Interview with Pandora About Developing for WebOS

Pandora WebOSTom Conrad has a long history in engineering and product design: he's led teams that have worked on everything from operating systems to video games, including the fondly-remembered PC classic You Don't Know Jack. Currently the Chief Technical Officer for Pandora Internet Radio, Tom's in a unique position to offer insider opinion on the development and capabilities of Palm's new WebOS and Pre smartphone, having worked with the company on these products for a number of months now while creating a version of the Pandora player for webOS. On Monday he generously gave up some of his time to talk to Palm Infocenter about his experiences with Palm's new baby and the development process.

Hit the jump for the interview transcript, or listen to the audio.

Interview Audio Stream (13:48)

Pandora Interview Transcript

PALM INFOCENTER: This is Tim Carroll for, and I'm talking with Tom Conrad, Chief Technology Officer of Pandora Internet Radio. How are you doing, Tom?

TOM CONRAD: I'm doing very well thanks.

PIC: Great. Alright, so, first up – how long has Pandora been working with Palm on the webOS?

TC: Well, you know, we've had conversations with Palm [since October] - [...]

[thanks to a technical glitch on my part, the first thirty seconds of this answer were lost – Tom tells us that Palm approached them in October, selling Pandora on webOS. A series of meetings followed, where Palm told them about the proposed development model. Following that came-]

[...] an invitation for us to come down to Palm, the week before Thanksgiving and participate in a sort of sneak-preview developer "camp", where we got our hands on a very early version of the development tools, and spent three days on-site with them, developing the first version of Pandora for what would become the Palm webOS.

PIC: That sounds almost like a summer camp for code...

TC: [laugh] Yeah, it really was...

PIC: Did they hook you up with guidance counsellors?

Pandora Mobile WebOS TC: Yes they did, yes they did. We made lanyards and sang songs around a campfire and wrote software...

PIC: exercises...

TC: Yeah.

PIC: So what was that experience like?

TC: When things really started to get interesting was about a month later, just before Christmas, they invited us down again to give us a preview of the phone itself. At the developer camp, we'd just been working on Macintoshes running a kind of emulator for the new OS. So we hadn't seen any of the details about the phone they're now calling the Pre. And so on this second visit, we got ushered into a conference room and after a bit of pleasantries they unveiled a prototype of the Pre. Which – I don't know if you've been able to hold one in your hand yet-

PIC: Not myself, unfortunately...

TC: -It's fantastic. It's a really, really well-designed piece of hardware, with a bunch of thoughtful decisions, from the slide-out keyboard to the removable battery... the camera has a flash... whole thing has a really nice sort of size and heft and feel to it... you open the keyboard up, it sort of pivots a bit so the phone itself has a kind of curve that matches the curvature of your face when you hold it up for a phone call... it's just a lovely piece of hardware.

PIC: Yeah, it sounds great. Was the prototype they showed you – was that the same one they unveiled at CES?

TC: Yeah, it's the same device, although even in the few weeks that passed they'd received another round of engineering samples from their hardware provider and they're making nice progress on it – y'know, continuing to polish and refine all the little details.

PIC: Right, right, obviously still a few months until release... so what's Pandora's take on their approach? I mean, they're going for this whole "synergy" thing where the OS integrates with the Internet quite heavily. Some people have been saying "Oh, you know, it's just web apps", that kind of thing, but other people seem to think that this is going to be some kind of new paradigm in mobile design. So what's your take on it – what's your thoughts on that?

TC: Well, I think one of the important little nuances here to understand is that you might think from the name "webOS" and from the technologies used – HTML and CSS and Javascript – you might think that this is the whole thing, just kind of a fancy web browser, and that you're – y'know, any interaction you take is interacting with web content. That's really not how it works at all. What you really have, is that you have an environment where a developer can write a traditional application – so, an application that gets installed onto the phone with all its code and all of its user interface elements and that is actually local to the phone. There's also a database and file storage that allows you to take data from the internet connection and store it locally – so when you're browsing your contacts, for example, you're interacting with an application that's local to the phone, with interface elements that are local to the phone and with contacts that are actually sitting on the phone.

What makes it this "webOS" is that the programming models for your developer rather than being C or Java is really just HTML and CSS and Javascript. So you can take a developer who's been developing web applications and quickly get them productive in the webOS SDK, leveraging their familiarity with these web-based standards. And that decision is one of the reasons we were able to get, very very quickly, a version of Pandora up and running. We were able to take one of our star web developers – someone who has never touched the Palm webOS and not done mobile development before – and have that person be immediately productive because it's all based on systems that they're familiar with from web development.

PIC: That sounds really great – yeah, Ed Colligan specifically mentioned you guys on stage at CES and said you had a great experience working with it. So did your developer work with the Mojo SDK?

TC: Yeah, we're definitely playing with Mojo as part of this and that's another accelerator for developing the user experience of the application, so in addition to having the standard web-based techniques at your fingertips you have Mojo which helps you with managing the layout of the UI and the storage of data and the interaction between the data and your presentation element. It's another great mechanism that ensures that you don't start to reverse principles but rather can build upon a rather rich base.

PIC: So how have you found that Mojo compares to other SDK's? Obviously being in web programming languages there's been some speculation that it's going to be a bit limiting for more, let's say "intensive" mobile applications. So how would Mojo compare to say, SDK's that work using C or C++?

TC: I think that there is a bit of a trade-off there, in fact I think when they first told us about their approach I was sceptical that you would be able as a developer to get a really great user experience with fluid presentation just using HTML/Javascript/CSS and so on in the Mojo framework... but I think for a certain class of application – when you think about an email application, or the contacts application, or something like Google Maps or Pandora – I think all of these classes of applications are really going to be fantastic to build and deliver on webOS. Anything like a medical encyclopaedia – anything sort of data and presentation-oriented I think will be very very easy to develop and have fantastic user experience characteristics. Even for multimedia applications like Pandora.

I think the category of applications that is perhaps the least served by the webOS environment is the kind of really sophisticated gaming type of applications. Not so much things like Bejeweled or Tetris-

PIC: (laughs) Yeah, they're not exactly resource-hogs-

TC: -you can make great versions of those type of casual games, but things that really sort of want to render graphical elements in real time – I think some of those kind of things would be easier to develop in a lower-level environment like C, or objective C like you have on the iPhone for example.

PIC: Palm didn't really mention it, but - the webOS definitely has a Linux framework underneath it, doesn't it?

TC: It does have a Linux framework underneath it and I think it's really encouraging to know that Palm has developed all the standard applications that come with the phone in the HTML/CSS/Javascript Mojo environment. There's certainly the technical possibility that they'll open up another layer of SDK that will enable game development, for example. Or maybe they'll even go to another web technology to make that possible. For example, maybe they would go – and this is entirely speculation on my part – but maybe they would go to Flash for developing the things that might be more difficult to develop using HTML and CSS.

So I think they have lots of options, but for now it seems they're focussed on evangelising the Mojo HTML SDK as the only mechanism, and they'll presumably address other application types in a future release.

webOS partners

PIC: Early days yet. One other thing I was wondering... are you at liberty to disclose at all who any of those other developers were who were at the webOS summer camp?

TC: I can't talk about the participants at that event, although I know it's public knowledge that Facebook got up on stage at their launch event to talk a little bit about working with Palm to integrate Facebook into the OS itself, so that when you are browsing your address book your Facebook friends show up there, their photos... so we're seeing not only application-style development but third-party integration to the built-in applications in a really interesting way as well. (a whistling sound like a bomb dropping is heard)

PIC: ..... was that a firework going off in the background there?

TC: I am sitting outside at the moment and I think I've got what may be a pre-school next door, so you may hear the delightful chatter of young children.

PIC: (laughs) Right, OK. Well, I think that about wraps up what I was really interested in... one last thing – do you think this will herald a new era for Pandora on mobile? You guys have been sort of limited to the desktop so far, what with the lack of really decent mobile OS's out there – do you think this is going to help you guys get further off the ground at all, expand the business and so forth?

TC: Well, we've actually been working on mobile applications for Pandora for – if you can believe it – for well over two years now. We're on 40 different handsets, everything from J2ME and Windows Mobile to the iPhone – in fact our iPhone application is the most downloaded application in the entire App Store with over 2.6 million installs-

PIC: Pretty impressive-

TC: So we're definitely at a really exciting point in the history of the company where we're able to bring the Pandora experience of rating stations, listening to stations, getting the whole personalised experience with thumbs up and thumbs down and take that off the desktop and put it in your pocket. iPhone I think is a phenomenal implementation of that, and we're very excited about devices like the Palm Pre to let us bring that experience to even more listeners and... I think it's a time of tremendous innovation in the mobile market in terms of what Pandora's doing and what the hardware manufacturers are putting in place. Fun to be a part of it.

PIC: Cool. Alright, last question: do you think this puts Palm back in the game?

TC: I think half the fun of this announcement is that, y'know, it's a fantastic phone and a fantastic OS and the other thing that's fun for is that these guys are such underdogs. And I don't think that anyone went into CES expecting them to deliver in such a compelling way. I can't think of much that's harder in the world than building a modern, mobile operating system and integrating it with a fantastic piece of hardware. We see companies take a swing and miss at this time after time – I really think Palm has hit a home run on this one.

PIC: Great! That's about all I had – Tom, thanks very much for your time, we'll send you a link once this is up on the site. It's been great to hear from you.

TC: Great talking with you.

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cgk @ 1/13/2009 5:50:56 PM # Q
great interview - some real meat in there.

RE: well..
twrock @ 1/14/2009 5:09:31 AM # Q
Yes, that was great. It's nice to hear something directly from a developer who has already been working with the new OS. Sounds quite a bit more positive than the early speculation would lead one to believe. I guess that's why it pays not to listen to the early speculation too much.

"twrock is infamous around these parts"
(from my profile over at Brighthand due to my negative 62 rep points rating)
RE: well..
CADJedi @ 1/14/2009 8:37:54 AM # Q

I would like to hear from someone like C.E. Steuart Dewar at Pimlico Software. His program Datebk6 is a larger, complex, robust, and powerful application that hooks into all kinds of aspects of the Os and to other PIM apps.

Datebk6 is a hugely popular Palm OS application and one that shows just how robust and full featured a Palm app can be. If Steuart has seen the new webOS and thinks that he could replicate Datebk6 with it, then I would really be a believer!

RE: well..
freakout @ 1/14/2009 1:47:53 PM # Q
^^ Your wish is my command. I sent some questions over to Pimlico just now.
RE: well..
daveandjen1999 @ 1/14/2009 4:13:22 PM # Q
Wow, hope he responds. DateBk6 has literally changed the way I do my job. It is *the* killer app. Hope he's got positive things to say.

RE: well..
alanh @ 1/15/2009 6:37:53 AM # Q
I asked Mr. Dewar prior to seeing this and he was gracious enough to respond. Paraphasing, he said it is too early to say much of anything since there is no technical information published yet. He said he'd be unlikely to do something native unless Palm ships 1 million+ handsets per year, but if they support Java, it would be much more likely.

On the other hand, he says that his new Java app, Pimlical, will be able to free us from PalmOS and will hopefully be supported on several platforms by the end of the year.



RE: well..
SeldomVisitor @ 1/15/2009 6:46:22 AM # Q
That's actually a fairly significant statement from Dewar.

RE: well..
freakout @ 1/15/2009 12:58:34 PM # Q
Alan, David Beers blogged recently about the likelihood of the Pre running Java:

Here's what else we know: it's not a J2ME MIDP environment on the Pre like the ones on most other phones. To run an application server it's at least a CDC environment with Foundation Profile, which means it's pretty beefy and has a lot of the power of the underlying Linux system available to it. That doesn't necessarily mean that Palm will be letting 3rd parties write applications that run in the Java runtime as opposed to WebKit, but they certainly could.

So hopefully Palm are going to expose that to devs later on. It's difficult to imagine they're not going to open up deeper layers of the device once it's launched, given all the clamouring for it.

Reply to this comment

Nice work

mikecane @ 1/13/2009 6:03:43 PM # Q
Interesting, that comment about Flash being used for games.

Flash could also be used to deliver, for instance, a daily webOS comic. With animation! (I would squeal like a girl if Sinfest did that!)

Also interesting for him to bring up a medical encyclopedia. I'd take that as a hint that you next contact the people at ePocrates! Doctors, as you've seen from some comments here, are BIG Palm users.

And because I know you people tend to ignore iPhone developments, look at this and drool for a port to the Pre:

Watch the video. This is a killer app!

RE: Nice work
DrewT3 @ 1/14/2009 6:27:08 AM # Q
Flash support would be fine, but not a game-changer for Pre gaming. Javascript and HTML 5 can do scripting, vector and bitmap animation just like Flash. They are both interpreted code running in a sandbox. Flash has a larger group of developers who know how to do it, though.

Palm could let developers write 3D games in Javascript if they gave Javascript access to a 3D API like OpenGL. This probably woudn't be too hard if they can port a Linux OpenGL implementation to WebOS and then create javascript wrappers around the methods and properties.

RE: Nice work
Gekko @ 1/14/2009 7:07:30 AM # Q

nice job freakout. you actually sound relatively articulate.

RE: Nice work
freakout @ 1/14/2009 1:16:58 PM # Q
^^ I was raised under a stern directive: "Speak properly or don't speak at all!"
Reply to this comment

Fantastic Interview!

rc46 @ 1/13/2009 6:38:24 PM # Q
Great interview Very informative. There are really some interesting gems in there.

Thank you,

Pilot 1000 -> Pilot 5000 -> Palm Pilot Professional -> HP620LX-> TRG Pro -> Palm V -> Palm Vx -> Palm m505 -> Palm i705 -> Palm TT - Samsung i500 -> Treo 600

RE: Fantastic Interview!
freakout @ 1/13/2009 11:55:44 PM # Q
thank you. It was a learning experience for me in many ways... like "next time, use a better damn app than the standard Windows Sound Recorder" on an original Eee PC for recording (which is how I lost that snippet from his first answer). I was actually just expecting an email response to my questions and was pleasantly surprised when they offered to talk on the phone instead. Although that meant I was a little under-researched going in... I didn't know Pandora already had such a strong mobile presence, for example.

Nor did I know Tom had worked on You Don't Know Jack, which is probably a good thing because I may have just wound up gushing about that instead of asking real questions.

all in all though, turned out even better than I thought it would.

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

RE: Fantastic Interview!
twrock @ 1/14/2009 5:13:03 AM # Q
"next time, use a better damn app than the standard Windows Sound Recorder" on an original Eee PC....

Yep, you should have gone with the Linux version. ;-)

"twrock is infamous around these parts"
(from my profile over at Brighthand due to my negative 62 rep points rating)
RE: Fantastic Interview!
freakout @ 1/14/2009 1:41:11 PM # Q
^^ Haha. Would you believe I did buy a Linux version? I used it for awhile and actually quite liked it, but got annoyed at the version of Skype. I mainly use the Eee for video chats with my brother who lives in another state, and the Linux version of Skype refused to display in the correct aspect ratio at full screen.

I'm gonna roll it back off Windows eventually I think, see if the initial problems have been fixed - there's got to be new versions of the apps by now...

Reply to this comment

Internet Radio

sford @ 1/13/2009 6:45:38 PM # Q
I've been using Slacker; but heck, if Pandora is ready to go with the Pre, I'd switch. :)

Pilot Pro, III, IIIe, Nino (yeah...oops!), IIIc, VIIx, m505, NR70V, NZ90, NX60, T3, Zire 72s, NX80V, Treo 90, Treo 650
Reply to this comment

Other Palm developers

palmit @ 1/13/2009 8:44:46 PM # Q
I wonder if any other know Palm developers would be willing to discuss appls currently they are working on. I heard somewhere that the iPhone version of Pandora took a few months to write.

RE: Other Palm developers
freakout @ 1/13/2009 11:57:16 PM # Q
Stay tuned on that, I'm still trying to round up answers from a lot of them.
RE: Other Palm developers
palmato @ 1/14/2009 8:31:45 AM # Q
It would be interesting to hear from dataviz. They must be having much tougher decisions to make.

Hey Admin: Why do we have to keep two profiles?

RE: Other Palm developers
LiveFaith @ 1/14/2009 8:57:16 PM # Q
Dataviz may trying to figure out how to bundle the Docs2Go package for Pre with all those leftover versions for the Foleo.

More to the point. I must say that I hope someone, anyone, else besides Dataviz creates an office suite for this device. I've been a D2G user since the v2 release back in the days of the Sperry Univac. That software has NEVER and I mean never functioned on ANY and I do mean any device properly. Yes, I have gotten some use out of opening attachments and sending updated spreadsheets out etc. But the sync has constantly been filled with little time consuming landmines. The apps on the Palm have always been unstable and crash every single device from the Palm Vx all the way up to my Treos and Roteo beta test unit. High on features but low on user confidence.

No way, I'm paying for their upgrades. After seven times and still unreliable operation, I have given up. I'll try the freebie version in my mythical ATT Pre with SD micro, but I have little hope of reliability. Just a rant and a hope of a stable office suite.

Pat Horne

RE: Other Palm developers
Gekko @ 1/14/2009 9:05:22 PM # Q

hmmmn....i must disagree. you know i'm the first to bitch about anything but my DTG has always been great.

RE: Other Palm developers
SeldomVisitor @ 1/15/2009 3:57:40 AM # Q
> ...days of the Sperry Univac...

36 bits rule!

Load Modifier and Jump - yay!

[I wrote my first compiler for an Algol-like language on a Univac...and that damn computer was NOT stack-oriented!]

Reply to this comment

Palm and WebOS

JEMShoe @ 1/13/2009 9:10:11 PM # Q
One of the shortcomings for me as a long time PalmOS user is that Palm does not provide upgrades to their OS for your current phone. You have to buy a new PDA or phone. I would like to buy a Pre and use it forever...until the phone's technology is physically outdated with either the OS' capability to be backward compatable or the carrier no longer supports that technology.

If Android is truly open source where it can be updated indefinately, that is a better route. Although I love PalmOS and I like this least what I know of it.

Gee, will my current apps work with it? Or do you have to run StyleTap on it:) And gee, will StyleTap work on it??

RE: Palm and WebOS
hkklife @ 1/13/2009 9:42:02 PM # Q
No carrier or handset manufacturer is going to allow "infinite updates". In this day and age, that's sure-fire way to going broke post-haste.

In fact, Palm removing the microSDHC memory card slot on the Pre (ala iPhone and ALL damn Apple products!) speaks volumes about their business model...suck you into a crippled "gotta have it" product, sign a 2yr contract, then clobber you 6-12 months into that 2yr contract by having you pay full price for the new-otherwise-identical 32GB model.

It's pretty tragic when you can hack Dmitry Grinberg's PowerSDHC driver + FAT32 libraries onto a 4.5 year old Treo 650 and potentially have more storage onboard via 32gb SDHC card than the Pre's feeble 8GB.

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

RE: Palm and WebOS
DrewT3 @ 1/14/2009 6:31:09 AM # Q
Even back in the 90's, Palm rarely let you upgrade the OS thier devices. The Pilot 1000 could be upgraded via a new memory card, and I think there was an OS 4 upgrade for the Palm V, otherwise you were stuck with what it shipped with.

RE: Palm and WebOS
skaorsk8 @ 1/14/2009 7:02:31 AM # Q
hklife - I agree with your comments 100%. To me, this is the first device that would allow me to eliminate my smartphone and iPod (recently upgraded to the iPod Touch for the apps) and support all the things I would be looking to do. But cramming all my music/videos/ebooks/applications is hard enough on a 32GB iPod Touch - doing that on an 8GB Pre would be impossible.

Might I also add that I have Verizon, and refuse to get a data plan on any smart device I have, simply because I'm not paying more than $15/month, and wifi is free. If I can get data on the Pre for $15/month on Sprint ... that, to me, is worth the switch. That alone. (Well, plus the card slot.)

RE: Palm and WebOS
hkklife @ 1/14/2009 7:03:52 AM # Q
The last official OS update that Palm was the CD that upgraded the Palm III (or Pilot/PalmPilot w/ III upgrade card), and V series to OS 4.1. Kinda amusing that you could take a Pilot 1000 from 1996, install a III upgrade card, and then flash it to be as current OS-wise as the m500 from nearly 6 years later.

Prior to that, Palm was pretty good about releasing OS updates though that was a different era, totall different economic climate and different product lines.

Aside from that, there have been a few fairly hefty ROM updates for the T5, LifeDrive and T|C but nothing that ever actually changed the OS version # in ROM.

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

Reply to this comment

icarus @ 1/14/2009 5:53:13 AM # Q
Tim, thanks for this great interview.
I enjoyed listening to it. Got some great insights and improved the already great impression of webOS and palm pré.


Palm III, Palm III, Palm m105, Palm Tungsten T, palmOne LifeDrive, palmOne Tungsten T5, Palm TX, palm Tréo 680.
& palm pré on the wish list !

Reply to this comment


dandrade @ 1/14/2009 6:47:15 AM # Q
I'm thinking that with all the comments about the missing SD slot, that the final hardware might have one. Even Pandora mentioned that there were differences in the hardware between November and January, so we can always hope.

T3 -> Lifedrive -> TX -> Centro
alanh @ 1/14/2009 7:37:51 AM # Q
Personally, I'm torn on the SD issue. While 8 GB isn't a heck of a lot to have built-in when you consider that 32 GB flash drives aren't too expensive these days, the fact that I don't have to worry about file management or where things are installed makes life much easier on an iPhone. I have yet to see a truely seamless implementation of removable memory in a phone/PDA/MP3 player, and file management is a pain for everyone except hardcore users.

I have used a memory card on various Palm devices ever since I bought an m505 back in the day, and still use one on my Treo today (for apps, NVBackup, and Plucker data storage), but I would much rather have a large monolithic dedicated file system. I would rather not have to think about and manage two separate systems. On my Treo, I have to consider where I'm installing my software (card or internal), where the data is going to live, etc. I'm a "power user" and have used several things which make using a card easier over the years (PowerRun, LauncherX, ZLauncher, etc), and I still appreciate the simplicity and convenience that a large, non-removable FS offers.

The only way I could see it done with seamless integration would be to have something with multiple slots with smart-RAID-like behavior akin to what a Drobo can do with differing sized SATA drives. If things aren't implemented that way (i.e. with a single growing/shrinking filespace that isn't dependent the presence of any single card), the user is required to be smart about file management.

Also, I know that for the vast majority of Palm and Treo users I've known (a number that has dwindled rapidly over the past few years), only the very-rare "power user" types actually use the memory card slot. The rest, even if they bought a card, simply don't use it.


Winterbay @ 1/14/2009 8:00:20 AM # Q
I don't know about that. At least if you have (like me) a Z72 you need the card if you want to be able to use the device as a media player, which I wanted then due to lack of other mp3-player. The sound has since then died (due to me accidentally dropping it in the floor too many times) but it worked great before that :)
alanh @ 1/14/2009 8:27:47 AM # Q
@Winterbay: Since the Pre claims that it will have 8 GB of storage and work as a USB mass-storage drive with a cable, why would you need a card for that particular use?

My claim is that it is an option exclusively for power users and 95%+ of people ignore it, especially if there's a simpler option available: e.g. USB mass storage or automatic iTunes-style syncing.


Gekko @ 1/14/2009 8:34:41 AM # Q
>My claim is that it is an option exclusively for power users and 95%+ of people ignore it, especially if there's a simpler option available: e.g. USB mass storage or automatic iTunes-style syncing.

i disagree. that might have been the case yesterday, but given the popularity of digital media (music, movies, photos) even people who aren't really techies (or were never considered "power users") can really QUICKLY accumulate a lot of media which will take up a lot of GB. me, i'm a minimalist - but i'm a power user in other ways. yet some 17 year old kid who doesn't care about PIM who maybe yesterday wasn't considered a "power user" probably have many GB of media they want to carry.

don't forget about parkinson's law.

also - how much does each GB cost these days? i'd imagine it's pretty cheap - maybe they should have offered an 8GB and a 32GB and cover both bases???

Gekko @ 1/14/2009 8:39:11 AM # Q

sorry - i think i answered a different question. i was talking about the need for 16GB+ memory - not necessarily an SD slot.

hkklife @ 1/14/2009 9:01:39 AM # Q
Palm's reps were either trying to blow smoke up our arses last week or else were pitifully uninformed. The guy was trying to tell me that 8gb SDHC cards were "just not hitting the market" and were really expensive. He said that by including 8gb onboard, they were saving the customer a lot of aggravation and time as well as saving the customer the cost of a $50 card.

I told him that for about $60 shipped, I could buy 2x16GB SDHC cards now and 32GB cards would be probably at that price probably by year's end. He just ignored me and said that the added complexity of spring/eject mechanisms (not required by most microSDHC devices-in fact, I have a digital photo frame here with a fullsize SD card in it that doesn't have an ejecting mechanism.

My point is this:

Flash prices are constantly dropping and in flux. It takes Palm so long to conceptualize, design, approve, place orders for, manufacture, sell to the carriers and receive FCC certification that yesterday's 8GB is today's 2GB. And remember, Palm doesn't have Apple's NAND purchasing power/influence and Palm's product refresh cycles are traditionally glacially slow. So why try to anticipate market trends by crippling your device with a tiny amount of onboard storage? Either fill it with 16gb/32gb from the onset or just put a damn slot in it and leave it up to the customer to keep it empty or max it out.

Do you know how many people would be crying the blues if digicam companies went back to having a small amount of fixed memory in their cameras? My first digital camera had something like 2mb onboard and it was a huge PITA, even when limited to shooting 800x600 images.

No, my guess is that Palm's just trying to be like Apple and being greedy. They want us to buy a new Pre everytime they refresh the design to get the latest version of their browser & email apps and to gain a few more GB of storage.

P.S. As far as seamless expansion card integration goes, I have a cheap-o Sandisk Sansa for working out. It's got 2gb onboard and I think I have a 2gb microSD card installed in it. Either volume is seen as a removable USB drive when I plug it into my PC. So if I drag & drop folders A-J in the internal space and put K-Z on the SD card, the whole selection of songs is "seen" by the Sansa as one contiguous volume of music (after it does its kinda slow routine at startup of assembling the library but that's only a one-time thing when you add new music).

So if that $40 MP3 player can do it so elegantly, then I am sure the combined might of WebOS + the TI chipset COULD handle seamless integration of an external expansion if Palm wanted it. It's just that Palm doesn't want it for $$$$$ reasons.

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

Scotland @ 1/14/2009 9:33:14 AM # Q
This phone looks great EXCEPT for the lack of an SD slot. Adding it from a hardware perspective wouldn't be hard - the excuse offered that it takes up too much space is weak (it could even be under the battery for all I care - I don't swap them that often).

The discussion on this thread about how they would handle it from a software perspective gives me some pause, though - however, I'm sure they could figure out some way to add that option that would be intuitive. For example, they could have both the device storage and the SD storage each show up as a mass storage drive when connected to a PC, have any apps installed either place register with the OS (I'm guessing apps install to some sort of apps dir and this could be consistent both places).

If they are not going to have removable flash storage included, then they need to include more storage on the device - 8GB standard is too small in today's world (though I suspect they will bump this up to 16GB standard with a 32GB option before launch) - I currently have 16GB of music on my Treo. 8GB isn't going to allow for many movies, especially after a user adds their music...

A really nice SURPRISE for launch would be the same or more onboard memory (16GB) with removable storage. If available in time, SDXC would be amazing! Imagine... allowing up to 2TB storage on an SD card! This would be the uber device to have at almost any price - a really powerful multitasking device, with a growing software library, with an OS platform with growth potential (Apple has set the standard on evolving the OS platform via updates and Palm has implied they will match this) with unlimited storage. Maybe Palm would call it the Palm Pre Pro. :)

Winterbay @ 1/14/2009 2:28:33 PM # Q
@alanh: I hope they won't do any kind of iTunes automatic synching of media. It is one of the many reasons I will never buy an iPhone or iPod. I want to chose what to put where by myself and not have some program decide that for me. The fact that iTunes have this behaviour as the standard choice is something I can't really understand.

Gekko @ 1/14/2009 2:34:41 PM # Q

i agreed. im hoping for an "initiate from desktop" and an "autosync at 2am" option.

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