in tech circles) as Palm's intentional smothering of a PDA market. Yes, the PDA market in 2007 isn't what it was in 2000, but being on the downturn is still far from being totally moribund.

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

Playback mode needs to be more intuitive...
LV_Gee @ 12/28/2006 8:55:51 PM # Q
I use palm tx, mOcean works but i have some very nagging issues with how the software works while on in playback mode (meaning, while you are looking at the song currently playing). I sent the motionapps support team this email so please chime in and lets all be heard. Great software definately but needs to be more intuitive.

Navigation in mOcean is fine BUT On music playback view where you see the song, artist, album, it would be nice to also include the genre, and while on this view why dont you make the center button more functional by adding more to the menu i.e
Pressing the center button on d-pad opens a menu with following selections:
- Volume (adjust volume when this is selected) >
- Ratings (view ratings when this is selected) >
- Add to playlist > (add currently playing song to on-the-go playlist)
- Play All >
> This Album
> This Artist
> This Genre

Scenario; suppose you are flipping through songs and come across an old favorite and suddenly you get the urge to listen to all of the artist's songs or the genre or the album, you could do so by selecting 'Play All' > 'This Album' or 'This Artist' or 'This Genre'. while still on music playing view how about making the d-pad work just like the ipod : left and right buttons: flip through 'Next', 'Previous' tracks, Up button: Back (go back to menu scroll mode like ipod), down button:Play/Pause.

* Wouldn't it be great to be able to flip through tracks without ever touching the screen (using any palm with a d-pad button, not just the treos)


RE: Support for more devices please!
freakout @ 12/28/2006 10:27:35 PM # Q
Right now I am using pTunes but I am missing a way to change the playlist without using the stylus (e.g. using only the navigation pad). mOcean seems to be the answer but unfortunately it doesn't support TX or TE. Why are only Treos supported?

pTunes 4 now has an on-screen Library button. Hit that big ol' sucker with your thumb and you can get to your playlists from that screen. (you can't edit them though; you'll still need to bust out the stylus to open the playlist manager on a sans-keyboard device)

Tim
I apologise for any and all emoticons that appear in my posts. You may shoot them on sight.
Treo 270 ---> Treo 650 ---> Crimson Treo 680

RE: Support for more devices please!
freakout @ 12/28/2006 10:41:03 PM # Q
Scenario; suppose you are flipping through songs and come across an old favorite and suddenly you get the urge to listen to all of the artist's songs or the genre or the album, you could do so by selecting 'Play All' > 'This Album' or 'This Artist' or 'This Genre'. while still on music playing view how about making the d-pad work just like the ipod : left and right buttons: flip through 'Next', 'Previous' tracks, Up button: Back (go back to menu scroll mode like ipod), down button:Play/Pause.

LV_Gee, that's the kind of thing I'm talking about when I say that mOcean has handicapped itself with the iPod's limitations. Because MotionApps have cloned it so completely, there's very little customization to take advantage of the fact that Palms have two different input methods: touchscreen and the 5-way nav. Treos throw an exposed keyboard into the mix too. The find-as-you-type feature is an excellent use of the keyboard for navigating the menus, but why not use it for the various playback functions from the Now Playing screen? The 5-way could be put to better use as well, as you point out.

Tim
I apologise for any and all emoticons that appear in my posts. You may shoot them on sight.
Treo 270 ---> Treo 650 ---> Crimson Treo 680

RE: Support for more devices please!
cervezas @ 12/29/2006 8:20:03 AM # Q
hkklife wrote:
Palm is "leaning" on the developers to slowly phase out support for non-Treo devices so *EVERYONE* is forced to either buy a Treo or just abandon the platform.

Palm doesn't need to lean. The developers who are most successful these days are the ones that focus their marketing image around the Treo brand the way GoTreo and MotionApps have. If you want to make money you focus on branding and providing the best experience for the devices that are hot--both in terms of sales and in terms of name recognition (likeliness of being used in a Google search for software). It's not a conspiracy, it's just Marketing 101.

David Beers
Pikesoft Mobile Computing
www.pikesoft.com/blog

RE: Support for more devices please!
PacManFoo @ 12/30/2006 7:47:00 PM # Q
Mr. Beers,

I generally respect your comments but this, although probably true is what is killing the Palm platform. How many palm devices have been sold through the years and yet developers abandon them? Sorry I don't own a Treo, I don't know a single person who owns a Treo and I have no desire to have a Treo. I do know many people who own Tungstens, M500 series and even III series Palms, most of whom I convinced over the years to buy one in the first place and now they have fewer and fewer choices of software. Most of these devices will shortly just be put in a box and forgotten. My Tungsten TX which is still being sold by Palm is no longer good enough to make software for? Guess I don't understand why developers would turn away potential customers. From this point forward I plan to make a developer black list which I will never buy software from again. First on the list is the makers of mOcean.

PDA's Past and Present:
Palm - IIIxe, Vx, M500, M505, Tungsten T
Handspring - Edge, Platinum
Sony - SJ22
Apple - MP2000, MP2100

RE: Support for more devices please!
cervezas @ 12/30/2006 8:05:27 PM # Q
I think you're being a little harsh--and perhaps I didn't state my point as carefully as I should have. Most of the Palm developers I know (and I know quite a few) are interested in doing anything they can to expand their customer base, which means they take pains to support all kinds of devices. I'm amazed how many go to the trouble to develop and support software for Palm OS versions 2 and 3.

But developers have to make a living and it's not an easy thing to do these days when there is already so much good software out there and where online retailers take half or more of the purchase price of your software. Most software sales are made when people buy a new device. And most of the new Palm devices are Treos. If you want to actually try to make a living selling shareware (instead of just moonlighting) it's very hard to do that if you don't focus on the customers who are buying the most software and the devices they are using.

I don't know any Palm developers that are getting rich selling shareware, so I have admiration for the ones who are clever enough (both as developers and marketers) to make it a full-time job that pays the rent and keeps food on the table. I can appreciate your feelings as someone who prefers to use a standalone PDA (I prefer this in many ways myself) but I can't blame developers for facing economic realities.


David Beers
Pikesoft Mobile Computing
www.pikesoft.com/blog

Reply to this comment

Supports mp3 only

freakout @ 12/28/2006 10:55:38 PM # Q
Forgot to mention in the review: mOcean supports mp3 playback only, so if you're hoping to use the iTunes sync for your iTunes Music Store files (or any AAC files) you're out of luck. Same goes for PlayForSure music stores, in WMA.

No OGG either, which is a shame. After all, it's not like they'd have to pay licensing fees...

Tim
I apologise for any and all emoticons that appear in my posts. You may shoot them on sight.
Treo 270 ---> Treo 650 ---> Crimson Treo 680

Reply to this comment

mOcean Does Not Like lifeDrive

LV_Gee @ 12/29/2006 12:23:48 AM # Q
I forgot to mention, I bought a palm lifedrive right before christmas and installed mOcean, loaded a bunch of songs on the drive via DriveMode and every time i try to play the songs it crashes, took it back and now own a palm tx but i guess i had registered the software too many times so i had to buy another registration to use it on the new device. Come on motionapp team, atleast make it work with the lifedrive ! then that way we can have an empty sd slot for other things.

Reply to this comment

Other very serious issues.

jscherber @ 12/29/2006 7:46:35 AM # Q
1. The trial software doesn't let you do anything!

2. A complete absence of any type of manual. I had to send an email to support to figure out how to delete individual podcasts (the menu button).

3. Individual Podcast listings can be deleted off mOcean with the menu button but remain on your card! These files have to be deleted manually!

4. There is no method with the current version of the software (3.0.11) to delete Audiobooks, either the listing from mOcean or the file from your card. Trying to delete the file manually resulted in a "file is read-only" error message. After inserting the card in a reader I was able to delete the file. I haven't found a method to delete the entry in the software even with the file no longer there!

MotionApps Technical Support informed me they were aware of these issues and that they would be fixed in a later release. I wasn't aware that I was paying them to beta test their own software. I would seriously avoid until they get their act together.

Best, James Scherber

Reply to this comment

pre 9-11 mindset

matt_laughs @ 12/31/2006 8:38:10 PM # Q
face it folks, we're in a post 9-11 world, and we have to give up some things to be more secure, apparently one of those things is original mp3 software for our palm pilots, the folks at mOcean are sacrificing, and I would like to thank them for their incredibleful patriotismness.

thats what she said!
Ben Combee: Is that you, Girlfriend?
The_Voice_of_Reason @ 1/1/2007 1:47:42 PM # Q
Question: Take the best bits of Jeff Kirvin/Dr Opinion, RhinoSteve and Michael Mace, roll them together (in the hay) and what do you get?

Answer: matt_laughs

Reply to this comment

pda versus treo versus godzilla

matt_laughs @ 12/31/2006 9:51:25 PM # Q
treo getting more support from developers..... sometimes I think these developers are just in it for the money, i even think like sometimes that maybe if they didnt have to pay taxes, they wouldnt, like they just do what they have to do, and i dont like that, i know that sounds bad, do not take it personally guys. its a post 9-11 world we're living in, and you never know which pocket solitaire maker to trust.

thats what she said!
Reply to this comment

Very Lame Demo

Quickster @ 1/1/2007 2:04:49 PM # Q
I have to agree with the original reviewer, "What the heck is the purpose of a media player if you can't even play a tune in the demo?" Geesh, is that lame or what? And what in tarnations were these developers thinking? Did they have their heads up their bu___? After all, it is really not about the user interface but more importantly how does it play the media.

Reply to this comment

TVoR's predictions for 2007

The_Voice_of_Reason @ 1/1/2007 1:54:16 PM # Q
Since Auntie Mike Cane is MIA (DOA?) and the comments here have dwindled to an ominous 40 in the past week, presented for your edumacation are TVoR's BOLD prognostications for 2007.

[The dates may be off by a month or two, but expect 100% accuracy ultimately.]:

1) Palm will continue to abandon traditional PDAs. The self-fulfilling prophecy of PDA death continues and Palm will continue to try to push high-margin Treos at the expense of the PDA market. By July 2007 Treos will account for over 80% of Palm's revenues. PalmOS PDA faithful will be reduced to scrounging for used Tungstens and CLIEs on fleaBay as they desperately stock up in preparation for Palm pulling the plug on most of its traditional PDAs later in the year.

2) Jeff Hawkins' oft-mocked Secret Third Business ("STB") will be introduced by March 2007 (a connected tablet serving as a PDA/media viewer/dumb terminal) but will fail to generate any interest (or revenues) for Palm and will quickly go the way of the dearly departed Palm VIIx and its associated network. Palm simply lacks the credibility to make such a device gain traction with business users and the high price of wireless data precludes profitability.

3) Delays in certification/rollouts of Palm's new Treo models will finally be reflected on the balance sheet. Palm's corporate policy of "Borrowing From The Future™" comes to a screeching halt in March, 2007.

4) Treo sales stagger under the multi-pronged assault of several new pseudo-smartphones from Motorola, Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Samsung, LG, etc. Nokia's E models and (especially) Motorola's new Q will seize massive marketshare from the Treos. Palm initially tries to bolster sales by cutting prices, but the competition smells blood and goes in for the kill by slashing prices + initiating a savage price war by April 2007. Palm begins to burn through its reserve capital, eventually living quarter to quarter ("hand to mouth") much like Handspring circa 2001-03. Palm's only option is to be rescued by a company seeking to add the Treo brand to its portfolio.

5) Palm finally becomes a viable target for takeout once stock prices drop below $10/share in March 2007. The recent promise of the stock buyback delayed Palm's devaluation long enough to generate several more million $ for Palm insiders, but after the next SEC filing the smoke and mirrors will be blown away once and for all. Three leading contenders for the buyout: an American technology + cellphone company, an American database + network company and a Asian technology + cellphone company. The stock gamesmanship Palm played in late 2006 likely has resulted in the pullout of one or more of these potential suitors from the race. Unfortunately for Palm, companies as bold/naive as Access don't grow on trees...

6) Apple will enter the cellphone business in January 2007, instantly turning the MP3 player market upside down. By August 2007 the MP3-phones of Apple and Sony Ericsson will have effectively killed off the market for standalone $200 - $300 MP3 players. By December 2007 the market will consist of sub-$100 flash-based players, $100 - $300 MP3 phones and $250 - $400 multimedia players. Palm will attempt to reposition one of its remaining PDAs and its Treo lineup as being MP3-savvy, however, lack of ease of use, software and media sales will result in a disintegrated experience that gains few converts.

7) Google's dark fiber network will begin to be be lit up by March 2007 and attempts by carriers to block Google's plans will be squelched. Google will introduce the GooglePort™ (Wi-Fi phone/browser) for accessing the GoogleNet™ (ad-sponsored Internet) by July 2007, striking fear in the heart of carriers everywhere. Palm fails what could have been an outside chance of having the Treo lineup serve as the foundation for the GooglePort™ due to the crippling limitations of PalmOS and inability to create a stable multitasking PalmLinux.

8) Access' Grand Gambit comes to a screeching halt, with repeated delays in OS development being revealed by February 2007 a-la-Cobalt. Developers and cellphone manufacturers are not amused and ignore desperate promises from Access that ALP-OS will be ready by July 2007. Access excises PalmOS from ALP-OS, agreeing to give Palm (+/- its new master) complete ownership of all PalmOS IP for an additional $50 million in August 2007.

9) New licensing of PalmOS ceases in August 2007. Most remaining PalmOS licensees depart the scene by September 2007.

10) Under new ownership PalmOS is dramatically reborn in December 2007. Developers return to the platform with new assurances of stability + developer support. Palm's new owners leverage the Treo name + form factor, making rapid strides in the acceptance of Treos by business users. Treo deployments skyrocket.


Copyright 2007.
TVoR, Inc.


------------------------
Sony CLIE UX100: 128 MB real RAM, OLED screen. All the PDA anyone really ever wanted.
------------------------

The Palm eCONomy = Communism™

The Great Palm Swindle: http://www.palminfocenter.com/comments/7864/#108038

NetFrontLinux - the next major cellphone OS?: http://www.palminfocenter.com/comments/8060/#111823

RE: TVoR's predictions for 2007
hkklife @ 1/1/2007 3:11:48 PM # Q
That's a LOT happening between....today and March '07. Good list overall.

I do figure on a good bit of that happening, especially the Apple iPhone killing the market entirely for $100+ "luxury" MP3 players, but I'd replace "March" with "May/June" with Voice's +/- 1 month wiggle room for most of those predictions.

I think that Palm's most pressing issue now is WHAT will follow the 750 once it's properly rolled out in the US and additional markets. We've not heard a peep out of new PDAs or any new Treos other than a few posts on TreoCentral about a possible 700p replacement. I think the ONE thing Palm might have learned lately, based on the response to the TreoCentral petition/letter, is that they are going to start taking Bluetooth a lot more seriously in 2007. For me, '06 was the year that Bluetooth finally began breaking out of the doldrums (not for POS, I mean on an industry-wide basis). It'll be interesting to see if Palm ever adopts BT 2.0, A2DP etc. in their 2007 products.

Also, is Palm rallying the troops and keeping quiet to muster up a big launch of the STB? I still wouldn't be surprised if Palm attempts to resurrect the "mobile manager" moniker for Hawkins' STB. If the device ends up having Audrey or WebTV-style uselessness without a wireless connection and/or a pricey Palm service subscription, it'll be doomed before it even hits store shelves. Remember, despite the LifeDrive's crippling flaws, even without Wi-Fi or Bluetooth it's still a servicable portable HD,a passable mp3 player and a laggy PDA with a color 320*480 screen. If the STB isn't at least all of this--and tons of local storage (~40gb of hard drive or 8gb of flash at minimum) is a huge key--then it'll be over before it even begun.

# 8/9 are pretty much a given anyway.

As for #10...it's too early to call that. A LOT depends on who ends up gobbling up Palm, right? Right?

Voice, are you going to ever reveal who you THINK is the leading candidate when you say "Palm will be bought out by ******" ??


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

RE: TVoR's predictions for 2007
SeldomVisitor @ 1/1/2007 8:01:56 PM # Q
#10 is silly.

The CEO of PALM outright said end-users couldn't give a rat's ass what OS is on their device.

If HE says it, believe it.

PalmOS is dead, Jim. It may still be kicking but it's dead.

RE: TVoR's predictions for 2007
The_Voice_of_Reason @ 1/1/2007 9:31:11 PM # Q
That's a LOT happening between....today and March '07. Good list overall.

Thanks. A lot is about to happen over the next few months. 2006 was a year of treading water, serving leftovers and cautious gameplans. 2007 is going to belong to the BOLD.

I do figure on a good bit of that happening, especially the Apple iPhone killing the market entirely for $100+ "luxury" MP3 players, but I'd replace "March" with "May/June" with Voice's +/- 1 month wiggle room for most of those predictions.

The iPod Phone will be introduced in a few days and will send shockwaves through the industry. Only LG and Sony Ericsson seem to understand how to compete. Style sells™. Nokia STILL doesn't understand this and will pay the price in 2007. March is D-Day and will deliver a series on stunning chain reaction announcements leading to the meltdown of the status quo predicted above.

I think that Palm's most pressing issue now is WHAT will follow the 750 once it's properly rolled out in the US and additional markets. We've not heard a peep out of new PDAs or any new Treos other than a few posts on TreoCentral about a possible 700p replacement. I think the ONE thing Palm might have learned lately, based on the response to the TreoCentral petition/letter, is that they are going to start taking Bluetooth a lot more seriously in 2007. For me, '06 was the year that Bluetooth finally began breaking out of the doldrums (not for POS, I mean on an industry-wide basis). It'll be interesting to see if Palm ever adopts BT 2.0, A2DP etc. in their 2007 products.

Palm is only capable of incremental upgrades. Has any significant work been done with the Treo lineup since Handspring debuted the Treo 600 over 3 years ago? While it would be nice to see Palm fix the numerous deficiencies of its current devices, I would rather see Palm contract with LG or Sony Ericsson to produce a simple, SMALL cellphone that also happens to run PalmOS.

Also, is Palm rallying the troops and keeping quiet to muster up a big launch of the STB? I still wouldn't be surprised if Palm attempts to resurrect the "mobile manager" moniker for Hawkins' STB. If the device ends up having Audrey or WebTV-style uselessness without a wireless connection and/or a pricey Palm service subscription, it'll be doomed before it even hits store shelves. Remember, despite the LifeDrive's crippling flaws, even without Wi-Fi or Bluetooth it's still a servicable portable HD,a passable mp3 player and a laggy PDA with a color 320*480 screen. If the STB isn't at least all of this--and tons of local storage (~40gb of hard drive or 8gb of flash at minimum) is a huge key--then it'll be over before it even begun.

Palm already realizes the STB was a waste of time, but too much was put into it, so they'll try to make it work. As soon as it starts becoming a Palm VIIx/LifeDrive-sized albatross around the company's neck they will "do the right thing" and cut their losses.

# 8/9 are pretty much a given anyway.

You mean you don't believe PalmSource when they say, "Everything is going according to plan."??? Are you calling PalmSource's David Schlesinger a LIAR???

As for #10...it's too early to call that. A LOT depends on who ends up gobbling up Palm, right? Right?

A buyout by ****** means nearly-instantaneous, massive deployments. A buyout by either of the other 2 contenders would result in a fast upswing in Palm's fortunes, but not quite as dramatic

Voice, are you going to ever reveal who you THINK is the leading candidate when you say "Palm will be bought out by ******" ??

I've given some pretty big clues. ****** would have pulled the trgger by now had Palm not been so greedy and trying to artificially inflate the buyout price. The other 2 companies are/were logical suitors, but Palm may have scared them off for good.


#10 is silly.

The CEO of PALM outright said end-users couldn't give a rat's ass what OS is on their device. If HE says it, believe it.

Oh, so now you believe everything Palm's CEO says, hengeem? How sweet.

Read what was written again. Yes, most end users neither know nor care which OS their hardware runs. But the reason for the PalmOS resurgence will not be because of the choices of individual end users, but rather because of the effective marketing TO BUSINESSES of Treos paired with the assets of Palms's suitor. Palm's failure to win business customers over the past 3 years was due to lack of planning and execution rather than the lack of a good product. A better company - especially one with assets that integrate well with Treo hardware - wouldn't make the same amateurish blunders that Palm has made in recent years.

PalmOS is dead, Jim. It may still be kicking but it's dead.

PalmOS is still plugging away and kicking (a$$) despite 5 years of shameful, criminal neglect. Not many OSes could have survived that degree of abuse and lived to tell the tale. With a little TLC PalmOS can (and will) make a Rocky Balboa-style comeback. In PalmOS' favor are the facts that most end users are not very demanding of their software (simple + stable is paramount) and that the huge PalmOS app library permits rapid creation of a very solid suite of apps that can be easily customized for business clients.


TVoR


RE: TVoR's predictions for 2007
hkklife @ 1/2/2007 12:47:21 AM # Q
I am stunned at Nokia's continued success (at least here stateside). They have NO clue whatsoever on CDMA and, as Voice said, haven't figured out that style sells (no, Virtu bling doesn't count!). Add to that the flops of the N-Gage(s) and the 770 "experiment" (just ask Mike Cane") and you have sort of a similar situation emerging like with Palm--an aging, static lineup of semi-bulky, me-too handsets etc.(but with many, many more dollars at stage and much larger consequences).

I've truly been impressed with some of the recent Sony Ericsson handsets. They have the camera/music player integration down pat and are honestly keeping the grand Sony Walkman legacy from the '80s intact (and, as we've seen in '06, the strong Cybershot reputation from the '00s).

On another note:
Palm'll never contract with anyone for anything short of an outright buyout.
Palm was too intimidated and/or cheap to simply pony up $ to Xerox for the Graffiti 1 libraries a few years ago (they could've easily passed those costs on to the suckers/customers devoted to G1 like myself). Since they foisted Graffiti 2 on us instead, they certainly wouldn't risk letting a real cellphone handset company do it "better" and steal the spotlight!

P.S.

Anyone wanna take a crack at what the pricing (hardware + the "services") will be for the STB? Will it be Newton-sized?

P.P.S.

Voice, does ****** at least signify that there are six characters in the name of this would-be suitor?

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

RE: TVoR's predictions for 2007
SeldomVisitor @ 1/2/2007 8:27:15 AM # Q
> ...Oh, so now you believe everything Palm's CEO says, hengeem?...

Silly person - belief is context-sensitive.

Nuff said.

RE: TVoR's predictions for 2007
SeldomVisitor @ 1/2/2007 8:28:57 AM # Q
> ...Anyone wanna take a crack at what the pricing (hardware
> + the "services") will be for the STB? Will it be Newton-sized?...

I think you guys are barking up the wrong tree and I totally do not believe anything even APPROACHING a LifeDrive is on the way as The Next Great Thing (*).

Instead, I - without much overt evidence admittedly - thing The Next Great Thing =now= is a system that extends the proxy-server roots of the old Blazer to allow offloaded applications - you want functionality, it's loaded on-the-fly.

=======

(*) So...how come Hawkins became a non-person last February? Essentially no discussion around anywhere about that.

RE: TVoR's predictions for 2007
SeldomVisitor @ 1/2/2007 8:32:41 AM # Q
[Alas, I meant to continue that PS and apparently hit a key that caused the post to post...]

Ahem...

We could GUESS a few reasons!

(1) He had a falling out with Colligan who said "Enough!". Now Colligan's gonna release something that isn't as great as Hawkins originally proposed because Colligan HAS to release SOMETHING ala that amusing PalmSource Cobalt "release" oh so many Decembers ago.

(2) The design of the Next Great Thing is done and has moved into the boring stage; Hawkins is trying to recover from his failed Brain Institute (**) and get his new company off the ground.

(3) Too many key PALM developers left. The Next Great Thing has temporarily been shelved. Hawkins, too.

More?

RE: TVoR's predictions for 2007
SeldomVisitor @ 1/2/2007 8:39:37 AM # Q
[Hey! Do it once, rinse and repeat! Let's continue that PPS!]

(**) Hawkins dumped his Brain Institute on some California university and gave it some initial funding. It's now some subpart of some other entity therein. Another rich-kid toy thrown in the corner, eh?


RE: TVoR's predictions for 2007
hkklife @ 1/2/2007 10:39:30 AM # Q
I've been halfway "predicting" (more like speculating) that the STB is going to be a larger-than-LifeDrive tablet style device running a very heavily hacked Palmified version of Windows Mobile (assisted by M$, of course--M$ probably feels that's a niche market for devices larger than regular PDAs but smaller than Windows-based Tablets). It'll have Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and possibly an EVDO data-only radio (no voice so it doesn't compete with the Treo or rattle the carriers). I figure on something like a 20gb-40gb 1.8" HD for local storage and then the server-side software to seamlessly install/update/run apps and/or fetch data.

I really could see it shipping with something like a 480*480 or 640*480 screen and a stuff like a special pocket version of Wikipedia, MobiTV etc.

SV, if the STB is NOT a LifeDrive-style device like I describe above, then what hardware is its software going to run on?

P.S.
There's another possibility here:

Hawkins had this concept years ago and the LifeDrive was the half-baked, penny-pinching, half-hearted realization of that hardware side of that concept. The software was passed off like a hot potato from Hawkins to Palm (culminating, as SV said, in Hawkins becoming a "non-person") and it sat for over a year, being worked on here & there as budgets permitted before finally being released in a not-so-complete state in midyear 2007. It will be, of course, modified to run only on Treos releeased from 2007 onwards with no concessions made for existing device owners.


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

RE: TVoR's predictions for 2007
SeldomVisitor @ 1/2/2007 11:12:43 AM # Q
I think the LifeDrive could indeed have been The Next Great Thing but TNGT has transformed (via LifeDrive's DOA state!) to something more server-bound now.

What device, then, does "it" run on?

Why...ALL of them, of course!

TNGT, IM-totally-naive-about-anything-real-HO, is the SERVER-side software that does its thang regardless the client. Thus the el-cheapo fliphone that PALM is working on will be served up its applications just as the Mercedes TREO will.

At least, I think that's what TNGT is NOW...

======

PALM has made noises about needing something more mundane to generate bucks - not device but service (ala Blackberry service). Getting those Linux servers to serve what any type of device needs (Hey! Who joined that BoD!?) might be PALM's next attempt to fill that need.

RE: TVoR's predictions for 2007
hkklife @ 1/2/2007 12:01:00 PM # Q
Wouldn't applications running/stored/launched from a server be a fantastic way for Palm to keep on scrimping on the Treo's feature sets?

Can Palm hack the FrankenGarnet memory architecture to have lots of "invisible to the user" RAM for running apps? That is, PC-style memory architecture where RAM is used for program executables but local storage is "something" else. I've yet to get a clear explanation of this but isn't that what the recent Treos (700w/wx/p, 680) have kinda/sorta been doing? 128mb of RAM with ~60mb available to the user? What's the rest of that RAM being allocated for?

Then Palm can say "Well, this Treo has only 60mb of "user storage" RAM available and we only "officially" support SD cards up to 2gb in size. But look, you can have GIGS of storage by signing up for a palmdrive.net (or whatever) account and you can store your LIFE on our server and call it up on your Treo at a moment's notice!"

I wonder if the long-delayed, long-rumored, hotly anticipated Palm OS SlingPlayer client software is being "sat" upon by Palm and will launch in tandem with the "Mercedes" Treo & TNGT mid-'07? The "launch" of Google Maps for Palm OS concurrently with the Treo 680 could have been a foreshadowing of this. Look how Palm's been so aggressive lately with "partner" content (Yahoo, Google, Audible etc).

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

RE: TVoR's predictions for 2007
mikecane @ 1/2/2007 2:07:26 PM # Q
>>>Mike Cane

Poor sad child still trying to gain some notice by invoking my name. Like who would ever invoke YOURS?

RE: TVoR's predictions for 2007
The_Voice_of_Reason @ 1/2/2007 3:57:31 PM # Q
Voice, does ****** at least signify that there are six characters in the name of this would-be suitor?


Maybe.


;-O

TVoR

RE: TVoR's predictions for 2007
The_Voice_of_Reason @ 1/2/2007 4:10:03 PM # Q
(**) Hawkins dumped his Brain Institute on some California university and gave it some initial funding. It's now some subpart of some other entity therein. Another rich-kid toy thrown in the corner, eh?


Interesting spin there, hengeem.

The reality is that by giving Berkeley the endowment Hawkins is able to allow his Redwood Neuroscience Institute venture to thrive in an environment (his alma mater) that will ensure it gets looked after properly. (Think of it as being analogous to repotting a plant.) If you'd ever tried to recruit academics to a private company you'd understand precisely why Hawkins' RNI was facing an uphill struggle if deciding to go it alone. Hitching RNI to Berkeley's Wills Institute was a "no-brainer" decision. We'll all benefit from this partnership and Hawkins will provide ongoing funding to the new Redwood Center.

It's amusing to see people running with Beersy's clues. Please remember one thing, though: this is PALM we're talking about here. Lower your expectations. And remember to act pleasantly surprised if the whole thing doesn't blow up as soon as it is released.

TVoR

RE: TVoR's predictions for 2007
SeldomVisitor @ 1/2/2007 4:36:51 PM # Q
> ...Berkeley...(his alma mater)...

Cornell...Berkeley...they're all the same.

RE: TVoR's predictions for 2007
twrock @ 1/3/2007 12:45:36 AM # Q
Voice, does ****** at least signify that there are six characters in the name of this would-be suitor?


Maybe.

Kris, he doesn't know. But I do.

It's either ***, ****, *****, ******, *******, ********, *********, **********, ***********, or ************. I'm 99% sure of that.

I'm still waiting for the mythical color HandEra.
Thinking about Vista? Think again: http://www.cs.auckland.ac.nz/~pgut001/pubs/vista_cost.txt

RE: TVoR's predictions for 2007
The_Voice_of_Reason @ 1/3/2007 9:12:50 PM # Q
>>>Voice, does ****** at least signify that there are six characters in the name of this would-be suitor?


>Maybe.


Kris, he doesn't know. But I do.

It's either ***, ****, *****, ******, *******, ********, *********, **********, ***********, or ************. I'm 99% sure of that.

Nice to see you haven't changed, twrock. People like you, RhinoSteve and Jeff Kirvin/Dr Opinion are truly "special" to us all.

And yes, hkklife: Palm will likely be bought by a company that has a 6 letter name.

My predictions are all here, in black and white and only TVoR has the guts to go on record with this many BOLD prognostications. No doubt if even one of them fails to come true, dumba$$es like twrock will be here biotching about it. Feel free to print this thread out and put it on your fridge door to check off the predictions as they are realized one by one in 2007. Nostradamus TVoR will leave you slackjawed with a 100% accuracy rate.

TVoR

RE: TVoR's predictions for 2007
twrock @ 1/3/2007 10:28:21 PM # Q
Nice to see you haven't changed, twrock. People like you, RhinoSteve and Jeff Kirvin/Dr Opinion are truly "special" to us all.

Voice, you truly make me laugh. Dude, you shouldn't let me get under your skin that easily.

And yes, hkklife: Palm will likely be bought by a company that has a 6 letter name.

Ok then, what is the name of the company? What, are you going to claim that you are under some kind of NDA? Do you have to protect your sources? Come on! You've insulated yourself adequately with your "anonimity" on this site. Are you afraid someone is going to "out" you? Spill the beans! Show me the money! Quit hiding the "truth" if you have it.

My predictions are all here, in black and white and only TVoR has the guts to go on record with this many BOLD prognostications. No doubt if even one of them fails to come true, dumba$$es like twrock will be here biotching about it. Feel free to print this thread out and put it on your fridge door to check off the predictions as they are realized one by one in 2007. Nostradamus TVoR will leave you slackjawed with a 100% accuracy rate.

Yeah, you and Pat Robertson are the true prophets!
http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/01/02/robertson.predictions.ap/index.html


I'm still waiting for the mythical color HandEra.
Thinking about Vista? Think again: http://www.cs.auckland.ac.nz/~pgut001/pubs/vista_cost.txt

RE: TVoR's predictions for 2007
The_Voice_of_Reason @ 1/3/2007 11:24:11 PM # Q
Voice, you truly make me laugh. Dude, you shouldn't let me get under your skin that easily.

If you think I take anything you say seriously, you're even dimmer than I thought you were. Seriously.

TVoR

RE: TVoR's predictions for 2007
twrock @ 1/4/2007 5:13:54 AM # Q
If you think I take anything you say seriously, you're even dimmer than I thought you were. Seriously.

It's nice to know the feeling is mutual.

So then, how about the name? I'm waiting with bated breath.

I'm still waiting for the mythical color HandEra.
Thinking about Vista? Think again: http://www.cs.auckland.ac.nz/~pgut001/pubs/vista_cost.txt

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