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Saguaro Sneak Peek Review

Saguaro ReviewBy: Ryan Kairer
April 20, 2007

Saguaro is a interesting new Palm OS operating environment. It ambitiously promises to bring multitasking applications, windowed applications and web based widgets to Palm OS devices. The company behind Saguaro, PDA Performance, has just released a "sneak peak" beta version which you can now try out on your own device.

The Saguaro sneak peak comes as a 3.2MB single prc file. The company says the app will support any device with Palm OS v5.0 or higher, a 320x320+ display and at least a 100 MHz StrongARM/XScale ARM processor (300+ MHz recommended). It also requires at least 2MB dynamic heap memory and at 4MB of available storage memory to run. The program ran fluidly on both my Treo 680 and Tungsten T5. It can also be launched and run from a SD card.

The app takes about 25 seconds to load, more if you launch from an SD card. The main view shows an application bar along the bottom that lists the open applications. In the bottom left is a small cactus icon, which looks like could house a future launch menu of some kind, but at the moment is currently non-functional. A menu bar runs along the top of the screen that shows the currently selected application, and a clock and battery meter in the right corner.

The beta (pictured running on a Treo 680 at right) includes two widget applications. A CNN news headline ticker and a weather widget very similar to the Apple Dashboard widget. Both pull down live data from the device's Internet connection. There are only a few small options in the drop down menus that allow you to customize the widgets options or view the program about screen. The weather widget allows you to enter your location, while you can select a few different categories for the news ticker. Both widgets can be dragged around and rearranged with a tap of the stylus.

While limited to only two small demo widget's, PDA Performance says there are many more add-on widgets currently under development.

Overall the interface is very modern an attractive. The developers have really done a good job to bring a pleasant mobile interface full of eye candy with an artistic translucent look. The widgets themselves look like something right out of OS X and become slightly transparent when dragged around.

Given the limited usefulness at the moment, the Saguaro preview shows a lot a promise. If the final version is released as an open platform for developers, this could make for an exciting base to build upon.

The Saguaro sneak peak can be downloaded here until April 27th. The company is seeking feedback and suggestions, while they prepare an official full release. You can see more of Saguaro in action in this video.

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A hack?

linds @ 4/20/2007 9:31:31 PM # Q
Is this like a hack that will allow furthur 3rd party programming?

Like X-master and such? An attempt to bring Garnet into the 21st century?

RE: A hack?
analogue wings @ 4/22/2007 6:34:20 PM # Q
(it's "peek" btw :)

This will either go absolutely nowhere (even with significant open sourcing to encourage 3rd party development)

OR

They are really hoping that Palm will just acquire them and use them as the widget layer for PalmNextGenNotCobaltLinuxThingOS

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

RE: A hack? A deer? A female deer?
The_Voice_of_Reason @ 4/22/2007 6:55:17 PM # Q
OR

They are really hoping that Palm will just acquire them and use them as the widget layer for PalmNextGenNotCobaltLinuxThingOS


DING! DING! DING! DING!

We have a winner, folks. Step right up and claim your prize in the Totally Obvious Sweepstakes...





TVoR

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25 seconds to load?

asiayeah @ 4/21/2007 11:08:03 AM # Q
If the beta takes 25 seconds to load, will the final version able to load much faster?

It certainly does look like iPhone for Palm OS.

What kind of multi-tasking can it bring to Palm OS? It looks like it could only multitask applications specially designed for it.

It is certainly cool to be able to see multiple applications or widgets on the same screen. But if the widgets cannot replace all basic Palm applications, such as the Phone application or PIM, users will still require to switch back and forth of the environment, isn't it?

--
With great power comes great responsiblity.

RE: 25 seconds to load?
nathanww @ 4/21/2007 1:37:43 PM # Q
Yes, it can only run applications that are written specifically for it.
RE: 25 seconds to load?
linds @ 4/21/2007 4:39:41 PM # Q
But apparently a developer who writes a program for it, can be assured it will work on any device running windows mobile or Palm OS. so now this program becomes responsible for working on each palm device and the developer just makes sure it works on one.

RE: 25 seconds to load?
nathanww @ 4/21/2007 6:32:19 PM # Q
So it's an interpreted launguage that you use to program it?

RE: 25 seconds to load?
joad @ 4/23/2007 11:29:34 AM # Q
>>If the beta takes 25 seconds to load...

It's a little too snappy for my 700p, I'm used to waiting up to about a minute for some apps to load. Almost got whiplash, it cut short my usual "waiting for 700p app to load" coffee break.

It looks really pretty, and sounds like it may be an advance in the underlying programming. But these "sneak peek" widgets themselves are awful dull - a CNN ticker with a minuscule viewing window (and no way to see the article) and 5 days of weather for only San Jose. And, no way to configure anything important.

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How sad. This is how the (PalmOS) world ends...

The_Voice_of_Reason @ 4/22/2007 12:54:22 PM # Q
A few observations:

1) Developers are abandoning the Palm platform en masse. The stench of death is now upon Palm and Palm doesn't seem too concerned about placating the fears of developers. Could it be because developers are no longer considered important in the SPINNING of the platform's strengths? Could it be because third party applications are of no use to Palm now? Could it be because Palm is about to stab their "beloved" third party developers in the back by releasing (3 years too late to matter, by the way) software solutions that will cannibalize the few remaining sales for all but the best third party apps? Not good news for developers, but Palm finally relized what I'me bee saying for YEARS is true:

a) Palm's in-house codemonkeys are clueless.
b) The average Joe/Joanne cannot be expected to do the work of looking for, downloading, installing + paying for third party software to enhance their PalmOS devices.
c) Every PalmOS device needs to ship with a complete selection of best-of-breed software.

How many of these apps will be part of Palm's device ROMs in 2007-8?:
Chatteremail, Comet, Crash, Directory Assistant, Documents To Go, GoogleMaps, HandyShopper, McPhling, Pocket Tunes/AeroPlayer, Resco Backup, Resco Explorer, Resco Viewer, TCPMP/CorePlayer, TealLock, Uninstall Manager, VideoHound/Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide, Weatherman, ZagatToGo...

2) Saguaro's current widgets are the equivalent of Desktop Accessories (DAs) on steroids. Unfortunately, given the facts that PDA screens are small and that PalmOS app loading is fairly rapid, these widgets are of limited practical use. What PDA Performance needs to do is get developers to sign on to make their apps compatible with the Saguro's framework. And that won't happen unless it's made a standard framework shipping on ALL Palm devices. In other words, this system would never have a chance to survive unless it was bought out and developed by Palm. The problem with extending multitasking to the point where it would be truly useful on a PalmOS PDA (e.g. having multiple browser windows, a push email program, a document editor, a stock ticker and an address book all open at the same time) is the fact that Palm has underspecced it's PDAs for years and most devices lack the power to handle the load of multiple apps/windows being open at the same time. Cobalt was supposed to be the answer to the (pseudo)multitasking question and it blew up in Palm/PalmSource's face. Lowering the goals by using a framework like Saguro would have been a smart thing for Palm to have done in 2002, but in 2007 it would appear to be 2 little 2 late.

Saguro in action:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AV5H0BF6eLw&mode=related&search=


Buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuut... PalmLinux is coming! PalmLinux is coming! Uh huh. Don't hold your breath. Palm's MessiahOS - complete with multitasking - cooks, cleans, does Windows™, and is good in bed as well. Or so they say. Sorry Bubba, but word on The Street is that this sordid mess is imploding as we speak. The internal code name for PalmLinux should be Snake Oil.

3) Chatteremail has been bought out by Palm. File that one away in the "Why The He11 Did Palm Wait So Long?" folder. Oldtimers will remember how Palm once bought the best PalmOS email program on the market at the time (VersaMail, née MultiMail) and proceded to destroy that app with first benign neglect and then some NASTY code updates created by Clueless Caged Codemonkeys. Fast forward 7 years and Palm has stupidly fumbled away the corporate "push" email market to Blackberry. Will spending a few million by buying Chatteremail, upgrading Exchange compatibility +/- bundling a backend product regain Palm a share of the market the they were previously in the ideal position to OWN? We'll soon see.

4) I see the apologists and other c0ckroaches have overrun Palminfocenter in my absence. Mike Cane's return apparently almost exactly coincided with my departure. Very interesting. As soon as the lights are turned out, the c0ckroaches and rats come out from their holes. Pathetic. Looks like it's time for the exterminaTVoR to deal with the vermin again.

5) Where is the brilliant discussion that was supposed to have magically appeared in TVoR's absence? Looking at the past few days of posting all I see are an endless burst of rantings spewed out by "Manic" Mike Cane as he sleazily advertises for his pathetic little blog ("Come see my blog!" "I've posted about this at my blog!" "I talked about this on my blog!" "This was on my blog first!"...). Time to check your lithium levels again, Mikey...

Where is Beersy? Where is just_little_me? Where are all the other dumb$$es that were "brave" enough to whine about TVoR from the safety of their parents' computer? Inquiring minds want to know...

6) Is hkklife the ONLY person contributing articles to Palminfocenter? What will happen when the (inevitable) day comes that he gets burnt out and throws in the towel?

7) As a Treo 700p victim, I find it interesting that it will take a YEAR for Palm to issue a patch that address only SOME of the device's most glaring issues. The horrible lag seen is a function of Palm's decision to cheapen out on the design and specs (Limited memory, limited processor, and speccing that Windows Mobile + Palm OS devices share the same hardware) and cannot be fixed with a mere software update. Sorry Palm, but (as George W. Bush once tried to say) "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me". I won't get fooled twice. Nor will anyone in my company. Good job, Palm.

8) The 4 year old CLIE TH55 is STILL the best traditional form factor PalmOS device ever made. Palm should be embarassed.

9) The 5 year old Samsung i500 is STILL the best PalmOS smartphone ever made. Palm should be embarassed.

10) The Secret Third Business (STB) is the modern equivalent of the Palm VII/VIIx. Palm will be embarassed. W T F were they smoking? All they had to do was ship a smaller, well-made Treo suffed with a COMPLETE set of apps and a STABLE OS. How hard would it have been to do THAT?
My old buddy Michael Mace must be laughing his head off these days.


TVoR

RE: How sad. This is how the (PalmOS) world ends...
SeldomVisitor @ 4/22/2007 5:45:01 PM # Q
> ...I see the apologists and other c0ckroaches have overrun
> Palminfocenter in my absence...

What absence!?

(giggle)

RE: How sad. This is how the (PalmOS) world ends...
The_Voice_of_Reason @ 4/22/2007 6:42:27 PM # Q
> ...I see the apologists and other c0ckroaches have overrun
> Palminfocenter in my absence...

What absence!?

(giggle)


Surely you don't ascribe to the "Auntie Mike Cane is TVoR" conspiracy theory, now do you hengeem?


Tee hee.
Chuckle.
Guffaw.
Snort.

TVoR

RE: How sad. This is how the (PalmOS) world ends...
freakout @ 4/22/2007 6:51:05 PM # Q
Is hkklife the ONLY person contributing articles to Palminfocenter? What will happen when the (inevitable) day comes that he gets burnt out and throws in the towel?

Sniff. I feel so invisible.

(Although I haven't contributed anything these last coupla weeks - I'm waiting for my ADSL to get switched to my new house.)

RE: How sad. This is how the (PalmOS) world ends...
SeldomVisitor @ 4/23/2007 6:44:58 AM # Q
> ...Surely you don't ascribe to the "Auntie Mike Cane is TVoR" conspiracy theory...

Well, actually, no.

> ...now do you hengeem?

WAITAMINUTE!

I'm not hengeem here - that's one of my (strangely) Obsessed Fans!

-- http://www.palminfocenter.com/comments/9254/#130235

Or maybe I'm REALLY schizo!

Giggle.


RE: How sad. This is how the (PalmOS) world ends...
mikecane @ 4/23/2007 9:27:30 AM # Q
>>>4) I see the apologists and other c0ckroaches have overrun Palminfocenter in my absence. Mike Cane's return apparently almost exactly coincided with my departure. Very interesting. As soon as the lights are turned out, the c0ckroaches and rats come out from their holes. Pathetic. Looks like it's time for the exterminaTVoR to deal with the vermin again.

-- the vermin starts with you.

Might I suggest: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seppuku

5) Where is the brilliant discussion that was supposed to have magically appeared in TVoR's absence? Looking at the past few days of posting all I see are an endless burst of rantings spewed out by "Manic" Mike Cane as he sleazily advertises for his pathetic little blog ("Come see my blog!" "I've posted about this at my blog!" "I talked about this on my blog!" "This was on my blog first!"...). Time to check your lithium levels again, Mikey...

-- of course, you can't have a blog. We know all your postings are done from some park on your pathetic HHCed CLIE, after you emerge from your smelly cardboard box. And your CLIE can't do WordPress. But then, you couldn't figure out WordPress anyway.

PIC was running nicely, discussing *issues*. Now Joan Rivers' transsexual sister is back. With even worse cat eyes!

RE: How sad. This is how the (PalmOS) world ends...
hengeem @ 4/23/2007 10:16:46 AM # Q
> I'm not hengeem here - that's one of my (strangely) Obsessed Fans!

Or maybe it is me posing as an obsessed fan.

Giggle.

RE: How sad. This is how the (PalmOS) world ends...
The_Voice_of_Reason @ 4/23/2007 12:45:09 PM # Q
> I'm not hengeem here - that's one of my (strangely) Obsessed Fans!

Or maybe it is me posing as an obsessed fan.

Giggle.

Eve? Is that you?

Tee hee.

Snort.

Love,
Auntie Mike TVoR


RE: How sad. This is how the (PalmOS) world ends...
mikecane @ 4/24/2007 7:52:14 AM # Q
This jerk has a comment about everything. He can't even run Saguaro on his pissant CLIE. Ooooh, 125MHz of power (max!). It's as limp as his dick (which is the same size as that CLIE's stylus!).

Perhaps it would be better to just sit on your hands.
SeldomVisitor @ 4/24/2007 8:19:01 AM # Q
No kidding.

YES!!!1
naio21 @ 4/24/2007 12:57:08 PM # Q
He is back!!!1 Master TVoR is back!!!!1111!!!oneone!!!shift+1 *giggle*

Ivan
RE: How sad. This is how the (PalmOS) world ends...
zullnero @ 4/24/2007 1:13:59 PM # Q
The thing I don't get, is why he'll post such a long winded diatribe under something as innocuous and commonplace as just some third party company like Saguaro making some new set of widgets. I'm going to chalk it up to more of his reliably impulsive lunacy. It's pretty obvious Saguaro knew about Palm/Linux, Windows Mobile, or whatever. They also probably know that Palm generally tends to develop that sort of OS/GUI stuff in house, even if it ends up being worse than third party stuff currently on the market. Saguaro's probably assessed the marketability of releasing a set of widgets for Garnet users that are happy with what they've got already, and figured it might help prolong the lifespan of their product. Getting acquired is a bonus that probably can't be relied upon. That's 90's thinking, that all you have to do is make a bunch of ridiculous claims, and someone will come along and buy you out by default. They're making something to support users of old handhelds. They probably won't make much money, but they're trying to carve out a niche by giving Garnet users something they've wanted for a long time. How the HELL does this somehow spell the end of Palm? It doesn't, that's what. What will? The crappy marketing plan that they've pursued over the past 3 years is what will kill them. Or I should say, non-marketing plan.

Let me put it this way: it's a safe bet that Saguaro knows that Palm has already built all this stuff. Why would Palm suddenly just feel like buying Saguaro so they can run all their widgets on top of a compatibility layer? Palm's execs make a lot of harebrained mistakes, but even they wouldn't be that stupid.

Palm III->Palm Vx->Palm m505->Palm m515->Tungsten T->Tapwave Zodiac II->Treo 700p

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This isn't the only thing that can do this...

nathanww @ 5/14/2007 11:48:36 PM # Q
There's also Multitasker

http://domoresoftware.tripod.com

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