Full HandEra 330 Information Available

The long awaited information on the new HandEra 330 is finally available. In some ways it is similar to current models from other licensees. For example, it has 8MB of RAM, 2 MB Flash memory, and runs the 33 MHz Motorola Dragonball VZ. It uses a version of OS 3.5 that has been tweaked for it, though HandEra is promising to offer OS 4.0 when it becomes available.

However, it is also boasts numerous new features. The HandEra 330's most impressive innovation is a soft Graffiti area giving it a 320x240 screen (with the Graffiti area off). Current Palm apps can either run in a 160x160 window or be stretched to fit in the new space. An interesting feature of the 16 grey-scale screen is that it offers landscape mode.

In addition to the Compact Flash slot its predecessor had, the 330 sports an SD/MMC slot. It also has a built-in microphone and an amplified speaker to do voice recording. It can record directly to RAM or CompactFlash or Secure Digital card.

HandEra plans to offer it for $350 by the end of June, first at Sam's Club and then HandEra's Web site, Office Depot, and other resellers. pdaMD is taking preorders now.

In a wonderful departure from the actions of many of its rivals, HandEra has made the 330 the same size as the TRGpro, so it can use the same peripherals as its predecessor and the Palm III series. It is 4.7 x 3.2 x 0.7 inches and has a metal housing.

One of its most unusual features is that it requires 4 AAA batteries, which the company says gives it double the battery life of the Visor Deluxe or m100. This was probably necessary to power some CF harddrives which require lots of current. There is also an optional rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack which can be recharged through a power jack on the side of the unit. The 330 weighs 5.9 ounces with the AAA batteries and 5.4 ounces with the li-ion pack.

The 330 also has a side-mounted jog dial and a select button for one-handed use. It uses a noninverting backlight.

According to HandEra CEO Mike Downey, unlike features developed by Handspring and Sony, which Palm has the right to add back into the OS, HandEra's innovations are its own intellectual property. However, he is interested in getting Palm to standardize the OS on HandEra's screen resolution. A spokesperson for Palm said they would consider it. "I donít think we've made a decision either way," said Christy Wyatt, the head of Palm's licensing program.

However, Ms. Wyatt had nothing but praise for the new screen. "The screen itself is beautiful," she said. "It's really clear. It's really crisp." Physically, it is 2.2 x 2.9 inches. Its resolution is described as being QVGA, or one quarter the size of a VGA monitor.

Mr. Downey did admit they may have problem getting developers to write applications that can take advantage of the new screen resolution. This is mainly because HandEra is the smallest of the Palm licensees. "I think we've got challenges just because we're the little guy on the block," he said.

The virtual Graffiti are has several unique features. It can be replaced with a QWERTY one which users can still write graffiti on if they choose. Also, what are silkscreen buttons now can be replaced with icons for applications.

"The addition of an SD slot came from feedback of our TRGpro users," said Mr. Downey. "Most of the users purchased the TRGpro for its massive storage and on-device backup in non-volatile data, thanks to the CF slot. With so many input/output add-ons for CF, our users wanted another slot for memory."

Of course, the 330 comes with standard Palm OS software but also it features the QuickOffice suite, which includes applications for viewing Excel spreadsheets and Word documents. "Both of those take advantage of the resolution and larger display surface of the device," Mr. Downey says. It also comes with Chapura Pocket Mirror for synchronization with Outlook.

HandEra says its new handheld is faster than all other 33MHz Dragonball devices, such as the Visor Prism, because of the slightly faster DRAM used in the 330.

HandEra is targeting the device towards corporations but will offer it through retail, as mentioned earlier.

"As HandEra, we plan to take a leadership role in the next era of personal computing by continuing to listen closely to customer needs, and deliver products and solutions that exceed users' expectations," said Mr. Downey.

Someone has sent numerous pictures of the not-yet-released HandEra device to PalmStation. As they are sure to soon be swamped, we will be mirroring them here.


Front View
 
HandEra's Screen
 
Voice Pad
 
Top w/ CF and SD Cards

Chart in Landscape Mode
 
eBook in Landscape Mode

Graffiti Mirroring
 
Top w/o Cards
 

Related Articles:

On the Web: Thanks to Jerry F. Giardina and Kent for their tips. Also, I updated this article as more information became available so some comments below were posted before full information was known. Please don't be confused. -Ed

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Looks like Windows CE

tsuishui @ 4/20/2001 4:36:32 PM #
According to the photo, the new machine looks like a Windows CE device which is running CE 2.11 OS

RE: Looks like Windows CE
DvsMark @ 4/20/2001 11:16:30 PM #
Yeah, in your dreams. It only vaguely resembles a Windows CE machine. But, it spanks the new products from all the Palm OS competitors. Provided that this product is delivered to specs and is on target for the announced ship date, it basically has placed the new offerings from it's competitors into an earlier than expected obsolescence mode. It will eat the competition alive.

I'm just wondering where all the TRG/HandEra bashers are now, probably dishing up another slice of humble pie. I believe that TRG/HandEra is here to stay and they are definitely a formidable competitor in not just the Palm OS marketplace, but the PDA marketplace in general. Now my only question is who wants to buy one slightly used TRGPro? It's proven itself to be a great PDA, that, oh by the way, is still way ahead of the competition in "useable features".

HandEra will not have a color PDA for at least 12 months
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/21/2001 1:57:11 AM #
In an interview with the Des Moines Register today, HandEra CEO and chairman, Micheal Downey stated that HandEra will not release a color HandEra for at least 12 months.
Oddly, last Friday, he also told a CNET reporter, "We don't have to sell millions of units. We don't even have to sell hundreds of thousands to make money on the product", suggesting that HandEra may be resigned to maintaining their role as a minor player on the Palm scene. It has been estimated that TRGPros account for less than 0.5% of the PalmOS devices currently being sold.

ATTN: TRG - "Average" PDA users want COLOR, not B+W.
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/21/2001 1:28:13 PM #
TRG doesn't stand much of a chance selling many of these monochrome PDAs, since most people out there aren't power users. (I would bet that the power user market is < 10% of the entire market.) I doubt they will be around as an independent company for long.
I don't know many people who even consider monochrome once they have seen a similarly-priced color device. Color is an intuitive choice for most people, and the benefits of SoftGraffiti, two expansion slots, etc. are lost on everyone but power users like the people who read this site. Can you see a salesperson trying to explain the advantages of a HandEra 330 over the new color Sony? One look at the Sony screen will be all it takes to convince 95% of casual users to go with the Sony. Another sale lost for HandEra.
Don't fool yourselves into thinking typical buyers are even slightly interested in the features that power users get excited about.

RE: trgpro great product.
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/21/2001 9:18:36 PM #
I own a trgpro. It has been a great product. I like the new product as well. If it were color
I would purchase one. Well the features are great but no color?

bob

RE: Looks like Windows CE
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/21/2001 11:39:18 PM #
anyone want a used TRGPro? I gotta have this monster.

I did want to hold out for the PalmV form factor goodie from the mothership,
but the features here seem too good to pass up!

Cheesy

I.M. Anonymous @ 4/20/2001 4:57:13 PM #
The Sony Clie-700c is the only device coming out that even sounds relatively interesting. Handera? Monochrome? Please. And I suppose they will be asking $350+ for it. Handera's (TRG's) days are numbered.

RE: Cheesy
jayhawk88 @ 4/20/2001 5:55:43 PM #
Dude, the world doesn't revolve around color for some PDA users. Myself, I'd rather have longer battery life than color any day.

RE: Cheesy
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/20/2001 6:45:37 PM #

I know, what a friggen ignorant statement..

Some of us have more important uses for our PDA's than playing video games while listening to the latest M&M song ripped off from Napster.

When you move out of your parents house and stop popping zits you may start to understand.



RE: Cheesy
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/20/2001 7:41:45 PM #
Playing games isn't the only use for color. After uisng DateBk 4 on a Palm IIIc, I don't think I could ever go back to a monochrome Palm. Color-coded categories make it easy for a single glance at your appointments to convey MUCH more information.

RE: Cheesy
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/20/2001 8:08:55 PM #
I donít think the responses are against color. They just think the guy is a ignorant retard. ;)

RE: Cheesy
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/20/2001 8:18:32 PM #
ROFL!

RE: Cheesy
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/23/2001 9:23:35 AM #
It amazes me how many people continually talk about the "new Sony" like there's been some official announcement that Sony will release it in the US this summer or something. It's only available in Japan, people! All you have right now are RUMORS and HOPES that Sony will release it in the US. Stop discussing it like it's US release is a foregone conclusion.

As for the 330, just admit that, color aside, it is the best PalmOS PDA released so far. Palm III form factor is not a big deal. Nor is the supposedly "ugly" case or high price. For comparison, I give you the Visor Platinum--possibly the butt-ugliest, cheapest-looking PDA out there, but also the fastest. The HandEra 330 wipes it.

RE: Cheesy
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/23/2001 10:57:28 AM #
Thanks for all of the well thought out, intelligent responses, from an obviously educated group of individuals....chimps.

RE: Cheesy
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/23/2001 4:23:19 PM #
....I think it's eminem, not M&M, but I'm too old to know for sure.

this is cool

I.M. Anonymous @ 4/20/2001 5:02:40 PM #
You guys are high- this thing is cool. Finally good resolution unlike the Palm m505 160x160

And soft graffiti. That's what palm should have done 5 years ago.


RE: this is cool
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/20/2001 5:31:07 PM #
I agree. Since when did everyone become a PDA snob around here? And why does everyone think color = success. It hasnít so far.

And it's not like this is "just another B&W PDA". This device has some new unique features that are quite practical and compliment the PDA concept nicely.

Just get a PocketPC if you guys are so starved for all these bells and whistles.

2c

RE: this is cool
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/20/2001 10:24:29 PM #
Yea, that's exactly what I did. Shame on Palm and its partners for choosing to be "simple" over innovative. If the tech industry as a whole has shown us one thing, no company got anywhere in the long run by standing still. This device is weak, as unfortunately, most Palm devices are these days. With the right focus, that company could have been great. Lastly, don't give me the market share argument either. I used to be a Palm disciple and had to switch because, stacked next to some PPC's, they absolutely seem like yesterday's news. The market share is eroding.

RE: this is cool
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/20/2001 11:22:26 PM #
if you're so anti-palm and think all current palm-related handhelds are weak, why on earth are you spending time on palm infocenter's discussion boards?
for the record, i don't plan on getting a color handheld until someone makes a color screen worth looking at. even the m505 screen isn't good enough. i'd rather look at a crisp grayscale then the color currently available. oh, and i thiink this new handera device is pretty slick, the addition of an SD slot along with maintaining the same serial slot (so the same peripherals work) is making this handheld quite a bit tastier than the m500. of course, if size is a big issue, i can see this being a letdown for people looking for something as beefy as this in a palmV form factor.

RE: this is cool
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/23/2001 2:08:46 PM #
I'm not "anti-palm". I however disappointed in them and feel that they've made some fatal mistakes. I think that they became somewhat full of themselves believing they, and only they, knew what users really wanted. I believe this is the biggest reason they didn't innovate.
I'm on a Palm board because, as a former hardcore Palm user, I'm interested in new devices and how (if at all) the platform can really be pushed. Like most of us here, I'm a PDA enthusiast. I surfed plenty of PPC boards before I switched too. I didn't know that showing up and expressing one's opinion was a crime. Rather, I think that's what these boards are for.

Resolution

I.M. Anonymous @ 4/20/2001 5:06:12 PM #
Could someone explain how this new resolution works and how applications will scale in it? Thanks.

RE: Resolution
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/20/2001 5:36:17 PM #
Supposedly, it supports two display modes for legacy apps. Scale-to-fit and 1:1 mode. 95% of the legacy apps look great in scale to fit mode. The others can be run in a 160x160 box. The user can select which apps will be run in which mode. Hopefully, developers will start to convert their apps to take advantage of the high-res screen.

Quickword

I.M. Anonymous @ 4/20/2001 5:24:41 PM #
that looks like Quickword in Landscape Mode.

RE: Quickword
Ed @ 4/21/2001 12:19:13 AM #
It is. Quickword and Quicksheet come standard with the device and both work in landscape mode.

---
Plenipotentiary
Palm Infocenter
RE: Quickword
fleegle @ 4/21/2001 12:02:25 PM #
I wonder if the current version of QuickWord and QuickSheet work in landscape mode or if they are special versions for the HandEra.

Now someone needs to make an adapter for the Palm Portable Keyboard so you plug the HandEra device sideways (in landscape mode).

Cool

I.M. Anonymous @ 4/20/2001 5:35:58 PM #
Man, if it were available right now I would have a very difficult time deciding on what to do with my M505 preorder. That, and the fact that the screen isn't color.

I have to congratulate them on their innovations - two slots, landscape, soft-graffiti with mirroring, voice recorder... I'm glad someone is getting clever with the platform.

Reminds me of the Apple Lisa

I.M. Anonymous @ 4/20/2001 5:44:26 PM #
Innovative, no doubt. Cool, no doubt. But destined to lay the foundation for other companies to
exploit the cool innovations. Just like the Apple Lisa. (Fine, Apple did okay after the Lisa with its
own schtick, but everything Apple ever did indirectly siphoned money straight to Gates.)

Face it: It's ugly, and uncool, and the name sounds stupid, and well-heeled executives are
going to spring for the Palm (or Edge) every time. HandEra has no cachet. And it's not color.

Get ready for the Palm 900 (hypothetical only!!!): V form factor, wireless, two slots, 320x320,
soft graffiti. That's when money will be made. We'll all be saying "Remember the HandEra?
That was a cool little thing. Ahead of its time ..."

RE: Reminds me of the Apple Lisa
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/20/2001 6:16:50 PM #
I know of a lot of doctors who love the TRGpro because it was the only expandable Palm out there. That's changed with Palm's new models, Handspring, and Sony but I still think there is a market for HandEra if they play their cards right and their customers stay loyal.

RE: Reminds me of the Apple Lisa
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/21/2001 3:38:29 AM #
Well-heeled executives have high-heeled secretaries taking care of their schedules. Besides, even if the secretaries are missing, how many of these are actually customers of PDA's compared to the normal foot-folk out there?

I think ANY PDA manufacturer would think the better of it just to cater to a small-well-heeled-executive market. They might as well close their doors if that is their concept.

I am not a well-heeled executive (therefore no high-heeled secretary following me around) and I want the expandability it provides me.

And what about color ? I agree with other comments made here, the market for color is not as large as people make it. I have yet to see a program that I would like to have in color mode. OK, I have played a bit with certain games where color would have been nice, but they usually don't stay on my Palm long enough anyway (for space AND time reasons). Datebook in color ? big deal. I can do without it, and most people I know ditto.

I would love to know what most people use their handheld device for. I bet for the large majority, color is a nice add-on but definitely not a must-have. The people that buy color-pda's either need to have the latest gadgets all the time (i used to be one of these) or just have too much money.

What do people put in their datebook that requires color differential anyway?

Monday 8 am: take dog for a walk (BLUE & BOLD)
Monday 9 am: take a pee (YELLOW, FONT 9, BOLD)
Monday 9:15: Go to work (RED, FONT 8, Italic)
Monday 9:30: arrive at work (GREEN, FONT 19, BOLD)
Monday 9:35: Chat with co-workers at coffee-machine
Monday 9:45: finally get the coffee (GREEN)
Monday 9:46: add sugar and milk (GREEN , BOLD) so I dont forget (RED BOLD)
Monday 9:50: arrive at work-station / office (BLUE)
Monday 9:51: turn on PC (RED, BOLD)
Monday 9:51: wait till windows loaded (10 minutes) GREEN
Monday 10:01: surf the net (CYAN)
Monday 11:58: prepare for lunch (RED)
etc, etc, etc.....


Very interesting to have color for these entries....



Color in Datebook 4
PFloyd @ 4/21/2001 11:07:53 AM #
I use color for some of my todo's. I color code by client or project some time. I don't have to do this but it's nice. I still my dump my Prism for an M500.

RE: Reminds me of the Apple Lisa (320x320)
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/23/2001 12:43:46 AM #
Why would you want to keep the screen @ 320x320? for backward compatibility? Having a square screen forces the screen to remain to small to be of any use with the ton of information available from these things.

Handera have made the single biggest improvment for Palm since inception: Portrait/Landscape screen.

This will allow far better access to information. Color would be nice, but that is coming...

RE: Reminds me of the Apple Lisa
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/2/2001 8:35:32 AM #
To the person w/o a secretary - it occurred to me that you are just the target market for such color pda's. It is apparent by your schedule that you spend too much time wasting it!

Your time used surfing the web could be spent more effectively by both you and your company-(speaking of color)your company should get you your pink slip and you may find it more cost efficient to upgrade to the color pda and surf the web at home(hence the reason most folks want color).



It has LOTS of NEW features - Many like the Sony CLIE and ..

I.M. Anonymous @ 4/20/2001 5:44:59 PM #
The new HandEra PDA has a Ear Plug on the left side, near the bottom, for listening to sound files with head phones or earphone. Also, both the new ear plug and speaker will be able to be used with the upcoming CF Cell Phone attachment, much like the HandSpring Visor Phone.

It also has the famous Sony JOG dial, and also includes the new BACK button on the left hand side as well that Sony is incorporating on their new model 700.

I has improved speaker volume. It also has a Mic on-board now so one can record Voice Notes (and also use with the future planned CF Cell-phone attachment).

The case is also plastic, like the old one, but now Silver in color on the front, and black on the back. It also incorporates the new Lithium-Ion-polymer batter which will last a two weeks without recharging.

It is the same physical size as the Palm IIIxe, so one will be able to use all of their old cases and such.

The screen resolution has changed to 240x320. Old programs will be able to run in two modes, enhanced or legacy. The screen can also be tilted so as to appear to have a 320x240 screen (yes, the same, but sideways).

The Graffiti area is now virtual, so you can collapse it when you don't need it, giving one more screen space.

Lastly, the Back-Light is like the old Palm-Pilot style, unlike the current style, which should be a nice suprise.

One item I was unable to confirm or tell is wheather the new HandEra has a vibrating alarm mode along with the new Flashing LED "silent" alarm.

RE: It has LOTS of NEW features - Many like the Sony CLIE and ..
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/20/2001 8:02:17 PM #
. . . and its friggin ugly!

RE: It has LOTS of NEW features - Many like the Sony CLIE an
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/20/2001 10:46:33 PM #
...and it looks great. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

I'm curious, what do people think is the best looking handheld? No consideration of function; which just has the best appearance?

RE: It has LOTS of NEW features - Many like the Sony CLIE and ..
PFloyd @ 4/21/2001 11:11:26 AM #
The M500 looks even better than the Vx. I think these are the best looking Palm/Clie/etc. you can buy.

Too much diversification?

I.M. Anonymous @ 4/20/2001 6:03:55 PM #
Is it possible that all of these licensees are creating too many variations in the Palm market, segregating the developers/users, ultimately creating sub-markets and weakening the platforms ability to compete against competitors like Microsoft?

BTW: Iím talking out of my ass. I just wanted to see what people thought. :)


RE: Too much diversification?
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/22/2001 2:03:54 AM #
Answer: Not too much, if Handspring gobbles up HandEra.
HandEra owns intellectual property on some of the innovations they have made. If they dont do
well in 12 months, someone will buy them and incorporate such a Palm device to make us weep.
(I hope).

Handspring had better watch out. They still dont have a "killer app" the potential is there
but the competition isnt far behind.
My hat is off to HandEra.

RE: Too much diversification?
atrizzah @ 4/23/2001 10:49:42 PM #
No way, diversification can't do anything but help the PalmOS. Many people are always complaining that Palms don't provide the functionality they need, but soon, once all these new generation Palms are out, there will be many choices for people: New clie for entertainment type individuals as an alternative to PPC, Prisms for people who like bright vibrant color, m505s for people who want the most out of a Palm V sized device, and Handera for the Power Users and corporations

Peace Out
Alan
RE: Too much diversification?
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/24/2001 1:16:28 PM #
I'm not concerned about diversification... I'm concerned about software/hardware incompatibilities through diversification. Letís face it, the core platform is not becoming more diversified. The licensees are just kludging the hardware/software to get functionality that is really not there. Itís one thing if these licensees are diversifying the platform using built in capabilities, but theyíre not. This will ultimately create incompatibilities throughout. How it affects the platform has yet to be seen.

I say these words out of concern. The current platform is tapped. Palm needed to come out with their Next-Gen-ARM Palms yesterday.

2c


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