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Rumor: Details on Upcoming HandEra Device

According to PalmQ Online, a Russian site, someone who is testing a pre-release version of a new color model from HandEra was willing to leak some details. According to this source, it will have a 240 by 320 pixel screen. This TFT display will be backlit and will be capable of displaying 64 thousand colors.

It will run Palm OS 4.1, have 8 MB of RAM, and 4 MB of flash ROM. It will use a 33 MHz Motorola Dragonball processor.

It has a great deal in common with the HandEra 330. It has a jog wheel and, of course, still has a Compact Flash slot and an SD/MMC one. It uses the HotSync port from the Palm III series, so current 330 owners can still use their peripherals.

One point of difference from its predecessor is that it has a built-in Li-ion battery.

The casing is 4.75 by 3.2 by .7 inches, which is slightly thicker than a 330. It will weigh 5.65 ounces.

While the source didn't know what this new color model would be called, they were able to say it would cost about $450.

A couple of months ago, the president of HandEra said his company would certainly be releasing a handheld running OS 5, though he wouldn't go into specifics.

Before some suspicious person points out that the PalmQ article was posted right before April Fool's Day, I spoke with the owner of the site and he swears the story is legit. -Ed

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A somewhat serious contender for Sony.....

I.M. Anonymous @ 4/4/2002 1:19:34 PM #
I guess competition is good because consumers benefit. Ed, if possible please make a head-to-head comparison and evaluation with Handera and Sony NR70

Thanks in advance!

RE: A somewhat serious contender for Sony.....
Davy @ 4/4/2002 1:23:43 PM #
Screen Res: Sony 320x480, Handera 240x320.

Color Depth: Both 65k

Processor: 66mhz Sony, 33mhz Handera

Ram/Rom: Handera 8 megs ram, 4 megs Rom. Sony 16 megs ram, 8 megs rom.

Size: Handera: 4.75 by 3.2 by .7 inches, which is slightly thicker than a 330. It will weigh 5.65 ounces. Sony 5.4 by 2.8 by .65 inches. It weighs 7 ounces.

Extras: Sony mp3 playing, Camera, Keyboard, unit is it's own case (+$100), Jog Dial, Memory Stick Slot. Handera: It has a jog wheel and, of course, still has a Compact Flash slot and an SD/MMC one. It uses the HotSync port from the Palm III series, so current 330 owners can

Price: Handera: $450, sony $500 or $600 w/camera.

A equally matched contender? Hardly. But, the new Handera will have some buyers who don't want the Sony Multimedia wunderkind.

RE: A somewhat serious contender for Sony.....
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/4/2002 1:48:52 PM #
One advantage of Sony's hi-res and virtual graffiti is that it is more compatible with old apps. As long as hi-res assist is turned off for old apps, simple pixel doubling makes everything look exactly as it does on a 160x160 screen. With HandEra, the 240x240 main screen means that older apps have to be either shown in a smaller 160x160 section of the screen or 'scaled to fit' which can cause compatability issues. Both require applications to be modified in order to take advantage of the extra screen space when you minimize/hide the virtual graffiti. Plus, the higher resolution of sony's screen means better images/graphics and fonts.

RE: A somewhat serious contender for Sony.....
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/4/2002 3:29:03 PM #
> One advantage of Sony's hi-res and virtual graffiti
> is that it is more compatible with old apps.

and Sony's hi-res APIs for developers are completely incompatible with the Palm OS 5 hi-res for new apps.

RE: A somewhat serious contender for Sony.....
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/4/2002 3:52:27 PM #
>> One advantage of Sony's hi-res and virtual graffiti
>> is that it is more compatible with old apps.
>
>and Sony's hi-res APIs for developers are completely >incompatible with the Palm OS 5 hi-res for new apps.

Not surpising, considering the Sony API's were written before Palm OS 5 was. Hard to make things compatible with something that doesn't yet exist.

Not sure why people pick on the Sony API's - software developers have done a good job of supporting the hi-res Sony units with them, and I've had nearly 100% success in running non-high-res applications on my Clie 610.

Sure things will change with Palm OS 5, but until it's released, Sony will have the best solution for high resolution. And at the rate Sony and Palm are going, Sony will have released another 30 or 40 new models of palmtops before Palm releases OS 5.0 - sometime in 2006...

RE: A somewhat serious contender for Sony.....
bcombee @ 4/4/2002 4:17:09 PM #
Reps at PalmSource 2002 indicated that Sony may release an OS patch that would support the new Palm OS 5 density API calls on current hi-res 68K devices. Sony's API may be proprietary, but their current devices may be compatible with hi-res OS 5 apps.

CodeWarrior for Palm OS technical lead
RE: A somewhat serious contender for Sony.....
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/4/2002 4:26:36 PM #
I wouldn't doubt that HandEra has a device like this lying around somewhere or that maybe they've given a few similar to some people to test, but these specs seem more like rumor than fact.

A serious contender for Sony.....
Palm_Otaku @ 4/4/2002 5:04:21 PM #
Another feature that the HandEra has is built-in voice recording! It also has great buttons (ahem; fast CF backups/restore; and a company with a fabulous customer support track record! I bet the battery life will also be very good. (a shame that the battery pack is rumored to be built-in instead of removable as in the existing 330...

Also, there are a lot of CF peripherals (WiFi, ethernet, etc.) that work with it; the Sony requires a CF-sled (currently only available in Japan) or perhaps infinite patience waiting for more MSIO peripherals...

Presumably the new HandEra will be SDIO-compliant and will be able to use the Palm/Toshiba Bluetooth card (apparently the Sony Infostick is not scheduled for release outside of Japan :-(

RE: A somewhat serious contender for Sony.....
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/4/2002 7:02:24 PM #
> Sony requires a CF-sled (currently only available in Japan)

From what I understand, that sled only works with one or two devices, maybe just a single wireless phone card.

RE: A somewhat serious contender for Sony.....
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/5/2002 12:45:39 AM #
Handera is a great device for some people.
Its CF card support is probably one of its biggest
strength.

I wish the new one has 16M.

RE: A somewhat serious contender for Sony.....
LC @ 4/5/2002 1:35:57 AM #
Is the handera going to have basically the same form factor as previous handeras or is the design going to be redone so that it looks modern?

Also is it USB compatible using the palm III connector? or is it serial compatiblity only? That may be the ultimate killer for me.. although the CF slot would be SOOOOO cool .... but then the drivers...


= = =
LC =
= = =

RE: A somewhat serious contender for Sony.....
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/5/2002 2:48:31 AM #
HUGE Handera form factor or.... the smallest color PDA (T-615). HandEra had better figure out how to reduce the size of their units.

RE: A somewhat serious contender for Sony.....
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/5/2002 2:58:59 AM #
> and Sony's hi-res APIs for developers are completely
> incompatible with the Palm OS 5 hi-res for new apps.

Not quite. Sony's hi-res API is DIFFERENT from PalmOS's high-density API, but it's not completely incompatible.

Sony's high-resolution library can be implemented using OS 5's high-density calls. This means that it should be easy enough for someone to develop a substitute library to allow apps written for high-resolution CLIEs to run on OS 5 devices. (In fact, Sony indicated at PalmSource that they will provide such a compatibility layer.)

(Whether or not high-density apps written for OS 5 will run on existing high-resolution CLIEs is a different matter; Sony's API is more limited, so implementing Palm's API using Sony's would be quite a bit harder.)

WOW!

I.M. Anonymous @ 4/4/2002 1:24:56 PM #
i might just consider this handera over sonys. I already have an 32mb SD card worth $39 and 8mb,32mb,64mb,128mb CF cards from my digicam. ive always wanted to view pics from my digicam on my handheld instantly.

RE: WOW!
mikeliu @ 4/4/2002 5:41:18 PM #
from someone who owns a memory stick digicam (Sony P5)and a memory stick PDA (Sony 760) let me tell you that it's pretty overrated to be able to view digicam output on your PDA.

Palm OS PDA's are just too slow to be able to handle displaying those 1+ MB monster JPGs that digicams output, and they have to scale it to, and they're too slow to be able to scale it without it looking crappy.

Still, everything else you have might still make going HandEra a good choice even if you took my advice and ignored the digicam angle.

RE: WOW!
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/5/2002 12:06:23 AM #
thanks for pointing that out. i guess a pocketPC can do a faster job on that huh? i guess im just looking for my peripherals to use each others CARDS and i really dont have any room for memorysticks in here.

8mb is not enough

I.M. Anonymous @ 4/4/2002 1:27:53 PM #
For one of Handera's key markets, medical users, 8mb is no longer high-end. Sure, memory cards can add almost unlimited storage, however, too many apps like ePocrates either don't support VFS or are too slow in accessing the memory card. Actually, the slowness is a chracteristic of VFS, itself, as data has to be copied from the memory card before the app can be run.

I'm sure they would be doing 16mb to match Sony and Palm's current high-end products.

RE: 8mb is not enough
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/4/2002 5:15:32 PM #
Well, RAM will always not be enough, but this is why we need external media. One thing HandEra did is that they released a program called "AutoCF." This program helps regular applications that doesn't support VFS to take advantage of it. This idea helps leads other programmers to build PowerRUN, MSMount, PiDirect, etc.

Just look at what Sony did to their MemoryStick? Nothing. Adsolutely nothing.

RE: 8mb is not enough
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/5/2002 8:01:42 AM #
I never understood why folks say that 8MB is not enough. I used to have a Palm V, and as soon as I installed AvantGo on it, I ran out of RAM. So I felt quite liberated when I eventually bought my HE330 because it had enough RAM to handle the AvantGo channels I subscribed to (7 total). Today with all the things I do with my HE330 (games, lists, built-in apps, Acrobat, Quick-sheet and -word) I am
only using half the RAM in my device. With the 32MB MMC card I have as well, and the AutoCard app Handera has (when will that come out of beta?), I don't see why 8MB isn't enough.

I'm not claiming that anyone demanding 16MB is wrong, I'm just wondering what to *DO* with all the RAM I have.

-- Paul

RE: 8mb is not enough
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/5/2002 9:00:56 AM #
With the increasing popularity of color apps, hi-res apps, and multi-platform apps (designed for Palm OS and Pocket PC), these programs are simply getting larger.

ePocrates, the most ubiquitous program for medical PDA's takes up 1.6 megs or so. It's twice as large as it was two years ago. PatientKeeper's new 3.0 beta is over 2 megs. Neither will work off a memory card anytime soon. Many NSBasic apps and HanDbase apps are now written in "large" code, with the runtime libraries built-to the program.

Any memory stick or SD card peripheral will take up your slot so anything that you want to use with that device will have to be in RAM.

I have tons of space left on my 128 meg memory stick, however, I am always find myself short of RAM.

RE: 8mb is not enough
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/5/2002 10:16:36 AM #
"ePocrates, the most ubiquitous program for medical PDA's takes up 1.6 megs or so. It's twice as large as it was two years ago. PatientKeeper's new 3.0 beta is over 2 megs. Neither will work off a memory card anytime soon. "

Wow, What a BIIIIIIIggg program.

So they can not even put in to /Palm/Launcher instead
of RAM? Did you try PiDirectVFS to put their database on the card?

Another TRGpro user who has TONS of programs and database.
(Still can not fill up half of 8mb, but almost finish my 128mb CF)

RE: 8mb is not enough
Ed @ 4/5/2002 11:07:32 AM #
You might be interested in PiDirect II, which lets handhelds run files directly off a memory card, without a full copy being written to RAM.

Here's a review:
www.palminfocenter.com/view_Story.asp?ID=3241

---
News Editor

RE: 8mb is not enough
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/5/2002 3:25:51 PM #
PiDirect II is awesome! I was using AutoCard first, but it gave me some problems to the point that I either had to sacrifice RAM or buy PiDirect II (i.e. using the large spellcheck dictionary in Wordsmith. I now can use it on the card). PDII allows you to run 10 files off the card without registering it, but it will not work simultaneously with AutoCard, so that defeated the purpose.

I now have absolutely NO problems running any app from a memory card.

As for having to remove your card to use peripherals, a unit with 2 card slots works wonders for getting around that. With my HE330, I can have memory and apps in the SD slot, a Socket digital phone card (to hook up to my cell phone) in the CF slot, and still use my PPK keyboard. Combine that with the right software and I effectively have a wireless laptop!

Sean

Upgradable to 16MB?

robrecht @ 4/4/2002 1:33:13 PM #
Is the current Handera 330 able to be upgraded to 16MB?

Thanks, Robrecht
RE: Upgradable to 16MB?
Ed @ 4/4/2002 1:46:28 PM #
Yes, a few weeks ago Tony Rudenko introduced an upgrade for the HandEra 330 to 16 MB of RAM. It costs $110.

www.PalmPilotUpgrade.com/about.html

---
News Editor

Hopefully Incorrect

Ed @ 4/4/2002 1:31:23 PM #
This may sound like an odd thing for me to say but I hope some of the information presented here is incorrect. The new HandEra device really needs 16 MB of RAM and the 66 MHz processor. HandEra refreshes their product line very slowly and, while I think a 33 MHz processor is fine now, if the company is still selling a device based on it next year, it will look dated.

That said, I like HandEra's hi-res screen and virtual Graffiti so I applaud the inclusion of color.

---
News Editor

RE: Hopefully Incorrect
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/4/2002 1:56:53 PM #
hmm. cant log in...

i agree with ed. this has to be false. it doesnt seem like handera to come out with a device thats just a 330 with a color screen. they would need a good reason to release a new device.

-scaught

RE: Hopefully Incorrect
Vexel9 @ 4/4/2002 9:44:03 PM #
I agree as well. It already seems dated even before its released. If the release date of this unit will be in a few months 33Mhz will be glaringly inadequate, for a NEW release at least. And the 8mb? There's gotta be something wrong with that?

RE: Hopefully Incorrect
wintermute @ 4/5/2002 8:57:18 PM #
Well I don't know about that. I agree to an extent. Handera understands that 16mb is a trend, and most are going to follow it, infact most have already in the PalmOS platform. And the 66mhz will soon become a trend if OS5 takes a little longer, to have some side profit or something. BUT Handera knows by adding all this, it will only extend the price. Handera is becoming VERY common, but Palm is still most known. SO, inorder to have consumers to order their product, they must have great prices that beat Palm, great function, rather than a name you can trust. It might not make sense, perhaps I'm not saying it well enough. But it does make sense once you think about it. The features you talk about will increase the price. I think their goal right now is to steal consumers and get some of that market share! This is one good way.

------------------------------------
http://pdan.has.it
------------------------------------
You don't want to grow old but you don't want to die young!
------------------------------------

Too Little, Too Late

tipds @ 4/4/2002 1:41:45 PM #
Compared to industry leaders, this new model has a lower res screen, less memory and a slower processor. I don't really see how it can really compete in the high-end market, especially at that price. Yes, the color depth is greater, but that will have a limited impact. Realistically, how many colors can one display on a 320x240 screen? (76,800) At that res, the jump from 16-bit to 24-bit color will not be noticable. I really think they should have concentrated on the ARM processor, added memory and gone with a larger screen, at a minimum. It would also help if they offered a faster expansion memory option, like Sony's memory stick. The old-style sync port will also hurt it. I'm all for standardization, but not when the standard is so far inferior to other available options.

Sorry to be a downer,
Tip DS

RE: Too Little, Too Late
Ed @ 4/4/2002 1:49:04 PM #
Just keep in mind, this is a rumor. It may turn out to be incorrect.

---
News Editor
RE: Too Little, Too Late
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/4/2002 1:50:47 PM #
I've heard people make a very similar arguement about the Sony's 320 x 320 screen. What's the point of cramming in more pixels if the screen doesn't get any bigger? The HandEra's screen is acually larger, though there are few pixels.

RE: Too Little, Too Late
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/4/2002 1:57:17 PM #
It still better than all Palm product in term of screen and expandibility, second only to Sony in term of screen and style.

No matter how much money you pay, you won't be able to put Wi-Fi or 1Gig microdrive on Sony. Handera on the other hand can take ANY of Sony peripherals, even that idiotic memstick. (with CF universal adapter)

RE: Too Little, Too Late
fleegle @ 4/4/2002 2:40:11 PM #
What "CF universal adapter"? Do you have a website to reference?

RE: Too Little, Too Late
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/4/2002 3:12:24 PM #
Try Pretec site.

some british store sells it (too lazy to click more of google search)
http://www.expansys.com/product.asp?code=PRECTRIO

so incidentally, this mean PPC can accept memory stick.

RE: Too Little, Too Late
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/4/2002 3:34:25 PM #
> Compared to industry leaders, this new model has [...]

Uh ... Palm is the industry leader and this device compares quite favorably to Palm.

> At that res, the jump from 16-bit to 24-bit color will
> not be noticable.

64 thousand colors is 16-bit, there is no jump.

> It would also help if they offered a faster expansion
> memory option, like Sony's memory stick.

Hilarious. Memory Stick is slower than SD or CF. Come back when you know what you are talking about.


RE: Too Little, Too Late
sub_tex @ 4/4/2002 4:00:39 PM #
"Hilarious. Memory Stick is slower than SD or CF. Come back when you know what you are talking about."

yes.

Along with the totally original title of this post (which we sure need to hear a few more thousand times because it's SO cool to post Too little Too late whenever new hardware is introduced...) this whole post is not worth the time to read it.

Handera seems to have their heads on straight, and have produced quality products. I agree with Ed in that i'm leaning more toward the rumor on this one since this device wouldn't hold well in the next 4-6 months.

The 330 is still a darn good pda today. in 6 months though when the ARM and os 5 devices hit? Hence the new device, which i think we're still yet to hear about.

RE: Too Little, Too Late
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/4/2002 4:01:56 PM #
> It would also help if they offered a faster expansion
> memory option, like Sony's memory stick.

>Hilarious. Memory Stick is slower than SD or CF. Come >back when you know what you are talking about.

I'd be interested in knowing where your data came from. Not saying your wrong - I've just never seen a good comparison of transfer rates...

RE: Too Little, Too Late
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/4/2002 5:21:17 PM #
Basic Fact: SD has the fastest transfer rate in theory

RE: Too Little, Too Late
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/4/2002 7:27:11 PM #
"Compared to industry leaders..." The ONLY "industry leader" with anything higher than 160x160 res is Sony. HandEra's QVGA screen is higher resolution than all other PalmOS licencees, except Sony and a Symbol Prototype. The Symbol prototype however is using HandEra's OS, and the same Epson Color coprocessor that Epson and HandEra worked together on (maybe even the same color screen as this HandEra prototype for all we know).

I've only used VFSMark on the Sony S320 and T615 but the results were dismal compared to SD on Palm M50x's and SD and CF on the HandEra 330. So far though CF on a HandEra is still the speed winner. The dragonball is the limiter though. Theoretical maximums will only come into play on faster ARM hardware.

I'm guessing MS on an NR70 will just come up to par with SD and CF on other devices.


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