PalmSource Day 1: Sony Prototype Pics

At PalmSource, the president of Sony's handheld division just gave a sneak peak of a prototype handheld his company is working on. He only showed it for a few seconds, but that was enough to see that it is a clamshell device with a built-in keyboard on one side and a screen on the other.

Aside from showing it off, Mr. Yoshida gave no details on the device, including price, availability, or whether it will run Palm OS 5 or 4.

Update: Sony has officially announced two versions of this handheld. Read more about them here.


This handheld's hinge can swivel, allowing it to take several shapes. Of course, it can close like a clamshell and open with the LCD on one side and the keyboard on the other. The swivel also allows the device to close with the keyboard on the inside but the LCD exposed, allowing it to to be used like current Palm OS devices.

Sorry this isn't a great picture. He showed this thing off for about 20 seconds and never held it very still. -Ed

UPDATE: I brightened and enhanced the contrast on Ed's original picture to show more detail. -Ryan

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It flips!

mtg101 @ 2/5/2002 8:27:49 PM #
The screen on the new Sony shown can rotate 180 degrees, and then be closed. Thus the device is closed but the screen is visible on the exterior of the device. Looked really cool. However, the device was never turned on, and no more details were given. People I've spoken to think it's just a form-factor prototype, not a device that's about to ship.


Diga ao Falante pelos Mortos


blind505user @ 2/5/2002 8:29:35 PM #
Ed, there is a space in the hyperlink that allows you to see the larger image.

users, if you click on the image to see it, remove the space from the url on your browser and try it again, you should be able to see it.

the space is before the image name.

RE: link
Ed @ 2/5/2002 8:31:33 PM #
Fixed. Sorry about the rush. I'm uploading this between sessions. I'm already late for the next one.

News Editor

SWEET...the flip makes sense

I.M. Anonymous @ 2/5/2002 8:32:55 PM #
Super thin folding clamshell means more screen with and more keyboard without sacrificing portability. The Japanese are still the best at personal electronics!

looks like a yopy

I.M. Anonymous @ 2/5/2002 8:36:52 PM #
just a comment, the new sony looks a lot like the new yopy, a linux based pda with strong arm etc.

is this the future?

RE: looks like a yopy
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/5/2002 8:40:26 PM #
It seems to make sense. WHY waste the Screen "Cover" space with just useless leather? Why not make it a folding screen. BRILLIANT!!!

RE: looks like a yopy
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/5/2002 8:42:23 PM #
Except that the keyboard part is thicker on the Yopy, while the screen part is thicker on the Sony.

RE: looks like a yopy
BBC @ 2/5/2002 8:55:55 PM #
THe keyboard also appears to be oriented horizontally, posibly a qwerty layout. THe Yopy is a nonstandard layout and takes much more of the keyboard side than this pic

RE: looks like a yopy
davespda @ 2/5/2002 8:56:42 PM #
It is funny you refer to this as brilliant, since many have said the Yopy's design is stupid!

RE: looks like a yopy
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/5/2002 9:59:57 PM #
"...many have said the Yopy's design is stupid!"

says who? you?

you should learn some manners, more if you are promoting your site.

RE: looks like a yopy
davespda @ 2/6/2002 12:02:41 AM #
I have seen many posts on other message boards (like PDABuzz) of people who didn't like the look of the revised Yopu. I didn't say it was my opinion. For me it all depends what kind of keyboard is under there. If it is decent then all the better.

RE: looks like a yopy
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/6/2002 3:19:15 AM #

I like how you crop out the "palminfocenter" and give no credit

RE: looks like a yopy
markpmc @ 2/6/2002 8:11:26 AM #
The Yopy has a thinner screen and NO backlight. I'm glad to see the Sony has a thicker screen...


RE: looks like a yopy
davespda @ 2/6/2002 1:28:08 PM #
The small image doesn't say PalmInfoCenter on it, so there was nothing to crop out. I am sorry if you have a problem with me posting, I was simply trying to make a point that some people had said they didn't like the Yopy because of its desgin, and that design is very similar to the future Sony.

RE: looks like a yopy
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/7/2002 1:44:27 AM #
Yeah well post all you want.. your site sucks anyway.

RE: looks like a yopy
swinginjonny @ 2/7/2002 3:50:28 PM #
I remember back in 3rd grade when the combacks were things like "Yeah well post all you want.. your site sucks anyway." It's nice to know we're all grown up now, isn't it?

RE: looks like a yopy
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/9/2002 2:58:42 AM #
I've been looking at a few of these pictures but I really don't understand the ergonomics of this prototype.

It looks like it is designed so that it can be held in one hand. But hitting the small keys with the free hand doesn't seem very efficient. I suppose it could be held in both hands so that you can type with both thumbs, like the RIM, but the screen makes it look top heavy, so thumb-typing may not be feasible. If this thing is supposed to be put on a flat surface, then thumb-typing is out, so we are back to two fingered hunting & pecking, because the keyboard looks far too small for touch typing.

Can any of the eye-witnesses comment?

Looks like the new Q-pad keyboard/case from tdevice...

I.M. Anonymous @ 2/5/2002 8:42:56 PM #

I'm not sure how usable either the Q-pad or this Sony prototype you hold the keyboard with both hands and type with your thumbs like on a RIM device? If so, is the screen hinge rigid enough to keep it in place? Won't it feel awkward and unbalanced?

RE: Looks like the new Q-pad keyboard/case from tdevice...
Scott @ 2/5/2002 10:28:18 PM #
I agree. These things _look_ cool, but how usable will they be? It seems to me that the thumbboard will be too narrow and it will be top-heavy as a result of the display.


RE: Looks like the new Q-pad keyboard/case from tdevice...
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/5/2002 10:42:19 PM #
"I agree. These things _look_ cool, but how usable will they be? It seems to me that the thumbboard will be too narrow and it will be top-heavy as a result of the display."

..don''t underestimate the japanese, their market
(electronic gadgets) is much much more demanding and competitive than this one, so expect a really cool pda..
In Tokyo's electronic district (Akibahara) I've seen AMAZING gadgets (cell phones, laptops, MDplayers, pdas..) from Sharp, Sanyo, Toshiba, Sony, Panasonic, etc) that they don't even bother to release in the States becouse "they're too advanced" i was told!

RE: Looks like the new Q-pad keyboard/case from tdevice...
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/6/2002 10:29:00 AM #
they don't sell to europe either. so that is not a thing of idiocy I guess.


It HAD to happen!

I.M. Anonymous @ 2/5/2002 8:51:36 PM #
It was just a matter of time. PC's used to be so bulky they would take up a whole room. Then the went to desktop pc'c & on to laptops. The PDA was just a futher evolution of that form factor.
Now the new sony is a mini laptop! WOW! I'm sure it will be packed with all the goodies we need & that sony proved to deliver. Can't wait to see the final product!

RE: It HAD to happen!
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/5/2002 9:40:15 PM # many Toshiba Libretto's do you see around today? PDA's are complimentary to PC's/Notebooks, they will never substitute them. What's the biggest button that comes in your PDA package? The button that "Syncs" you to your PC!

- MD

RE: It HAD to happen!
digilaw @ 2/5/2002 11:17:45 PM #
Never say never

RE: It HAD to happen!
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/6/2002 10:30:53 AM #

You need to check your history. PC = Personal computers. The ones you are refering to in this sentence are Mainframes computers used by large comporations.


The Personal Digital ASSISTANCE evolved from Data Organizers where people just stored Addresses and telephone numbers. Like Sharp Wizard series


I think the way we look at PC will change with time. Will our PDA's replaces it? That remains to be seen! For once, the screen will kill you (on the pda that is)


I.M. Anonymous @ 2/5/2002 8:55:25 PM #
looks like a device I am waiting for :)

since the screen is so slim and long ...... seems the supported resolution of palm OS 5 won't be only 160X160 or 320X320, or maybe Sony will just hack the **** out of Palm OS

RE: cool
mtg101 @ 2/5/2002 9:35:15 PM #
OS5 has 'high density' screen support. They're talking alot about 320x320, and even 640x640 - they haven't made clear how other ratios will work, I think they're covering it tomorrow.

Sony have agreed to use the high density screen manager.


Diga ao Falante pelos Mortos

The Killer PDA

SaxonMan @ 2/5/2002 9:07:16 PM #
respect SONY. nice ideas
very nice form factor and i could imagine that there's a bulit-in camera.
yup i agree that screen doesnt look like 320*320 at all.
way to go sony and make us happy.


may the holy palmostles be with you

RE: The Killer PDA
SaxonMan @ 2/5/2002 9:16:44 PM #
i think it's gonna be more like 320*640.


may the holy palmostles be with you


ijablokov @ 2/5/2002 9:24:08 PM #
any pics of the os 5 user interface available?

RE: screenshots?
mtg101 @ 2/5/2002 9:32:05 PM #
It's no different to the PalmOS 4.1 interface.

Basically OS5 is just OS4 running on ARM chips - the 'big changes' will come in 'the next major OS release'. They're refusing to say what that will be (5.5, 6??) or give any sense of timescale for it.


Diga ao Falante pelos Mortos

RE: screenshots?
popko @ 2/5/2002 10:13:37 PM #
"It's no different to the PalmOS 4.1 interface."

WTF? Is what you said for real?

RE: screenshots?
popko @ 2/5/2002 10:18:43 PM #
Oh well. When giving it a second thought, it's not that big of a deal. You can always count on 3rd parties to do the shell replacements.

RE: screenshots?
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/5/2002 10:48:37 PM #
They worked on this for 2+ years and we still have the exact same GUI as in OS 1.

RE: screenshots?
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/5/2002 11:10:09 PM #
Yeah, well - it may be the same GUI as OS1, but if it ain't broke... Besides, it's what's under the hood that counts.

- Satoribomb

RE: screenshots?
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/5/2002 11:11:19 PM #
I am getting the sinking feeling that OS 5 is basically OS 4.1 ported to ARM with additional security and support in the OS for 320x320. I simply can not accept that there is no GUI change (NO I AM NOT asking for PocketPC clutter, but classy looking modern GUIs on a 320x320 color screen should be possible) and no change to the built in apps from what I hear. Can it really be possible that the big OS 5 will arrive with a contact and scheduling app that still won't allow you to assign multiple categories nor have options for multiple emails, home phones etc.?


RE: screenshots?
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/5/2002 11:18:52 PM #
You are demanding PPC... If someone "needs" a more "classy" interface, he or she has SilverScreen, MegaLauncher, LauncherIII, etc. If you want a more powerful DateBook, you have Action Names or DateBook 4 (or 5 I donīt remember as I use AN). Donīt make everyone have a HEAVY and EXPENSIVE user interface or OS, go and get the additionals. That is not what it counts; economy, low battery comsumption, low amounts of memory demanding, connectivity, and STABILITY are far more important...

RE: screenshots?
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/5/2002 11:28:04 PM #
ah come on, I am not demanding PPC 2002. the reality is Palm has some well know weaknesses in the OS and native apps that have been around for years. we can name a few that come to mind and are not "power user" or "multimedia" oriented, nor do they sacrifice simplicity.

1. assigning contacts to multiple categories.
2. adding more fields to contact data, ie. 2 addresses, 2 emails, etc.
3. using color effectively in the GUI which right now uses next to non.

these are just some of the problems and it seems clear non are addressed by OS 5. i use actionnames 5 but even that can't overcome some of the native problems with the structuring of the contact and scheduling facilities built into Palm. we are talking core PIM functions here NOT MP3s or video etc. also why we can't have a GUI that uses carefully themed shading of buttons, menus, hi-res icons, etc. ALL NATIVE is amazing. while i love the 16,000 apps for the Palm some things we deserve native after all these years. the reality... i love my Pilot 5000, PalmPilot Pro, Palm V, Palm IIIc, and now Palm m505... and yes I will buy the ARM 320x320 res Palm m505 replacement whenever it comes out but I am stunned that the much touted OS 5 will look and feel no different than the OS I had back on my Pilot 5000 and the same frustrating "easy fixes" to native apps will continue to burn me on basic PIM functions.

'nuff said.

RE: screenshots?
mtg101 @ 2/5/2002 11:30:15 PM #
From what's been said at PalmSource it looks like the look of OS5 will be no different from OS4. The built-in apps will also remain basically unchanged. There will be minor changes, but no more than between OS3 and OS4.



RE: screenshots?
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/6/2002 12:26:34 AM #
When you think about it, it makes sense for Palm to put all their effort into getting the migration to ARM right first. The 'staged' development allows them to bring the new OS online faster so that the new ARM models can be produced more quickly. Don't forget, with flash ROM we can upgrade later, even if it means that we have to fork out an extra say $20 to get the enhanced UI (when that comes out). I think this staged development is much better than putting off the release of the new OS.

Thanks to Ed and all the others who are giving us the 'live' coverage.

Question: I read somewhere once that there is a US law which prohibits the export of certain encryption software. Does anyone know if the 128 bit encryption (mentioned in Ed's first report) complies with that law? Is there a lawyer in the house?

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